Introvert Truths

There is no such thing as too much alone time.

Dim lights are comforting, get over it. No, I don’t need more light in here.

Noise is the enemy. Not even necessarily loud ones, but quieter, persistent ones. Like people’s voices.

People are not evil. They don’t actually mean to hurt me or encroach on my boundaries deliberately (most of the time). They just can’t take a goddamn hint.

Introvert hints are so subtle, to other people they sometimes just look like blinking or breathing. This is a problem.

Social gatherings are not evil, but they’re overwhelming.

A minimum mental preparation time of no less than 12 hours is to be given before any form of social contact. This does not include sleep time.

Okay, 1,2,3,4, smile, say “Hello”, hand over card, pay, walk away calmly, heart rate is up, keep panic at bay, regulate breathing, don’t think about how you sounded when you just said “Hello”, just keep walking. Another successful interaction with a cashier!

Time to go to bed, or rather, time to replay every conversation of the day and agonize over how they could have gone better if I had just said something else/been funnier/been more confident/had not been in the middle of fleeing the building.

When used sparingly, Christmas lights will cheer you up.

Commenting on YouTube videos in your head counts as conversation.

Saturday night and we’re in the spot… on the sofa.

That moment when going into space and making contact with alien civilisations seems easier than leaving the house to buy milk.

More books than friends. More books than family members. More books than Facebook friend suggestions.

That moment when you buy something at a fancy, intimidating place and the guy at the counter was nice and you didn’t say anything stupid and inside you’re like: “I’M SO HAPPY, I CAN DO ANYTHING, I COULD PUNCH A BEAR, I COULD TALK TO A STRANGER ON THE BUS, GO ME, WOOOO!”

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So James Joyce, a Burnt Out Grad Student, and a Pair of Black Socks Walk Into a Bar…

Literally, my stat connection for this year so far reads like the beginning of a beer-fuelled joke. One that ends in something stupid, too, like “And then he says, ‘That’s not a duck’!”

Why were they successful, comparatively? Well, one thing: timing. Tuesdays are popular, somehow? Second: my tag game getting stronger.

Anything else? I dunno, topics? It’s not every day you see the late, not-so-great James Joyce getting slut-shamed by a big-mouthed grad student who’s in the midst of a slight breakdown after the umpteenth Joyce lecture complete with an interpretation of Ulysses. Actually, in hindsight, maybe the prof was just making all of it up on the spot because he secretly hates Joyce too and wants to discourage all the hopeful bright-eyed students from ever reading the damn thing. Certainly worked for me, kudos to you, sir.

Also… I just imagine I was not the only student struggling with a paper deadline in January and lengthily venting my frustrations, so I guess that’s why. Seriously, is there anything worse than writing a paper you don’t really want to write?

Actually, yes, there is. Writing a paper to impress your future thesis supervisor is definitely worse.

And the last one was a daily prompt that had nothing whatsoever to do with black socks despite that being the title, in which I wax less than poetically about my inability to communicate like a basic human. Again. But daily prompts have a large audience, so duh, numbers game.

Also, people keep clicking on my Tale of Two Titties post even thought it’s at least two years old by now. Which was also a daily prompt. With a pandering eye-catching, attention-grabbing, market-research-approved title. I dare you NOT to click. It’s not very good, anyway. Okay, so it has a couple of tits in it, but that’s REALLY NOT that interesting. Seriously, don’t click.

… you just clicked it, didn’t you? Bad reader!

Thoughts You Have While Writing an Academic Paper

Stage 0: Having a topic assigned to you

Okay, this topic. Well, could have been worse. Could do with some instructions, though, but I guess we’re practising academic minimalism again. Time to hit the library!

Stage 1: Primary literature

Bored.

Bored.

Bored.

Bored.

Weird sex scene.

Bored.

Bored.

God, how many more pages?

Bored.

Dear Author, do you have anything interesting to say in this?

Bored.

Hella bored.

