Flask Half-Empty

ramblings about warcraft, other games, & randomness

Monthly Archives: July 2012

July Challenge: Something About Me – Becoming a Teacher & More

Ambermist’s July Challenge prompts us to write something personal about us, the people behind the blogs and the real faces to the characters we talk about so often. It’s funny, actually — if you’d asked me to write on this prompt a month ago, my answers would be very different. While brainstorming, I swayed between writing something heavy-hearted that I’ve opened up to accept recently, or just listing several small personal things about me. While Ninevi has been going through some changes lately (she’s Worgen now!) some parts of my real-life have been going through a shift, too. Here is my story!

The Academy (My residence for student teaching this upcoming semester)

Now, as somewhat of a warning, I get harped on a lot from friends and family about always talking about my jobs/school and being a workaholic. But to me, that’s my life and what feels like I put all of my passion into and thus defines a lot of who I am.

Early this July, I left my position as a research associate at a biotech lab because I was accepted to both grad school and a teacher residency program that I had interviewed for earlier this year. Don’t get me wrong — I love research in science, and I’ve enjoyed learning so, so much during the 5-6 years I’ve been exposed to the field. But I realized a couple of years ago that my heart isn’t completely there. Maybe it wasn’t so much that I loved research, but that I love science and innovation as a whole. I wanted to do something that reached out to more people and not just in academia and mingling among “distinguished” scientists. There was something missing from the picture, and it was being able to really contribute much to the community around me. There were no feelings of making significant differences or real satisfaction. Granted, I was but a small pawn out in the field and there wasn’t much for me to grow on unless I pursued a doctorate, but I finally came to realize that research was not something I could call a career and dedicate the rest of my life to.

After having worked with many local educational outreach programs in the major city nearby and also with undergraduates in my lab, I discovered a niche — teaching. I found myself feeling happiest and excited to engage with students and getting them likewise excited about science and math. Teaching and leading them opened an opportunity for me to shed my usual introverted, ISTJ-type personality and instead be engaging and less of the held-back, reserved, and overall shy person I’ve been for twenty some years of my life. And so I readily jumped on the residency & grad school program opportunities as soon as they came.

I’ve gone through a lot of (re)-discovering my personal identity as a teacher. The two classes I’ve had so far have examined social injustice and equity in education.  Some of the topics such as racism and classism touched too close to home. It was almost bizarre to me (an Asian-American woman who grew up in the Bible Belt portion of Southeastern USA) to hear fellow members of my program describe that they’ve never had experiences of interacting with people from different ethnicities/cultures. It made me realize I always see things in a different lens: in a room of 30 intelligent future teachers of various subjects, 29 were Caucasian, and 1 was…well, me! Having grown up being constantly racially profiled and stereotyped, it was glaringly obvious to me upon entering the classroom. But I wondered if my classmates and friends noticed?

Through discussion, we established that race is a socially constructed notion. Well, I agree. If only someone could explain that to classmates I met throughout grade school who unquestionably saw me as different. Even in online and gaming communities, there are stereotypes. These boxes of labels and over-generalized classifications — they’re everywhere. But how do I relate my experiences to my future students (likely in an urban, inner-city setting)? More importantly, how do I explain (or break down) the walls of social constructs to my future students? These are just some of the things that I’ve been brainstorming since starting my education program. The depth of the topics in social injustice is both disturbing and captivating — it’s something I never really touched on in my core studies in the hard sciences. Social science is so eye-opening, and I hope I can learn even more by getting to know my students and learning from their backgrounds and experiences.

There are a lot of things that drive me as a future teacher. One huge motivation is that I hope to inspire lesser-represented groups of youths (minorities and girls, especially) to be interested in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math). And not just them, but I want to spark more interest in those subjects for all of my students and to show them what kinds of applications there are in everyday life as well as in future studies or careers if they so choose. In two weeks, I’ll begin my student-teaching hours in the classroom at a science and math academy. It’s a lottery-based, urban and public magnet school that pulls from the entire county. I’m incredibly excited and even more nervous and hope I don’t completely make a fool of myself. After all, I’ll have to come up with some way to capture their attention, and I’m hardly as verbose or rambly IRL than I am online and in writing! But perhaps that’s a good thing… :P

All in all, I’m excited and psyched for new beginnings and for changes to come. I know it’ll be a hard and oftentimes underappreciated job, and I know there are frustrating and hair-pulling times to come. But more than anything, I look forward to these challenges. If I can overcome that and make a difference by pushing my students towards being successful in school as well as becoming thriving citizens of society, I would be most pleased.

