Pre-Holiday Progress

Going to be a quick post here, as I’m scrambling at work to finish everything I need to get done before the holidays. I played quite a bit this past weekend, and have been playing all evening every evening this week so far. I’ve been playing a lot to get my fix, I suppose, since I’m going to be away from WoW for about a week over Christmas. I think we’re going to load WoW on the laptop before we roll out of town so we can still play around in the Auction House while we’re on vacation, but I doubt we’ll actually manage to do any leveling or questing.

My hunter is at 57 and has wandered to Felwood and Winterspring. I feel sort of like I did the first time I wandered to Un’Goro Crater. My quest log is totally overflowing and I’m surrounded by yellow exclamation points that I want to take care of, but I just don’t have room to collect that many quests! I did a few of them, but before I go much further, I really need to get all those Sunken Temple and BRD quests done. Those two instances will be a priority when I return. There are several folks in the guild planning to run them this weekend and I’m bummed I won’t be able to go, but hopefully I’ll manage something after vacation. Outland is close. Soooo close. I’m not sure I’ll drop all my old world quests and bolt there when I hit 58, but I may just have to go and take a peek… 🙂

I haven’t played my mage or priest much, so they both still sit 41-42ish. Our priest/warrior duo quested together a bit around Stranglethorn over the weekend, and that was quite fun. Still a lot of quests to do there, and we need to get him through SM and both of us through Uldaman soon. We’ve been holding out for guild runs for those, but it would be pretty easy to get a pug together, I think, since we arrive to the group as tank and healer. That was the idea behind this pair in the first place, so we may as well take advantage of it.

Our paladin/shaman duo ran RFK this past weekend with some folks from the guild. This was my first stab at some real tanking, and it was pretty fun to just charge in to melee combat and have a healer looking out for me. Anyway, we started with a group of four that dropped to a group of three when one of the folks had some lag problems. Then the third in the group had to leave us, and we proceeded as a duo briefly. (This has become the tradition with this pair, as so far, we’ve done all or part of each instance as just a duo.) Then our friend with the lag managed to get his issues sorted out, and help us kill the final boss. He had to leave, and so we were left to attempt the escort quest with just the two of us. We had a few close calls, but managed to complete it. Fun! My paladin sits at 31 now.

My pugtastic fire mage has done two RFC runs now, though I’ve only had time to write up the first one. I’ll be writing up the second one today, as I have time.

Anyway, I’m not sure how much I’ll be posting during my vacation. I do have some articles in progress here, and if I find myself with a lot of time to fill in between visits with family, I may get around to finishing some of them. In any case, I wish a safe and happy holiday to you and yours… take care!

BRD, or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Chain Trap

You’re probably thinking, “hey, you spelled BRK wrong!” Noop — I mean BRD, Blackrock Depths, where I took my hunter on a guild run this past Saturday. I do owe a tremendous amount to BRK, however. Without his helpful posts and videos of chain trapping, chances are, I would still be ignorant about it. If you’re a hunter, I highly recommend watching those. I confess I never even considered trapping anything until watching them.

I long avoided running instances with my hunter, first because I was avoiding groups/dungeons anyway (subject of another post, perhaps), and then after I did start grouping with others, I became nervous about 1) screwing up in the many ways that hunters can, 2) someone asking me to chain trap, and I’d never really practiced with it. My fears about 1 are pretty much gone now. I’ve read enough about playing the hunter class and teamed up with enough hunters that did make the mistakes that I’m pretty confident in my knowledge of what I should and shouldn’t do, what I should be careful about, etc. This isn’t to say that I don’t have more to learn or that I always execute my plans perfectly, but if I botch something specific, I realize it and can apologize accordingly. Seems like my fear of chain trapping would be easier addressed — just go out and practice, right? Well, I’ve just never bothered. My first shot at chain trapping in an instance was in Uldaman a while back, and I haven’t tried it since. Too busy doing quests, I guess, and I’ve never gotten myself into a position while soloing where it was required.

