Just a Moment

I’m trying to be in the Moment. And, there it goes. Now it is a Moment Ago and completely useless. Maybe I’ll catch the next Moment. And, there it goes. Missed it again.

When people describe being in the Moment, they are really saying to be present. And they can’t resist adding “in the moment”. It is like the Shave and a Haircut shtick, it is irresistable but redundant, to be present in the moment. Be present.

We humans are spectacular at being creative and solving problems. We have the capacity to sublimate routine tasks so that we can work on the problems at hand. So, we can drive to work and generate a grocery list for later tonight or re-run that arguement we had with our boss while making our three-egg omelet breakfast. One of the great strategies of problem-solving is to be the least present possible, we are to sleep on it.

Being present (in the moment, I can’t resist it) can be simplified to paying attention. By paying attention to what we are doing, we have the opportunity to have profound experiences — we see, embrace and can be elevated by the beauty of the world around us. Paying attention to these moments can expand ourselves beyond ourselves.

I know, it sounds very abstract but it isn’t really.

Instead of throwing your breakfast together while streaming strategies in your head, try paying attention to making your breakfast. A seemingly simple exercise, think about the eggs as you stir them and spill them into the pan. Try perfect practice and imagine the taste as you salt or flip or add cheese. Instead of shoveling your food into your mouth while you anticipate the day, think about how matter turns to energy and how food is fuel for your body.

It takes discipline and practice to stay inside of your body and not let your brain go fluttering off to solve a problem or sing a song. Those who choose to farm the profound experiences in their lives work and re-work, calling themselves back to the ground to stay in the present.

Think about the life-changing profound moments in your life. Maybe it was once on vacation and you felt connected to the Mother Planet. Maybe when you first became a father and held your newly born baby boy. You wanted to use words like miracle, magic, blessed, complete. The powerful moments came when you were present, in the moment, paying attention. Knowing this, we can work to induce more of those moments in our life.

I had a friend who used to be a dancer. After years of paying attention to his body, the next step in his career was, in later life, to become a yoga teacher. He followed it with the same discipline that he had poured into his dance studies. He was centered. He was grounded. He became so focused on his inner-self that he became sort of blissed out. Sometimes, you can go too far the other way. We’d have to call his name to snap him back into the present.

Paying attention to the process of living gives you and me a chance. A chance to notice the little things that become great things. We can have break-throughs in understanding, deep and rich understanding, meaningful understanding if we give ourselves the chance to see it. We have to look.

Two bits.

 

La La Land: A Treatise

La La Land: A Treatise

A lot of people dismiss musicals and I’m not sure why. When I fall in love, I want to burst into song; don’t you? Maybe it is the cotton candy and balloon colors, I don’t know. I happen to love the musical genre.

I’m proud to love the genre. It is an avenue to tackle some of harshest subjects and deal with them on the stage or film. Maybe in ways that could not be explored in any other way.

The first musical, Showboat, based on an Edna Ferber novel was about racism. Think about that. The very subject tackled in this then new genre was very tricky. To think that this musical, in 1928 dealt with issues still here today in 2016 is astonishing.

South Pacific won a Pulitzer prize for, again, dealing with racism. One of the songs is “You’ve Got To Be Taught”.

Cabaret and The Sound of Music dealt with the horrors of Nazi Germany; never forget.

Fiddler on the Roof was about Russian Jews being forced from their homes.

My point is that not all musicals are fluff and folly. Chicago was brilliant in that it could use the deluded fantasies of a character to show the bedazzled show numbers to very much contrast the reality.

A recent article on the websites is an interview with an Oscar Voter in which he was asked:

Why is everyone so crazy for La La Land?

I’m trying to figure it out. I think because it’s set in L.A. and it’s about the industry and they’re all narcissists. It got more nominations than The Godfather. How can they compare it? They’re mediocre singers and dancers, and there’s not one good song in the movie, as opposed to Singin’ in the Rain or other classic musicals. It’s a poor imitation. I’ll be embarrassed when it wins.

