Vaudeville: I missed it!

I missed Vaudeville by about a century.

In the late 1800’s and early 1900’s, if you were in the big city and you had a nickel (about five dollars today) and wanted to be entertained; you might go to a Vaudeville Theater.

You’d buy some popcorn and a beer or a soft drink and sit and watch a string of acts. These acts were about eight minutes, rarely more. You might hear a tenor sing an aria from an opera. Or a tap dancer might perform his act. You could see a novelty act of dogs (dressed as clowns) jumping through hoops. Perhaps a ballerina or a juggler who’d be followed by kids act.

Nothing I know brings on the glow like sweet applause.

And the comedians! It was fairly stock, either a loner with a prop (Jack Benny and his violin) or it was two guys; one who was the straight man setting up the jokes. Crude humor, imagine the busty nurse and the old man in the wheelchair — this was all vaudeville.

You could sit for two hours perhaps before the acts would repeat. You could stay if you wanted. The performers would do four to six sets a day, constantly perfecting their timing and act.

Of course, there was support. There was an orchestra pit with musicians. There were stage hands working back stage. Ticket takers and ushers and vendors. A lot of people were working and in those days, it was all about having a job.

Pinches from the stagehands, it’s the only quiet thing they do!

Vaudeville was all across the country. They’d do what was called a “circuit”. Eight weeks in Wichita and then eight weeks in Omaha and on and on. Albuquerque had two theaters, the Kimo and the Sunshine Theater. If you were good, you’d rise up to be a “head liner”, the draw or big name at the top of the marquee.

There were talent scouts and producers. If you were good, you might move up. You might even move up to the Follies in New York. Or, you might just remain a B act, constantly on tour in small towns — anything to avoid the factory, no?

You’ve had a taste of the sound that says love: Applause, applause, applause!

Thousands of acts, performers, musicians, stagehands all working all across the country. Immigrants, poor and scared, raised their children with music, dance, opera all in the hopes of having a star. Just think for a second of all the acts that did not make it: people who were trained in an instrument (or many) and dancing and singing.

It was on this that the greatest country in the world built it’s foundation. You can argue many other things but a nation steeped in the arts is a smart strong nation.

So let me entertain you. And we’ll have a real good time, yes sir. We’ll have a real good time.

And then, one day, the movies came out. Vaudeville theaters got converted, the orchestra pit was boarded over and a movie sheet now was hung instead of a curtain.

In the blink of an eye, this wonderful industry hit a dead end. The cream of the crop went to Hollywood. The Marx Brothers for example were of the very many who went to Hollywood to make movies.

One morning I shot an elephant in my pajamas. How he got into my pajamas I’ll never know.

Then, radio in the 30’s and then television in the 50’s; the vaudeville stars made their impact. George Burns and Gracie Allen, Uncle Miltie, Jack Benny all had their own shows and were loved. They’d all honed their skills on five shows a night in front of a everyman audience.

Vaudeville had a very naughty little sister called Burlesque; but that’s another story.

Now, one hundred years later, I turn on the television and see reruns of bad reality shows. Duck guys, Alaskan truck drivers, car repair guys; the medium is groaning for material to show. I wish that this generation was raised in music, dance and comedy. I wish that I was that back stage guy in Wichita watching Gypsy Rose Lee.

Today, television just doesn’t do it for me. I’ll play an interactive game like World of Warcraft with some friends or read a book. I’ll cook up a nice dinner and sit and write a blog that no one reads because it feels right to write.

A clown with his pants falling down
Or the dance that’s a dream of romance
Or the scene where the villain is mean.
That’s entertainment!

