A Questionable Quest

I’m sure by this point, you’ve seen this meme floating around:

Somehow I imagine the run in with this cat would go something like this:

“Excuse me! Hello! You over there, hooman! You look like you are on your way to the giant evil mountain thingie to do something. But I have a very important task for you that is much more important! I will pay you handsomely! Are you interested?”

(Select one)
👉 “Um, sure?”
“I’m not helping a talking cat.”

“Excellent. I require 27 cans of Fancy Feast.”

“That’s it? You can’t do it yourself?”


(Select one)
👉 “Fine, I’ll get you your cat food.
“Looks like you’re screwed kitty.”

(One hour later, after battling through hordes of giant rats and wild boars, you return and find the cat in the same spot….er…”grooming” himself.) 

“Here you go, 27 cans of Fancy Feast.”

“This is not the right flavor.”

“Seriously, you’re a cat, why do you even care? It’s not like you take the time to taste what you’re eating.”


(Another hour later since all the monsters respawned and there’s also a rare elite in front of the cat food now, which kills you a few times before a level 100 swoops in to help you.)

“Here. 27 cans of sliced beef Fancy Feast. May I have my reward now?”

(The cat stares at you as if it has never seen you before.)

“Oh. Yes. Of course. Ah. Hm…Take off your boots please.”

“My boots?”

“Yes, it is very important.”

(You do as you’re told, mostly because you just want to continue your quest to the mountain.) 

(The cat promptly vomits into one boot and leaves a half dead mouse in the other.) 

“…This is the worst side quest ever.”

And that’s the day the adventurer learned to never take instructions from a cat.

The NaNoWriMo Saga: Week 1

I attempted NaNoWriMo last year and failed horribly at it, giving up after just 3000 words. I didn’t like my plot, I didn’t have a plan, I didn’t even really like my characters. I was writing a prequel to the book I really wanted to write, the one that I’ve been kicking around in my head for years (which I’ve never actually tried to write but didn’t want to “waste” on NaNo).

I decided at the last minute to do NaNo this year, inspired mostly by the determination of my RP buddy that I spend most of the year writing with. Without an idea for a project, I decided to give my half of the aforementioned book a shot. At least I had an outline for that, and an idea of who the characters are. In any case, it couldn’t really go worse than last year, when I gave up without really trying.

I’ve been doing well enough this year. Usually I’ve been hitting my 2000 word goal for each day, though Thursday and Friday I faltered, stalling around 12000 words. Friday I was so frustrated that I ended up closing my Nano document and went and wrote 4000 words of a RP story set in a game world instead. This is totally frustrating. Why is it that this other story came without any sort of effort on my part, but The Book is something I struggle with every night? Is it because my story isn’t very good? Is it because I suck at world building and will be forever delegated to writing stories in worlds that have already been created for me? Is it because I just suck at writing in general?

Went for a hike yesterday, hashed out some plot in my head while alternately obsessing about food sources in a struggling boreal forest setting. Got hung up on what the hell my people could be wearing without things like cotton or wool available to them and with limited animals for making leather. Then came across a sign in the park I was hiking in that explained that oak bark used to be a major export of the park because it was sold to tanners who used it to make leather. Was devastated to think that my people can’t even have leather clothes because there aren’t enough trees to go around to supply bark to tan the leather. Realized I know nothing about how leather is made or about the ecology of boreal forests or how people could possibility support a community of hundreds of people with limited resources. Felt incredible despair, wondered why I thought I could ever write this book because apparently I know just enough to realize that my science isn’t working, but not enough to know how to make it work.

Got home and started writing, upped my word count to 19168, and I’m reasonably happy with all of it. So….I guess something in there worked for me!

Down the Writing Rabbit Hole

I want to be an author.

I write. A lot. But I don’t write things for anyone other than myself and one or two other people to see. Even just sharing  a silly fairy tale that’s inspired by a video game was not exactly easy for me. I want to write a book someday, and I have an idea for one, but like so many other people, I don’t have much to show for it, other than a thousand pages of writing that I don’t want to share with anyone.