Herein lies the rub. Our Voter did not know what he was looking at, what he was watching in La La Land. He even says that he’s trying to figure it out, doesn’t understand why La La Land got so many nominations. I’m embarrassed for him.

The whole point of La La Land is that we are flawed. Two characters meet, fall in love, sing about it (who wouldn’t?) and then choose their career over their relationship. And are happy about it in the end. This is a harsh statement on a harsh reality in the world we live in now.

The choice to make it a musical to tell this story is brilliant. Our characters are not perfect or polished, they can’t dance well together but they want to! It is Los Angeles, of course she has a pair of tap shoes in her bag!

People are not perfect like in traditional Hollywood musicals. La La Land uses the musical to contrast it with Singing in the Rain. You and I can not dance like Gene Kelly. But we do fall in love. It doesn’t always work out. Which is one reason the choice to make it a musical is so strong.

The tough question: is finding love better than finding a career? That is the question that this movie asks. And a question that many people make every day in every walk of life.

La La Land deserves it’s nominations because it tackles difficult personal relationship challenges that we all face. And shows a happy ending even if it is not a cottage with a picket fence.

Of course we want them to fall in love and live happily ever after. Still, there are other happy endings in life as well.

Beta: Invasion Edition

“Who cares about the clouds when we’re together? Just sing a song and bring the sunny weather.”
Dale Evans


Beta: Burning (Legion) Questions. Invasion Edition

My burning question was: can I fly from Howling Fjord in Northrend to the Broken Isles.

No. No you can’t. I died from fatigue and ended up in the graveyard in … Westfall. I ran my wisp back but my dead body died of fatigue! I kid you not. Dead again. Of course I tried again; died again. I decided to take a Rezz Sickness but I could not move my body the two steps closer to get that graveyard rezz. This morning, yes I could!

Invasions will be a short-term Big Thing. We will want to do them before the Legion expansion arrives as it will go away; forever. I tried one in Gadgetzan: here is my report.

  • The Invasion (in Gadgetzan) was in four phases. The first three have a percentage progress bar, the last is called Final Stage: kill the Big Bad.
  • I was the only player there, the Bruiser NPCs were a great help. I could have simply floated on my flying mount and completed the Invasion.
  • My suspicion is that there will be times when you arrive on the Final Phase and get credit for the kill.
  • Around Tanaris were portals with nasty demons, it looked wicked cool.
  • I died a lot; maybe six times or more times. Hopefully that won’t be the case when this happens on my home realm with a ton of players.
  • It took about an hour.
  • Other Invasions were happening, while I was in Gadgetzan it looked like there was one in ZF and one up in Winterspring.
  • You earn a currency that is in your Currency Tab. I earned 260 units (Nethershards) on one Invasion. At the end, I won two caches as rewards; an ilevel 700 chest and also bracers.
  • The Achievement is called Stand Against the Legion and it’s a Feat of Strength.
  • They were hard to find, North East of Gadgetzan are a set of vendors (and a much needed repair guy). You spend your Nethershards there. 1850 would buy me the token that represents the tmog armor set. So … eight Invasions for the set. Also I saw a battle pet and some regular gear (that I’d not want unless it looked cool).
  • Finally: it was painful, it took forever but it was really fun. Demons falling from the sky, a familiar city under siege, the graphics, animations, content and urgency was very well done.

I can’t wait to do it “for the reals”.

Legion: Top Five Rare Spawns

Legion: Top Five Rare Spawns

Hi guys. Welcome back to my YouTube Channel. Remember, if you like what you see to subscribe by clicking below. This is Huntermatrix and I’m going to show you the top five rare spawns in Legion.
(sniff)

As you can see, I’m flying from Dalaran to Highmountain. I’d post the coordinates but then you wouldn’t watch my video (haha). I’m lucky to get the Beta Key and am able to post all of these great guides for you in Legion; trust me, the game looks great. If you like this video remember to click “thumbs up”.