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6.2.2 Flying: La-de-dah

Study the past, if you would divine the future.
Confucius

Flying: La-de-dah

It’s coming, September 1st. We’ve been waiting a long long (long) very long time. This will be patch 6.2.2. In case you are wondering, there will be no 6.2.1. That patch is long gone and never made it because it was the flying patch.
Confused? So is everyone else. Eventually it makes a lot of sense, if they have to make a patch, finish off the expansion. So, the darn thing is loaded. We know it will give flying, once the Pathfinder meta-achievement is earned. It will also offer Mercenary Mode, the ability to join the opposite faction for PvP battlegrounds — this will speed up the que process for quicker battles.
Let me cherry-pick from the patch notes the things that I want to remember on Patch Day. I’ll try to keep commentary to a minimum!
Legendary Ring Quest Line

  • New weekly quests have been added to help players catch-up in earlier stages of the Legendary Ring Quest Line for Highmaul and Blackrock Foundry.
Bonus Events

  • Bonus Events now begin earlier in the week on Wednesday. End date remains the same so there’s now more time to complete the bonus event! Check the in-game calendar for new start times of each bonus event.
Go beyond the dark portal on a flying mount to find three new rare elite Bleeding Hollow orcs that have a chance of dropping one of three new Crashin’ Thrashin’ toys.
Behind the doors of the outdoors version of Hellfire Citadel awaits a new rare elite with a special drop for world PvP enthusiasts, the Spike-Toed Booterang.
Soar above the skies of Nagrand and explore the outdoors version of Highmaul and battle with three new rare elite ogres for a chance at one of three arcane-infused Manafiend battle pets.
  • A Darkmoon Seesaw is now available from the Darkmoon Faire.
  • Cursed Feather of Ikzan has been added to the Toy Box.
  • Safari Hat has been added to the Toy Box.
  • Shard of Archstone has been added to the Toy Box.
  • Throbbing Blood Orb has been added to the Toy Box.
A new events coordinator can now be found in level 3 garrisons. Visit the coordinator during Hallow’s End or Feast of Winter Veil to obtain garrison decorations that are usable all year round!
A new achievement has been added for collecting 300 mounts, Lord of the Reins. Completing the achievement awards a mount, the Heavenly Azure Cloud Serpent.
A new achievement has been added for collecting 200 toys, Crashin’ Thrashin’ Commander. Completing the achievement awards the title, “Crashin’ Thrashin’”.
Those are from the official patch notes. However! There is more information that has been datamined.
Red Wooden Sled
Item Level 1
Toy
Binds to Battle.net account
Use: Sit on a sled that can be pulled by other players, or put your battle pet on a sled and pull it yourself!
Only works on pets that can battle. (5 min cooldown)
World Event: Feast of Winter Veil
Who doesn’t want that toy? Zomg!
Many more “strings” were data-mined. They go up to Winter’s Veil and include Hallow’s End but nothing on Brewfest. Oddly, the patch has the instant level 100 boost for the next expansion built in (I’m thinking that prior to the expansion that you can jump in by pre-ordering it).
Here’s just a taste of what might be found in 6.2.2.
Winter’s Veil

  • You can kill Grumpus, find the children he kidnapped, and destroy his awful gifts every day for some Merry Supplies.
  • You can also kill his grumplings daily for some Savage Snowballs.
Legendary Ring

  • 14,958 Apexis Crystals can be exchanged for 5 Abrogator Stone Cluster each week.
  • 20,000 Apexis Crystals can be exchanged for 75 Elemental Rune each week.
September 1st is a Big Patch and could be the final one until we get invaded on Azeroth by the Burning Legion in advance of the next expansion!

A Diary From Draenor

“There’s small choice in rotten apples.”
― William Shakespeare

A Diary From Draenor

A couple of hours on vile Gorefiend tonight and no kill. I have spent hours and days getting a scene shift right in the Theater and then hours more to make it art. Athletes practice their plays over and over to get it right; the timing, the movement, the actions. I don’t know if I want to say that I’m used to this level of effort but it doesn’t upset me.

Still, we know that WoW gamers are not professionals. It can be frustrating.

My Legendary Ring is awesome on it’s own. Even more so with others using their Rings. I hope this week that some others catch up.

Archimonde is on the LFR tomorrow. This will be a Tuesday that I want to get it done early. Killing the last boss of an expansion is gold, what we’ve been playing for all this time.