This isn’t a post complaining about writing though. This is a post about one of my favorite side effects of writing, which are the rabbit holes I fall into as I’m trying to write. One minute I’m trying to describe how something smells and then two hours later I’m reading about how turpentine is made. And that’s one of the more normal things that I’ve randomly started researching because of writing. I should keep a journal of all the things I’ve read about because I bet there’s some good inspiration there. Off the top of my head I can remember reading about:

  • Voodoo
  • old names for illnesses and diseases (For example, phnemonia being called lung fever)
  • eleuthero
  • the can-can dance
  • snake oil
  • sled dogs
  • ice ages
  • chiengora (dog fur wool)
  • Montreal
  • horses
  • falconry
  • deer
  • holistic medicine
  • Iceland
  • biodomes
  • birds native to China
  • replacement knee surgery

Seriously, looking at that list makes me feel crazy. And that’s just a small sampling of all the crap I’ve read about, just to write stories that are intended for no one but myself! This is probably part of why I haven’t started that book I want to write yet. I’m overwhelmed by the amount of research I’ll end up doing to write a convincing story.

I need to get over that.

A Picture of Running

I run.

Okay, I haven’t been fantastic about actually getting out and running for the past few months, but once I get myself running, I’m much happier. One of my favorite things about running these days is having my iPhone with me. I love the sense of accomplishment I get from using Runkeeper or listening to the story of Zombies, Run! I like having my music with me, or sometimes a podcast or audiobook, depending on my mood. But strangely, what I like most of all is having the camera on my phone.

It started when I would finish logging a run with Runkeeper. There’s an option to snap a picture once your run is complete, which I think is cool. I like the idea of having an album of my activity. After that, I would start to look for things to take pictures of as I ran, noticing things about my town that I wouldn’t have otherwise while just driving around. Somewhere in the midst of the run, when my breathing has evened out and my legs seem to move on their own, my mind has an interesting clarity and sees art in everything. I enjoy finding art during my runs so much that instead of running there and back, I run my full distance and then walk home, snapping pictures as I go of the things I found beautiful along the way.

Some of these pictures are old, but I like sharing them all the same:

Friendship lego

Friendship is a beautiful thing.

Friendship is an especially beautiful thing when someone presents you with a Lego nyan cat that they created from scratch because they know you like Lego and cats and nerdy internet stuff, all because you took the time to listen to them when they were having a bad day.

Pay it forward, folks.

Wearing my geek on my sleeve

True story: I got my high school boyfriend because I was wearing a Princess Leia t-shirt.

This was before the prequels were released. It might have even been before all of the special editions were released. It was spring of 1997 (which seriously was only about five years ago, right?) and Star Wars merchandise was not exactly easy to find. I believe that particular shirt, a ringer with a big glittery decal of Princess Leia with her blaster, was from Hot Topic.

Leave me alone, I was 16.

Anyway, while hanging out after school one day, this tall, blonde haired, blue eyed guy who was extremely out of my geeky league turned to me and said, “Is that the Millenium Falcon behind Princess Leia? Or a B-Wing?”

“It’s the Millen–” I began, glancing down at the shirt. And then I blinked. “Uh. B-Wing,” I replied. I’d never even noticed that before. And who was this guy that he actually knew what a B-Wing was? He then launched into a discussion with me about Star Wars that ended up last for over an hour.

We ended up dating for three years.

Sixteen years later, I’m still just as much of a geek (I believe my husband fell for me because I started discussing Final Fantasy while sitting on a ski lift with him). Now, of course, being a geek is trendy to the point where I don’t even like using the word anymore. I’m just me, but my favorite movies are still Star Wars and Lord of the Rings, and I read Harry Potter every year and I’m completely obsessed with Borderlands 2. Oh, and I bought a 3DS XL purely to play Pokemon. And what I love now is that I can find some shirts and merchandise that are downright fashionable, all while having a geeky flair to them. I can almost feel like an adult while still being true to myself! I’ve collected some of my favorites from Etsy here.

By the way, Etsy? It’s like a haven for awesome geeky finds. It’s also a haven for questionable knock off goods that look like they’re better suited for Ebay, but let’s ignore that for now and bask in the glory that is handmade geek stuff.

My Star Wars AT-AT Pet


By EngramClothing

I’m proud to say that I own this shirt and wear it pretty often and I usually receive compliments on it as well. Because I enjoy copying off of my big brother, AT-ATs are one of my favorite vehicles in Star Wars. And dogs are just the best. So an AT-AT dog being walked by a little girl?  <3 <3 <3

I love that the store has that design on a few different items, such as a skirt and dress. Oh, and they also have a shirt of Darth Vader riding a bicycle and another of a stormtrooper wearing a suit, so that’s pretty amazing as well.

X-men Mystique inspired apron


By HauteMessThreads

I didn’t realize that aprons were a thing that people were wearing again until I joined Pinterest. Then I logged in one day and was like, “Oh, that’s a cute dress,” and clicked on it only to realize it was an apron. I confess that I don’t entirely get it, but then, I don’t entirely love cooking either. Wait, am I allowed to say that? I’m pretty sure the internet, and blogging in particular, has become the one true home of amazing cooks. I mean…I can cook. I just find the entire process really stressful and also I suck at taking pictures of my food as I prepare it. How people manage to make raw chicken look good is beyond me.

