The Old Windmill


There’s something grand about a windmill,

an old-fashioned windmill,


standing stout and tall against the clouds,


its sails chopping the wind to no purpose,

except its own bliss.

I’m much enjoying my wanderings in World of Warcraft’s recent expansion, Battle for Azeroth (BFA). I often take sidetrips far from my quest destinations. On one of those, I came across this windmill and was struck by the play of light on the clouds and, in general, the pastoral beauty of the landscape in this part of Stormsong Valley. 

An odd thing happened while I was tinkering with this screenshot. I’m not a poet, but the image moved me to write. And I arranged the words to look like a poem, along the lines of some of William Carlos Williams’ short poems. Later on, I played around with other screenshots that for me captured a mood or memory. So I’ve created a short series of image poems I call Moments. I plan to share these and perhaps others along and along.


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A guildie by any other name is ….


Helya killer3 10-9-17

That’s me, dead, lying on the deck of a storm-ravaged ship. Dahlye’s body (not visible) lies nearby. My remaining three guildies – Bechyra (tank), Drenym (healer), and Parvaiz (damage-dealer) – are fighting valiantly underneath the monster’s gigantic claw. The monster is Helya, ruler of the underworld Helheim and the last boss in the dungeon “Maw of Souls.” Only Bechyra and Drenym survive the storm. They defeat Helya, who then slithers back into her hellish realm while warning of raging seas to come.  

If I hadn’t died, I wouldn’t have gotten this screenshot. That’s just the way it is in a boss fight – no time-outs for photo ops. So would you believe me, if I said I died for art? Probably not. The truth is, I fell into a hole on the wrecked deck and couldn’t get away in time to avoid Helya’s breath, very bad breath, deadly in fact. Anyway, that’s all there is to this story.

But I’m not done. I want to tell you about the names I’ve given the guildies in this dahlia-flowers-pretty-flowersfight, not their real names or toon names, rather, names that I may use again when referring to these specific guildies.

First there’s Dahlye, whose name is a variant of the English word “dahlia,” a flower that in Victorian times symbolized elegance and dignity. Dahlye’s overall game presence reveals these qualities. Moreover, in real life she’s a gardener with a special love for dahlias, named for Swedish  botanist Anders Dahl.  

Then there’s Bechyra, WonderWomanthe treasure hunter in a previous post, whose name is a variant of the female Hebrew name meaning “the chosen one.”  Her extraordinary ability and willingness to serve as tank or healer or damage-dealer make her a welcome member of any dungeon group. She’s also the guild’s primary social organizer.

Next we have Drenym,Celtic rowan1 whose name is a portmanteau combining “druid” and a variant of “denim.” Drenym skillfully  switches between healer and damage-dealer, depending on the guild’s need. Her favorite healer is the druid. And in real life, she’s a quilter. I chose the fabric denim because she’s made of strong cloth, strong character.  

Finally there’s Parvaiz,493979289 whose name comes from the ancient Persian word for “lucky.” Indeed, he is one lucky fellow. If there’s a really cool mount or piece of gear to be gotten on a quest or in a dungeon or raid, the odds are in favor of it dropping for him. Moreover, in real life, he’s a top-notch bowler. 

I conclude with one of my favorite I-am-dead screenshots, an oldie from a raid in Pandaria. The monster, under whose jaw my body lies, is Throk the Bloodthirsty, a giant devilsaur in the Siege of Ogrimmar raid. Once again I died for art. Well, at least I’d like to think I made art out of my death.

Throk5 Photo Info (in order of appearance): Helya fight in the Maw of Souls; dahlia found on Pinterest; Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman (Clay Enos/Warner Bros); detail from a druid quilt, a branch of rowan, the Tree of Life whose red berries heal the wounded; bowling stock image; Throk the Bloodthirsty in the Siege of Ogrimmar.



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Gnomes Run Again, 7000 Strong!

The best one ever! the 8th annual Running of the Gnomes, an in-game charity event to benefit the Cleveland Clinic’s research to cure breast cancer. Last night 7000 gnomes ran in packs across the Eastern Kingdoms, from the gnome starting zone to Booty Bay on the continent’s southern tip. A recent count shows that the event raised an astounding $16,000. And it’s not too late to donate.

Gnomes at starting gate1

I’ve been a gnome runner three times before, always fun, but never as meaningful as this time: my daughter-in-law was recently diagnosed with breast cancer and began chemo just last week. I was far from alone in feeling I had to do it, that I wanted to do it. During the run, I saw chat messages from other runners whose family members or friends were battling or had died from breast cancer.

Getting 7000 players to do one thing is an amazing feat. Kudos to the organizers! Also hats off to World of Warcraft for making the run an official event this year on its in-game calendar, for offering a quest (running through 34 checkered gates), and for decorating  with path markers and cheering crowds of NPC gnomes along the way. Fun!


On reaching the roof near the Booty Bay flight master, the runners were exuberant. All kinds of toys were pulled out, from rainbows and fireworks to fel effects and smoke bombs. In that mess, as festive as it was, there was no way we were going to arrange ourselves in the traditional heart. Someone suggested we make a heart in the water, which a number of us did.