You, Mister White Heterosexual Protagonist, are a waste of literary resources with your constant existential angsty whining.

Bored.

Stage 2: Research and secondary literature

Why are all the books I wanted taken? How many people were assigned this topic again? Is this just really popular right now?

Why isn’t this digitalized yet, anyway?

Why isn’t everything digitalized yet?

Why am I not digitalized?

So, online resources… what? Nothing? Try some other search terms…

Nothing? Oh, come on!

There we go, fucking system on the fritz again…

1982?! What the hell kinda old shit is that?

Seriously, library system, would it kill you to open a tab normally?

This one looks promising… no access?! What the hell?

Okay, how about this… 1979, nope. 1985, nope. 1987, also nope. 1974, what the fuck, is there no new research on this writer?

Okay, fuck this, shift the focus of this paper slightly…

There we go. About 25,000 results for the civil rights movement. None of which have anything to do with this writer. You know what, fuck it, I can come up with some bullshit myself.

Stage 3: Reading and selecting quotations

This has nothing whatsoever to do with my topic.

This has nothing whatsoever to do with my topic.

This has nothing whatsoever to do with my topic.

Nice read. This has nothing whatsoever to do with my topic.

One useful quote, sold!

This is okay… but it’s old. Can I quote this even if it’s more than fifteen years old? Welp, I can.

What’s the deal with psychoanalysis in literally everything, why do these ancient fossils see penis everywhere? And what does it say about them that they do? That’s not what the D in Ph.D. stands for, dammit!

So this is the extremely renowned academic my professor likes, definitely have to throw in a quote of his.

Copying machine? Psshh! What you think I have a phone for?

Picture of book page. Picture of book page. Picture of book page. Selfie! Picture of book page. Picture of book page. Picture of book page….

Okay, on to the PDF articles.

New word document, make a nice list of quotations for future reference.

Why won’t this copy and paste!? Come on, I don’t want to type the entire paragraph! Okay, this can be copied and pasted…. aaaand suddenly it’s a completely unreadable font. There’s not enough tea in the world to get me through this.

OMG, I CAN COPY THIS, PRAISE THE MOTHERFUCKING LORD!

Hm, this researcher really knows their stuff, but I can’t quote just them. Doesn’t any of the others say the same thing, only different?

You know what, I should just insert a hyperlink and quote the entire article, this some good shit. I wonder what else they wrote….

No, no, focus. Need to select quotes. So which are the most useful?

WHAT DO YOU MEAN I CAN’T COPY AND PASTE THIS?!

Stage 4: Writing

Structure… Intro, whatever. Second, characters, because the old fossil who’ll be grading this changed his mind and now he also wants old school general character analysis and narratology like this is some fucking undergrad course. What does this have to do with my topic?! When I said instructions would be nice I meant something useful, like which style sheet you want, or what are your criteria for grading! Okay, next section, my actual fucking topic. Four, no… three subsections. Yeah, I can pull those two into one section. Alright. Conclusion, whatever.

Okay, introduction. “This paper discusses the thing you’re about to read so you might just want to go ahead and do that”.

Nope. I’ll get on with that later.

No one cares about all these minor fucking characters, this is not the focus of my paper, why are you making me do this? I’ll do it later.

Finally, the real stuff. Time to write!

Okay, doing pretty well, and we have… still at least 6000 words to go.

Bored.

Bored.

How many times can you say ‘however’?

How many times in a row can you quote the same person?

Maybe I’ll just paraphrase.

Come on, there must be a synonym for this!

Fuck it, quotation it is.

Can’t start two successive sentences with ‘therefore’, dammit, re-write…

I’m so hungry.

Urgh, I want a cake!

“Mentions”, no. “Draws the readers’ attention to”, no. “Deals with”, oh not again. “Discusses”, hell, I just used that! How do you say ‘It’s a thing in this novel’ without actually saying ‘It’s a thing in this novel’?

Is ‘moreover’ even a word?

