Welcome back to Awkward Situations! In this Episode: The Kid

Picture it: first snow in the city, you just bought your Christmas tree, schlepped the thing home, and now you’re popping back out to go to the pharmacy to be ready when the holiday cold hits…

And as I’m walking home from the pharmacy, going through my mental list, suddenly I hear, “Hello.”

I turn round, see no one, look down and see a kid.

It’s a girl child of about 8, 9, maybe 10… I’m shit with ages, anyway, this thing is underaged and it’s talking to me. No adult in sight. I awkwardly say Hi, and proceed walking. Kid walks along. And it starts walking in my direction. There’s some sort of daycare on this street and about a million schools all around, so I’m assuming she’s from there. Kid complains she forgot her gloves. I tell her to put her hands in her damn pockets.

Meanwhile, inside my head: Who are you? Why are you talking to me? Do I know you? Do you think I know you? Are you in trouble? Do you need help? You seem pretty unperturbed, I must say. Are you in need of social contact? Did your psychologist tell you to build up self-esteem by talking to random strangers? Are you even old enough to have a psychologist?

She asks me if I live around here, like, very detailed. I tell her the building and that’s it. I mean, what if she’s a spy? What if her parents are professional robbers and she’s spying potential ‘customers’?

Meanwhile, inside my head: Okay, now you’re just being silly.

I ask her if she lives around here somewhere. She goes yes (actually lives up the street from me) and proceeds to tell me about snow, and how she likes snow, and how she never writes anything on snowed-on cars like her friends do…

Meanwhile, inside my head: Bish, that’s fun, tho! I do that, and I’m pushing thirty!

… and how she hopes the snow will stay for a bit, and how we got snow for Easter, wasn’t that weird…

I ask her if her mother or father are home and she says not yet. I mean, not unusual, it’s barely 3 pm.

Meanwhile, inside my head: Okay, so what the hell do you want? Do you need a babysitter? A tutor? What? How do I ask a small human if they’re in some sort of trouble without sounding weird?

Kiddo tells me about snowboarding and how she’s getting a new snowboard for Christmas. We’re at my building now, so I try to stir the convo into goodbyes and hope she doesn’t want to come up to my place. Kiddo tells me her hands are so frozen she wonders if she will get her apartment door open. I tell her, atta girl, you can do it. Just kick the door in. (What? I don’t know what to do with that information!) I look around and no one’s followed us so far, street’s as empty as can be, so I guess she’s not going to get kidnapped as she ambles along the thirty or so metres to her building. I keep an eye on her until she’s out of sight anyway.

Meanwhile, inside my head: Strange kid. Should I make sure she’s okay? What was that about? Didn’t seem scared or worried. Just a weird whim what struck her? Oh god, what if she finds out where I live? Please don’t show up randomly!

Up in my apartment I lock all the doors and barricade the windows. Okay, not really, but somehow I feel shaken. Which I don’t get, because literally that was a kid, probably not a miniature ninja assassin who could kill me in my sleep. New level of awkward: can’t even talk to a fucking child. I have a hard enough time talking with adults, but kids are much more preceptive than adults. How do you handle someone with a working bullshit filter?

So I proceed to do boring household tasks at home when suddenly a string of thoughts strike me.

What if she somehow locates me and then I have to find her parents? What if she’s from the future? What if she’s my child from the future? What if she’s a ghost? I mean, it’s getting mighty close to Christmas, that’s a prime time for ghosts. What if she’s the ghost of my potential child from the future which I won’t have through some bizarre  turn of events in which I changed the future accidentally by not eating waffles the day before? Please don’t haunt me, small future ghost!

But seriously, should I call someone? Child protective services? Dog catchers? Anyone? I don’t know what to do, this wasn’t in any of my scripts! Do people these days no longer tell their children not to talk to strangers?

Well, that’s one way to get high, I guess.

Picture it: It is a grey, cold Tuesday morning. Your Boyfriend has gone to work at six in the fucking am because old people need caring at 7. You have gone back to sleep because your schedule will not see you out of the house before noon. And then this happens.

Boyfriend came back home at 9 am high as a kite, rendered unable to work. Why? Because he overdosed on nose drops.

You read that right. Boyfriend’s been having a bit of a cold or tonsillitis or both, so he, uncharacteristically, went to the doctor’s and got some meds. One of them were nose drops for his poor stuffy nose. He took them in the morning, then got a headache and took an aspirin. Then all hell broke loose.