While we’re flying you can listen to my cool soundtrack. It is by sirmixsumbeats, my next door neighbor. His mom got him this cool software. If you like it, be sure to subscribe to his channel.

Here we are. Go up this path. Over this hill. See this big tree? That is where it will spawn. While we are waiting, be sure to click follow on my twitter feed; you’ll get all the updates on my cool guides for Legion.
(three minutes go by)

Did anything happen? I was taking a power dump. I can see that no spawn happened yet. Trust me, it is freaking cool! Dude, this is some great beats, that kid next door is talented.
(sniff)

Okay, let’s go to another spot. We’ll fly over to Azsuna. While we are flying, check out my Facebook and give it a thumbs up. Friend me and you’ll be up-to-date on all the rad stuff that I’m doing with my Beta Key.

Alright, Aszuna. This one is sure to be up. Let me hop on my cool Crimson Water Strider. Go up this path. Over this hill. See this big tree? That is where it will spawn. While we are waiting, I’m taking donations using Paypal. If I get fifty dollars in the next hour, I’ll show … oh wait, that is for my Twitch feed. I’ll be doing Twitch tonight at 7pm my time.
(three minutes go by)

Did anything happen? I was playing some Call of Duty. But, guys, you know that Warlord of Warcrafts is my favorite game! I have more guides up on Legion than anyone. Just click like when you visit again to see the cool stuff.

Okay guys, I promised last week that my YouTube video guides wouldn’t go over an hour so we’ll close this puppy down. We didn’t get to see any of the rare battle pets and only visited two of the spots. I’ll be back tomorrow with more from Huntermatrix and sirmixsumbeats!

Click thumbs up below and listen to these rad beats while I show funny out-takes and credits. I know you love me!

Sports, More Sports and E-Sports

“To see the glory in sport, where somebody comes from behind and does something, sinks a shot in the last second or throws a touchdown pass or hits a home run, there is a beauty in that, and at the end of the day, that’s why we love sports more than anything else.”
Frank Deford


Sports, More Sports and E-Sports

There is an interest from Blizzard and other computer game companies to make their games into esports; viewable by fans.

This is a big deal! The Heroes of the Dorm tournament made it onto ESPN2. I can’t help but wonder why anyone would want this to happen. I am aware of some tournaments in South Korea and, I think, more where the fans love their players. Very popular.

One would not think that anyone would want to watch someone else play a fantasy computer game but TwitchTV was bought up for millions of dollars. Clearly there is a market but a market that relies on a ton of viewers.

So, where is this all going?

First of all, ESPN is one of the few possessions by Disney that isn’t making money. As cheap as cable tv can be, those fishing shows and girl’s softball and skaters and archery are not drawing a lot of viewers. To want to push esports as a spectator sport could be a desire with a limp.

In sports (in the United States, my humble landscape), the big dog is the National Football League. The popularity is driven by Fantasy Football which is a type of gambling. Fantasy Football (where you get points from an individual players points) can drive ratings even on bad games, out drawing the World Series in Baseball.

As an aside: with gambling comes the chance of people trying to skew the odds. While Las Vegas and Casinos can keep tight track of their cards, machines, dice, rules and environment; a NFL player leaves the stadium. What is to keep me from stepping on the foot of my rival player in church? With so many people gambling, I would worry about the health and safety of the players. I think the NFL is very fragile right now.

Esports will have some challenges. The fan will want to support the player more than the game itself. That player has to have a personality, charisma, back-story and more. The announcer will have to design rivalries for us to care; I doubt that they will go so far as wrestling but we want to cheer for a good guy (however that is defined).

College sports have a great history of success and that comes from cheering for the home team. Esports may not have a “home” team, they might need to create regions or zones. If not, then it will be like the NBA where (due to free agency) we follow our favorite players instead of our ever-changing home team. Roll Tide.