This sounds stupid. Re-write. Now it sounds worse. Re-write. Oh for the love of… Re-write.

You know what, just quote it.

Seriously, why am I always hungry when I’m writing? How many calories can thinking possibly burn?

What’s that word that sounds like “comprise”?

Uuuuuuuuuurrrrrrrrrrrgggggghhhhhhh.

Maybe I should take a break.

Cat video time!

Somehow the paper did not write itself in the last two hours while I was watching cat videos.

Okay, back to work.

Maybe I should check my e-mail.

Maybe I should check facebook, what if something important is going on?

Actually, this place needs cleaning.

Somehow the paper did not write itself in the last three hours I spent cleaning the entire house.

Why does ‘therefore’ even exist?

Stomach: FEED ME, SEYMOUR!

If I add emphasis to a quote, do I do that at the end in square brackets or right after the author’s name? I dunno, it looks weird in square brackets.

Why won’t this style sheet tell me how to indicate that I added emphasis?

Why won’t any style sheet tell me how to indicate that I added emphasis?

You know what, fuck it, square brackets it is, even if it looks weird.

Still need 2000 words, time to bullshit my way through character analysis.

“This character…” is really boring. “This character represents…” my will to live throwing itself out of the window. “The main characteristics of this character”, oh my god, you can’t have ‘characteristics’ and ‘character’ in one sentence! “The protagonist is…” obviously an author self-insert. “The female protagonist…” could be replaced with a table lamp because she’s only a love interest, and no straight guy in the history of ever wants to fall in love with an interesting person with like thoughts and ideas ‘n shit.

There’s not enough vodka in the world to get me through this.

I know I had a quote for this somewhere, where the hell is it?!

Things I accomplished today: Won three imaginary arguments. Things I didn’t get done: Work on paper.

I’m going to eat the entire fridge.

Is this English?

Do I even know what I mean?

I don’t know, what is the proposition?

Endemic across regional boundaries, yes, totally.

What?

Maybe I should take a break.

Why is it suddenly two days before the deadline?!

Works Cited Page… I did not actually quote this guy. Neither this one. Nope, this one’s out, too. And this one wasn’t actually that useful. And this one said the same thing as the other guy. Jeez, I hope that’s enough sources.

Wait, where’s that one guy?! Oh, there he is.

Wait, did I forget the one about desegregation?! Oh, there it is.

OH MY GOD, IS THIS THING STILL NOT DONE?! How many more pages do I need?

I don’t wannaaaaa….

Maybe I can get a deadline extension.

But I have this exam the week after, so if I had this out of my way I’d be able to concentrate on the exam a lot better….

Uuuuuuuuuurrrrrrrrrggggggghhhh.

Whatever, just type some 700 words on those shitty characters and drop it in the secretary’s office, who the hell even cares.

Wait, why the hell am I only finding this article now?! Oh my god, this is exactly my topic! RE-WRITE!

Are we done yet?

Are we done yet?

Are we done yet?

Conclusion… some bullshit… “As demonstrated”… “clearly illustrates”… “Furthermore”… “Finally, the main point”… Jesus, can’t you just read the fucking thing?

Stage 5: Home stretch

Okay, time to edit out all my mistakes.

Why the hell do I keep typing ‘at least’ as ‘as least’?

Why are keyboards in this order, even?

Who in the hell decided it was a good idea to put ‘i’ next to ‘o’? Which prankster wanted me to keep writing ‘in’ when I mean ‘on’?

Oh fuck, I have this part twice, how did that happen?!

Okay, but now it’s done.

PRINT, MY SLAVE!

Printer? Hello-ho, printer?

Uuuuurrrrrggghhh!

PRINTER!

Oh, come on…

Who’s a nice little printer?

Why can’t I just hand in the PDF via e-mail? What year is this, 1403?

PRINT, YOU INK-FILLED MALCONTENT, OR I WILL END YOU AND CURSE YOUR OFFSPRING TO THE SEVENTH GENERATION!

