Monthly Archives: July 2012

Generation Constant Exposure

I tried this July Challenge thing once before, but the topic wound up being too sensitive for me in this context and I pulled the post the next day.  (They say that on the Internet, everything lives forever – but that’s only if somebody cares.  I can vouch for that.)  So this time I’ll go for something shallower – my feelings about self portraits.

Let’s get one thing out of the way: I hate taking self portraits.  Certainly, artists have painted themselves since they had the pigment to do it; photographers have taken photos of themselves even when it took minutes for a single exposure.  Yet I’d argue there’s something slightly different at work today in this world of digital photography and immediate internet access – this isn’t solely an exercise in self exploration or even in documentation.  Do you remember the “Myspace angle?”  I feel uncomfortable with the notion that if I want to create a certain impression of trustworthiness, friendliness, fun-ness (and in certain contexts, even sexiness), I must smile and look at the camera.  There’s something empty and emotionally vacant in looking at the lens for that reason.

Currently, I use two pictures when I need to post an image of myself:

Prinnie in Color

Prinnie in Color

Prinnie in Black and White

Prinnie in Black and White

Both of these are self portraits in that I set up the camera equipment, but collaborative in that I had a friend doll me up, psych me up and press the shutter button (I’m sure the remote timer is somewhere …).  They’re almost a year old.  This means they are Ancient History and need to be replaced, but I find myself dragging my feet.

Many women, myself included, have a fraught relationship with our physical selves.  At best, since I identify myself with my intelligence, I tend to regard my physical self as an accident that my mind and soul got saddled with.  At worst, my body is a betrayer of my own interests.  This is partially a result of a physical condition I inherited, but it is also very much a product of a world in which most women would be happier if they lost weight and where even amateurs Photoshop their own portraits.

I can take some horrendously unflattering pictures, as most of us can.  With digital, I can take more just plain bad pictures than ever before!  When I take self portraits, I typically reject a good 90% of the images that result.  (Interestingly, I can improve this to around 50% if I am not the photographer.) I can count on one hand:

  1. The number of self portraits I have taken where I am looking at the camera,
  2. The number of self portraits I have taken where I am wearing my glasses,
  3. The number of self portraits I have taken and deemed “good,” period.

I am a minimalist when it comes to Photoshop (maximum tolerance: cropping, removing egregious zits), but I seem to have compensated by placing other restrictions on images of myself.  I rarely look directly at the camera because I often look angry when I do.  (It also feels incredibly fake.)  When taking self portraits, I almost never wear my glasses, as the reflection of light on the lenses gives me “the crazy eye.”  I don’t smile, as my front teeth are uneven (you can see a hint of this in the color picture).

I think the human body is meant to be seen in motion.  When we attempt to take a photograph and capture the self at a particular second or fraction thereof, somehow, features that would never have been much of an issue become much greater.  In the artifical setup of a portrait, equipment, posing, and proper lighting can make all the difference.  In real life, I’m smiling all the time, and I rarely think of my uneven front teeth in my day-to-day doings.   Yet when creating images for consumption on the Internet, I’m always aware of “how they look,” for their uneveness has somehow become far more visible in the photo’s stillness than it ever was in person.

Needs More Bears

NEW GUILD HANGOUT YEAH!

NEW GUILD HANGOUT YEAH!
Okay, so I only got maybe four people max up here.
BUT I ENVISION AN ENTIRE LINE OF DANCING BEARS!

Important discovery!  You can land on the noggin, ponytail and shoulders of the King Wrynn statue in Stormwind.  Sadly, you can’t land on his arms, the hilt of the sword or his chin.  I know, because I tried.  Yeah, this is what I spend my time doing in WoW.  I imagine Wrynn looking all SRS BIZNIS per usual, gazing down the long hall of the keep … and being pretty sure he’s hallucinating, because there are totally dancing bears on his head.  Anybody know a lot of druids?  I so need this to happen.

Can’t Stop The Transmog

Seriously, it’s like a disease.  Think of all the glyphs I could’ve bought with the money I’ve spent transmogging!

"Back to Black" Set

“Back to Black” Set

“Back to Black” Set

Class: Paladink, Warrior, Death Knight

Helmet Not Shown | Chromite Pauldrons | Sentry’s Cape | Bogslayer Breastplate
Bogslayer Gauntlets | Bogslayer Belt | Bogslayer Legplates | Alabaster Plate Greaves

