Chair in afternoon sun

Resolving Online Identity Issues

For years I comfortably interacted with others on the Internet using nicknames, as most everyone did back then. I’ve been online since 1995: teaching myself to code html, taking online virtual classes, participating in discussion forums (Usenet, e.g., alt.parenting). I’ve built websites for myself and others; setup, hosted, and administered php forums; engaged in heated political discussions on gaming forums, and participated in “photoshop battles” with people across the world.

I miss those days.

Nowadays, you have to be very careful about what online activities you associate to your real name as you can count on it being logged in some database somewhere and/or becoming available via search.

I work in marketing communications and there’s a big emphasis on developing your personal brand so that when people search your name they can find content that demonstrates who you are and what you do; enhancing your “likability” factor for the benefit of establishing authenticity and credibility for whatever endeavor you want to promote. Let the online content you have carefully curated speak for itself so you don’t have to do all the explaining.

It’s like a bunch of people floating about on a large lake each in their own rowboat, waiting for the fish to jump in their boat. Whomever can shine the brightest will catch the most fish.

What I loved about the Internet when I started using it in 1995, and for many years thereafter, was the accessibility of information and the ability to learn and share with others. It’s become more challenging to interact this way online as much content is locked behind “identity gates” where you are required to provide your name and email address to access their content. You pay for information with your identity and most likely being added to a database; you are now a data point.

I came across this tweet when searching twitter to see what people are saying about “internet identity.” I’m a sucker for conspiracy theories, so it makes sense to me that the “brand yourself” movement is supported and promoted by companies and organizations that benefit from Big Data.Plant reflected in mirror

I bought into this for awhile, and sorta tried it, but I don’t need fish and it’s never felt right to me. I think it’s because I am sensitive to how people label and judge others using tidbits of personal information without ever really knowing the person they are neatly boxing up. I expected to become less sensitive with age. My younger self didn’t care as much as I do now. I think it’s because she hadn’t yet experienced being judged, labelled, boxed, and put on a shelf for others to make sense of the aspects of her life she loved.

  • “Race” – My husband and I look very different from one another. We have children. I know people, including family members, watch, observe, and make judgements about us and what we do based on their pre-conceived notions of and personal experiences with “race.” (“Race” in quotes because I believe the human race is the only race on this planet.) It’s worse when it comes from family members.
  • Lifestyle – I do not share with others that I play video games, although it’s been part of my life since I was a kid. It’s bizarre to me that people judge other people’s lifestyle choices, whether your hobby is playing video games, or if you love people of the same gender, or as a Mother who looks forward to going to work.
  • Health – I was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease in 2010, which greatly enhanced my awareness of others’ judging and labeling. I abhor being asked how my autoimmunity is doing. I should never have told anyone.

I suppose it’s human nature, a rudimentary nature at that and one I can’t escape at times, for us to make sense of our own worlds by labeling others based on our personal experiences and understanding. It’s so prevalent, that I’m certain every single person has been affected by people, including loved ones, applying a label in order to make sense of their own worlds… becoming insensitive for the sake of making sense. Ha!

I know I shouldn’t care, but I do.

In fact, the marketing communications part of me could benefit from sharing personal aspects of myself for the express purpose of making “deeper” connections in the work world. The truth of it though, I think I’m afraid to be further disappointed by people trying to make sense of their worlds.

For now, and maybe forever, I’ll be my authentic self online as Mama Druid. I’m really quite excited about this as it provides me with a sense of relief and I can be at peace when adventuring online with this identity.

Wandering Isle Ocean View

Musings of an Unsubbed Barely Gamer

The last of my monthly subscriptions ended last week. I didn’t initiate it, but I didn’t correct it. The credit card I setup for monthly Elder Scrolls Online payments was discontinued by the bank and the charge didn’t go through. I didn’t set it up on the new card. And with that, I am completely free to play. I haven’t touched Star Wars: The Old Republic in months; I logged in maybe twice in the past year and didn’t stay long. I cancelled WoW in March 2015. Since then, I have logged in a few times to play the trial version.