Finally!

Fine, don’t have an office hour, I’ll drop it in the secretary’s office, they’ll get it to you.

WHAT DO YOU MEAN, YOU DIDN’T GET IT?!

See, this is precisely why this kinda shit should to be handled via e-mail!

Oh, so you did get it? Just buried under all the other papers, is it?

Ugh, I don’t even care any more. If anyone needs me, I’ll be in the couch, crying into a tub of Ben & Jerry’s.

Wait, did I remember to close the quotation marks in that one quote I shortened?

Uuuuuuuuuurrrrrrrrrrrgggggghhhhhhh.

2015 Recap: A Year in Numbers

Let me speak to the manager, I want my money back! 2015 wasn’t the year the prophets Marty McFly and Dr. Brown promised us. But hey… wasn’t that bad, right? I can’t believe it’s been a year since I didn’t become a better person!

So sometime in mid January I thought, hey, wouldn’t it be cool if I started writing down all the productive things I do every day so I don’t feel like such a deadbeat slacker? Yeah, so… I didn’t always write everything down because I didn’t choose the slacker life, the slacker life chose me, so I forgot a few days here and then, but by and large, it’s a really long list. The thing I forgot the most to write down was, of all things, cooking. Probably because I debated with myself forever if that even counts as productive, then decided, hell yeah, not least because I hate it.

I’m not sure what to make of all these numbers, though. A 365 day year has 8760 hours. A full-time (40 hours a week) job has you working for roughly 2000 hours if you don’t take any vacation time which around here is usually six weeks. Considering I spent more than 3000 hours sleeping, and roughly 5000 hours being awake, nothing I did this year is really that impressive. Except my sleeping skills. So make of this list what you will.

Without further ado, here’s my life in from Jan 23 – Dec 30 2015:

I cooked 197 meals (probably more like 250, though).

Vacuum cleaned 178 times, averaging 59 hours.

Dusted a total of 179 times, which comes to about 29 hours.

Did 48 weekend grocery hauls (not counting all the small trips to the store in between, that’d be too many).

Ran about 122 loads of laundry.

Ironed clothes a total of 41 times because I always wait until the last possible moment to fucking iron.

Spent roughly 210 hours working my sort-of-job, but considering I do a lot at home, I’m not so sure about the actual number. (Told ya it’s not much.) Didn’t count the freelance stuff I did this year because I lost track. And didn’t write anything down.

Spent 4660 minutes doing sports, which is roughly 77 hours, so… could be better.

Including research, paper writing and presentation preparation, I had some 500 hours dedicated to university.

I was ill three times, once for almost two weeks, the other times only for a few days.

So what does this mean for 2016? Well, I should definitely work out more. And there’s still the getting-a-decent-job-issue that’s been nagging me since, dunno, infancy? Breaking news, my country apparently hit another record for unemployment. Joy. New Year’s resolution: Overthrow government. Anyway, what else? Ah yes, do more uni stuff. Though seeing as the Big Project, i.e. thesis, is slowly coming up this won’t be a problem (or will it? Dun dun DUUUN!).

I’m just kidding. My New Year’s resolution is to stop lying to myself about lifestyle changes.

Happy New Year! Here’s to a fresh start at binge eating, boozing and slacking off!

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Rant Day! A short and sweet list on mid-December complaints!

Item 1: Last year I was full of good cheer and Christmas spirit. This year… nah. I don’t know what happened? Why am I not being all merry and annoying?

Item 2: My back’s been hurting for a week now and it’s not getting better. What’s happening in there? Not fair, I’ve been working out, I should not have back pain.

Item 3: Managed to pull a muscle in my arm this week. On the train. Because those hold-onto-sling-thingies they have in trains basically just exist for you to swing around better in case of a sudden stop. No really, they stop you from face-planting into the window by an inch but that’s the end of their usefulness, you have to do the rest yourself. Balance your body plus fifteen pounds of winter clothing. In a stuffed train. While holding a cake with the other hand. Somehow not that easy.

