29 November 2012

#intpipomo The best time I ever busted into The Vale of Eternal Blossoms

real talk: i would not turn down a cuddly dogpile with the august celestials. celest-pile.
NONE SHALL PASS - oh it's just you go ahead
it feels like we walked FOREVER
these guys again!
don't look perv i'm bathing
"hey aka are you taking a bath"
misty mountains
chi ji prefers mood lighting
so trusting, so...naive...
"have you guys seen this sweet jade sphere i got"
so hard to pick my favorite celestial
the fashionable quarter
traveling in style
that blue glow tricked me...there's nothing down there!
50/50 (well I think there were a few bonuses actually...)
Got in just under the wire! Hooray!

27 November 2012

#intpipomo hey did you guys go shopping on black friday?

Happy Belated Thanksgiving!
I took some liberties with the "duck" part
For fun I googled "turducken" hoping I would find some hilariously stupid stories, like deep fried turkey made in your driveway. The best thing from the Wikipedia article is that Joe Madden, "[w]hile announcing for CBS Sports, displayed a turducken and began carving it." Oh, and the vegetarian version is called tofucken. You're welcome.

Maybe we should have waited till you were full grown....
for some reason my hooves can handle this
ah, well...ok
stupid Sha of Anger making all my pictures overcast

25 November 2012

WORD OF THE YEAR #intpipomo

This is related, I promise.

Oxford American Dictionary has announced the word of the year for 2012. The American English winner is...prepare yourselves...GIF!!!!!!!!!!

The editors said gif was being recognized for making the crucial transition from noun to verb, "to gif": to create a gif file of an image or video sequence, especially relating to an event. And, inevitably, to share it online. Cute kittens, Olympic champions, President Obama — they've all been giffed.
So. I bring you...MOAR GIFS. Just...if you want to find some yourself and you have safe search off. Well. Don't have safe search off.



23 November 2012

The Thorn in the Forest

Still in a daze, Weipon was ushered along before Aysa and Ji and bundled into a hot air balloon. Huo and Da Feng whirred about overhead, chittering excitedly to each other. Wu Guo and Shu remained on the ground, watching apprehensively as the three pandaren prepared the balloon for takeoff.

Then they were in the air, and the salty breeze began to cut through the fog in Weipon's head. "This is it," she whispered in awe, watching as Aysa expertly directed the balloon towards a massive, moss-covered mound sticking out the front of their island.

"This is it," Ji agreed, slapping Weipon's shoulder in excitement. 

As they approached, the mound reared out of the water, and the pandaren could pick out details, comically massive compared to their tiny bodies. A huge eye, taller than the Temple of Five Dawns, regarded them seriously. Wrinkles big enough to swallow Weipon's village lined the ancient-but-ageless face.

Ever formal, Aysa leaned over the side of the carriage, shouting to make their introductions. "Shen Zin Su, we are the descendants of Liu Lang! We've sensed your pain, and we want to help! What ails you?"

The great eye crinkled. The perspective barely seemed to change, even as the balloon circled the great head. A voice, deep enough to send waves rushing away from his throat and loud enough to make the balloon tremble dangerously, called out to them. "I am in pain, but it warms my heart that Liu Lang's grandchildren have not forgotten me." The great eye blinked, brows drawing together and upsetting several bird's nests. "There is a thorn in my side, and the pain is unbearable. I cannot remove it! Please, grandchildren, can you remove this thorn?"

Aysa leaned forward again. "Of course! But your shell is large, and we are small. Where is the thorn?"

"It is in the forest where your feet do not walk. Please hurry," Shen Zin Su urged. His head sank back down, cutting off their conversation and unleashing a massive wave that swept across the ocean below them.

Aysa and Ji exchanged a look. "Pei-Wu forest?" Ji asked. Aysa nodded, and Ji began to tug at the balloon, redirecting it towards that side of the island. They soared over their home, and Weipon found time to marvel at the suddenly tiny roads and houses. Then they cleared the mountains and came across something ghastly.

"Is that...a boat?" Ji muttered incredulously. He sucked in a breath. "It's a whole airship!"

The airship, massive to the pandaren, was the thorn in Shen Zin Su's side. They could see where his shell had been cracked, pierced by the now-shattered wooden planks and metal beams that had kept the airship's shape. Fresh blood oozed sluggishly out around the "thorn," creating a dark, oily stain in the nearby seawater. Tiny figures were running to and fro, sometimes fighting, sometimes simply running away.

"Those aren't pandaren down there," Ji continued, sharp eyes scanning for tactical information. "They've got no fur."

Aysa remained silent, clearly absorbing as much data as possible before she began to process it. Finally, she allowed, "Someone has crashed into our island. Removing this thorn may be harder than we thought. We need to talk to Elder Shaopai about this."