I’ll be curious how many Legendary Rings I’ll see tomorrow in the LFR!

Our public school district just had it’s fourth(!) Superintendent resign. This one had felony charges pending in Colorado, no background checks? Where there is big money, there will be big corruption: education is where the money goes. It is a dirty business at the expense of our children. The same is likely happening in your school district.

The Ashley Madison data hack is expanding. Not only is it ruining peoples lives, extortion and more is happening with the information: the ideas are expanding. I’m glad I’m not a politician with a subscription to WoW or a Porn site or anything that can have scrutiny.

Wow almost blew it with too much information when they wanted the Battle Net to be real names. People flipped and rightly so. Imagine a lawyer being able to clock when you logged in and out, that is freely available to anyone.

It is my Guild Leader’s birthday tomorrow. I’ll be sending a Dalaran Cupcake! Finding things in-game that can be gift wrapped is part of the fun of sending birthday presents.

Flying on September 1st. La-dee-dah.

Legion: Artifact Weapons

There are two ways of spreading light:
to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it.

Edith Wharton

Legion: Artifact Weapons

It is early, oh so early, there has only been the conference at Gamescom. Still, early on we can see and read the concerns that players have simply because we don’t know yet.

The main question that I don’t see asked, of which is my great concern is: dual-speccing the Artifact Weapon.

We know that once we land in 7.0, we’ll get a quest to go find our weapon and this weapon will be our only weapon through-out the expansion. Cool! The weapon will come with potential; upgrading by playing it will infuse with “perks” (a term from last expansion) and it will upgrade through steps, changing color and appearance, until the end game when it looks shiny or smoky.

There will also be a talent tree on the weapon. This action will be executed in our Class Hall, so no Tomes to change on the fly in a raid. The talents will be (currently unknown) either dps increase, double up spells or cosmetic; we decide.

Relics, I don’t understand. In my mind they look like gems that we insert in sockets; earned from boss drops, quests, zone completion etc.

The question is: what about dual spec? If I am a Marksman Hunter and a Beast Mastery hunter, will I have to duplicate the zone quests which unlock? That would be impossible! If I decide to dedicate myself to MM Raider and Surv PvP; then there has to be a solution baked in.

The only way I can see it is: you get unique quests for each spec and then your rewards are mirrored on your other artifacts. If you gain a relic or perk or talent, you can swap specs and decide on your other weapon.

There is no way they are going to lock us into a single spec. Right?

Druids have four specs. We get the dual-spec ability at level 30. We can decide then whether to go ranged dps, heal, melee dps or tank. Healers commonly and painfully level (from 100 to 110 in Legion) as a dps. How can I balance my desire (healing) while leveling through all the zones?

There has to be a Mirror System. If you are a level 110 DPS and decide to go healer, then you swap to that spec — get a easy ‘find your artifact’ quest and through the experiences of your prior leveling, the new artifact can whoosh up to level 110 talents, perks and relics.

Otherwise it will be the Mud Expansion. Leveling from 100 to 110 through six new zones as a healer will be brutally slow and simply not fun. The same with a tank, slow slow slow.

Because we need our healers and tanks to be able to do group content. Sure, there will be dungeons along the way but we want to see the game’s content and zones too!

I look forward to Blizzcon in October (or is in November?) to see how they solve this crucial issue. I hope for the Mirror System, I really do.

Elixir of the Rapid Mind: How to.

The primary factor in a successful attack is speed.
Lord Mountbatten

Elixir of the Rapid Mind

Elixir of the Rapid Mind
Item Level 1 

Use: Increases experience gain by 300% for 15 min. Does not work for players above level 99. (10 Min Cooldown)
"Smells faintly of lavender."
Max Stack: 20

This is a very powerful potion. It is the reward from the follower mission called Arokkoa Mastery. I’ve gotten two, so it’s not terribly common. Still, the beauty of this potion is that it can be sold and so found on the Auction House.

There are a few guides out there on how to maximize their use. I like mine the best, of course. Mine can be done at level 75 up to level 97. That is a wide range.