And just so this post isn’t completely dry work/study related and kind of super-serious, here are some photos of things that are dear to me… :)

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Shared Topic: Introducing RL Friends

Just two bear buddies on a zeppelin :D

This week’s Blog Azeroth Shared Topic brings back some very happy memories for me! Frinka from Warcraft Street asks:

Have you ever tried to introduce real life friends to WoW? If yes, how did it go? If you never have, why not?

There’s been a couple of times where I’ve introduced WoW to real life friends. The best memory of introducing people from outside of Azeroth was when I recruited my younger sister to play. At first, I let her try out a couple of characters on my own account, but then she enjoyed it so much that I just bought her an account of her own along with Burning Crusade so we could level together quickly and enjoy the fun of Recruit-A-Friend! We tried out a couple of cute Tauren druids at first and had fun rolling around the Barrens as two silly bears, but she decided on being a Tauren hunter in the end because she enjoyed the pets and Tauren lore/story.

It was really nice bringing her to share adventures in Azeroth with me. In real-life, she’s like a best friend to me (even though we have a seven-year age difference!) and it was interesting getting to talk to her about the game and having someone to talk to about the game even out of game. When she started playing, I was at a small break in between raiding guilds and was pretty close to burning out due to the end-of-expansion humdrum. It was very relieving to have someone familiar (outside of the game) to come into a world I knew well and for the two of us to spend time exploring, finding amusement in the smallest things in-game, and overall just being carefree and having fun.

Here’s just a couple more screenshots of some of the fun times!

Halloween silliness!

Just some silly mask and floating time with my sister and another close Tauren friend! :)

“What’s that thing floating in the moats?” “Boats!!? Cool!!!”

My sister’s been on WoW-hiatus for a very long time now, since she’s been busy with school. Even though I don’t have as much play time nowadays, I hope that we might have time to mess around in-game again in the future. She always had her eye out for the small, interesting things in-game that I would otherwise miss and always reminded me that “it’s just a game!!” and kept me sane if I were to stress out about something. :P

Fun times, fun times. Maybe again someday…

To Worgen or Not to Worgen?

Artwork by Makani (Heather Campbell)

As of late, I’ve been very seriously considering race-changing Ninevi to Worgen in preparation for Mists. With account-wide achievements coming into the scene, I won’t have the worries of “who is my main” anymore, and my druid will likely one of the (if not the) first of my characters that I’d like to take through all the new content fresh! I think she deserves the attention too, being my oldest character but with least played time. :)

I’ve very much wanted to go back to trying out feral, as Ninevi hasn’t played as kitty since her leveling days. During the short time that I tried it on my Horde druid during Wrath, I just couldn’t get the feral DPS rotation down, and it made me feel like a nutcase every time I tried it out. I did, however, really enjoy bear tanking a lot. Combined with what I’d read regarding the class/spec this expansion, I hadn’t been much bothered to try it again. So throughout Cata, I just went along and added my druid to my niche of healers. But a new expansion is on the near horizon, and it’ll be a new learning curve. What better time to give cat druid-ing another try, right?

Along that, Ninevi just hasn’t been feeling too in touch with her Night Elf roots recently, either. It kind of makes sense, though. After four years, I guess it’s only natural that a shifty druid would want some change and to bring out the beast again! I haven’t had many issues with character changes in the past (ie: my paladin, who has a bit of a personality disorder…*cough*) but it’s hard for me to decide because Ninevi is the first character I ever created! I do very much like the Worgen druid forms, and I don’t really understand the abhorrent “female chihuahua” remarks that some claim (since my Alliance main is also Worgen)…

So, what do you all think? Have you ever had experience in deciding whether or not to change something about one of your main characters? Maybe help me decide? :D

Starstruck: a bit of fangirling and a lot of realm pride

<Kumpania>’s 6th year anniversary few months back — enjoying fireworks w/ friends in the guild!

Seems like I’m a bit late in joining the popular topic! It is a fantastic one, and I’ve wanted to dabble into the subject since I saw it posted on Blog Azeroth. In this week’s Shared Topic was suggested by Dragonray, who asked:

Are you starstruck by anyone? Does someone in the community respond to a post or a tweet and get you all speechless because they actually responded? Is there anyone you are waiting to have respond directly to you? Is there someone that you would like to chat to, but are too chicken? Am I the only one who puts other bloggers on a pedestal?

