The GGA Project -- Day #29 "WoW"

If you live nearby and are reading this, you know that I sent out e-mails inviting people to help me with my GGA project by introducing me to something they do, or have been eager to try, thereby helping lead me down new paths.

Though some of my new activities have involved other people just by the nature of the activity, or in an impromptu way, today was the first of the planned play date activity introductions, brought to me by my friend Kenneth.

A word here on the idea of writing about friends: I will not do so without permission, so that's covered, just FYI.  But I was thinking about it, and I have the feeling that writing about these play dates (I'm really not crazy about calling them that, but I can't really think of a better, non-wordy term off hand) will inevitably lead me to produce mini, potentially embarrassing shout-out biographies in which I tell you what is cool about this person I spent the hour or day with.  While it's kind of a cheesy thing to do, part of me responds to the cheese factor with a big fat, "so what?!," because, really, don't we spend enough time in our lives bitching and complaining about the people we know and encounter?  I think this is a great opportunity to share what I truly enjoy and appreciate, where my friends are concerned.

So then, back to Kenneth.

Kenneth is a former coworker I've known for, golly, 9 years now but have not spent too much time hanging out with outside of work.  He is, however, the perfect person to have become reacquainted with recently, especially in terms of this project, as he is into alllllll sorts of things I've had little or no exposure to before now.  A lot of his hobbies are things I consider to be within the realm of normal human activity: snowboarding, motorcycling, spending time with his girlfriend, reading, Rock Band, etc.  And then there is this whole other world which he is part of that has nothing to do with anything I would consider normal.  Case in point: Warhammer 40,000.  If you don't know what that is, consider yourself, well, normal  :)

I'm totally kidding, of course.  Yes, it's true that Kenneth's (self-described, I must add here) nerd/dork hobbies are for the most part foreign to me, but the fact that he is into them so passionately is, I would say, one of his praiseworthy character traits--mostly because he manages to walk that rare line of being a devoted sci-fi/fantasy/RPG geek while somehow retaining the ability to maintain good hygiene, talk to members of the opposite sex, and discuss current events (i.e. things happening in the *actual* world).  And hey, if you're gonna accuse me of being a hater, I simply invite you to attend the book signing of any major sci-fi author and you'll be singing another tune.  I've worked at a number of such events during my days at Barnes & Noble, and I can say that the reality is even WORSE than the stereotype, so back off, Jack!

Anyway, I've long maintained the position that Kenneth is actually my brother from another mother, and I offer the following as supporting evidence:

     Exhibit A:  Same corny, alliterative initials.  Ah ha!  (Are there really two sets of parents out there who would do this to their children?)

     Exhibits B, C, & D really all have to do with his similarities to my dad (of the same initials, I might add.  Ah ha, again!)  The two of them share the following common, yet truly-central-to-the-personalities-of-these-two qualities:
          1)  Tirelessly active and interested in a wide range of hobbies...for the most part game to trying anything
          2)  Super helpful and ready to lend their expertise to your cause on a moment's notice
          3)  Ridiculously good natured, and most comfortable in your friendship when teasing or being teased by you (my personal favorite)

Indeed, as I've told him many times before, Kenneth is a truly lovable nerd, and I'm happy to call him my friend.  Additionally, Jesse, one of my favorite people in the world, considers Kenneth one of his favorite people in the world.  Double the props by way of testimonial.  Don't you just love when your worlds match up like that?

Ok ok, enough of the Kenneth-fest.  I'll just move along and say that, despite the fact that a number of my friends participate in the below-discussed activity, the evangelical ("hey, you know what you should try?") nature of his dorkiness made Kenneth really the best choice to introduce me to 

Today's New Activity: Playing World of Warcraft

In writing that, I know that in near-equal parts, my friends and family members will cheer and groan.   Hahaha.  But I've been making fun of this hobby for like 4 years now, all along without even witnessing more than about 60 seconds' worth of playtime, a few years back.  Can't knock it till you know it, no?  That's not always the case, but hey, why not give this a try?

Look, that's me!  Getting quest orders from somebody named Niven or something like that.  Kenneth deleted a character on his account so I could make a new one, and I chose to play as a gnome.  I didn't know (because nobody TOLD me) until halfway through my 1 1/2 hour session that gnomes are pretty much the scum of the WoW earth, and I only found out because one of Kenneth's friends saw what he thought was him playing online (oh, that's an important thing about WoW...its devotees are EVERYwhere out there, millions of them, and they find each other and "socialize" online), then sent him a message that read, "really bitch, a gnome?!"  Ok, it wasn't that harsh, but whatever he said made it obvious that gnomes are losers.

Whatevs.  With a good deal of guidance, I was able to complete some 7 quests or so, making it to level 4 (!).  I cleaned up toxic geysers and annihilated deranged (was it?) leper gnomes, among other things.  I'd say I did my part to help the planet out today.

All in all, WoW was not nearly as stress-inducing or, well, lame, as I expected it to be.  In my young Nintendo days, I was always fond of the quest games (lost at least 100 hours of my life to The Legend of Zelda), so I can definitely appreciate that aspect of it.  I did, however, think it would get a little monotonous after a while, so I'm not susceptible to this *particular* potentially addictive activity.  Won't be losing my life due to WoW-induced dehydration anytime soon.  So that's a relief.

After the World of Warcraftin' we joined friends Dave and Scott in the garage, where they were pretty thoroughly engaged in a round of Warhammer 40,000, which, if you don't know, is a role-playing game in which armies are pitted against each other....to the DEATH!  Check out the beauties who sat this round out.  Look at 'em, just kicking it on the shelf, waiting for the next battle:

Nevermind the fact that no actual gunfire is exchanged and nothing actually moves at all without the players' assistance during the games: the winners and losers are clear.  Despite a decent explanation from these guys on how that happens, the theory of play turned to so much saywhat(?!) when I actually saw the game in action.  Here, watch this and see if YOU understand a word of it:  :P

Listen closely to what Kenneth says at about 1:15

Naw, KK, not judging...just enjoying another opportunity to appreciate the differences in our respective worlds.  I thank you for introducing me to yours.

And rest assured, I wasn't laughing at you, just near you.

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