So he comes in at 9, I stumble out of the bedroom to check what’s up, and he’s sitting at the dining table, taking his blood pressure and laughing his fucking ass off at everything. At this moment, I knew exactly what to do.

I got my phone and made a video. But that’s beside the point.

I was also trying to tell knock-knock jokes, because that’s a tried and true remedy for patients who are laughing at their own hands, but he was having none of that.

Then I checked the package leaflet and now I feel like living in Bizarro World. The side effects of a nose drops overdose may include psychosis, hallucinations, high blood pressure and accelerated pulse. There was no warning not to take them with aspirin. Yeah, this man needs a doctor.

I mean… just the fact that fucking nose drops can cause you to hallucinate… I… what?

His blood pressure was through the roof. So was his pulse. Then he got the idea to finally assemble his Lego Tardis I got him for Christmas. And he kept complaining he wanted to watch Doctor Who. And how stoked he was for K-9. When I said, Honey, go to the doctor, I did not mean this Doctor. Doe she even have a license? I don’t believe this man has ever been to medical school!

I couldn’t make this up if I tried.

So while he came down after a while (and one Doctor Who episode) the doctor’s office was finally open and so he went. And I’m sitting here, three hours later, mind boggling over the fact that nose drops can make you trip balls apparently if you try hard enough. Or even if you don’t.

You could sell this shit to high schoolers, make a fortune!

Hm…

Brb, coming up with a new business venture.

Kidding, those are prescription only. I’ll never be able to fake enough of a cold to keep the business going.

The Return of the Abominable Blatherer!

So I’ve been keepin’ busy. Our apartment building’s been getting new windows in and Tuesday it was our turn, and I can still feel the dust in the air. I can feel it because I’m allergic. I haven’t stopped sneezing in days. And no amount of airing and vacuuming will get it out.

I’m also preparing a workshop. I’ve never lead a workshop before. Safe to say I’m a nervous wreck. Never been more nervous in my life, in fact. I want this to be good, you know? I want to distribute knowledge amongst my students-for-the-day. I want them to walk out of that room at the end of the day going, “Jup, that helped.”

Somehow this master’s thesis is also not writing itself and I need to go see my supervisor sometime soon.

And the last thing I need in between all of this… is this guy.

I feel like Jack Nicholson in that old Batman movie: I’ve given a name to my pain, and it is Batman the Abominable Blatherer. Now, if my problem was Michael Keaton, I’d be overwrought with joy. Because it’s Michael Keaton. Instead, I’m settled with… this guy.

So last year, before he was here, the team decided against putting pictures of our faces on the website. Because seriously, the team is rotating so much you’d have to switch out pictures ever year. Like, I’ll be gone come summer. Also, some of us are very concerned with control of our images on the web because by damn did we learn from American examples. Then internet is no longer our own private hidey-hole like it was in the early 2000s, now it’s a public place. No, we don’t even put pictures of us partying on facebook. No, not even if our bosses can’t force us to facebook friend them. No, not even if it’s illegal for our bosses to even ask us for our facebook name (we don’t even use our real names! And all our profiles are set to private! Because!). European millenials know how the damn internet works, so we like to keep our faces to ourselves until we get a real job, thank you very much.

I mean, look, it’s one thing to ask a question if you don’t know there was already a decision on this. It’s one thing to ask again because after all, we do have some newbies as well who may or may not want some pictures of themselves. That’s all fine.

But the Blatherer went ahead and contacted a professional photographer and got an estimate for group and single pictures. Mind, he did that literally five minutes after he said “Hey, we should have photos!” and literally three days before he thought to ask the twelve other people on the team about this. And now he keeps going on about it via e-mail. “I don’t understand why we can’t have pics!” Because the rest of us said no last year. Just because you are here now doesn’t change the minds of everyone else. Also, money. Why should our collective fund go to something only one of us wants and which is no use to our target audience? Hell, I even offered to lend out my old reflex camera if he absolutely wants a damn picture of himself so badly. But nope, it needs to be professional!

Now there are about 30+ e-mails in my inbox of people going back and forth and trying to get him to accept a solution that does not cost more than a hundred bucks. Does anyone beside me realise how much this guy is trying to run the show? Is anyone else tired? Is anyone else losing their motivation?

