Riding High on the Sale of Small Eggs

Pull up a stool and order a pint of mead!

Here are more details on the fall of Baklava, and the ascendancy of Blaniage, as told by my brother.

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In the vernacular of World of Warcraft (WoW), my “main” (my most powerful or highest level character) is now Blaniage, a Blood Elf hunter. He’s a Horde “toon”, which is to say he is at war with all Alliance toons. Baklava, my Night Elf Druid, was in the Alliance.

Although I already had one Horde toon (Mazgul, the unfortunately named Undead Warlock), Blaniage was my first Horde character after my upgrade to the Burning Crusade (the WoW expansion pack, the purchase of which serves as irrefutable evidence of my growing WoW addiction). The Blood Elf race was added in the expansion pack. I started playing Blaniage around Christmas. I remember this not because of anything occuring in the real world, but because Christmas occurs around the same time as the Winter Festival in WoW. As in the real world, the Winter Festival means baking, and baking means small eggs.

There is an economy in WoW. Toons needing supplies can go to a number of vendors specializing in various products or disciplines, but some items must be found or purchased at a considerable mark-up from other players via the Auction House. Think of the Auction House as an in-game eBay. Blaniage was not born with a silver spoon, but he was born next to a thriving colony of relatively weak dragons whose corpses were lousy with small eggs. Through hard work and the exploitation of other players frantic to complete Winter Festival quests involving the baking of gingerbread cookies, Blaniage made a killing in the small egg market. At the peak of the gingerbread cookie frenzy, a clutch of small eggs normally fetching 10 silver sold for 5 gold. That’s a five thousand percent mark-up!

I now had a very poor Alliance Night Elf Druid, desperately in need of cash to complete his training, and a very wealthy Horde Blood Elf Hunter with nothing on which to spend his vast virtual fortune. Fortunately, WoW has a mail delivery service so that different toons can trade objects, money, and well wishes/death threats. Unfortunately, mail sent to opposite sides of the WoW war is not permitted. It seemed I needed to choose sides myself: the virtuous but poor Baklava, or the opportunist and wealthy Blaniage. Blaniage it was. I stopped playing Baklava at level 27; Blaniage is now level 43.

I’ve mentioned before that my biggest complaint about WoW is that it takes so long to get from place to place. This is primarily due to the fact that there is no transportation for low-level characters. Lower level toons literally run across continents to complete quests, and there’s no “wake me up when we get there” for the toon owner. You have to plod right along with your toon. Baklava once swam across an entire ocean just to open a trunk containing an item required to gain his water form. I sat there with my forefinger pressed firmly against the up arrow button for a solid hour, watching Baklava swim. At level 40, characters rich enough can purchase a mount. Blaniage, once lousy rich with gold, is now poor, but he does have a mount.

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Blaniage

Blaniage and his mount

I asked my brother a little more detail about the mount, how much does it cost, did you name it, etc. Here is his response:

The mount only cost 8 gold 50 silver, but it cost 90 gold to train to ride it. Can’t name a mount, unfortunately. They’re chattel.

The Golden Suckass

I’m still getting over a cold, but I felt well enough to travel through the so-so winter weather for the magic of Le Cinema.

What were my choices?

Michael Clayton – I am really not a big fan of the films of George Clooney, whether they be directed by Steven Soderbergh, the Coen Brothers, George Clooney or whoever the extremely talented and important director that made this movie was. Yes, yes, I’m aware that his films are all politically earnest and heartfelt and shit, yes, I appreciate that. Move along now, move along. You’re blocking the remainder of my post.

P.S. I Love You – I don’t even want to know what the hell this is. I want to punch the title of this movie in the nose.

Enchanted – No.

The Golden Compass – Yes, of course!

This is a first for me. My choice of film at the LaGrange tonight was made via unusual means. I’m a fan of the snarky blog post title when it comes to my Two Buck Schmuck feature. When I saw that The Golden Compass was playing this week, I immediately thought, “Ah ha! The Golden Suckass!”

