Monday, July 31, 2023

Meme Monday: Blogging Memes

Given that the annual blogging event Blaugust* is going to start on Tuesday, I figured that a Meme Monday for Blogging itself is worth a go.

Truth! And I know I don't have
to worry about that one.
From imgflip.

I'd say that 3/4 of the time when I wake
up in the morning I have no idea what
to write about. So, yeah.

Admittedly, I'm not trying to make a living
while blogging. It's more like I blog to
satisfy a need to write, because otherwise I'd
just write fanfic, and.... yeah. Let's not go there.
I know I can't pull that one off.

And finally....

Yes, yes I can. In fact, there are a few
of them on the blog itself. You might
not realize it, but yeah, they're there.

*Is there a Trademark on Blaugust? One of these days I ought to find out.

Tuesday, July 25, 2023

All Hail Glorbo

With AI driving content at places such as Z League's The Portal --go read up on the Glorbo prank here from Ars Technica-- I have been wondering whether you can set one AI against other AIs. 

Bellular News' take on the whole AI thing.

The TL;DR of Glorbo is that The Portal uses AI to scrape Reddit for content, with AI-created articles that push what the AI believes will increase pageviews to The Portal. Several Redditors created a fake World of Warcraft expansion, Glorbo, and began posting about the "expac". Z League's AI picked up on those posts and began flooding The Portal with a lot of "Glorbo" related content. Only afterward did Z League realize their AI's mistake and they had to "correct" all of those posts to identify them as "satire" and then later took down WoW related content.

My thinking is that we could "seed" a second website with AI-generated articles based off of The Portal's content, potentially supplemented by posting AI-generated articles to Reddit, creating a feedback loop where the AI's basically feed off of each other in escalating content craziness.

If someone were to do this with AI generated art, I'm not exactly sure what might come out of it. Given the sameness a lot of the AI art from Midjourney, I suspect the "human" or "humanlike" art will give rise to an AI version of the "Hapsburg chin". 

It's all an interesting exercise, as long as said AI's don't become sentient and turn on us in revenge, I suppose...

Monday, July 24, 2023

Meme Monday: Health Memes

Okay, if you can't laugh at yourself, then I guess you're not me, because we're gonna have some health memes today.

Not Healer memes, but Health memes. 

I just finished the last of my mid-year updates, this time with the diabetes team*, and since they're happy with my progress, I figured I'd celebrate with a few health related memes.

(Yes, it's okay to laugh at them. Permission granted.)

That's one big problem with high blood
pressure: I take my evening's high blood
pressure reading after I've been gaming for
a bit. I'm sure that also colors my opinions
of group content. From Reddit.

I laughed at this, because it is so true!
(At least it's the case for someone my age...)
From imgflip.

On those days when you have low blood
sugar and you have to do something quick,
you kind of do look like a junkie hunting
for munchies. From imgflip.

And this is why you have to pay
attention to source material when
relatives try to be helpful and tell you
"about something about your health problems
I read on the internet." From quickmeme.

And finally, it's not a meme or anything, but I saw this when I was helping my son move into his apartment for grad school:

Yes, doughnuts stuffed with ice cream.
And yes, this is outside the Busken 
Bakery commissary. If the name "Busken"
sounds familiar, it's in the song M.A.G.E. by Nyhm.

*/waves  Hi, Dawn! You know, just in case you happen to be on this obscure little gamer blog on some weirdo corner of the internet.

Tuesday, July 18, 2023

I Will Gladly Pay You Tuesday...

One thing about WoW Classic Era that I've had to reacquaint myself with is just how poor a new player is in the game. 

Most MMOs don't have this issue. Creating a new toon on LOTRO or SWTOR, for example, will have a person poor, gold-wise, but they're still easily able to afford their training, regular mats, and their mounts. (Yes, even in SWTOR's original form, where you could select the Slicing profession and basically open lockboxes for free credits. #SWTORClassic)

My time spent in Age of Conan had limitations, of course, but most centered around mandatory grouping once you got out of the starter zone.* Other MMOs I've played extensively, such as Guild Wars 2, Elder Scrolls Online, and Wildstar, also don't have gold or monetary issues. Sure, there are other limitations to the games, such as gear or weirdness surrounding the auction house --I'm looking at you, ESO--  but money has never really been a problem.