So, anyway, on Saturday morning, a guildmate asked if anyone wanted to do BRD or some other level 50ish instance. I said that I needed to head into the Sunken Temple (almost all these quests are green for me now), but she didn’t seem interested in this at all. Instead, she kept rallying for BRD and told me it wouldn’t take long for me to pick up the quests. (This would be true if I had room in my quest log.) While she continued to try to recruit folks for a group, I worked on finishing off some partially completed collection quests. I really wanted to do Sunken Temple instead, but whenever someone came on, she said we needed three more for BRD, so I just went with the flow. Running an instance with the guild would be fun no matter what, I thought. I did feel slightly panicky about the prospect of chain trapping, but least with the guild, I knew nobody would be too punishing or pissy if I screwed up.

Around 3pm, a mage in the guild said she’d join us. This meant we had a hunter, a mage, and a warlock… “Just need a tank and a healer now,” she said with a laugh. The warlock put us in the LFG, and shortly after, a holy priest appeared there, so we invited him. Knowing we needed just one more, one of the other guild folks brought in his level 50ish warrior alt to tank for us. Hurray! So, we had a complete group of folks ranging from level 50-55 to venture into BRD. Not a total guild run, but close. I made my way to the summoning stone, seeing the inside of Blackrock Mountain for the very first time. Wow. Pretty cool. I’ve been running the 20-40 instances quite a bit, so I’ve gotten used to how they look. No more surprises, really. It was super-cool to see a new place. Even the doors of the place looked pretty scary to me, and walking down the giant chains over the pit of bubbling lava to get to the summoning stone… my palms got a little sweaty. Of course, that could just have been the prospect of chain trapping.

As we were waiting for folks, we discussed looting and how the pulls would be marked. The warrior asked how confident I was with chain trapping. I said that I understood the concept, but hadn’t practiced it much, but that I was willing to try. When he laid out the CC marks, he said last, “blue square for trapping, if necessary.” This made it sound like he might not ask me to do it, but on the very first pull, he put up the blue square. So, away we went…

The first set of pulls were of small groups with a few little hellhound types of beasts. In each pull, the warrior marked one of the dogs with a blue square for me. I broke my own trap during the first two pulls, the first because of just… I don’t know, stupidity. The second broke because I had my finger on the wrong key and pulled with serpent sting. *slaps forehead* I apologized and said I knew why both traps broke (because I broke them myself), but the group seemed unconcerned. “Any pull where we don’t wipe is a good pull,” said the warrior. I appreciated the comment, but I really wanted to be successful at my part of the crowd control. The next pull, I kept the mob trapped until it was his turn in the kill order. I hit my groove. It was so fun! Things went pretty smoothly after that. We had one pull where we were in a narrow hallway and I put my trap in a bad place, and ended up trapping the sheep. Blue square ran right by the giant block of ice, and so the mage polymorphed it instead. “Nice improv on the cc!” the tank said. Heh…

Mostly, others were good about not breaking my traps (unlike in the trip through Ulda). The mage did a few panicky frost novas when she drew aggro that ended up breaking my trap, but most of the times that the traps were unsuccessful were if I somehow broke it myself or if the mob resisted it. After a while, I actually found myself disappointed if there was no blue square marked in the pull. It was really exciting to trap the mob two and three times in a row. The warrior whispered me and told me I was doing a great job. A few times he accidently marked a caster for me to trap, and of course that didn’t work out so well. The first time it happened, I started backing up to try to coax it into the trap, and then came to my senses and just sent my cat after it. After the battle was over, I turned around and saw a row of angry mobs that I certainly would have pulled had I stepped back much further. Thaaaat would have sucked.

Overall, we did quite well. We wiped twice, and I’m not familiar enough with the dungeon to tell you where we were exactly, but at one point, we were in a tiny room where I presume we had to protect the NPC when all the mobs ran in. We were in very close quarters, and it was extremely chaotic in there. All the clothies died very quickly, and I still, somehow, had a full healthbar at this point. As the tank and my cat were crushed, I wondered for a moment whether I could feign death and … *squish* Oh well. Wasn’t like I had jumper cables or anything. Success in that mission required that we keep the NPC alive (he was going to give us a key, apparently), so it was a failure and that was that. We moved on. The other wipe happened in the area where there were a bunch of NPCs sitting in the stands by a small arena, occasionally jumping up and cheering and clapping. The warrior marked the pull at the bottom of the stairs in the adjacent room (there were six mobs, I believe), and then initiated the battle. We managed to kill two of them before the mage did a frost nova and zapped a bunch of the spectators in the stands. We were swarmed and destroyed by the NPCs within a few moments. Ooops.