So, I watched this damn movie just so I could use that post title. Pathetic, ain’t I?

Thankfully, this movie sucked ass, so I’m not really giving any false or misleading information.

As we learn in the prologue of the film, there are lots of parallel worlds. Unlike our own world, where the soul of a human resides within the body, in the world of GC the souls walk beside the body in animal form. My oh my was this distracting. In any scene with a lot of people, I compulsively scanned the screen to ensure that every human had his or her own personal lovingly-CGI-rendered animal form. I have a feeling that the techie people forced to render these goddamn creatures were about as annoyed as I was making sure everybody had an animal buddy.

Anyways, Daniel Craig is some royal dude who is a scientist who discovers a portal to another world at the North Pole, and he wants to see if he can cross over. There is an autocratic authority, the Magisterium (not to be confused with Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium), that doesn’t want him to do this, for whatever reason. In fact, we later learn the Magisterium actually *wants* to make contact with other worlds in order to conquer them. I throw my hands up and do not try to understand.

When looking up the spelling for Magisterium, I noted that it is a term referring to the teaching authority of the Roman Catholic Church. Then I remember hearing something about how there were some complaints The Golden Compass promotes atheism. If there are Catholics or other religiously-minded people that might feel threatened or offended by the material contained in this film, let me assure you that it does not threaten or offend in any kind of entertaining fashion. All its offenses are quite boring, accompanied by perhaps the worst orchestral score experienced thus far by this humble reviewer. Scratch that — Van Helsing’s score was a tad worse.

Oh, before I forget, there’s some horseshit they go on about regarding “dust”. What is dust, you ask? I honestly don’t really care. But it’s important, essence of life, or some such thing.

So there’s this girl, who is Daniel Craig’s niece, though maybe she is his daughter, and she’s the main character, meeting swarthy foreigners and CGI’ed genital-less polar bears with the voices of Ian McKellen and Ian McShane (polar bears have to be voiced by Ians, apparently).

The Ians’ voiceovers were another source of distraction for me. At one point, McKellen the polar bear and the girl need to cross this chasm over a flimsy icy-rocky bridge. So the bridge collapses as the girl is running across it (McKellen stays back because he’s quite heavy). I could not help thinking of a line for McKellen: “I…. SHALL…. NOT….. PASS!!!!!!”

The girl has a creepy scene with McShane the Polar Bear King, where she is sort of flirting with him. I just thought, man, in Deadwood, a young girl flirting with Ian McShane is a baaaaaaaad idea.

Lessee, who else was in this…. Nicole Kidman is a bad guy in it who may or may not be the girl’s mother. She has a large part that pretty much evaporates in the latter half of the film. Daniel Craig also sort of disappears. He is taken captive by some swarthy foreigners. We learn in a very brief voiceover near the end of the film that he was let go because he bribed them, and now has some underground lab where he is cooking meth or something. There’s danger afoot for Mr. Craig, however — the Magisterium is a-coming to get him but good!

Oh crap, I almost forgot. Sam Elliott has a relatively big role as a Cowboy Aeronaut. The less said about him the better, I think.

There is so much to tell you that I have no intention of doing!

The ending may have been one of the stinkier things about this movie. First some setup I have to unfortunately do:

  • The girl and McKellen Polar Bear have rescued some children from a secret lab where they are separating people from their animal souls
  • They are riding in Sam Elliott’s cowboy space balloon
  • They are going to rescue Daniel Craig
  • There is a group of kids that already had their souls separated from them, and nobody knows what to do about it.

So, the last scene of the movie is the girl telling her friend what their next tasks are going to be — “so, we gotta rescue my dad, we gotta do something about those animal-soulless kids, etc.”

And that’s the end. Normally a movie franchise earns a filmgoer’s trust in the first installment, and then shits on them in the second and third (Back To The Future, The Matrix), but this movie has the audacity to assume we’re going to want another gazillion dollar movie made to show this girl hug Daniel Craig. It ain’t gonna happen!