Item 4: I know it’s the holidays again, Boyfriend, but stop getting on my nerves about the marriage thing. I will not plan a huge event for your millions of relatives when I only have five, out of which three are able to actually show up. And don’t come at me with your newly-found practicality. “Oh, you’ll get a widow’s pension when I die!” Okay. That’s nice. But actually I wanted a reason to live with you forever, not a reason to kill you and make it look like an accident.

Item 5: Christmas presents. What do you do when your mom deserves an island and you can afford a candle?

Random praise: Thank you, Rap Critic on YouTube, for sharing my sentiments on Hotline Bling and expressing them way more eloquently than I could manage.

Tired, Tired, Tired, Tired, Tired, BTW I’m Doing a Freewrite, Tired

You don’t need to be Bruce Springsteen to be nothing but tired (whaddup, ancient song reference!). When I think about all the uni work I have to do I freeze. I mean, the inevitable deadline stress will, in all likeliness, kick my brain into gear just in time, because I work better under stress even if I feel like dying. Works every time. It’s kind of worrisome.

Then there’s the topic of supervisor and how everyone freezes in terror likewise when confronted with a topic that isn’t Shakespeare, isn’t British culture, and isn’t applied linguistics. Sorry, people who are much farther ahead in academia than me, I ain’t doing boring topics. Had enough of those as a lowly undergrad. And as a lowly grad, too, to be honest. But we’re not going into that.

I don’t understand how a single person can feel so stressed out when there’s objectively speaking not so much to do. I mean, there’s uni work, and then there’s chores, with a minuscule sprinkling of actual work in between. So… how is that stressing me out? I mean, I’m definitely not getting enough sleep. That’s one thing. And I dunno, I mean, academic writing on literature is at least a half-creative task (mostly because bullshit takes time to come up with) and you can’t rush creative shit. Half creative because you have to stick to a certain register, jargon, and layout, but you also can’t write the same style sentence fifteen times in a row. And you can’t start sentences with ‘and’, not even if it would make everything easier. You can’t just line up quotes, which is basically all you do anyway, but still you can’t. You can’t just not quote, because this isn’t the 1700s anymore, you can’t just have original thought if not at least two other people had the same thought within the last 15 years (otherwise the source is too old, which by implication means your thought is too old). You can’t just say there’s this thing, and this thing, and this thing and because of all the things there is that thing. You suddenly find yourself writing items such as ‘therefore’ and ‘furthermore’ and ‘moreover’ and ‘theretofore’ (I’m not even kidding, and I swear that’s not even a real word.) It’s all patently unnecessary, says I, long-term lover of terribly long words as long as I have spell-check, and we’re bullshitting each other in amicable agreement.

That’s a lot of hating on academic writing. I usually like that shit. But there’s such a thing as too much of a good thing (again with the things, there’s too many things). Why couldn’t I have been a milkmaid? Oh right, because I’m allergic to cows and milk and hay and nature in general. Also, that’s not a proper job title anymore. I wonder if they call it lactic specialist now. If they can call a janitor ‘surface technician’ it’s not that big of a step.

No, really. ‘Oberflächentechniker’. It’s a thing. It’s the thing about German, you can make anything sound super serious. In English you have to work a little for it, throw in some Latin. Like I once advised my mom to call herself not a housewife but a self-taught, self-employed domestic management specialist.

Academic writing is a lot like this. Take a concept, throw some fancy sounding words at it. That’s all there is to it, really. It’s surprisingly difficult. I better get back to doing the thing, then.

It’s like the things never end.

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?