Stylish Black Shirt
Gothic Shield
Foe Reaver

Status: Mostly Finished
To Find: A Fancier Sword

Thoughts: Oh Gawd, I tried to get Niremere out of black, I honestly did.  But then I saw the Bogslayer Legplates, and I knew she had to wear them.  Stripey pants, people!  I’m so there!  Unfortunately, the top of the pants does have the “bottom” of the top piece, so to speak, so most other chest pieces looked totally ridiculous and I got stuck with the Bogslayer Breastplate.  I’d have skipped it otherwise, as I don’t really understand or like what look to be cords hanging from Nir’s boobs.  (So much of WoW armor was designed for the male chest, it’s not even funny.)  But stripey pants!  I had to do it.  Just to be difficult, I went with the Chromite Pauldrons instead of the Bogslayer.  I also went with the Alabaster Plate Greaves because I liked how the white boots interacted with the white detailing above the knee on the Bogslayer Legplates.  Finally, the Sentry’s Cape was chosen because the little squares on the bottom reference what I imagine to be a black studded strap at the top of the greaves, seen from the sides and back, as well as the squares on the arms of the chest piece.  (Side note: I get a lot of mileage out of that Gothic Shield.)

"I Do NOT Look Like an Old Lady!" Set

“I Do NOT Look Like an Old Lady!” Set

“I Do NOT Look Like an Old Lady!” Set

Class: Mage, Warlock, Priest

Helmet Not Shown | Abjurer’s Mantle | Burnished Cloak | Sorcerer Robe
Regal Gloves | Abjurer’s Bands | Girdle of Nobility | Pants not shown | Resilient Boots

Status: Finished

Thoughts: Caliverne seems to be developing a thing for describing garments he does not like as “old lady.”  Ailabeth first encountered this with Alanna’s Embrace, and Centina then encountered his new habit when she decided to transmog on the cheap and went with Black Mageweave.  (Seriously, I don’t know what old ladies he’s encountered in his life, but they must seriously be stylin’ and also sexy.)  After getting blue in the face (haha!) explaining that most grandmothers do not go around wearing panties and stockings, Centina “borrowed” this Sorcerer Robe from Ailabeth and that was that.  Centina’s natural hair color is blue, so she predicted that people would call her a blueberry – to prevent that, she dyed her hair a much more tame shade.  Then she went out to Silvermoon to take pictures (because as a mage, traveling is OMGSOEASY).  Caliverne warned her not to sit on the throne because you don’t know what those Silvermoon people do there, but it was too late … which may be why she’s trying to slice off her own arm at the shoulder in the one shot.  (I’ve also noticed that Centina may be acquiring a fondness for yellow capes, which is not necessarily bad, because they tend to be cheap.)

Adsafjklsdjfhaskdjfhs!!!

The title is supposed to evoke Prinnie jumping around excitedly while talking too quickly to be understood.  Yes.  It’s also what I happen to type when OMGWTF stuff happens but OMGWTF is too coherent.

I have to thank Caliverne again, for going above and beyond again in helping Ailabeth acquire the Circle of Flame.  I think I’m ethically obligated not to cast Levitate on him now …

Circle of Flame

Circle of Flame
or is it … the CIRCLE OF INSANITY

The thing is, the Circle had actually dropped while Ailabeth was in the place on a legit Dungeon Finder run and legitimately needed the thing for the stats, but a Warlock needed on it for transmog and won.  (Of course he didn’t trade it – it’s rare and he’s a Warlock.  CURSES.)  It seemed that in every party thereafter, some clothie was wearing the damn Circle of Flame.  It was driving Ailabeth mad!  In turn, she harassed Caliverne into running her through Blackrock Depths A LOT.  (And mind you, the pressure upon him was immense!  Only Caliverne would do.  He keeps her alive, quite possibly by instantly killing everything she could possibly faceplant into.  Or almost everything, anyway … and for everything else, there’s Power Word: Shield.)

Circle of Flame

Circle of Flame
It was amazing how many pairs of gloves Flamelash dropped, even though he only had two hands. So we had to dance on his corpse when he finally gave up the Circle.

Yes, I made him /dance on Flamelash’s corpse.  After all, I had lost count of the runs we had done – gloves, gloves, gloves, caster trinket, gloves, gloves, polearm, gloves, gloves, caster trinket, caster trinket, caster trinket, gloves, polearm, gloves gloves gloves … you get the idea, if you have not suffered the very same farming experience yourself.

Next destination?  HOUSE OF TRANSMOG.

Circle of Flame

Circle of Flame
This was of course VERY EXCITING.

Circle of Flame

Circle of Flame
Now THIS is an awesome hat.

Thanks Cal.  You’re a trooper.  I’ve made a separate tag just for you!  It’s the least I can do.

Medium Rare

Panty Problem

Panty Problem
Hmmmmm …

Ailabeth then made a beeline to the House of Transmog to put on some clothes.  All that sand in Orgrimmar is hell on exposed joints.

Scarlet Judge, Judging

The Scarlet Judge
He pronounced his verdict a little too soon.

Or maybe the Scarlet Judge didn’t jump the gun, because I had a party today where I zoned in to INSTADEATH.  I didn’t even get a “hey there” out.

Holy Crap What Killed Me?