Also, we need an emergency meeting to discuss the new statutes he’s drawn up.

Someone should talk to this young man. But why me? Don’t we have people to deal with this? Like psychologists? Or HR? Or hitmen? Anyone?

World’s Best Allrounder

If I had magical engineering powers, what would I build? Seriously?

A TARDIS, duh! Post’s over.

Oh, you wanna know why? Well, think for a minute, will ya? Sure, I could build a replicator to replicate food and other goods. OR I could go to a future where that already exists. Sure, I could build a robot servant. OR I could go to a time period where that’s already mainstream. Sure I could build a super fast quantum computer. OR I could pop into 2236 and try theirs.

I mean, I could also build a space ship… oh wait, I have one!

Or a time machine… oh wait, I have one!

Or a really big wardrobe that doesn’t take much space on the outside, oh hey, the Tardis’s got one.

Maybe some sort of magical laundry device, oh wait, we got one of those, too.

I guess I could just build something really impressive to steal your girlfriend, oh wait, I got a spaceship, chicks dig spaceships.

Literally, a Tardis is the only thing you’ll ever need, because the thing comes standard with so much technology and everything else will be invented eventually and somewhere, you just need to go there and get it. And avoid ill-tempered bastards in silly hats and robes while you’re at it.

Duh.

Why Gallows Humour Will Keep Me Alive Until 98

The other day I saw a tramway decorated with Christmas lights, a Christmas wreath and a big bow in front. Just driving around, content as you please, with some people on board who seemed to be having themselves a glorious time. And the first thing that popped into my mind was, I want that for my funeral. Party train! All the way to the cemetery! Put a table cloth on my coffin and use it as a buffet table! Beat that for a wake!

My former therapist would remind me that planning elaborate funerals for myself is neither normal nor conducive to my mental health. I have another theory about my funeral obsession: If I plan it in a way that makes me sorry I’m going to miss it – you know, by being all dead and stuff – this will convince my jerkbrain to stay alive through sheer stubborn bloodymindedness. I see my therapist wagging his finger at me as the train goes past, but what does he know?

Anyway, it’s almost midnight, I went to bed two hours ago in a heroic attempt to get a decent night’s sleep because I have an important presentation tomorrow, and here I am, wide-eyed as a marigold. Oh, who cares about presentations? Who cares if I look like an extra from The Walking Dead and sound like one, too? It’s my own stupid fault anyway because I made the mistake of reading. Reading before going to bed! That thing people do to fall asleep! But somehow reading doesn’t make me sleepy, reading recharges me. Even if it’s reading for class. Boring reading. Oh, when will I learn?

It’s all because I went to bed at 10 pm. I’m my own Dorothy Parker now. If only I’d learned from her example, I’d have known that nothing good ever comes from that. Then I wouldn’t be in this mess right now, typing away at almost midnight. Reason, prudence, common sense that tell you to get a solid eight – what have they done for me lately?

Well, it’s not just the reading. The stress might have something to do with it. Presentations are stressful. And everything else in life, too. But the night before the performance, that’s so me! And yes, a presentation is a performance. If you can perform gender, you can perform being a normal human. And there’s the wagging forefinger again. Yes, yes, it doesn’t do to sort people into ‘normal’ and myself into ‘not normal’. No matter how true it is in practice. But what does the old quack know, anyway? If this whole therapy thing had been any good I wouldn’t be in this mess right now  at 11:40 pm when all the decent people are just heading out the door.

If I fall asleep right now I still get seven hours. That’s a big If. Almost as big as the joke I’ve got planned for my cremation. It all depends on whether or not I can convince someone to hide five pounds of popcorn kernels in my coffin.

Again with the funerals. Yes, yes, I shouldn’t. But what can I do? It’s what I think about when I’m stressed. I’m not suicidal; I think. To use the words of an ex-friend, if I was really suicidal I’d be dead. Either way, no one inherits anything unless I get a train to chug-a chug-a me over to my semi-eternal resting place. And whoever does the best locomotion at the reception gets the good silverware. If I have any good silverware, that is.