The group dynamic was excellent, for the most part. There was a little scuffle over rolling for shards at first (the warlock enchanter said she liked to have folks sit out of rolls if they’d won the last shard, and the priest said he thought that was silly, that a roll should just be a roll). At one point, the mage wanted to roll need on an enchanting recipe that dropped, so she could give it to her enchanter alt. The warlock said no rolling “need” because it was for an alt. I mentioned I had an enchanter alt, too, and the warrior said he did as well, so we all did a greed roll, and the mage was very quiet after that.

We made it all the way to Lord Incendius and took him down! Woo! Everyone was really bummed when we finally had to break up the party, leaving the instance incomplete. We were working so well together, I’m sure we could have gotten to the end. It was about 8pm when I needed to go. We’d been in there for several hours, I hadn’t eaten dinner yet, and we had guests over (very tolerant ones, thankfully). Seems this is one of those instances that requires that you run through it several times, anyway, given the way the quests are given to you (chains that send you through multiple times). The priest wanted to look for a replacement for me, but then the mage decided to leave as well, so they all decided they were done. The mage ported us back to Orgrimmar, and we all went on our way. I picked up a few nice things –I won a blue cloak (to which the warlock gave me a +50 armor enchant) and a blue necklace, both with nice agility stats.

On the whole, it was a great experience. Chain trapping is a blast, and I’m really looking forward the next instance as a hunter. No more worries!

Three Pugs in Scarlet Monastery

My priest ran three sections of Scarlet Monastery last night with three different pugs…

Pug #1: The Armory

I ran the Armory with a group composed of two warriors, a paladin, and a hunter. It was very strange — everybody was so durable, it left me with very little to do for the first half of the instance. Even the hunter seemed to keep his pet under control, so neither he nor his pet needed heals. Nice. So, I tossed up some curses and took out my wand and helped them slay stuff.

As we progressed, I had to pay a bit more attention and deal out some bigger heals. I put my wand away and went into mana conservation mode. Because they were splitting up the aggro (I’m not sure that one person had really been decided on as the main tank), I started to have some mana issues. I had plenty of water to drink, but again, it was the same problem as always of getting them to wait for me while I regenerated it. I started telling them during combat “I’m going to need to drink before the next battle.” This helped a little bit, but one of the warriors started getting a bit lippy, saying they didn’t need heals. Right. I ignored the comment for the moment. When the fortitude buff wore off, I said, “Please wait while I rebuff you, and then I’ll need to drink before we continue.” The lippy warrior said, “dont need buffs its noob instance.” I explained that I’d need mana to heal, too, and he said again he didn’t need heals. “Fine,” I said. “No more heals for you.” You know, I’ve had leaders tell me not to heal certain people in parties before (usually folks drawing too much aggro, to “teach them a lesson” by letting them get killed), but I’ve always ignored this. Due to some Hippocratic Oath hang-up I have as I step into the healer role (I don’t like being directed how to play this role, too), I have never actually threatened not to heal someone. He was being such a jerk though, I thought what the heck. And you know the funny thing? He stopped drawing aggro! In fact, he didn’t take much damage for the rest of the instance. I think he took me pretty seriously. Would I have not healed him if he got in trouble? I didn’t have a chance to find out.

Anyway, we killed Herod no problem, and he dropped Herod’s Shoulder, which everyone but the hunter rolled need on. (I passed, of course.) The paladin won the roll, and just as the little wave of mobs post-Herod appeared, the lippy warrior left the party and hearthed out without saying a word. I hope he realized he was a jerk.