WoW Classic Era, however, is an entirely different kettle of fish.

My first toon in Vanilla Classic, Azshandra, was so poor that she didn't get enough gold for a riding mount until L47-ish, and then I spent a lot of time fishing for lockboxes to open and sell the contents on the auction house. Before you ask, no, I didn't read "gold making" websites or watch any YouTube videos about it, because I wanted to experience Vanilla Classic without min/maxing my way to a ton of gold. Besides, I don't play video games to make a ton of virtual currency in the same way I don't work irl to amass a horde of cash.**

Progression raiding in Vanilla Classic did me no favors with my gold supply either, as the costs involved keeping Cardwyn raiding --particularly through Vanilla Naxxramas, where the potion/flask requirements for raiding were fairly high-- also kept me gold poor. I frequently found that scouring Azeroth for the mats myself was far more cost effective than being cute and trying to play the auction house as if I was some junior investor for Goldman Sachs. So when the time for TBC Classic --and my corresponding switch to the Shaman Briganaa happened-- I had little gold in reserve to afford mounts for her until well into Outland.***

Fast forward toward the end of TBC Classic and I'd created Cardwyn's clone, Deuce, on Atiesh-US. At first I thought that the ease of which I was able to acquire gold on a brand new toon on a new server had something to do with the knowledge I'd acquired over the years of playing Classic. 

Or maybe it had something to do with the population size. 

However, going back to Classic Era and creating yet another version of Cardwyn has disabused me of either of those beliefs.

Vanilla Classic is simply designed to keep a person poor so they will keep going out in the world.

There, I said it.


I mean, it's not a big surprise. The monetary rewards from quests are smaller, the costs associated with class training and everything affiliated with mounts are higher, and the failure rates at professions are also higher, so all of that adds up to a player having to pick and choose what abilities to train and level along the way. 

And if you select a profession such as, oh, Enchanting or Blacksmithing, be prepared to shell out gold**** for enough mats to finish the grind to max profession level. 

Now, there are some ways to generate gold that don't involve begging for gold in Stormwind or Orgrimmar --yes, that is very much a thing-- and they involve leveling a gathering profession. Herbalism and Mining do come in handy, but Fishing does give a player a good bang for the buck in the long run.

I'm sure I'm not giving out any secrets when I say that there's a trick to gaining access to Moonglade at a (relatively) low level if you're not a Druid. Why Moonglade, you may ask? Because the mythical home of the Druids and the Cenarion Circle is also the lowest level area where you can go fish up the Raw Nightfin Snapper. A cook can turn the Snapper into the Nightfin Soup, which is sought after by casters as a raiding buff, which is in demand on the Classic Era auction house. At the present, the Raw Nightfin Snapper is selling for about 6 gold per stack of 10 on the AH, and the Soup commands a higher amount for a stack of 5. You can put two and two together, of course: that's a pretty good gig for steady work. 

The thing is, there's only a few places around Azeroth where you can fish for Nightfin, and there's the issue of having to fish for it between the hours of Midnight and 6 AM Server Time. I mean, it is in the name: Nightfin. By far the lowest level area is in Moonglade, which if you're not a Druid is gated by having to run the gauntlet of tunnels commanded by the hostile Timbermaw Firbolg tribe. While you can eventually build your reputation with them, the Firbolg are all roughly Level 50 enemies, and the entrance to the tunnels is deep in Felwood, a L48-L54 zone, so if you don't want to roll up a Druid you'd either work on leveling a toon or... Get creative.

Besides, you're not old enough for the
shenanigans at Goldshire, Simba. And... Wait.
Why are they talking about Goldshire already?
Shouldn't Simba have "The Talk" first?
From imgflip.

That "get creative" means taking advantage of a glitch in the game where you enter into the low level zone of Darkshore, ride/run/walk all the way to the top of the zone --which abuts Moonglade's zone-- and swim north. Once you get far enough north, you enter into Moonglade's zone, and there you... die.


Once you die, the graveyard you respawn at is Moonglade's graveyard, so if you ask the Spirit Healer to rez you and accept the resurrection sickness debuff, you're smack in Moonglade. Go get the flight point, and you can fly to Moonglade whenever you want to.

Easy peasy.