If esports is going to get BIG, which I assume is the motive, then they need to introduce gambling; which is a bit sickening if you ask me. Otherwise, they will limp along like Arena Football.

Human Interest stories work well for the short-term. The Survival reality show, American Ninja Warrior, game shows, singing talent shows; we all hear the story and cheer for the story we like — but that would not work year after year.

Why would I care? Or, more importantly, how can you make me care? In the few sports that I understand, I like a team that can play well; both the NBA and the NFL watered down their product with expansion and some teams can’t compete even though they are professionals. In the sports that I don’t understand, like golf or tennis or baseball, it is the individual’s story that I care about. “Setting a new record”, well, I understand wanting an achievement! I’ll follow a game with a great human interest story but I won’t watch it the next day.

Maybe we simply want acceptance? We want the world to acknowledge that what we do is valid and pure and meaningful. Could Blizzard be embarrassed at making fantasy dungeon games and now, with a big stack of cash, wants to be accepted?

I think that it will come down to an excellent announcer who is telling a story. Whether we get those great Mexican Soccer announcers who yell G-o-aaaaaaaaaal! or the hushed respectful whispering of the golf announcer or even the goofy baseball guys who can spend ten minutes side-tracked on a bit of trivia; it will come down to the guy who is telling us the story while we watch.

How to Tell a Story

How to Tell a Story

We’ve learned a lot in this Modern Era (lets say, the beginning of the Industrial Age). The Modern Era has seen the transition from single artists supported by patrons to the image of poor starving artists in Paris, sitting in a café arguing about Impressionism vs Expressionism. It opened the flood gates; with so many labor saving machines in the Industrial world, we have to time to be artists, musicians, singers, poets and stars.

With this explosion of art-making (if you will allow that) came these odd myths. Stories of a movie star being discovered while working as a waitress, for example, created this century long illusion that you (yes you, sitting there) might be stunning enough to become a star without doing any of the work. Read the Yahoo Answer forums on the Arts today and you will find questions about “how can I be discovered”. It doesn’t work that way.

We also have been delighted to see and recognize formulas for story-telling success. Joseph Campbell’s work (combining a lot of other’s research) taught us the Hero Saga. Applying that formula will make your story have a good chance of success or at least be “a good story”.

When big money is on the line, like making a movie, Hollywood once had intern systems. People working up the ranks and not just writers but artists, actors, dancers and more. They learned the “how to” tell a story, they talked about the craft. Little things like a “meet cute” described in The Holiday were very real and recognized ways of telling a story.

Riding on the coat-tails of the Movie Industry came genre specific work. Detective stories, War Stories, Love Stories, Propaganda Stories, Musical Stories and, of course, Super Hero stories. Each and everyone has a specific formula, tried and true and understood what makes it “work”.

I could write pages on each genre, even down to how the Disney Channel shows work or don’t work. I would be what is called a Script Doctor (yes, they existed). The major lesson one learns when working in the craft is this: Respect the Genre. Within the formula you can do almost anything. If you try to break the rules (I’m a rebel, baby) then you will leave your audience bewildered and not satisfied.

Genre plot lines are like a pyramid. For example, you want to tell a story. Let’s try Boy Meets Girl, Boy Loses Girl. Almost always the end is Boy Gets Girl Back, unless it is a tragedy and he seeks revenge on all the bad guys with the greatest motive of all: love (millions of movies, try The Outlaw Josie Wales). A Super Hero story, our hero always saves the day (the kidnapped girlfriend, for example), Super Heroes never let their girlfriends fall down an elevator shaft and die — that would kill a franchise; every writer knows that.