Pug #2: The Library

The paladin stayed in the party with me, and we looked for a group for the Library. (Really, the Library was the only section of the Monastery I needed, but the Armory group has asked me to join them before I found a group, so I decided to just go along for the ride.) The paladin found a group of three looking for a Cathedral group, and suggested that we merge and do both. The Cathedral group agreed and so we met in the front of the Monastery.

This group was a breath of fresh air compared to the previous one in terms of general attitude and in keeping track of when the casters needed to drink. Perhaps it’s just because we had more mana users — the other four included two paladins, a mage, and a rogue. Our progression through the Library was very easy, very clean. Doan dropped the Illusionary Rod and the Robe of Doan. Nobody needed the robes, so we rolled greed on it and I won. (Hello, disenchant!) I could have used the staff, but it didn’t break my heart to lose the roll.

Unfortunately, one of the paladins had to leave the group after we were done. I was a little surprised, because it was such a quick run, and I felt a little bad because she came into the group to run the Cathedral, but she was the one who apologized profusely. Ah well. We were in LFG only briefly before we picked up a fifth, a warrior.

Pug #3: The Cathedral

The warrior was level 44 or so, and a very good tank. He was at least a few levels above the rest of us (I was next highest at 39, and everyone else was 36 or 37, I believe). We were lucky to have him because he could take a lot of damage, and he carried us very well through the first parts of the Cathedral. When we got to the final building, however, a couple things happened… one was that his tactics of running into the crowds were no longer viable. The courtyard outside is teeming with monks and every time one flees, they attract several more. We survived one massive battle (though the rogue had to be resurrected), but wiped on another, partly because I wasn’t ready yet and guess who ticked off some of the mobs because they were stealthing around them? Yes, the rogue. As the rest of us flailed around trying to survive, he went afk for a while. After we all ran back and resurrected him, we had to stand there waiting for a while for him to accept the resurrection. Apparently he went out for a cigarette. Nice.

The other problem was that the tank started having lag problems. I’d see him just running in place, while the rest of us tried to fend off the monks as he lost aggro. We wiped again right inside the doorway of the building, and just before I died, the paladin managed to toss up a Divine Intervention … on the tank. Oops. Just beyond my bloody corpse stood the tank, inside the bubble, still running in place from the lag. Heh… another run back from the graveyard.

We did okay for a while after this, and managed to clear all the way back to High Inquisitor Fairbanks and down him with no problems. Then, as we were clearing the left side of the stairs, the tank lagged again and … honestly, I’m not totally sure what happened. Usually, a wipe at this point means that someone got too close to the stairs and caught the attention of the boss, but I didn’t hear the usual shouting that happens when he’s triggered. It was all so chaotic — perhaps I missed something. Our party was completely pummeled. At this point, every piece of armor that I had (and I was in complete repair when I entered the Armory at the beginning of all this) was either red or yellow. Ouch!

It was starting to get late. “Sry, gtg” the warrior said. “Let’s leave,” the paladin whispered to me. The picture of the rogue was replaced with a little red lightning bolt as he decided to make his exit by disconnecting. (Very stealthy.) The mage tried to rally the paladin and I by saying she had someone who could tank and help us finish it off. I said that I was likely going to have to leave soon, too. (I didn’t mention that I really should have logged off an hour earlier so I could wake up for work the next morning.) I asked how soon they could join us. “Soooooooooon,” she said. I told her I desperately needed repairs, and she said that she and the new person could summon me. So, I hearthed out. The paladin left the party without a word and logged off.

I made my repairs and the new person joined the party. We were down to three. “Think we can do it?” said the mage. Uhh… heheh… The mage’s friend said, “Want me to go get So-and-So?” Sounded like an alt. “Are they level 70?” I asked. Turns out that the answer was yes. “Sounds like you’re all set then,” I said. The mage asked if I was sure I didn’t want to come along and I said yes, that I’d already completed that quest anyhow. She thanked me for the heals and I thanked her for the party, and I left.