Raise Your Hand If You Got Stuff Done Today and Already Regret Not Staying in Bed

Sometimes I forget that other people do not always share my knowledge about stuff. Like, a language I speak but they don’t. Or a book I’ve read but they don’t. Or anthropology (what? It’s a hobby). And then they say something about anything and I look at them like they’ve grown another head. I’ve officially become that person. I mean, it’s not like I’m very into making friends, so I’ll just keep doing that, I guess? Or maybe I could make an effort. But then again, I spent the better part of my life nodding along and pretending other people just weren’t stupid, just misguided or uninformed, when they were being clearly stupid. I’m over that. I’m not taking any chances. Some people are misguided or uninformed. Most people are stupid. That’s the entirety of humanity explained in one sentence.

On an unrelated note, raise your hand if you got stuff done today! I have such a list today. I also have such a headache. Boyfriend told me recently “Man, you really love your lists” while looking over my shoulder at the colourful mess in my calendar. No. Not really. It’s just the only way for me to stay sane. How am I supposed to remember everything if I don’t write it down? Lists are just like aspirin. Who actually likes aspirin? I just need it so my head doesn’t explode. Same thing.

To do lists should be like express checkouts, if you have more than five items it’s too much. But sometimes you just got to cram everything into one single day because the only day you actually have time is Sunday, and if you’re trying to run errands that involve shops? No dice. So everything I have to do somehow accumulates on Monday. Because it needs doing as soon as possible. If only so I can sleep on the weekend.

Everything in my calender is colour coded. Makes you kinda sad seeing that the social event colour is the one that’s used least often. People have been flaking out on me recently at an exponentially growing rate. Everyone around me is always going out and doing stuff, but somehow they always cancel on me and if I want to do stuff by myself I’m suddenly ill. I don’t even feel like doing anything anymore. It’s like the universe is going “Romani ite domum” in my general direction. I’m not even Roman! Let me out of the house!

I mean, I went to the hardware store today. Does that count as a fun activity? No, not really. Every time I go to the hardware store by myself people look at me like I’ve grown another head. Despite all the Youtube tutorials, people still seem to think that women have fuck all business being in a hardware store. I never get these kind of looks when I’m there with Boyfriend, even though he can’t tell a nail from a screw or a drill bit for wood from one for metal. It’s bad enough I have to walk through the depressing industrial area that’s only been part of the city for forty years and still looks like outskirts. Those grey buildings are depressing. Those trees are depressing. Those people here are depressing. It’s like having to wade through a swamp of drizzly afternoons and cigarette smoke to get to the damned hardware store.

But where else am I going to get adhesive insulation strips for the bloody windows? [Tangent: It’s been raining so fucking much recently, and I’m really, really tired of all that water coming in, like isn’t that why windows were invented, to keep like water and wind and insects out? What is this shit? Why is there half an inch of water on the inside window sill every time it rains? Where my new windows at, house management, you said October, now it’s March?!] And some coat hooks would be nice, but of course they’re hidden somewhere in the far back, not, as any reasonable person, aka me, would assume with all the other coat hooks, the ones that need drilling, or even in the bath aisle. Nope. “Well, they’re not here in electronics,” thusly spake the only staff member I could locate, to which my mind went “Duh!” That’s the reason I don’t like asking retail workers for help, those damn snarky answers. “Maybe try it far back, to the right, where the car stuff is.”

Where the car stuff is that’s also where the coat hooks are. No, really. I mean…

No, I mean seriously, they were there. But who decides to stack the coat hooks with the motor oil? I mean…

And thus I was reminded why I hate the offline life, nothing in here makes sense! And the search function is being a snarky bastard!

Bah, humbug. I’m not leaving the house tomorrow. There, happy now, universe?

Nine Reasons I Still Haven’t Quit WoW

It’s been a long, long week and all I want to is kick back with a cup of tea and kill something. My poor little neglected mage is making big soulful eyes at me and I cave, log in, and… and now what?

Okay, so… admittedly, my Warlords of Draenor enthusiasm faded with the speed of a raid boss nerf after every .1 patch update. And we started out so well! New world, check. New enemies, check. Housing, oh my god, finally, check. New pets, check. (What? There’s no such thing as too many pets.) And then the honeymoon stage ended and I was faced with the terrible reality of relationships and MMOs alike: bae ain’t what it used to be.