Anyway! I’ve never wanted an apron in my entire life, but the other day when I was trolling Etsy for interesting geek related things, I found an apron that was inspired by Mystique. When I found myself checking my bank account to figure out whether or not I could purchase said apron, I realized that I had probably gone insane. Seriously though, this thing is badass! If I were the type of woman who held dinner parties and cooked a ton of delicious baked goods for my friend’s kids, I would totally want this apron to complete my look of grown up geek. I love the fact that it definitely references the mutant without beating you over the head. Subtle geekiness. I like it.

Fingerless Dragon Egg Khaleesi gloves


By Mareshop

I found these because I had just found a dragon egg necklace on HBO’s site that I thought was cool, but assumed Etsy could probably do even better. As I had assumed, there were a ton of dragon egg necklaces on the site, so many that they all blended together. That’s probably why these gloves stood out so much to me. I’ve been wanting fingerless gloves forever now (my office is usually freezing), and I love the style of these. Again, they’re subtle. Looking at them, people wouldn’t necessarily guess that I’m pretending to be Khaleesi even though she’s not even my favorite character in Game of Thrones.

But I would know. And that’s all that matters.

Rain Poppies: A Folk Tale

As I mentioned before, I used to be quite an avid player of World of Warcraft. And while I play far less these days than I used to, I still love the game and the story behind it. One of the biggest gifts WoW has given me (other than some amazing friends) is a shot in the arms as far as creativity goes. I’ve always liked writing, you see, but after college it seemed all of my inspiration dried up. I didn’t write any fiction at all, and even my beloved livejournal fell by the wayside. I think I was just too caught up in my hectic New York City lifestyle to even think about writing anymore.

When I started playing WoW, I was immediately drawn to the story of the game. I didn’t even know that things like raiding existed, nor did I care. I was more concerned with making up a story for the elf druid that I was playing. It made her more interesting to think about why she was doing what she was doing and where she’d come from, even if I didn’t know the lore very well. This is something that I really love about WoW, and MMOs in general. Your character is who you decide. You’re not playing through someone else’s storyline. Unless you’re in Uldum, in which case you’re just a plucky sidekick to Harrison Jones.

I’ve always said that I wish I could get a job at Blizzard making up incidental lore that has absolutely no effect on the game’s storyline. Things like the life story of the stable master in Agmar’s Hammer. Or writing a story about an elixir that trolls take to let them share dreams with each other. Or, my favorite, coming up with uses and details behind the various herbs in the game. I still have dreams of writing an entire herbal guide to WoW one day that has no details on how to quickly level up herbalism, but plenty on the history of sungrass and how it got its name.

Inspired by Pandaria when the latest expansion was released, I decided to write a folk tale about how another herb,  the Rain Poppy, got its name, and I thought I would share it here. It’s meant to be a fairy tale, not a historical account, so some of the details won’t make perfect sense (the same way that the Grimm tales don’t make perfect sense in the real world). I hope you enjoy it!

Rain Poppies


Once upon a time, there was a man name Xiaotong. Xiaotong was a soldier in the emperor’s army. He spent his years marching through the land, using his spear to fight in the wars that his emperor commanded him. He was happy with his life. He was a soldier through and through. One day while scouting he a song rising up from valley below him. He followed the sound of the song until he came over a rise and saw a woman kneeling by a river, washing a basket of clothes. She was beautiful, with a voice like the breeze on a perfect summer day. He watched her for a long time, listening to her song and watching her work. Before she had even finished, he decided he would speak with her once her song was done. When the last word was sung, he moved forward to approach her. She heard the sound behind her and glanced over her shoulder. With one look at him, she jumped up from her washing and took off at a run.

Xiaotong chased after her, only wanting to learn her name. He was a soldier and he could run, even with his armor. But she was fast too, much faster than he would have expected her to be. He watch mystified as she ran sure footedly along the river, dancing across the rocks in it to get to the other side. But Xiaotong didn’t give up, still running after her, his heart pounding through his chest. He called for her to wait, but that just made her run faster.

They reached the end of the valley and Xiaotong thought for sure he would have her since the climb up was difficult, even for a soldier. But once the climb began, Xiaotong had another surprise. The girl jumped onto the wind and ran along it, the leaves that had been swirling through the air dancing around her feet. Xiaotong’s eyes widened. Never in his years of traveling with the army had he seen such a thing.

Continue reading