I enjoy playing each of these games. The benefits a subscription provides with each either no longer appeals to me or does not apply to me now. WoW is the only one that appeals to me as it’s the only way you can play a character beyond level 20. The other two, ESO and SWTOR – well, I have played each since they launched and have yet to play a character to the max level. That says much more for SWTOR because it’s been around longer than ESO. I’m not sure what it says about ESO.

Thinking about why this has happened, I’m not sure there’s a singular reason. In all three games, I no longer have friends or family that play. There never were many friends or family anyhow, and I used to happily play alone. Perhaps the excitement of exploring a new world has worn off? The same gaming elements persist in all three:

  • level by questing, different story/same methods
    • go get x of y, kill x of y, talk to him/her, sabotage this/that… it has to be done, how else would you level, how else can game designers tell the stories?
  • all the grinding, for crafting/profession materials, for reputation to get things or access to things
    • and apparently in WoW, to receive the hard-earned and high cost previously paid for flying – WTF? Did they forget what vanilla players had to go through, especially druids for flight form? Aren’t there flying creatures in Draenor? How does Pepe get around in the garrison?
  • game designers setting things up to force you to do things they want you to (e.g., state of flying in WoW)
  • play a dps spec to level and then learn how to heal at max level – why is this still a thing?
    • to be fair, I think WoW may be the worst culprit – both SWTOR & ESO provide dps options while leveling in a healer spec

From game to game, and after so many years, it blurs together and the excitement of a new world begins to wear off sooner than before. It’s all a game of carrot and stick masked in pretty pixels.

Playing video games has increasingly become a smaller part of my life. Maybe I’ve finally become too old for it, or the adventure of real life has won me over.

I’m not sure it’s important that there is a reason. It just is what it is. I don’t play as much. I don’t see a reason to subscribe, at this time. I am currently playing a free WoW account with the thought that I may upgrade it and subscribe. I do like to experience the expansions. But I might experience the next one on a new account. Afterall, WoW is not the same game I started playing nearly 11 years ago. I’m not the same person. My old account is bloated and the way I played it is no longer compatible with who I am now.

Now, I am slowing down, as the Pandaren say, and enjoying the views.

Wandering Isle Ocean View

Wandering Isle Ocean View

And having some fun playing a new class: Monk.

Playing with the ancient water spirit, Shu.

Playing with the ancient water spirit, Shu.

We’ll see where this goes.

My Instant Gratification Monkey Must Die

I did not know I have an Instant Gratification Monkey until yesterday, when I was procrastinating doing work at work and came across an illuminating article that told me why I procrastinate. I can’t even remember how I got there. It was such an amazing epiphany that I just had to share it with others who may need to know about their monkey.

Do you have one?

The Instant Gratification Monkey Made Me Not Do It (But don’t let it keep you from reading this!)

Procrastinators love planning, quite simply because planning does not involve doing, and doing is the procrastinator’s Kryptonite.

According to the illuminating article—which you must read and I know you will because you are already procrastinating right this very minute, so what’s one more thing to keep you distracted from the thing you should be doing?—an Instant Gratification Monkey lives in the brain of a procrastinator. It can be distracted with High Self-Esteem Bananas. But that’s not good enough. I want my monkey permanently gone. I don’t want to be a procrastinator. I don’t want a permanent condition that requires me to constantly battle my brain monkey.

How can I kick the monkey out of my brain, forever? I don’t know. I do know that within 24 hours of gaining a newfound understanding of why I procrastinate, I already started making changes.

I typically do not schedule meetings early in the morning because I like wiggle room for potential late arrivals. Well, I’ve been taking advantage of that wiggle room and have had the best intentions to tighten up my schedule. I have not been successful. With my shiny new monkey awareness, I scheduled a few early morning meetings so that I have to arrive at work when I said I would. Granted, I may be “summoning” the Panic Monster. But considering to change my own unwritten rule, and acting on it, was certainly a very important “Ah ha, I get it!” moment.