Dorothy Parker would just get up and read her head off. Then again, I’m pretty sure she also drank herself to death. Maybe I should do that. But booze is costly, like… really now. I got my dad some fine whisky for Christmas because the man’s a connoisseur, or whatever that godawful French word is for people who like expensive stuff once in a while. Spell-check will tell me. Ah, there it is. And I spent an ungodly amount of money on just two bottles. I mean, I suppose if you die penniless that’s just excellent financial planning, but still. What if I’d need an emergency bottle of whatever I’m drinking myself to the pearly gates with? And you can’t drink yourself to hell on cheap booze. That’s just not classy. Who ever heard of someone dying from Heineken, or Bud Light, or Eristoff Ice? No, no, no, it has to be the fancy stuff. Otherwise it’s just sad. Death shouldn’t make you sad, that’s what taxes are for.

Maybe I should try for those seven hours. Or a bit less than seven now. Maybe my upstairs neighbour should get their bladder checked, because they always get up to pee at the exact same time each night. Thin goddamn walls. I wonder if they can hear me type. Are they thinking about their funerals, too? They should, because I’m calling dibs on the train.

I suppose I’ll just leave ol’ Dorothy here for other sleepless minds to read (or people in the southern hemisphere who are wondering why I’m talking about midnight at, like, noon.): “I might repeat to myself, slowly and soothingly, a list of quotations beautiful from minds profound; if I can remember any of the damn things.”

You tell ’em, Dot. Now, post this or sleep on it? Reason, prudence and common sense are sitting in the corner, drinking fizzy water and shaking their maiden-auntly heads. Eh… I’ll just smash my face into the touch screen and see what happens. And then I’ll try to get some 6 and a half hours. Maybe.

WoW Wednesday: Skeletons Doing Stuff

If you run around Azeroth, or Outlands, or anywhere at all you’ll notice one thing: no matter where you go, there’s lotsa dead mofos. And sometimes, they make you wonder just how the hell they died, because… huh? So just in time for Halloween, let’s look how skeletons in WoW spend their free time.

1.

Skeleton number one, this guy who met with an accident in the middle of a drum solo:

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“Draenor must hear my sick beats!” *shooty shoot* “Everyone’s a critic!”

2.

And I’m sure we all have that one friend that you hate to play board games with because they take for-fucking-ever to make a move because they’re ‘thinking’:

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“Don’t rush me, Timothy.”

3.

The most fun for some people is going for a swim. Unless you’re in Draenor. Then you should probably stay as far away from any body of water as possible:

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4.

What’s more fun than being a corpse under water? Playing Romeo and Juliet in the fortress of Stromgarde:

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Two tinkers, both alike in dignity, In fair Gnomeregan, where we lay our scene, From ancient grudge break to new mutiny, Where gnomish blood makes gnomish hands unclean

Okay, so maybe I’m reading too much into that bottle. And maybe I’m slightly ignoring the overall gore of that table.

5.

If you’re in Stormwind, avoid the barber. Why? ‘Cause:

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I wouldn’t trust any barber who can’t even properly hide the corpses of his victims.

6.

It was a normal day until Sudden Inexplicable Death. These guys are chillin’ atop a mountain in Blasted Lands. The crystal in the middle looks suspiciously like some Twilight’s Hammer accessory. Maybe this is what happens to Twilight’s Hammer’s interns?

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“Join Twilight’s Hammer clan, they said. You’ll have fun, they said.”

7.

Such a nice day for fishing, you think. No one’s gonna gank you right out in the sticks in Tirisfal, you think.

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Until someone stabs you right in the… left butt cheek, apparently?

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Probably while trying to fish out this gnome who had a terrible plane accident:

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8.

And then there are these skeletons in Vale of Eternal Blossoms who can’t even.

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…decide what the hell they are, that is. They look like some sort of weird Saurok at a first look. Rest assured, they are not:

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If this is a reference to something I have absolutely no idea to what and I’m not sure I want to know.

9.

So your grandma was making her famous Nagrand apple pie and sends you to pick some apples, but then you took an axe to the face:

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On top of a flying piece of rock, in old Nagrand. That’s as good an explanation as any.

10.

This is one of those things that are not just weird, but take an express train to Uncanny Valley. First you think, oh how cute, a little raft.

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Then you get closer and it’s like, whuh?

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But the thing that throws me is not the pink doll, or the judgy looking birds, or the three empty bottles. It’s the fact that this fella has been dead long enough to completely decompose, yet somehow the fruit still looks fresh.