Maybe it’s not you, Blizzard, maybe it’s me. After all, I’ve been playing since BC. I’ve seen the best of times. I’ve seen the worst of times. You had me go from “What the hell, pandas?!” to “Fuck yeah, pandas!”, and we had such great times, but… times change. People change. Games change. You know what, maybe it’s you after all.

1. I’m more emotionally attached to my characters than is healthy.

Toons are people, too! Somehow, over the years, they accumulated so much personality it’s kind of hard to believe I wasn’t put in a mental institution yet. Or on an RP server. (No, seriously, why don’t I RP? Oh, right, no one can deal with my humour. Or my troll priest’s Jamaican accent.) They all have their own idiosyncrasies and background stories and fanfiction and funny little quirks, not to mention the heavily varied contents of their inventory. (So. Much. Stuff. I still carry around some quest items from long-forgotten and now non-existent BC era quests that my noob self was just too stupid to complete.) Like, my Human mage is very much the hero type, while my Forsaken warlock has a bit of a mischievous streak and is absolutely devoted to her little felhunter. (What? Felhunters are cute, shut up.) Then there’s the Nightelf boomkin who is trying to unify society’s pressure on Elves to look sexy and feminine with her love for RAW MOONFIRE POWER which only comes in the shape of a big fat owl with antlers (it’s a tough life).

…yeah, I may have a problem.

2. Dora the Explorer Syndrome

There are roughly 27 GB worth of screenshots on my hard drive. No matter the content, Blizzard always makes good landscapes. I’m a WoW landscape nerd. I’m also into discovering shit. I’m one of those weirdos that enjoys running literally around continents. The first thing I did when Cataclysm was announced was a last screenshot tour through my belovéd Azeroth. It was then that I discovered – dun dun DUUUUNNN – the original Quel’Thalas which got scratched and replaced by Eversong Forest in BC. You can’t go there anymore because since Cata there’s an invisible wall because gods forbid you see the three and a half Nightelves ruins. Okay, so it was a little anti-climatic in hindsight, but hey, I discovered something! Also, where they put Uldum now, pre-Cata there used to be a tiny Tauren village with a gigantic peace pipe. Also, did you know that at a certain point in Pandaria there’s a flying ghost turtle just chilling and if you wave at it, it’s accompanying you for a bit? Also also, if you go to Outlands Nagrand and fly up just over Throne of the Elements, there is a hut containing a troll woman and lots of children. And bubbling soup cauldrons. Dun dun DUUUUUNNN!

Also also also, there’s something weird going on in Stratholme.

3. Who’s gonna feed all my widdle pets?!

I can’t have pets in real life. So to (over-) compensate I own over 700 pets in WoW. I can’t help it! They’re so cute! They have big eyes and big paws and cute deadly fangs! I’m still waiting for Blizzard to install a cuddle feature because goddamnit! You can’t just give me a cutie like this and then tell me I can’t hug it:

WoWScrnShot_100115_201952

I may or may not have been caught hugging my screen more times than I’m comfortable admitting.

Look at it! It’s a corgi made of lava! Isn’t this the cutest thing to ever drag it’s fiery butt across the floor?

And I feel bad for them, because there’s so many of them I always feel like I’m neglecting one or the other. I also have clear favourites. I’m such a bad pet mom. Luckily they don’t actually need feeding.

4. There’s always something to do… even if it’s ridiculously work-intensive.

It’s not like there is literally nothing to do in WoD. You can grind rep for about a dozen factions. You can earn the achievement that allows you to use your long neglected flying mounts again. You can be all about your base (all about that base, ’bout that base, more missions! I’m all about that base, ’bout that base, more buildings!) and optimize everything and command your subordinates around all commander-y. You can earn what feels like 752 achievements in dungeons and raids alone. However, everything takes time. So much time. So much damn time I can see people debating with themselves whether or not to quit their jobs and move into a hovel near a coffee shop for the free wifi so they can do alllll those things that theoretically could be done.