I would say another win was writing this post instead of playing WoW. But I can’t. I couldn’t log in last night! Thanks for helping me out with my monkey Blizzard.

Soooo… perhaps the solution for permanently getting rid of Instant Gratification Monkey will be found in consistently making small changes. Five years from now, I’ll forget I ever had one! So that’ll be December 2, 2019. I should save a draft for that day.

But, I procrastinate blogging for so many silly reasons. To correct this, I have given my monkey notice that I’m calling the shots with this one. I want to write. I want to write in a place where I can talk about anything and Mama Druid affords me that opportunity. I’ll use this space to practice writing… with my monkey happily enjoying a High Self-Esteem Banana in the distance.

If you discovered you have a monkey, what did you name it? I named mine Pat. I don’t know if it’s a girl or boy.

Heh.

Wildstar

Mama Druid:

Kinless has returned after a year in Afghanistan. Welcome back Kinless, and so glad you made it home. I can’t imagine how happy you are to be home! Now please turn on commenting so we can give you a proper welcome back . :)

Originally posted on Kinless Chronicles:

Oh, it’s been a while, hasn’t it?

My last post was Christmas Eve 2012.  And then I spent 2013 on Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan.  That’s done and I’m back.

We’ve pre-ordered Warlords of Draenor.  I’ve got three 90s (one was boosted with tradeskills from 60) the other two done “old school.”  The wife has her one level 90 character.  (Her boosted Warlock boosted from 60.  (60 is the magic level to get the tradeskill boost to max too.))  We’ve got two more characters each that are in their 87s.  A couple of Alliance Druids, and a Horde Shaman/Warrior combo.  We’ll have options when WoD hits.

And speaking of options, her Night Elf Warrior is with my Nelf Rogue and we’re starting Northrend now.

Then there was the attempt at ESO.  Someone described the mood in ESO as grim-grim.  There was that feel in LotRO and Rift as well.

You want…

View original 119 more words

Ladies of Elder Scrolls Online

Introducing my (current) Ladies of Elders Scrolls Online.

Click the image for a larger view.

Ladies of Elder Scrolls

Clockwise, starting with the largest, they are as follows:

  1. Glenice, Imperial Templar
  2. Lavaeda the Beloved, Redguard Templar
  3. Ilaliya Aiuru, Dunmer Dragonknight
  4. Lybbestre, Altmer Sorcerer
  5. Onibla Blind Eye, Argonian Nightblade
  6. Goodis of Aroodis, Nord Sorcerer
  7. Luwana Brixton, Imperial Banker
  8. Kuemi, Khajiit Nightblade

I have been quite pleased with the character creation process. In fact, having played most days since pre-launch, which is about two months now, I’d have to say creating characters has turned out to be my favorite part of the game so far. Certainly, playing the game has been fun, but I haven’t played a game with this kind of flexibility when creating a character. I’m not saying this is the best character creation system out there as my experience prior to ESO has been limited. It’s just captured my fancy – a little too much, if you ask me!

The ladies you see before you will not all make the cut. I can already tell that I need to tweak my Dunmer a bit more. Glenice, featured in the largest square, is my highest level at a whopping 23. I’m still not sure she’s the one I’ll level through to the end as I actually get quite stuck trying to decide who to level. I have considered deleting most of them and starting over as if I had just got the game. But that’s just under consideration now. We’ll see.

TTFN!

Malorne, Giantstalker, Queen Azshara Transmog Mashups

I have yet to fully immerse myself in the transmog “mini game.” It’s a nifty feature that allows characters to be unique snowflakes and the hard work of gear designers to be shown off. I really do enjoy seeing what people come up with and like that everyone doesn’t look the same at certain points in the “gear getting game.”