So easy, in fact, it won't surprise you that I never used it.


Yes, I drove my questing buddy batty by never taking advantage of this cheat to start fishing Nightfin at a much lower level but instead fished up Oily Blackmouth to sell at a much cheaper price, biding my time until I got to a high enough level to fish up Nightfin at another location.***** This, combined with me disenchanting every magic item in sight severely hampered my ability to accumulate gold for a long time. 

Why not take advantage of the glitch?

Because it's a cheat.

Sure, it's technically in the game, and no, people haven't been banned or anything for it, but to me it's against the spirit of the game in the same way that it's against the spirit of the game to farm mobs in Maraudon or Lower Blackrock Spire or Zul'Gurub for boosting purposes. If a friend asks me to run them through, say, Deadmines, I'm more than happy to. But I would never ask to have it done to any of my toons, and if offered I'm likely to refuse.

It's the same way why I won't go on Heroic Plus Plus dungeon runs, given the current Meta is to simply run past the initial bosses, allowing them to reset. 

I was chatting with my questing buddy the other day, and I saw (via a DBM alert) that she was fighting a boss. A few seconds later there was a "Zarlie has wiped on XXX Boss" announcement.

"Ouch," I responded. "Sorry about that [wipe]."

"It lies," my questing buddy whispered.


"DBM. It lies. We ran right through the boss and it reset."


Why do this strat? Because the badges people want --and the loot people want-- only drop off the last boss. There is literally no reason, Meta-wise, to do any of the other bosses and most of the trash, so the bosses and as much of the trash as possible are skipped. 

I mean, at this point why even have the dungeon in place at all if people are simply going to skip to the end?

Impressive Clergyman: "Have you the wing?"

And why do I get the feeling I'd despise Mythic Plus in Retail if it involved a metric buttload of skips and bypasses?


Ahem. I digress.

Where was I? Oh yes, about gold in Classic Era.

When you're that starved for gold, you have to be choosy about what abilities to train with when you level up. You start with your primary attack abilities --which for a Frost Mage those are Frostbolt, Frost Nova, Blizzard, and Cone of Cold-- and then select a few other critical abilities to keep current and then let everything else slide. So while the next rank of Conjure Food and Conjure Water may make the cut, Fire Ward and Frost Ward will not. On the original Cardwyn, I reached max level so far behind in a lot of my non-critical spells that I spent my first 120 gold after reaching max level just catching up on a lot of these missing spell ranks. 

This time around, however, I took the gains from my first few Nightfin sales on the Auction House and blew them all on catching up on my spell ranks.

ALL of them.

No, it wasn't ideal by any stretch, but it meant I had a full set of spells to work with. Such as, oh, Mana Shield, which might save my bacon in the Plaguelands. 

It was only after my training was complete and that I was caught up did I save up enough gold for a riding mount. But I haven't stopped there; I realize that I'm going to need enough gold to buy enough mats to finish Tailoring and Enchanting, so my Nightfin activities haven't stopped. If I want an epic mount it's going to take a lot more fishing than what I've accomplished so far, so I'm not in any hurry to get there. 

Maybe there's a purple kitty grind in my future, but I've already done that once. Not exactly the most fun thing in the world, if you ask me. But it is something that can't be skipped, so there is that at least.

*The starter zone, Tortage, is still probably one of the best starter zones I've ever encountered in an MMO. I suppose that the reversion to a "traditional" MMO once you leave that starter zone --not to mention the bugs-- was a huge part of the "bait and switch" impression I and a lot of other people felt the game gave to players.

**This is a US-specific issue, because most of my relatives died with barely a penny to their name. As their health declined, the federal government would only step in and support their stay at a nursing home or a hospice for their final months after they had depleted all of their savings. And the US healthcare system is perfectly happy to oblige in racking up fees and charges. Many of my relatives had a decent nest egg upon retirement, so watching all of their savings being sucked dry by a medical community that is at times part savior and part leech was disheartening to say the least. If nothing else, the lesson I learned from it is that if you die, make it quick so that the healthcare companies can't gain access to all of your money. 

***Trying to level fast meant bypassing extra quests and other activities --such as fishing or picking herbs-- that I could use to supplement Brig's income. When Brig crossed the Dark Portal, I had a total of 80 gold spread across all of my toons. Thank goodness for the Ghost Wolf form that a Shaman has, which allowed me to delay paying for a mount for quite a while.