Gnome waterheart3

All in all, an extraordinary event! Again, I offer my congratulations to the organizers. And I’m grateful to the thousands of the players who came to show their support for breast cancer research. 

Photo info: Gnomes at the starting gate; example of checkered gate and of purple circular path markers; heart that pink-haired gnomes made in the bay of Booty Bay; and an excited gnome NPC advertising the event in Dalaran (below).






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The Moon Man in the Rabbit Pajamas

When I see the moon over an attractive Azeroth landscape I usually pause to admire it – and sometimes take a screenshot, as I did here while flying in Azsuna. Gazing at the moon on planet Earth is also a source of pleasure, even of awe, especially when it’s full. For many people it prompts wonder and stories; it can stir romantic feelings and the imagination. 

Azsuna fullmoon 6-10-17 (2)

Looking at Earth’s moon, we see the play of light, dark, and gray areas. We can’t see the mountains, highlands, and craters; rather, our imaginations work to form meaningful images. The fancy word for this is pareidolia, a phenomenon in which the brain perceives “a familiar pattern where none exists.” Seeing a face in the moon, generally called the Man in the Moon, is an example of pareidolia. 

As a child I was told there was a man in the moon, so I saw one, a whole man, not just a face. The man was wearing rabbit pajamas with long ears, sitting on his bed hunched over reading the book in his lap. Even today this is what I see, despite learning in my teens that my friends saw only a face. I probably said something like this: “You don’t see the man in rabbit pajamas!?” Their response: laughter, followed by weeks of good-natured ridicule. 


Okay, maybe the rabbit pajamas are a bit much for most people (my husband thinks its hilariously peculiar). But seeing a moon rabbit is not uncommon in many Asian cultures and some indigenous cultures of the Americas. Moreover, how a rabbit came to be on the moon is the subject of folklore. One Buddhist tale, for example, is about a rabbit who had nothing to give a hungry beggar but his own body; to memorialize his selfless sacrifice, the rabbit’s image was engraved on the face of the moon for all to see. 

My earliest memories include sitting with my mother on the bed with both of us holding a large book of Mother Goose nursery rhymes. That helps to explain why I see a rabbit-suited man holding a book. But I never had rabbit pajamas, alas 😊.

Can you see the rabbit? What do you see? What do you think of when you see whatever you see on the face of the moon? Sometimes I think of my mother and the gift of loving to read that she gave me. 

Argus moon rising2

Photo info (in order of presentation): Moon over Azsuna; various ways of seeing the moon rabbit, taken from Kirky’s Kreations blog (what I see is most similar to the rabbit in the bottom right corner); and moon rising over Azsuna with Argus overhead.

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The Treasure Hunter Goes Splat! An Argus Story

“I like your outfit,” a player I’ll call Wilbur said. Now understand, my current paladin outfit is nothing special, mostly things I’ve looted here and there. But polite player that I am, I quickly thanked him and continued down the ramp toward the Navigation Console. I’d just returned to the Vindicaar and was eager to beam down to the planet Argus to kill some more demons.

Honneur Charger Mac'Aree - napa 9-28-17But Wilbur wanted to have a conversation, as if we were two strangers who’d wandered into a nightclub. I can’t remember exactly what he said next, but it seemed like a pick-up line to me. Then again, maybe I was being paranoid, a feeling perhaps prompted by an article I’d recently read about the “rape problem” in Elwynn Forest’s Goldshire inn. 

In any case, I didn’t stop to chat, got to the Console, clicked the first Mac’Aree waypoint I saw, and beamed down to the planet. Just like that, I was out of what I took to be a sticky situation. I’ll never know if Wilbur and I could have become friends, sharing various game adventures. Looking back on it now, I’m thinking he was just lonely, wanting someone to play with. I’ll tell you why in a bit.

Mac'Aree CenterCity area -2napa 9-28-17

I materialized on the teleport beacon at City Center. “Good enough,” I thought, “plenty of demons around here to kill.” In fact, near the beacon was a World Quest – to kill a vicious demon. I was heading that way when I saw a message in guild chat from a good friend I’ll call Bechyra.

She was tired of dying while trying to reach a treasure chest hidden in a little house built into the side of a waterfall chasm. I’d eyed that chest icon on my mini-map before but chickened out, mainly because my addon, HandyNotes – Argus, made it sound like a dreadful fall; the addon, however, did offer hope for survival: to use a Goblin Glider (this link shows you how even non-engineers can make them).

Doomseeker'sTreasure waterfall

As luck would have it, Bechyra happened to be in the City Center area, and I happened to have some gliders in my bag. I met her at the waterfall and gave her a few. Not wasting any time, she jumped into the chasm. Splat! Her glider didn’t deploy – yet another meeting with a prime naaru (a spirit healer your ghost meets in Argus). Resurrected again and with amazing speed (I wish you could have seen her), Bechyra and her mount ran over the waterfall – no glider. Splat! This time she had to wait two minutes to resurrect.