When dealing with the Super Hero genre, it is really about two things: out-smarting the bad guy and the love story. Supers are cool and we like the big fights, however, in the end, our hero has been managing the entire event to “trick” the bad guy into a trap! We love this as viewers because the solution is something we can imagine doing; we relate to our hero. The love story is fun because our hero has a mask (of some kind) and she loves the hero but he pines for her to love him as himself (with often wry understated humor, please).

The argument of whether Superman could beat up Godzilla is for the comedy cast of the Big Bang Theory. It is the discussion you had in sixth grade; it was fun to imagine. No director or writer would actually try that idea — would they? How stupid to have Batman fight Superman or Iron Man fight Captain America — it breaks the genre and leaves the audience unsatisfied. No one who knows the genre would dream of actually putting those playground arguments on the screen.

Now, you can argue: Marvel has put out some blockbusters. I agree that this is the silver screen’s Era of the Super Hero. But it is not really the era of good movies — look at it, this is really the Era of CGI. Finally stories that had been told with a fantasy flair can be made for the movies! Well done genre-honoring movies like The Avengers and Avatar will be seen for decades with love. Ironman movies (which are, as they should be, about Tony and Pepper) will be enjoyed. The directors who decide to “go maverick” and “break the rules” simply fail; often still making box office due to great CGI.

The writers and directors may not have grown up in Hollywood. Maybe they got fame as music video directors or special effects artists. If they don’t know or never learned the Art of the Genre, they fail. There are a LOT of 3D movies, CGI movies that are well-produced but suck badly. On some level, Hollywood may not care; they have a cash ticket in a star who does well overseas or a cast like Fast and Furious, carefully built to cater world-wide — those movies sell well even if they are miserable (they do follow a genre script, btw).

Telling a successful story, at base, will follow a formula or recipe. Even if the plot can be reduced to “boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy gets girl back”. Watching the story is the best part, even when you can smugly reduce the plot down to that.

In a Super Hero story, the best stories have a love story in it. Superman (and Clark) have Lois, Spiderman (and Peter Parker) have Mary Jane, the first Captain American had Agent Carter; these are the reasons that we care (deeply care sometimes) about how our Hero will solve the problem. Without it, it is simply a jock in tights jumping around and acting arrogant.

Batman is wonderful because he doesn’t follow the Super Hero formula. Batman follows the Detective formula; which is “the more eccentric, the better”. Batman follows the same path as our other favorite oddballs; Sherlock Holmes, Miss Marple, Mr Monk, Columbo and so on. Smart, obsessive and socially flawed on some level; I love the Detective genre!

Today, I came across the new Marvel Comic announcement:


Sure, he wears red white and blue on the outside, but on the inside? It turns out Steve Rogers, a.k.a. Captain America, supports the evil, former Nazi organization, Hydra.

Marvel comics introduced the shocking twist Wednesday morning when Captain America: Steve Rogers #1 went on sale — and it turns out there have been hints that this was coming for a long time.


My answer is: no.

There is nothing Heroic about being a evil spy. I’d rather read a horror novel. Egads, imagine a publisher handing you the Sherlock Holmes franchise and you decided to make him a Nazi spy; you ruined a franchise. Learn how to tell a story first!

Pathfinder = Heartbreaker

Heartbreaker — the FIRST part of pathfinder.

Dude, we are hosed.

…………………………………
From MMO Champs:

The first part of the Legion Pathfinder achievement is in, granting increased mount speed: Broken Isles Pathfinder, Part One. It requires:
•Completing 100 World Quests
•Exploring the map of Broken Isles
•Completing the Legion quest story lines
•Completing your class hall campaign
•Earning Revered with six of the Broken Isles reputations

My Little Soapbox

I’ll gladly keep my political views to myself.

I was watching the Democratic Debate last night. Hillary Clinton called out the debate moderators, saying something like, “this is our ninth debate and we have never had a question on women’s rights, abortion etc.”. I’m paraphrasing badly.

I was delighted. She shamed the moderators in that it is a huge topic. Governors and States are going against Federal ruling as I write this right now. How can this NOT be a big topic?