****That's in addition to never selling any magic items ever again. You're always either keeping them to use, holding onto them to use later, or disenchanting them for mats to use for Enchanting. It's a grind that any Enchanter has to pay eventually, and in the case of the original Cardwyn I paid it later, after I reached L60. Going back and running low level instances just to get magic items to disenchant wasn't exactly a lot of fun, but at least I got to level weapon skills along the way.

*****There's a location in Feralas that worked, so Card needed to only reach the mid-L40s to safely fish there.

EtA: I corrected the grammar before posting but forgot to remove the "in". Oopsie.

Monday, July 17, 2023

Meme Monday: Relaxation Memes

One of the things about Summer is that you have to spend some time and relax a bit. While I may not go on vacation, I do try to take it a bit easy on things.

Of course, MMOs have their own unique spin on that...

I think this kind of fits my experience in
World of Warcraft to a T.
From Reddit.

And yes, I am a filthy casual
a lot of the time.
From Thunderdungeon.

Ain't that the truth.
This is a Redbubble poster,
found here.

Then again, maybe I should take up
another hobby that I could find
relaxing. Like gardening. From Reddit.

Friday, July 14, 2023

The Soft Glow of Electric Sex Gleaming in the Window*

When you were a kid and you wanted to be outside but couldn't, you'd press your face against the glass window pane, smudging the window to the point where you left a soggy mess when you pulled your mug away. Rainy days, frozen days, days where you had to go to some important family event, just pick one and they're all the same. That longing of wanting to be where you couldn't made your entire day miserable. Even later in life, when I wanted to be reading about different worlds found in SF&F novels, if I had to be somewhere else I'd not be in the best of spirits.

I mean, who wants to go take a Chemistry test if they had the option to go play Risk or read Dune instead?

This is my copy, circa 1985.
I mean, look at the price on
this paperback! $3.95!!

Tonight is my questing buddy's regular Wrath raid night, and while for the most part I'm quite happy to be no longer in the grind given all the Heroic Plus Plus** "runs" she's been doing lately***, I will confess to missing out on all of the trappings surrounding those raids.

More than anything else, I miss the camaraderie in the raids, chatting and enjoying the company of each other, than the raid itself.

Ever since the transition from 40/20 person raids in Vanilla Classic to TBC and now Wrath Classic, the raids have felt "less than" compared to those early raids. I know that it could be argued that 10 person raids in Wrath Classic truly are less than, particularly given the differences between 10 person Wrath Naxx and 40 person Vanilla Naxx, but I've felt that way ever since I set foot in every 25 person TBC raid I participated in****. Blizzard may have made it easier to field a raid team in terms of numbers, but they also left some magic behind. 

It's an acceptable trade-off, I guess, but for me raiding hasn't been the same. 

But it's a bug I can't completely leave behind, despite my obvious refusal to "play the game" and catch-up to the current raid tier in the most expedient way possible. The raids themselves don't exactly hold much in the way of charm for me, and Trial of the Crusader holds bittersweet memories for me.


Back in 2010, I almost became a Wrath raider.

Oh, you never heard about that? Well, there's a reason why I never blogged about it: why blog about an event that ended up not happening? I didn't expect that I'd ever be back in this situation in a Wrath of the Lich King Classic edition of WoW, either, but here we are.

Remember this guy? Here's Quintalan,
complete in his T9 Liadrin's Battlegear, earned
the hard way by running plenty of dungeons.

Back in Satyana's very brief period of joining Parallel Context, I'd been logged in one evening when she whispered me "Hey, you want to join a raid?"

This was back when I severely restricted my WoW time because the mini-Reds were truly "mini" and they took priority over my game time, but this particular evening I had a few hours to just kick around. Still, my brain kind of froze at the prospect. I still had a hard enough time dealing with the 5-person pugs in the LFD tool --not that I didn't now what to do in those instances, but the very nature of dealing with random strangers on the internet-- and here I was being asked to make a huge leap into raiding. 

"Uh..." was my oh-so-brilliant reply. "I've never been raiding before."

"Oh, you'll love it! It's fun!"