What am I doing? Waiting for pet battle quests that I like doing so I can buy moar pets! Oh, and fishing. Lots o’ fishing.

5. Bring on the NPCs!

Not only am I too emotionally involved with my own characters, I’m also too into NPCs. I love Our Lady of the Forsaken and if anything happens to her in the upcoming expansion a rather large delivery of very smelly lutefisk may or may not materialise outside of Blizzard HQ. Better yet, in their air conditioning vents. I’m even more into Jaina since she snapped and went crazy on the Horde’s asses in Dalaran. I will absolutely never forgive Blizzard for moving Tirion Fordring and his horse out of Plaguelands, I liked visiting the guy on his little defunct farm! Then there’s all my furry panda friends in Halfhill, yes, I still go there. Sometimes I even do daily quests for them because well, we have so much history! Yes, I’ll water your fields. Yes, even though it is literally raining right now. And it has literally rained yesterday. For old times sake. (Also, there’s a guy called Gai Lan and I just found out that that’s actually a kind of broccoli. I may or may not have laughed for five minutes straight.)

6. “Stuck with you”

Okay, admittedly not a great reason to keep a relationship going, but… we’ve been together so long now, WoW and me! Like… we got the same phone number, all the same friends, the same address, you know, it’s just what happens when you’re together a really long time, the fire just slowly fizzles out, not least because the mage fire skill tree has a long history of getting nerfed and it’s supremely annoying each time. Like, what am I supposed to do, spec frost or – shudder – arcane?! Thankfully, with the higher gear towards the end of each expansion the problem usually drifts away on its own, but still.

7. World Events

I don’t care if I’ve done Brewfest a thousand times in my lifetime. I don’t even care that they removed virtually all the drinking quests (though they were fun, fuck you, P-12 rating!) and the only beer you get to pelt the attacking Dark Iron clan with is now alcohol free. I’ll be there every day, delivering kegs for tokens just so I can buy a grill. Or a flag. Or… sigh… a pet. You bet I’ll be flying around on a broomstick come Hallow’s End with my little Feline Familiar by my side, landing only to wade ankle deep through the candy buckets. I’ll be there next Winter Veil in my garish sweater singing traditional Winter Veil songs while wearing fuzzy warm socks and a winter hat and placing cushions all over Iron Forge so I have somewhere comfy to sit while I own my fellow players with my unbeatable little racing car. I mean, how do you spend your holidays?

8. The concept of it all

World of Warcraft is generally an amalgam of Earth’s most popular myths, taking bits and pieces from all over the world and mashing them up into entirely new things. For example, Night Elves are a mix of Chinese culture and the mythological amazons, Humans and Forsaken are general Central European, while Dwarves are a fun mix of Scottish and Norse culture. Likewise, some expansions are more on the nose about their origins. Northrend is very clearly inspired by Scandinavian and Canadian landscapes, and Scandinavian and Norse mythology. Pandaria is inspired by a number of Asian landscapes and mythologies, and some references are more obvious than others. And Blizzard just goes and ties them all together by the narratives of the Old Gods, the Titans, and the almost weekly demon invasions. I think this is part of what makes the game so great, the fact that you have something familiar and recognizable, but also something new. Humans generally like to hear the same story told over and over again only differently (think of romcoms or superhero movies, it’s the same damn thing with different names and different misunderstandings, but essentially it’s always the same), and Blizzard has a knack for that.

9. How else would I spend my weekends? Going outside? Among people?!

The flame wars in the trade chat are already more social interaction than I need or want. And you expect me to brace the same endless tirades in the real world? Where I’m required to wear pants or any article of clothing?! And were problems are not solved by wanton destruction of mine enemies?! Sounds like hell to me. In that case, I might as well play Diablo.

And that’s my own, personal, totally not biased reasons for still spending too much time playing this stupid time-consuming game. What are your excuses?