Holy Crap What Killed Me?
And this was AFTER the whelps dispersed some.

Actually, everybody was dead.  It seemed Dungeon Finder saw fit to put me in a party that seriously failed to achieve “Jenkins.”

Orgrimmar, We Have a Problem

Orgrimmar, We Have a Problem
I already sold my soul.

Ailabeth already sold her soul to Mechalis for transmog money.  She didn’t get as much as she thought she would, though – apparently, going Shadow means your soul is a little bit suspect once it gets to the soul shares market.  It’s like that car from a low-lying, hurricane-prone coastline area in Florida that has no water damage – it’s in great condition!

The Man Who Flirts

The Man Who Flirts
… by using his swords.

Some day, he’ll find his one true love.  She won’t be alive either, but at least she’ll be upright when he delivers the punch line.

Did I mention I like floating?  I’m going to float some more.

Don't Mind Me

Don’t Mind Me
Just floatin’.
Yep.  No biggie.

Defying Expectation

Defying Expectation
Nope. Not gonna happen.

Yeah, she’s got issues, but Fel Reavers aren’t one of them.  No, as always, her problems are more mundane and far less mechanical.

OMG That Hat

Because I make a point of finding as little out about the expansion ahead of time as possible, I just now saw some of the Challenge armor sets over at MMO Champion.  (I wish you could block certain people from showing up in the Reader, but it’s too late now!)  I’d link you there, but I accidentally closed the tab and I’m too lazy to go back and find it.

That Hat

Thankfully, you can hide your helm.

What the hell is up with the priest hat?  There are just so many potential problems with this hat, like how to get through doors and how to walk when it’s windy.  I like stupid hats (after all, I wore a +4 Cake Hat and a Dead Fish hat all the time in Ragnarok Online), but seriously!  If you can take off your hat and serve punch in it, there’s a problem.  This thing reminds me of:

That Hat Reminds Me Of

That Hat Reminds Me Of
DOORKNOBS

No door is the same without one!

That Hat Reminds Me Of

That Hat Reminds Me Of
ORNAMENTS

Also bulbous and often inexplicably ornamented!

That Hat Reminds Me Of

That Hat Reminds Me Of
FINIALS

Seen on staircases and curtain rods the world over!

Speaking of the expansion, it’s not too late to change course.  We should drop this whole panda thing and go for raptors instead, since raptors are scientifically proven to be nine times more awesome and fifty million times more fatal.  We’ll call it MISTS OF RAPTARIASubject 9 returns from outer space, leading a new race of hyper intelligent raptors back to Azeroth!  Raptors will get a racial which gives them a significant bonus to every stat ever, because they’re raptors, and everyone knows that dinosaurs kicked butt.  (That whole asteroid thing was not their fault.)  The new class for the game will be the Philosoraptor!  They wind up experiencing some philosophical differences, though, so some raptors join the Alliance, and some join the Horde.

The New Class

The New Class
PHILOSORAPTOR

Trust me, Subject 9 is the best faction leader ever.  She makes King Chin Varian Wrynn look like a wimp.  Next to her, Garrosh Hellderpscream looks even more like a chump than he did before.  When seen in her presence, Thrall is no longer God.  In the next-next expansion, she’ll lead the raptors to peace and prosperity through use of super-intelligent technology beyond our comprehension and will rule with an iron claw over Alliance and Horde alike.

“Cindergift” Set

While I liked white as a reference to a white lady ghost (so what if I’m Shadow?), I leveled Ailabeth to where she could finally wear the Eye of Flame she won in her bet with Caliverne.  It seemed like an opportune time to mix up the wardrobe.

"Cindergift" Set

“Cindergift” Set

“Cindergift” Set

Class: Mage, Warlock, Priest

Eye of Flame | Nightsky Mantle| Ancient Bloodmoon Cloak | Cindercloth Robe | Dark Silk Shirt
Aboriginal Gloves| Ritual Bands | Bright Belt | Pants not shown | Enumerated Sandals

Status: Finished, Since I’m Cheap

Thoughts: While I’d like to transmog the Ancient Bloodmoon Cloak into something with gold trim, I won’t because it costs 300g to do so.  Ailabeth has the flight skill coming up soon and she can’t afford that kind of cost.  The Eye, Shirt and Robe are all thanks to Caliverne, who made a mage and bought stuff for it before he realized that he couldn’t actually stand zapping things from far away.  He also funded the purchase of the cloak so that Ailabeth wouldn’t fall too far behind his rogue in levels.

The shoulders kinda sorta match and kinda sorta don’t – if you look at them closely, they’re a little too dark, but since I look like this normally, you can’t really tell:

"Cindergift" Set

“Cindergift” Set
Not like matching matters.

I stuck a close-up of the Eye on that because OMFG MONOCLE IS AWESOME and you can’t really see it in the shot above.