Wordlessly, they turned to the balloon's controls, directing it to the Temple of Five Dawns. After touching down, things began to move very quickly. What seemed like seconds later, Weipon was watching Jojo Ironbrow bash open the gate to the Pei-Wu forest, a place deemed too dangerous for the peaceful pandaren and as such forbidden to residents of the island. Weipon had heard all manner of rumors about the forest and its inhabitants, and now she was going to learn the truth.

There was a vague path leading from the gate to a humble hut, built strategically on a hill. Several figures - only one of them pandaren - were gathered just outside, and Ji jogged over to them without hesitation, causing Aysa to half-choke in nervous rage. When it seemed the strangers were not attacking the impulsive pandaren, Aysa snarled and motioned for Weipon to follow. 

"Wei, are these friends of yours?" asked a wide, heavily muscled, impossibly horned creature in Orcish. 

Weipon barely heard the answer from the pandaren called Wei, so shocked she was to see an actual tauren on the Wandering Isle speaking Orcish.

The tauren was speaking again. She tried to focus. "Korga Strongmane, once prisoner of the Alliance, now free and woefully unarmed tauren. Good to meet you, pandaren." He pressed a fist to his heart, and belatedly Weipon remembered to bow in response. She hadn't understood all the words, but she had picked out his name and that he was a prisoner of the Alliance, and was now trying to focus on that rather than the quaint excitement she felt at seeing something out of her textbooks.

Significantly more collected, Aysa was already mulling over the possibilities. "The Alliance? If the crashed ship is theirs, we need to contact them. Jojo, come with me. We need a plan." The pair set off down the hill and towards the beach. 

Wasting no time, Ji jumped in. "We need to dislodge that ship, Korga. If we help your crewmates, will you help us?"

"Gladly," Korga agreed readily. "Our engineer is still in the wilds, though. We'll need to rescue him first. And we will need to arm ourselves."

Ji turned to Weipon, switching to Pandaren to get her attention. "We are going to make our way west, searching for the goblin engineer. On the way, grab any sturdy bamboo you can find for weapons. Beware of tigers; they might be extra aggressive after all this shaking. Go!" 

She jumped, bowed, and ran off to the west, trying to pull her thoughts together. Both the Horde and Alliance had come to her island. There really was a hermit living in the Forbidden Forest! Tauren did have horns, and spoke Orcish just like her teachers!

Finding bamboo staves wasn't a problem. Running with them haphazardly lashed to her back presented something more of a challenge, and avoiding disgruntled tigers was more or less impossible. Eventually, she made it to the western limit of the forest and began to track south, scouting for the Horde engineer or Ji, whoever came first.

A small puff of smoke and Ji's loud laugh led her to a small clearing, sheltered enough to provide cover for the handful of Horde soldiers that were clustered together, tending to the wounded or making plans. Ji waved her over, introducing her to an impossibly short and very green goblin.

"Makael," the goblin said in accented Orcish, giving her a jaunty salute that Weipon did not understand or return. He directed other soldiers to distribute the staves she had brought, then included her in his conversation with Ji. "We can get the ship off of the island - err, turtle guy, but we're gonna need explosives."

"Weipon, you're up," Ji said in Pandaren. As much as she was fascinated by hearing real, live Orcish, it was helpful to have a friendly translation. "Get out there and collect as many of the explosive kits you can carry. Keep your eyes open, though." He leaned closer, looking uncharacteristically worried. "Some...creatures...have been attacking the beach. We don't know where they came from but they are very aggressive and very violent. Avoid them if you can, but if you can't...the only way to make them leave you alone is to kill them." He straightened, clapped her shoulder, and jerked his head towards the beach. "Well, see you back here shortly."

The kits were everywhere, although it was a significant amount of work to dig them out of the ground and determine if they were still functional. This effort was impeded by the monstrous saurok that were currently swarming the beach. Although most of the soldiers Weipon encountered realized what she was doing and tried to keep the nightmarish things away from her, she found herself frantically dodging and weaving their long, scythe-like claws more than once. At least for now the terror of self-preservation kept her from thinking too long about killing another living being.

Ji didn't give her time to dwell on it, either. He collected the explosives she had recovered and immediately sent her off to find Aysa on the beach. When she arrived at the Alliance camp, Aysa was nowhere to be found, and Weipon found herself dredging up Common from her school days as well.

"She's in the wreckage, fighting off some ferocious monster while we evacuate our personnel and medical supplies," the woman in charge told Weipon tersely, never taking her eyes off the skirmishes around them.