She kind of had me over a barrel there. "Okay, what are we doing and do I have enough time to read up on it?"

"It's Trial of the Crusader, and don't worry, I'll tell you what to do."

That didn't exactly make me feel any better. But since I didn't want to let my co-blogger down, I joined the raid team that Satyana was putting together, and she cast about for 3 or so more people to finish filling out the raid.

Raiding was such an unknown to me that I didn't even realize there was a "raid" channel, so imagine my surprise when I started seeing chat messages with an unfamiliar color popping up in my dialogue box.

I, uh, kept my mouth shut throughout this, but I had a feeling that I was going to need to go on Ventrillo if we were going to run this raid. Oh yay, I thought. Mister Introvert is going to have to be in a voice program with 8 strangers and look like a complete idiot along the way.

I hung around Dalaran for a few minutes and after consulting with a WoW website --maybe Thottbot-- I flew up to the Crusader area in Icecrown.

It was then, while I felt like I was waiting for my own funeral, that it began to dawn on me that Satyana was having trouble filling out those last few spots. 

Over the next 15 or so minutes we got to 9 raiders twice, then someone would drop.

"Anybody know anybody who can join?" Satyana asked in raid chat.

Nobody said anything, and my hopes rose some more.

A couple more people dropped, and we went down to six raiders.

"Okay, I'm going to call it," Satyana finally said. "We'll try another time."

I breathed a big sigh of relief. 

That "another time" raiding with Satyana didn't materialize, as she moved on from both the server and from Parallel Context shortly after that aborted raid attempt.*****


Thirteen years later, Wrath Classic has returned to Trial of the Crusader, and I can't help but think of what might have happened then. 

Would I have liked it? (I don't know.) 

Would I have screwed up royally? (All signs point to yes.) 

Would my fellow raiders have tolerated my mistakes? (Come on, this is World of Warcraft we're talking about; what do you think would have happened in a pug like this in the era of GearScore?)

I do believe the trajectory of my MMO career might have been totally changed if that raid had actually happened, but my suspicion is that it would have made me even more reticent about raiding when Vanilla Classic became a thing. Even then, I had to be fast-talked into those first raids I went to in Vanilla Classic: Zul'Gurub and Molten Core. Yes, I ultimately had fun in both raids, but there was a learning curve. And the weight of expectations was not upon me. If anything the only expectation was that if we didn't loot the Corehounds like we were supposed to, we were gonna get called out in that first Molten Core raid. (Luckily for me I stayed on top of that job; I only got called out once and was in the middle of looting when it happened so it went something like "Cardwyn, loot the-- oh, nevermind.")

At times like this, I do wonder whether I deliberately sabotage my gearing and playstyle just so I am never put in the situation where I'm asked to join a raid. You can't have someone reach out to see if I'm interested if I'm not geared enough, and with my avoidance of running 5-person H+ and H++ instances, I'm guaranteeing that I won't have the gear.

Still, I do have to periodically clean the smudge from the window, looking at all the fun, wishing I was there.

*From the movie A Christmas Story. Here's the reveal of the now classic "leg lamp":

**For those who remember their programming languages, I always hear Heroic Plus Plus and think of C++. Kind of weird how this stuff comes back into your life after being away for a couple of decades.

***I put runs in quotes because the current strat for those runs is to basically run through all of the boss encounters to get to the final boss because badges for the current raid tier only drop off of the final boss.

****For the record, that does not include Hyjal, Black Temple, or Sunwell.

*****It's been forever since I've thought about her, but my biggest memory about her time here was the time she made a post criticizing someone and disparagingly wondering if someone had Downs Syndrome. My biggest regret was not standing up to her more forcefully than I did for that behavior.

EtA: It's co-BLOGGER, not coworker. Sheesh.

Monday, July 10, 2023

Meme Monday: Armor Memes

This was going to come up eventually, right? I mean, armor can be made fantastically beautiful --just go see the outfits that Kamalia puts together for that-- but there are tons of memes surrounding armor in MMOs, video games in general, and RPGs that just are ripe for the picking. 

I could easily put down twice as many memes as I've chosen now, but let's try to keep this within reason. After all, I'd not mind having material for a second Armor Memes post...

Admittedly, with plastic surgery this
look could be achieved today.