I’m still a newbie to the WoW blogosphere and have only just begun to engage more with the community outside of the game, so I’m definitely starstruck by everyone I meet and get to talk to! It’s a pervasive feeling for me, since I feel incredibly humbled (in a good way!) by all the interesting and neat people I find, whether it’s here on my journal, on other people’s journals, in forums, through Twitter, and more. I jump up and down whenever I get a tweet or a follow, and I smile myself giddy like a fool whenever I get a comment or like or an RT or discover I’m on someone’s blogroll. From other newbie bloggers and veterans alike! To have people actually reading my ramblings? Whoa…! To get to talk directly to some of the people I really admire and am constantly amazed by? Awesome!!

When I joined in the MMONBI in May, I’d set out decidedly that the main purpose of this blog would be mostly self-reflection and a place to jot down memories of my adventures. I’ve mentioned before about having moments of introversion and skepticism, especially when it comes to gaming communities. Starting out this blog, I wasn’t sure how much I’d actually throw myself out there and be able to engage with other people. Well…it’s now July, and my standpoint couldn’t possibly be any more different! The WoW community outside of the game is incredibly contrasting from within the game — the people I’ve been lucky to meet and talk to have been so thoughtful, funny, clever, insightful, and all around friendly and approachable. Sure, I’m still tentative about commenting at times, but I think that’s inevitable considering all the amazing people I’m surrounded by in the community. There’s too many people to link and mention, so I’ve (finally!!!11eleven) gotten around to making a proper blogroll of just a few of the blogs I try to keep up with the most as of now. Yay! :)

I think it’s important for me to mention that I’m often starstruck when I’m on my server, too. Having been on Turalyon for the past four years, there’s been a fair share of neat things happening and moments where I’ve said, “Whoa!! That was on Turalyon!” or “Hey, he or she is from my server! That’s awesome!” It’s little stuff like these that make me feel at home here and reluctant to roll alts on other realms (despite having a full page of characters — ack!!) And while they may not be super “internet famous” or anything, I sure do feel a bit starstruck knowing that they’re from my home realm and are players among all of us. So I’d like to introduce a few of my hometown idols to you all! (While trying not to feel too stalker-ish, of course…! And um, on the unlikelihood that any of these people would ever stumble upon my blog…I’d might die of embarrassment and hope they wouldn’t find this creepy and fangirlish! *shuffles away*)

Kripparrian, World 1st WoW Ironman!

One such Turalyonite is Kripparrian, a troll hunter who was the first to reach level 85 on the WoW Ironman Challenge! When I first heard about the challenge, I didn’t give it much thought besides thinking to myself that it would be incredibly hard and patience draining. I’d forgotten about it soon afterwards, until I saw on my Twitter feed some time much later with a tweet from The Daily Blink asking if anyone knew how to get in touch with the world first WoW Ironman so they could make a poster featuring him. And lo and behold, Kripp had rolled on our realm to grind out the challenge! It was pretty cool to discover that he’d been doing the challenge right there on Turalyon while I’d been playing and I didn’t even know it. It also spurred my own interest in going after the challenge too. Although, I’ve had to reroll once already and haven’t had much progress since…*cough* Moving on……..

Scarab Lord Grayson!

Next is Grayson, from <Fusion>! I think Fusion had quite a reputation back in TBC/WotLK when they hit several World Top 10/20′s and realm firsts. They and their Alliance rivals from were known by everybody on the server and with many other hardcore realms/guilds worldwide! To me (since I don’t raid anymore), they were like hometown teams we all rooted for, you know? :P In Cata, many from the previous two top guilds retired and some remaining people transferred over to Ally to form , which still kept in the US Top 10. But I mention Grayson specifically because I actually got to talk to him a couple times! He is the Scarab Lord of Turalyon, showing that he’s been on the realm since back in the day of opening the Gates of Ahn’Qiraj. So cool! I got the off-chance of talking to him when he had advertised on the realm forums for specific class/race combinations to flesh out his Stay Classy achievement on his level 25 bank guild to get the last bank slot. It just so happened that undead warlock was one of the last few combos he needed and I had a lv 80 one I wanted to level cap, so it went from there! Well, I didn’t really get a lot of time to talk with him since he wasn’t often on and I was just there to leech guild perks while doing the job…but it was still pretty cool and to know that he’s just a regular player too! (Albeit insanely wealthy and has a level-capped guild bank full of mysterious stuff and rides a Black Qiraji Battle Tank to boot! Ha!)