What you will need:

  • Elixir of the Rapid Mind
  • Fishing and Cooking
  • Fast Flying
  • Pet Battling
  • Hearthstone set in the Shrine in Pandaria

The foundation of this strategy is that the pet, fishing and cooking dailies always give the maximum quest experience no matter what your level might be at the time. So, the fishing daily in Stormwind at level one would give you the max quest XP of your level, even if you are 97.

The key is to do a string of dailies but do not turn in your quests. Let them be question marks, ready to go: it takes discipline! Stack up your quests until you have a bunch and then drink the elixir and dash, run, fly and flee to the turn-ins in 15 minutes.

You can do it!

You will do:

  • Beasts of Fable quests (3) in Pandaria, this can be done with your high level toon; it is across all of your account.
  • Fishing and Cooking daily in Dalaran
  • Fishing and Cooking daily in Stormwind
  • All the pet battle Tamers in the Eastern Kingdom (I skipped the one near Kara and the one in the Swamp of Sorrows due to long flight time).

The last pet battle Tamer will be the one by Light’s Hope Chapel, way north in the Eastern Kingdoms. This is where you will drink your potion (after the battle!). Along the way, while doing the pet battle guys you will be carrying instant turn-ins from Westfall, Duskwood, Booty Bay and Redridge: which means you will not have to return to those areas for turn-ins!

Here we go:

  • After you finish your pet battle at Light’s Hope Chapel — drink your elixir and turn in the quest and the four quests floating under your mini-map.
  • Take the flight path to the Hinterlands, turn in pet battle quest.
  • Port to the Shrine — turn in the three Beasts of Fable (four if you did the pvp pet battle one).
  • Race to the portal to Dalaran
  • Turn in the Fishing, then the Cooking dailies, then take the portal next door to SW
  • Turn in the Fishing and Cooking dailies in SW.
  • Fly to Elwynn Forest, turn in pet battle tamer quest.
  • Fly to Stranglethorn, turn in pet battle tamer quest.
  • Fly to Burning Steppes (this is a long flight, you should still have five minutes!).
  • Fly to Searing Gorge for the last pet battle tamer quest.

That is it! Seventeen max xp quests turned in and done in 15 minutes. It’s tight.

Since the older content gets nerfed, the xp you gain from WotLK, Cata and MoP will be much higher. Meaning that you can get almost three levels doing this elixir guide. I did this same strategy at level 91 and got a level and a half.

At around level 79 or 80, you could fold in the Argent Tourney dailies and drop the last four pet tamers (trading four quests up to eight quests).

Your quest log will need to hold that many quests! I hated deleting my in-progress quests the first time I did this, I wish they’d open up the quest log to hold many more.

There you have it:
A speed run with the Elixir that is fun and spans almost any level your character might be. You could to a variation on this at a lower level, skipping Dalaran, as well.

Enjoy.
Happy Hunting
And may all your hits … be crits!


Edit: Consider the turn-ins at the Darkmoon Faire:

Darkmoon Despoiler
Turn in all nine Darkmoon Artifacts.

These can be bought off the AH or possibly already in your bags!

The Lost Legendary

In the twilight, it was a vision of power.
Upton Sinclair

My legendary ring will be hand delivered tomorrow via the LFR. I, like so many, am 29/33. It could be, from what I’ve read, a 25% boost to my DPS. It could be, when others catch up, a 25% boost to the entire raid.

I’m excited!

Ideally, a melee player will have it to so that they can trigger it. It will be like lighting the fuse on a bomb. The player will “use” the ring, which triggers a 15 second span of increased DPS and ending with a 20 yard explosion — at the point that it was initially triggered.

Use: Awakens the powers of all the Savage Hallows worn by you and your allies, increasing damage dealt by (2500 / 100)% for 15 sec.