Oh look, it's TERA. Believe me,
the "underwear being less revealing
than the armor" thing is NOT just
a TERA thing, but it's one of the more
dramatic displays of it. From 9GAG again.

Basically TERA vs. FFXIV.
LOTRO would be on the FFXIV
side as well, but I digress.
From Twitter.

Uh, ouch.

Then again, there's Warhammer 40K.
From imgflip.

Tuesday, July 4, 2023

What on Earth is Red Reading This Time: The Lost Family

What if something potentially fun and lighthearted, or just a personal curiosity, takes a sharp turn off the highway and deposits you in the middle of nowhere, adrift without any cell signal nearby?

This isn't the plot of a novel, but metaphorically speaking this is what happened to Alice Collins Plebuch when her work on her family tree took a decidedly unexpected direction. All she had to do was spit into a vial and send it off to a DNA testing site, such as 23andMe or AncestryDNA, and await the results. What she got back, however, wasn't the Irish ancestry she expected. Alice experienced what genealogists call a NPE, a Non-Paternity Event, where your parent isn't the one you thought they were. Sometimes it's an adoption that was hushed up, it's the usage of donor sperm for insemination, or the byproduct of an affair. Or sometimes the NPE was something darker. The result of experiencing an NPE, however is that it can turn the recipient into what is known as a "Seeker", trying to find out the answers behind the NPE no matter where the path leads.

Uh, yeah. Basil Rathbone I ain't.
From Pinterest.

This story, and a study into the practice of what can be classified as recreational genomics, is the focus of The Lost Family by Libby Copeland. The book evolved from what was originally an article for the Washington Post*, and Libby interwove Alice's search with an investigation into how genomics has evolved in the past decade to where it is today, including both the positive and negative aspects of this opening frontier into what our genes say about us. 

I'm surprised the photo turned
out as good as it did. It's a wee
bit cloudy outside today.

Sometimes the positive and negative are part of the same story, such as the usage of DNA genealogy databases in the apprehension of the long elusive Golden State Killer. That Joseph James DeAngelo was caught was one thing, but that DNA genealogy databases could be exploited by law enforcement without people's knowledge was quite another.

Remember those fingerprints we all provided 
when we were kids back in the 70s and 80s
so that law enforcement could find us if we
were abducted? Yeah, like that only much more so.
From imgflip.

But this book, while it makes for an engaging read**, has a personal angle to it that goes far afield from anything that this blog typically covers. 


Over the past decade I've seriously considered having my DNA tested numerous times, and even within the past month I've gotten to within a few clicks of signing up for AncestryDNA's DNA test. (Luckily for me I didn't, because a couple of days later that money --and some Father's Day cash-- was sucked up by car repairs. Yay, car repairs.) Some of it is curiosity, as I've always considered myself a bit of a mutt as far as my ancestry is concerned, and my mother insisted we have some Native American ancestors on her side***, and putting the question of where my ancestors came from to bed would solve these two items. But there's there's more to it than just that. 

We know absolutely nothing about my father's father.

("Oh, a puzzle!" my questing buddy exclaimed when I mentioned this to her.)

My dad was always told that his mom and dad met, moved out to Colorado, got married, and his dad died when he was an infant. As you might be able to read between the lines, that was simply a fabrication by my grandmother and my great-aunt, her sister. One of my dad's cousins finally spilled the beans to him about 25 years ago before my grandmother passed away: apparently my grandmother got pregnant, she and my great-aunt went out west, had my dad, and then came back home with him. My dad, being the sort who would apologize if he ever cursed with a word stronger than "darn it", was incensed and demanded an explanation from his mom. 

"Who told you that?!" she responded.

"I want to know the truth!"

I don't know all the details, but what I do know is that in addition to the above story my grandmother had "doctored" my dad's birth certificate, which made it difficult for him to receive Social Security benefits because his name didn't match that on the certificate.****

So... Who was my grandfather? Outside of a name that may or may not be real, I don't have a clue.

I also don't know if there are any genetic risks for cancer or heart disease or whatnot that I don't know about either.

As for relatives I don't know about, well... I'm of two minds on that one. Unlike my wife, who calls her parents multiple times a week and chats with her sister and her other relatives on social media all the time, I tend to keep my distance from my family. They all tend to be far more religious than I am, and far more prudish as well, so I'm happy to keep them at greater than arm's length. 