Nadina’s Diablo 3 Monk Cosplay, Picture by FiveRings Photography

And finally is also another old member of Fusion, Nadina! :D Not only was she kind of a hero in my eyes because she played a hardcore, competitively raiding holy paladin (my main spec/class back then), but she was also the winner of the 2010 Blizzcon Costume Contest for her Diablo 3 Female Monk cosplay (and multiple times as runner-up in previous years)! There was a ton of celebration on the realm forums when she was announced a winner. Everyone was so proud!! Since then, she’s continued cosplay and even has a cosplay facebook page. There are lots of neat costumes that she’s been working on, some most recent ones being Vanessa Vancleef and Riven from League of Legends! One of the pictures in her “Future cosplay ideas…” album is Nausicaä from the Miyazaki film Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind. Boy, if she were to cosplay Nausicaä, I might die of happiness! (It was my favorite film as a child and even now!) I believe she is now a team member of Cryptozoic (the company behind the WoW TCG). Her in-game paladin was also made into an actual card for the TCG named Nadina the Red — pretty awesome, huh? Now if I could only stop buying TCG packs for collecting and actually start playing…

But there you have it — all my fangirling for now and quite a bit of realm pride. :P I really do recommend checking out Nadina’s cosplay page though, Zerina Cosplay, because not only are her costumes extremely gorgeous and detailed, but you can see how dedicated she is to the games and gaming community as well! She sometimes does little raffles for WoW TCG loot codes on her fan page, so that may be something to look out for if you like those kinds of things! :)

Representing Silverwing in the Transmogolympics

For Silverwing!

As many of you already know, the 2012 Transmogolympics are well on their way, hosted by JD Kenada and judged by himself, Tome, Matty, and Khizzara. There are currently 75 confirmed participants — whoa, that’s a lot!! (And there very well may be even more after I’ve written this post.) When I first signed up, I wasn’t quite sure what I’d gotten myself into. I’m still quite a newbie to transmogrification and costumes, and it’s a little intimidating to see many fellow competitors that are quite well known for their transmog posts and outfits! But I figured, what better contest to practice in, right??

After all, there are nine “medal categories” and one flagbearer (tabard/sigil representation of each faction): Archery, Cycling, Discus, Equestrian, Fencing, Javelin, Hammer Throw, Wrestling, & Freestyle. For more detailed information on each category, see the rules & criteria here, as well as some clarifications.

It’s a bit of a daunting task, when I first looked at it! Nine outfits, and each has to be on a separate race/gender combination (no repetitions). After I signed up, the first thing I did was make a schedule for when to make which outfits by (don’t judge) because I knew if I did otherwise, I might not make the deadline of July 31st. As of tonight, I’ve got archery and cycling down…seven more to go! I’ve got a pretty fun idea brewed up for the freestyle, but we’ll see how hard it is for me to actually execute. It’s been pretty fun so far, but as I don’t have access to WoW Model Viewer (the Mac release is super outdated), I’m stuck with just fiddling with MogIt and the viewer on Wowhead for now!

Silverwing Grove in Ashenvale

About the Silverwing Sentinels

Being randomly assigned to represent the Silverwing Sentinels is a little bittersweet for me. I’m at a point where I’ve been seriously debating with myself on race changing my druid because she no longer really feels at home with her Night Elf roots. Exploring Silverwing Grove and doing a bit of research on the Silverwing Sentinels sure made Ninevi a bit wistful! Regardless, I’m proud to represent Silverwing, as I do love me some WSG action and hope to do the Alliance proud!

For those who may not know, the Silverwing Sentinels are the Alliance faction for the Warsong Gulch battleground. They comprise of Night Elves attempting to reclaim Ashenvale from an Orcish clan named the Warsong Outriders (the Horde WSG faction), who have been logging the forests and established a huge logging outpost in Warsong Gulch.

A related flag/sigil…?

While browsing for ideas for the flagbearer, I decided I wanted to base my Silverwing outfit on General Lylandris, one of the Warsong Gulch battlemasters who appears in Ironforge during the WSG holiday. Sadly, I wasn’t able to find any weapon models like the large throwing blades the Sentinels use, so I wanted to focus on the purple, gold, and silver of the tabard (see first picture, above!) I’m pretty happy with it for now, and I’m tempted to farm it on my paladin, despite her being a Blood Elf and having nobody to run Heroic BWD with for the shoulders. *pokes Chimaeron with a stick and runs away*

With that, I wish good luck to all fellow competitors! Can’t wait to see all the entries/winners when they are all submitted at the end of the month! And as for those of you who haven’t signed up yet, there’s still plenty of time and no deadline for signing up. Come join the fun! :)