Actually, it was all kind of funny – at least we were laughing – but it had to be frustrating for Bechyra too. So I figured the least I could do was make a go for the chest myself and most likely go splat. I walked onto the rocks above the waterfall, jumped, immediately deployed a glider, floated half a second, saw the door to the little house, maneuvered my glider into it, touched the floor, saw the chest, and clicked it. Voila, loot! And incredible beginner’s luck. 


Once in the little house, I didn’t know how to get back up the chasm. Meanwhile, Bechyra had rezzed. This time her glider opened, and I was happy to see her enter the little house. She opened the chest and pointed to a portal (guess I thought it was just an atmospheric effect), and back to the surface we went. Team work! A small adventure that ended in success. 

After completing Mac’Aree’s Emissary Quests, I returned to the Vindicaar to receive my reward. And who should I overhear but Wilbur! He was yelling in chat something like “Anyone want to group with me?” Had his pick-up lines failed, was he desperate for friends, or what? I felt kind of bad about brushing him off earlier and almost stopped to chat. No one should feel lonely in this game. But I didn’t stop. I returned to my class hall. 

honnuer Mac'Aree - orig - 9-26-17Photo info (from top to bottom): My paladin posing on her legendary mount in her ho-hum outfit; view of City Center across the lake; the waterfall that has a little treasure house built into its wall; my mage standing in the door of the little treasure house looking at the chest (my mage wasn’t as lucky as my pally – she had 3 deaths from running her glider into a rock overhanging the little house, with success on 4th attempt); and finally, my pally in front of a cool structure in Mac’Aree.



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Evasion into a Greater Invasion: An Argus Story

My horse and I sped through a mob-infested area of Krokuun on our way to take down Tar Spitter for an Argus world quest. Mobs began chasing us. More and more joined the chase. I thought we could outrun them. But quickly they overwhelmed us and threw me off my horse.

Krokuun3 9-10-17 (3)

Ahead I saw a large, pulsating, bright green portal. I ran to it, hoping to evade the mobs. I clicked and was instantly inside. Safe. I figured I’d wait long enough for the mobs outside to return to wherever they came from, then I’d resume my quest. Sometimes plans change quickly. 

A little further inside the portal, which turned out to be a Greater Invasion Point, two other players were standing, a warrior and a priest. Invasion point portal (2)About the time I spotted them, they spotted me and invited me to join them. We chatted, just the three of us. None of us had ever engaged in a greater invasion. We had no idea what we were in for. 

The warrior said, “Let’s go for it!”and rushed off to the closest group of adds. “Bad idea,” I thought because the invasion I’d done with a hunter the day before was tough enough, and it wasn’t called “greater.” But the priest and I ran to help. 

With some effort, but not too much, we cleared the way to the boss, Mistress Alluradel. Since the adds seemed relatively easy, we moved on to her without a beat. And ghosts we quickly became, waiting for the angel to resurrect us. 

Ghosts talking: The priest said, “A guild member told me we need a raid group of at least 10” (now she tells us!). Krokuun 9-10-17I said, on noticing the small green orb next to the instance, “Perhaps we should join a group.” The warrior remained silent. By then, we’d rezzed and queued to join a pre-existing group of 6.

Then there were 9. Slowly, one by one, other players joined up. The group leader insisted on waiting for 20 (smart guy!) despite calls from several players to get on with it. Some players left, others joined. When we attacked Alluradel, we had 24. 

It was a long fight but went well. I think only one player died – and it wasn’t me 🙂. I was happy to complete my first greater invasion and, sweeter yet, I received a 940 chest piece on my bonus roll. 

Vindicator 9-10-17 

Photo Info (from top to bottom): Azeroth in Krokuun sky; Invasion Point portal; Krokuun vista; the Vindicaar over Krokuun

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So Long, Suramar, I’m Off to Argus

You can tell from my previous two posts that I’m fond of the Suramar zone, especially its coastal city. For the past nine months or so, I’ve spent a lot of time there. And while this is not a final farewell, I’ll be there less often now that World of Warcraft has released its final patch to the Legion expansion. As a good-bye, I offer one of my earliest snaps of Suramar City, taken from the Grand Promenade on the inland outskirts of the city.

SurCity from bridge 1-1-17 (2)

Two days ago, along with other members of the Armies of the Legionfall, I shipped off to the planet Argus to fight the Burning Legion, a contingent of which still occupies Suramar City. Argus, shown below, is the Legion’s stronghold. So far I’ve seen nothing I’d want to photograph in its shattered, burnt-over, demon-infested landscape. Then again, I’ve been surrounded by too much danger to stop to look for the strange beauty sometimes found in the macabre; moreover, I’ve barely begun to explore this fearsome place.

Jantzu Argus in Napa 8-13-17 (2)

I took this snap about two weeks ago, shortly after Argus first appeared above Azeroth. I was in the High Mountain zone on a leisurely flight to the Broken Shore. There’s no flying on Argus, but there are portals for traveling between locations somewhat distant from each other.  

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