And, oh look, here's this little DNA test that has the ability to upend entire families' understanding of who they are if I were to spit into a vial and send it off to get studied.

That's the thing that keeps me from pulling the trigger: I already know that something will likely come up, and that I won't be interested in reaching out to these people, but will those people then find me? Or if I don't get test but another relative does, and suddenly I'm the one getting the metaphorical knock on the door by someone claiming to be a cousin I never knew existed? 

In a post pandemic world, where I saw the worst of humanity broadcast for everyone to see, do I really want to know these people? I can select my friends, but I can't do the same to family. Unlike many Seekers I don't feel adrift because I'm missing part of my life, but I am curious. But am I curious enough to find out answers I might not like? 


Finally, there's a question about my genealogy that has nothing whatsoever to do with my non-existent grandfather, and that has to do with my family's search into their own family tree. 

One of my mom's sisters has been conducting research into my mom's family, and supposedly she's found all of this interesting stuff about where the family came from, yadda yadda yadda. However, my aunt isn't exactly known for her academic rigor, so without me reviewing her research I look at her claims with a skeptical eye. So for my edification if nothing else, I'm interested enough into my own verification of these claims that I've begun collecting a database on the family history. Yes, I use Ancestry's database, but no, it's not public. DNA testing might help to solidify some of this genealogical research, but then again, it might open up a can of worms. 

Jeez, Rowan, the least you could have
done is gotten me into the Opening
Ceremony of the 2012 Olympics...


Some reviewers think of this usage of recreational genomics --and the book itself-- as basically First World Problems. "I don't think that the world really cares who your great grandpa bonked," is what one reviewer on Goodreads said. The world may not, but this isn't really about what the world thinks. The book isn't really written for Genealogists either, as they likely already know everything in the book and would look at it as rather simplistic.

From Cafepress, where you can get this
on a coffee mug.

I don't get to say how your ethics and morality play into what you might find in your family tree, and to be fair what people think of genealogy in the US and Canada --where a lot of people's ancestors came from somewhere else-- is going to be different than the viewpoint of someone from Europe or Asia. 

If I were to look at it as purely an academic exercise, I'd most likely pass on a DNA test. From that perspective, the potential downsides outnumber any upsides. Still, I'd be a fool to not acknowledge an emotional component to this: the desire to know as much as possible. While I may keep my family at a distance, knowing a bit about their collective history --my history-- is a very strong pull. Plus, I want to set any records straight: I'd be going in ready to accept things such as hidden names or even different family names than what is commonly accepted today, because history is messy like that.

What? Oh, the book! Right.

About the book...

Yes, I liked it. For people worried about there being too much Biology in the book, don't worry; if you lack detailed knowledge about genetics you won't have any issues following the book. You had better expect to think critically about the subject, however, and for people who thought that getting your DNA tested on a lark or as a present to a family member the book is a bucket of cold water dumped on you. If you want to go ahead, do so, but go into it with your eyes wide open as to any consequences you might encounter. And to be fair, you don't even need to have been tested to personally feel the effects; Big Data is seeing to that.

*In much the same way as Into The Wild by Jon Krakauer was originally written as an article for Outside Magazine. Alas that the original article appears to go to a follow-up article about people who are obsessed with Chris McCandless.

**Not everything in the book is as annotated as some people might like, but I was comfortable with it given that NPEs and other genealogical surprises are kind of a touchy subject, and genealogists weren't always so keen to put their names and faces down on these discussions.

***Which I no longer believe, I might add. Apparently, that is a fairly common family backstory that people have, and it frequently turns out to not be the case.

****It took months, but eventually things got sorted out.

EtA: Changed a couple of words for clarity's sake.

Monday, July 3, 2023

Meme Monday: Reading Memes

Given that a lot of people I know who are into RPGs and MMOs are also readers, it kind of figured that this version of Meme Monday was going to make an appearance.

But if you're like me, you can relate
to this one. A LOT.
From someecards.

I'm with Stephen Colbert on this one.
From Pinterest.

From Debbie Tung and,
quoting Stephen King.

And alas, this is me as well.
This happened last night, hence
that first meme. From memegenerator.