And that concludes this week’s skeletons. Next week we’ll look at… I dunno. I’m pretty busy this week. Let’s keep it a surprise!

 

Rant Day! Things That Pissed Me Off, Oct 19-25

Item 1: Dear guy on the tram, I’m sorry I spent the entire ride staring at your Captain America belt buckle, I’m sure you thought I was staring at your penis, sorry for making you feel objectified (and double sorry if you enjoyed the attention). I mean, I guess I could have just screamed “Captain America!” and pointed straight at your general belt area, yet somehow I feel that would have been worse. But, honestly? A rather large belt buckle on low rise pants is nothing but a penis advertisement. A dick ad. A cock sign. If you put a very large and colourful metal circle directly over the bulge, chances are all eyes are gonna go straight to the money maker. I mean, your loose fitting hoody was tucked behind it. So…

Item 2: More shapely dudes need to wear slim fitting pants. So I get on the tram and immediately my thoughts set back human evolution by about a million years, because daaaaayummm, he got them long lean legs! Not that I always want to get on public transport and have my inner horny ape come out, but… actually I do. So thanks, guy in the tight blue pants. Nothing against ogling women’s legs all the time but a bit of variety doesn’t come amiss. Get it together, every other dude!

Item 3: Whyyyy does everything have to be done at once and by me? Are there no other people in the world? Has the zombie apocalypse finally happened? Why do I have to do everything?

Item 4: All my deadlines are, through none of my doing, really close together and I’m having a mild freak out. How am I going to write all those papers?!

Item 5: I need to get a grip on myself and pester people about supervision. Like, reaaaalllyyyy get on their nerves until one of them shows mercy. Ugh, people contact, eww.

Item 6: Another complaint about public transport? Say it ain’t so! Dear group of youths (six of them! Fucking six of them! Oh, the humanity!) who looked like you escaped from a Pinterest fashion board, why do you think leaning against the door is a good idea? Especially when we’re approaching a much frequented station? Prepare for the Expectant Eyebrow Raise of Doom. Then prepare for a pair of cheap plastic Chelseas to land on your suede Oxfords. Get. Out. Of. My. Way.

Ohhhh, whyyyyy must it be too cold and wet already to bike everywhere?

WoW Wednesday: Twelve Things I Found Flying Around the Coasts of Pandaria

Pandaria might just be my favourite expansion when it comes to visuals. I mean, look at this:

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This is serene as fuck! I had something similar to this as my desktop background for a while. You really get the feeling that Blizzard went all out trying to create something beautiful, and if you compare it to earlier expansions your jaw should drop by how far graphics technology has come in only, what, no even ten years.

And because the guys at Blizzard have a sense of humour, they also keep adding funny little bits into the game. Because I already did one of these lists for Draenor, today you’re getting the previous expansion, Pandaria. Look, I even prettied myself up for you with my fall gear:

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#transmogswag

So I did the math and going through my old screenshots trying to find the right ones was actually taking up more time than just doing the tour again, so that’s what I did. See how nice I am? Here’s some things and places where quests don’t necessarily lead you. All along the coastline. Enjoy!

1. This reference to Up north of Jade Forest

 I mean…

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There’s also this Pandaren called Kar:

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And this grummle with a huge backpack:

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2. Sri-La

Maybe this shouldn’t be part of this list because I think there was actually a quest leading there,  but on the off chance that someone missed a quest or two, here it is anyway. This is a small Pandaran village off the coast of Jade Forest and you’ll know by the wreckage of Horde and Alliance ships all around that their peaceful life has just taken an unexpected turn.

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The good people here enjoy fishing:

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Lots of fishing:

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And now there’s interesting Goblin wreckage to look at while fishing (you can tell it’s a Goblin zeppelin because it’s crashed):

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3. This pandaren fisher who doesn’t like Alliance

This looks cosy, doesn’t it? Not if you’re Alliance, because this fella right here will start whacking you with his fishing rod:

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4. This little Pandaren fisher village in Krasarang Wilds:

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There’s this little guy with his giant goldfish:

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And this kid who looks exactly like the other kid who wants to be a shaman when he grows up:

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Maybe they’re twins?

And this kid flying a kite:

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5. Where Serpent’s Spine meets the sea:

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And from the other side…

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Eeegh!