By way of thanks, Weipon dragged a few injured soldiers to safety on her way to the ship, then helped Aysa take down the massive saurok threatening the Alliance camp. Then, she hesitantly told the other woman the plan.

"Blowing the ship free is insane!" Aysa said furiously. She took off for the hull of the ship, where Ji and his Horde compatriots were already arranging explosives for the maneuver. "Ji, stop!" she cried, grabbing his shoulder and jerking him away from the work. "This is reckless and stupid. You could kill Shen Zin Su!"

Some of the soldiers looked up, but Ji waved them back to work. "He is already dying," he said urgently. "We blow the ship free, then we heal his wound. We have no other solution."

"You haven't taken the time to think of any others!" Aysa exploded. "If you stop this, maybe we can come up with something better!" She whipped her head around, frantic with worry. "Weipon, don't you help him too! Doing this risks everything!"

Feeling pained, Weipon tried not to look at Aysa's expression. "Doing nothing risks everything, too. I'd rather die knowing we at least tried than just waiting for him to...bleed to death." Her hands shook on the cords as she passed them to the engineer making the connections.

The engineer nodded, and the soldiers cleared back. Ji grabbed Aysa's arm, directing her away from the blast radius.

"I can't stop you, but we could lose everything," Aysa said fiercely. "I just hope you're right."

The engineer pressed the trigger, one hand to his ear, and the world exploded in white smoke.

22 November 2012

More #IntPiPoMo

Let me show you my cogwheels
Weipon returning from the Peak of Serenity
One bed, seven pairs of boots......?
I'm flyyyyiiiiing
Do I want to count all the stairs? Nah.
I liked touring the dungeons before trying them out!
Let's go get some brewskies

12 November 2012

#IntPiPoMo The Wanderer's Festival

While moping around lowbie Pandaria, I still managed to get a few exciting activities in. One such activity was the Wanderer's Festival in Krasarang, which I was reminded of by gen chat while questing. I wrapped up my quest-fishing detour-ing and headed to the beach for the closing ceremony.

Lots of other people were there waiting.
Most of them killed time by fishing or jumping around
Sadly I didn't have any pets high enough to take on this cutie
Turtle packs were ambling around
Some delicate flower showed up with an umbrella
They broke out the booze and snacks
Somehow these luminaries showed up in the water
Yeah nice
Then it was time for singing

09 November 2012

The Wood of Staves

Aysa and Ji were still entrenched in a heated argument when Weipon presented Da Feng to Master Shang Xi. Master Shang conveyed both Da Feng and the squabbling duo to Elder Shaopai, then quietly asked Weipon to accompany him to the Western Grove.

"Walk slowly, please," he said with a chuckle. "I'm not as spry as I once was."

Weipon deliberately slowed her naturally fast pace. "Of course, Master."

He shuffled along, one hand clasped firmly around his staff. "Once those two stop arguing, Elder Shaopai will tell them what to do when the spirits agree to work together. For now, I need a little rest after all of that excitement."

Weipon had been to the Western Grove to visit the staff of her great-grandmother. She nodded to the Guardian of the Elders, who responded with an impassive stare. Beyond the gates, she was overwhelmed by the permanently humid air and mossy, earthy scent.

"I want you to go with Ji and Aysa when they speak with Shen Zin Su. I trained all three of you, and I want three good minds set on doing whatever he needs." He turned down one of the dirt paths weaving through the trees, seemingly looking for something. "I trust all three of you. I know you will do what is right, do whatever it takes..." his eyes alighted on something off the path, and he trailed off. "Ahh, here it is." He thumped his staff matter-of-factly into the soft earth. Then, slowly, painstakingly, he lowered himself to the ground and let out a great sigh. "That's enough walking for me. Would you do me a favor, Weipon?"

"Of course, Master Shang," she replied immediately.

"I have need of some of the ritual charms that others have offered in this wood. Would you bring me a few?" At her confused expression, he laughed. "Don't worry, it's not too disrespectful to take them from other staves. And besides, who would complain? They're all dead!"

Weipon nodded and left him sitting contentedly among the trees. The misty silence of the grove was almost oppressive, and she caught herself walking as silently as possible. She considered seeking out her great-grandmother's staff, then abandoned the idea when she remembered how large and twisting the grove was.

Shortly, she came upon a small altar hidden against the rocky cliff-side that marked the boundary of the grove. It was surrounded by a thick cluster of staves, and both altar and staves were covered with charms. Feeling guilty, she took some incense from the provisions box, lit it, and said a brief prayer. Then, she poked gingerly through the charms, looking for the most interesting ones.