When this effect ends, each empowered player unleashes a blast of light that strikes all enemies within 20 yards of the initiating player’s location, inflicting damage equal to (2500 / 100)% of all damage they dealt while empowered. (2 min shared cooldown)

It is confusing but it all will be revealed tomorrow. The “initiating player” should be a melee player so it explodes there; but does the explosion happen where that player is at the end of 15 seconds or when it was triggered? If I am ranged (and alone with my ring) do I jump in to start it or to end it? Will I get a count down?

I think, overall, that this is the Lost Legendary. There is a boat-load of information on how to get this legendary, written back in the dawn of this expansion. There is no YouTube video showing it’s use. There is no Strategy Guide for healer, dps or tanks — which have all different varieties of the ring.

I’ve been to Blizzard Watch twice with specific questions. I’ve gotten minimal responses, a few were purely conjecture. The bulk of the player interest is on Legion, this expansion is over and we have not gotten the exciting product of an expansion long quest line!

Did Blizzard take a virtual dump on it’s own product pride by announcing Legion at Gamescom? I think so, I think they did. From what I can see, the vast majority of players didn’t bother to follow the quest line to be on the edge (like me! Tomorrow!). Blizzard Watch writers are either not playing in raids or writing about it way after the experience.

It’s frustrating to me because I wanted a Legendary to be Legendary, not a Lost Legendary drifting in the foggy mists in the players imaginations.

WoW is Cool

There is a minor cool factor in playing World of Warcraft. It isn’t the game itself, it’s being part of the larger gaming culture. They call us Gamers. Clumsy, I admit but we’ll just go with the flow.

The average age (as I recall, I can’t look it up) of a WoW player is around 30 years. The division of the sexes is about 60/40, in favor of the men but not by much. There seems to be some feeling that games are for kids: the statistics don’t reflect that feeling. The stereotype of the loser kid in his Mom’s basement is shattered.

I was thinking about this because I’m a cool guy. My Dad was a cool guy. He was so cool that he’d be a dork in public and I’d want to hide under the table, until I noticed that people would eat up his schtick. Cool people can do that.

There is a difference between being cool and knowing what is cool. Kids know what is cool. The reason is this: when you hit adolescence there is an over-powering need to conform. It is a herd mentality and the kids can not help it. From about the age of 11 to 30, there is a hyper-sensitivity to the balance in the world and a need to know what is acceptable.

This is why you can show identical pairs of jeans to your teen-age, different brands, and they immediately know which is cool. It is effortless, even for the stoner kid who can barely get a sentence out, can pronounce “cool!”.

When you hit 30, the need to be hyper-aware begins to wane. Some people will furiously try to hold on to their youth and know what is cool but they have to work at it now.

What is cool can shift daily. There is an entire culture in Japan that has labels for this as new trends sweep across Tokyo. Oddly, the cool factor spans culture, race, region. The kids are all super-sensitive to what is cool. Even the rebels all look the same: you might see the Rebel Grrrrl in all black with a leather choker but she is safely under the umbrella of conformity. Rebel Grrrl would never show up at school in, say, a pink bikini. It just won’t happen.

I am cool. It has nothing to do with that hyper-sensitivity of judging cool by the kids. They are like a herd, following each other with every whim and whisper on the wind. I am cool just because I am.

The gaming community has a cool factor. As surprised as players may be at my age, I’m still part of the culture. I’m a gamer.

Typically, I open my blog posts with a quotation to illustrate my post. I went to look up some and they all are the same — People trying so hard to claim to be individual when they strive so very hard to be the same as everyone else. It’s awesome.

Being cool is being your own self, not doing something that someone else is telling you to do.
Vanessa Hudgens

I’m not the kind of person who tries to be cool or trendy, I’m definitely an individual.
Leonardo DiCaprio

People see my photos and think I labor over my image and I’m this cool, brooding artist. But I’m just having fun with it.
Lenny Kravitz

Rather be dead than cool.
Kurt Cobain

“Why should I care what other people think of me? I am who I am. And who I wanna be.”
― Avril Lavigne

Being cool, having a ‘cool’ energy is just not attractive to me.
–Selena Gomez

Well …. you get my point.