6. This song reference:

This is a little pandaren called Adele:

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She’s rolling around a place called Widening Deep. Get it yet?

7. A big unfriendly kraken:

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There is actually a quest where you have to beat this thing. Apparently though, it doesn’t die, because it’s still floating around near the northern coast of Townlong Steppes, so if you’re planning on going for a swim there… don’t.

Generally swimming is a bad idea, there are big evil things in the water everywhere:

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8. This little cave north-west of Kun Lai Summit:

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Oh, what could be in there?

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Huh? A hozen giving a drum solo? On four bongos? I mean, there’s also bones…

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But mostly just this guy.

9. This hut containing a tuskarr and a hozen:

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 The tuskarr is named Wally. So… does that mean I found Wally?

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10. This flying tortoise:

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If you /wave at it, it will follow you for a bit, but it’s pretty slow.

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11. This woman swimming laps north of Kun Lai:

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And her enthusiastic pandaren trainer:

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12. The Secret Aerie:

Tucked between Kun Lai and Jade Forest you’ll find a little pandaren mountain village:

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Hard working pandaren building boats, because everyone on Pandaria is always somehow hammering on a boat:

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Arguing about pugs:

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Training falcons:

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This woman hacking on fish bones (what even?):

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This seems to be the boss:

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…okay then.

 And that’s all from this expansion. Next week, we’ll look at skeletons. Jup. Lotsa skeletons.

WoW Wednesday! Yes, This Is A Thing Now.

Because I had so much fun with my last World of Warcraft based entry I’m going to make this a semi-regular thing. At least until I get bored. Hope you’re ready to get down and nerdy! All you players, enjoy! All you not-players, prepare to be converted!

Today’s topic is…

Nine Things I Found While Flying Around Draenor

(May or may not contain spoilers for I don’t know, just play the damn game and stop bothering me.)

So I finally got off my ass and finished the damn achievement that allows me to use my flying mounts again. It was a long and gruelling task, but the pay-off was great. Free at last! And of course the first thing I did, because that’s what I always do, is hopping on my carpet and flying around Draenor. Literally around the entire continent. I love doing that! Do you even know the kind of things you discover that way?! It’s awesome!

The good thing since Cataclysm is that new continents are no longer closed off at the coastline as they still mostly are in old Azeroth, like Eastern Kingdoms and Kalimdor. If you fly or ride around those places you generally see a lot of disenchanting rock and some grass. But since we got our old world flying permits in Cata, landscapes on the outer rims of continents became a little more whimsical.

Now, I love flying around places. I love it so much, back in the old days I’d stock up on Elixirs of Water Walking, climbed on my mount and went around the world like that. Obviously, this is easier with a flying mount. Even more obviously, this tradition had to be upheld with Draenor. And I found some stuff.

1.These random chairs in Gorgrond

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 Who the hell puts chairs in the middle of fucking nowhere? Blizzard, that’s ‘oo. I had a good laugh.

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2. Murdered Draenei

And just like that, I stopped laughing, because less than a hundred feet away:

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3. This weird little cage with a skeleton in it

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How? Why? Who? No idea.

4. This weird orc drinking with a skeleton in a cave in Talador

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A cave full of booze. A lone orc. A skeleton. This is either the beginning of a love story or a really elaborate joke.

5. This pretty cave

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Btw, if you click on the glittery flower in the middle it will attack you. Draenor, ladies and gentlemen: Where the mountains are huge, the plains are endless, and the flora is hungry.

6. Chillin’ with my new best friend Barney Farley, ogre dancer extraordinaire

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You can find this guy in Nagrand near the Ring of Blood, putting on the ritz and a show.

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7. This random island north of Highmaul

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Okay, I don’t remember if this place is in any way relevant to the Highmaul raid (probably isn’t), but there’s an island. With skeletons on it. And a disappointingly empty cave.

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8. This sweet old hermit and his dog

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Just a sweet old man in the south of Talador, and while you’re here why don’t you help him with his little Iron Horde problem?

9. John and Yoko of Draenor

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I mean, a pair of lovey-dovey Draenei having a picnic while talking about giving peace a chance? See what you did there, Blizzard.

And that’s all for this week. I’m not really sure what I’ll do for next week’s instalment, soooo it’s a surprise! (I hate surprises. I’m sure you do, too, but I’m mean like that.)