So — I watched the post-debate chat on CNN. I wanted to see them fess up or admit it or simply discuss what Ms. Clinton said.

Nothing.

I scanned the major websites this morning and read the “top ten things from the debate” articles.

Nothing!

How can a woman’s right to her own body be patently avoided in the debates?

I’m not a politician nor am I steeped in the topic. Even so, I know that states like Texas are trying to limit women. Whether I personally am pro or con doesn’t matter.

Make it a debate topic. This one is important to me and everyone.

I am disgusted with the media. Hillary shamed CNN. I shame them too.

Zeke from Cabin Creek

“I enjoy winning, but more importantly I enjoy the people I’m around.”
Jerry West


Zeke from Cabin Creek

Rarely, a player will come along “once in a generation” that is so good, willful, big, strong, smart that they dominate their entire career. I think the National Basketball Association has seen only two: Wilt Chamberlain and LeBron James.

What if I were to tell you that there is one man: who was excellent for 50 years?

When Jerry West joined the Lakers he was a shy kid from West Virginia. Embarrassed by his back hills accent, the players mocked him and called him Zeke From Cabin Creek.

By the time he was done playing, Chick Hearn called him Mr. Clutch. His silhouette became the NBA logo and he was the only player in the history of the NBA (true to this day) that won the MVP award in the Finals … on the losing team!

When he stopped as a player, he moved to the front office. He was the General Manager for the Lakers during the 80’s with five championships. The Showtime Lakers with three Hall of Fame players (Magic, the Cap and James Worthy) were a great time with all-time personal records.

He was the GM that put together Kobe (drafted him at age 17) with Shaq and, believe it or not, Phil Jackson. They won three in a row, losing the fourth in the Finals. Kobe, Shaq, Derek Fisher, Robert Horry — I think they will (or should be) in the Hall of Fame.

By the time he left the Lakers, that team had been in the NBA finals half of the time. 50%! True greatness.

The Lakers, all time, have been to the Finals 31 times. The Celtics 21, Chicago Bulls 6.

Jerry West went to the Grizzlies. And then, about five years ago, he went to the front office of the Golden State Warriors. I remember thinking, what is Jerry doing over there? Those guys suck!

This week we’ll see the Warriors break the single season win record at 73. We’ll see Kobe retire as one of the greatest basketball players of all time.

Jerry West: excellence for a lifetime!

Oh yeah, who holds the all-time highest scoring average for a Finals? Jerry West at 46.3 points average in 1965.

Zeke from Cabin Creek

My Site is Growing

“If the English language made any sense, lackadaisical would have something to do with a shortage of flowers.”
Doug Larson


My Site is Growing

I tell you, if you wanted to start a Healing Druid blog; you would get visitors. I have this idea that blogs are envisioned as a writer gathering followers for a daily perspective on life. For my humble blog, it is all about the “how to”. People are looking for answers.

WordPress will tell me which posts are visited each day. For the past weeks, there has been a lot of visits to Resto Druid. Not all, but maybe people are trying new things at the end of an expansion; maybe I’m higher on some search engines.

Yesterday: United States, Australia, United Kingdom, Ecuador, Angola, Greece, Canada, Norway, Netherlands and Brazil all visited this humble blog.

The best feeling for me is when I see a bunch of visits from another country. Someone is passing a link to their friends; that is pretty cool.

I wrote something on Farming Felblight a very long time ago; people want to know today! How To Quit a Guild in WoW is sad to see on a search engine but I’m glad I wrote the post. And always, a lot of visits for Fun Toy Box Macros.

I don’t think I’ll ever get a stable of “followers” to my site. I don’t have enough anger to write scathing material everyday. I really enjoy playing WoW and if I figure out something, I’ll share it.

Did you know you can fish up Blind Palefish in your garrison’s mine? Eat it and run around looking like Gollum!