Some of them were ancient, faded with time and practically fused to wherever they were placed by moss and mold. Others had not withstood the elements, and heavy rain and wind had torn or broken them beyond recognition. Weipon chose a delicate turtle statuette, painted features barely visible on the worn stone, a long strand of colored beads, and a single strand from a cluster of paper swans.

When she returned to Master Shang with her charms, she was shocked to note how...faded he appeared. How old was he, anyway? Why had she never noticed it before?

"Ahh, rest feels good," he murmured. "The burdens of life have become a great weight after so many years." He opened his eyes and peered at the things she carried. "Look at these. Wonderful!" He gestured for her to sit beside him.

She obeyed, swallowing an uncomfortable lump in her throat.

"Sit for a few moments and listen to an old man's words," he said, smiling kindly.

"I always have time to listen to wise Master Shang," she said fiercely, wanting to believe that such conversations would endure.

He smiled, but it did not quite reach his eyes. "You are truly one of my greatest students. I have very high hopes for you."

"Master Shang," she interrupted, suddenly terrified. "Even if you don't come with us to speak to Shen Zin Su, we will need your help to-" she cut off as he raised a hand.

He wrinkled his nose and huffed out a breath. "For three thousand years, we have passed the knowledge of our people down. Elder to youth, master to student. I have done my best to prepare you by giving you all of the knowledge you will need to make good decisions. Every elder reaches the day when they must pass on and plant their stave with the staves of their ancestors."

Weipon felt something painful bloom in her chest.

"Today is the day when my staff joins these woods," he continued, holding her gaze. Then, glancing away almost shyly, he added, "Now, I am selfishly asking you to simply sit with me and keep me company until..."

"Oh," she breathed, tears filling her eyes. Then, grasping at her manners, "I would be honored to keep you company, Master Shang." Her voice trembled with the effort to speak above a whisper.

He nodded, took a deliberate look around the grove, and closed his eyes. "Weipon, our people have lived their whole lives on this great turtle, Shen Zin Su, but not in hundreds of years has anyone spoken to him."

She watched, wide-eyed but unable to look away, as her teacher murmured softly to himself.

"With the help of the elements, you will break the silence," he said slowly. "You will speak to him." His voice faded in and out, and his words slurred together as if in sleep. "You retrieved the spirits and brought them here. You are to go with them...speak to the great Shen Zin Su...do what must be done...save our people..."

Everything was still. Everything was quiet. The universe was motionless.

"You've come far, my young student. I see within you a great hero. I leave the fate of this land..."

Master Shang Xi's voice grew dimmer as his body became transparent, finally dissipating into tiny lights that reflected off of the mist in the grove.

Weipon released the breath she didn't realize she had been holding with a great woosh, then sucked in a shaky lungful of air. She blinked, and unshed tears left traitorous tracks in the fur of her cheeks. Businesslike, she arranged the charms she had collected on Master Shang's staff, then bowed and said a prayer for his spirit.

She stood and began to retrace her steps to the gate, willing her trembling legs to carry her. At the main path, a pleased shout made her look up, although she could not wipe the dazed expression from her face.

Ji and Aysa were waiting farther down the path, deeper into the wood rather than at the entrance. "Ms. Silkbrush! Where's Master Shang?" Ji called, waving her over. Still shell-shocked, Weipon mechanically made her way to them.

Aysa jabbed Ji in the ribs. "They were in the Wood of Staves, where do you think he is?" She gave Weipon a sympathetic glance.

"Awww, let a guy hope, will ya?" He clapped a comforting hand on Weipon's shoulder. "Just remember: we're doing this for his sake, too." He placed a handkerchief in one slack hand, then gently took her other arm and led her to their destination.

07 November 2012

#intpipomo and DING???

This was supposed to be posted last night, but it took me a bit longer than anticipated since I had to do some troubleshooting to trick the video into playing with the right orientation. Fortunately I have an ancient Macbook sleeping in the closet and was able to fix it! (I'm trying something new...English transcript below!)
My tests...are finally finished! Yaaay! Well, actually this week I have 2 midterms (Tues and Thurs) and a mock JLPT on Wednesday night. It can't be helped -_-

Thanks to all of you, all my tests were 90% or above! And...I even got a perfect score on one! The speech I did also turned out pretty well.

Because I finally finished everything, I got to relax and play WoW, and Aka finally hit level 90! I'm participating in this month's IntPiPoMo, so I'll be uploading screenshots and the like!


Cruisin around Kun Lai. I love the random NPC emotes!
"Who's this yak cutie?" "You actually have to quest in Townlong..."
Ehhh, but for science...!!
Found this curious lady rolling...in the deep...:|a well played,  Blizzard
frak yeah
You guys, get a whiff of this incense. So relaxing.

IntPiPoMo: 10/50