The primary reason I haven’t spent much time on dressing up my characters is that I work through expansions so slowly that by the time I’m at a point where I want to spend time farming for transmog gear, the next expansion is right around the corner and I just haven’t felt like spending the gold on applying looks to gear that will soon be disenchanted. I also did not want to spend the time digging through all my bags and banks to find gear.

Recent changes have made transmogging easier:

  1. The Timeless Isle
  2. Access to your gear in all locations via the transmog interface

The Timeless Isle has provided me with gear I probably won’t switch out for awhile, and no biggy if I do because it’s SO EASY now to select which transmogs I want to apply. I no longer have to run/fly back and forth between my character’s personal bank and their void storage. It’s all accessible with one click per slot. Love it!

For fun, I took my two 90s (at the time, I now have three 90s and a fourth on the way) to the transmogger and came up with some mashups using what they had on hand. Which means all these items are fairly easy to get. I also applied a few mogs to my heirloomed Paladin.

Malorne Mashup

Malorne Mashup Front.jpg

Malorne Mashup Back.jpg

View in 3D on Wowhead | View in Armory

The 3D view in Wowhead uses a polearm I thought might look cool with the set. And I’ve been wanting to use that cloak for the longest time and was pleased it worked with this outfit. Some may not like the furry orc hat (I think that’s what it is), but I do.

Eventually, I want Lunosa to have the Conqueror’s Nightsong set. Her name means Moon Bear and there are moons and bear paws on the set. Perfect! If you look carefully at the picture in the link, you’ll see bear paws on the bottom edge of the shoulders, top part of the thumbs, and in the middle between the knees. And throughout, some of the larger designs look like claws of a bear from a paw print.

Giantstalker Mashup

Dragonstalker Mashup Front.jpg

Dragonstalker Mashup Back.jpg

View in 3D on Wowhead | View in Armory

The set boots would definitely make this look better, and a different weapon. But I’m happy with this for now. I just like the fact she’s running around in shorts and boots.

Clearly, I like beast-y hats.

Queen Azshara Mashup

Queen Azshara Mashup Front.jpg

Queen Azshara Mashup Back.jpg

Queen Azshara Mashup Side.jpg

View in Armory

I didn’t build a 3D view in Wowhead as this look has already changed since I created it; her previous shield and gloves matched better. But ’tis the nature of mogging while leveling.

A big annoyance to me is the lack of caster leather, mail, and plate gear while leveling. Drops, quest rewards, and even crafted gear for these armor classes lack caster stats. Quest rewards could have improved with Cataclysm in the revamped vanilla zones, but I haven’t noticed as I tend to heal through dungeons while leveling.

Anyhow, I love the idea of my paladin running around in robes as she shocks the holy snot out of her foes. Plus, she’s probably more covered up than her plate-wearing sisters!

Until next time.

Will the Real Mama Druid Please Stand Up?

In 2008 I started a blog called Mama Druid. I blogged for about 8 months, then decided I was spending too much time on it and deleted it altogether. I regret doing so, but thankfully it’s easy to start another one.

A lot has happened since 2008. The Internet has evolved quite a bit and one of the most impactful changes has been the adoption of using real names everywhere, merging personal and professional identities. I have tried blogging as myself about personal stuff, but it just doesn’t feel comfortable. I still want to separate personal and professional and have been struggling with this as everything nowadays seems to say that era is over (a topic worthy of its own post, possibly even a series). I became a denizen of the Internet in 1995, that’s almost 20 years ago folks, indeed, a different era when people used screen names to identify themselves. Perhaps this way of navigating the Internet is ingrained in me… can’t teach an old dog new tricks, I suppose.

But I still want to write and talk about stuff. So I’m aborting my attempt at merging personal and professional, which never really got that far anyhow, and resurrecting Mama Druid. I almost squeeed right there.

Life is much busier now. I’ll post when I can and am very much looking forward to returning to the WoW blogger community, if one still exists. I know of the few blogs I’ve continued following and, alas, with less time available I just can’t read everything I’d like. If there’s something you want to be sure I see, comment or hit me up on Twitter @MamaDruid.

Peace out.