So now my priest is just shy of 40. I imagine I’ll be buying her a mount before the weekend is out… 🙂

A bit of catching up (plus, a new blog)

There is a lot I’d like to write about, but I’ve fallen a bit behind, so I’m going to summarize a few things in short form here, and then expand on stuff later if I have time.

Lalecize asked about how all my characters are progressing…

– Hunter is at 54. I took her to the Un’Goro Crater, and she is plowing through the many quests there. A lot of them are grinding quests, so I’m trying to save up more double experience for her. I love the area… it’s like a humongous Shimmering Flats type area (in form, not in appearance), a wide open area with loads of mobs and overlapping quests.

– Mage is still at 40. She headed to the Badlands last night with my husband’s warrior to collect the flightpath and the rest of the Uldaman quests.

– Priest is at 39, and doing some grinding in Stranglethorn Vale. I’d planned for her to level in Desolace instead, but it seems like there’s a lot more to do in Stranglethorn (again, quests that are familiar and stackable), so she’s there for now. She also picked up that new Weather-Beaten Journal that allows tracking of fishing nodes, so has been spending a lot of time on the shore taking advantage of it. Good fun.

– Paladin is 27ish. Last weekend, she and my husband’s shaman looked briefly for a SFK group within the guild (since they’re both too high level to use LFG to find a group for that instance now), but nobody level appropriate had the time to go. So, just like with WC and RFC, we decided to give it a go, just the two of us. It was FUN. We wiped twice (if you were ever wondering how far a Son of Arugal and the scary wolves would follow you if you ran away, the answer is “all the way back to the beginning of the instance”), and had some other close scrapes, but managed to make it all the way to Arugal himself. I didn’t think we had a chance against him at all, but we got him down to 10% of his health before he killed us. It was incredibly exciting. We were willing to give it another go, but getting back to him would involve dealing with a while lot of respawns, so a guildmate ran us to the end and squished Arugal for us. Normally I don’t like a run-through, but in this case, we’d spent many hours working our way there ourselves, made a valiant effort against him, and simply didn’t have the time or energy to do it again.

My priest ran Scarlet Monastery Cathedral with a pug this past weekend. I logged on to just relax and do some fishing, and got a random invite while I was still dinking around in the mailbox. I decided to go, since I did still need to get the quests done, and they said the whole group was already together and ready to summon me. I went to Booty Bay, grabbed my healing gear, and off we went.The short version — the tank never paid attention to whether the casters were ready or not, so one of the warlocks and I were often left behind, as we sat drinking to regain our mana (even if we said, “please wait while we regain our mana” — he was not reading the chatlog, evidently). Many times I was forced to enter a huge battle without full mana, just to try to prevent a wipe. In addition to the overeager tank, we had an overzealous mage who drew a LOT of aggro and thus took a lot of damage. The most annoying part about this was that every time his health got low, he said, “heal.” Grrrr…. I normally ignore stuff like this, but it really began to grate on me. I finally said something like, “If you notice that your health is low, chances are, I have noticed, too, and am casting a heal on you. You don’t need to tell me. Just relax and wait.” We also did ask him to hold back a bit more and let the tank get aggro before releasing the biggest fireblast in his arsenal, but he didn’t seem to understand because he didn’t change his behavior. We did finally wipe outside the final building. I was soulstoned, so we should have pulled ourselves together again quickly after, but the tank (who died first), ran back from the graveyard into the front of the instance, so had to get by respawns and we all had to go back and help him. *headdesk*

Anyway, we survived the final battle. Whitemane’s Chapeau dropped and it went to the warlock. Plans for the Citrine Pendant of Golden Healing also dropped, and being the only jewelcrafter (and thus, the only one allowed to roll on it, since it’s bind on pick-up), the warlock picked this up as well. We all exchanged congratulations and went off on our merry ways.

Afterward, the warlock sent me a note and thanked me for the heals, and said I’d done a great job in healing for the group. “It was a tough group,” she said, “with people not waiting for you to mana up, and that mage…” We both laughed. She said that her main was a healer, and that it was her preferred role, but the warlock was a nice respite. We chatted a bit about pugs and healing and so forth, and then she asked if she might make me a Citrine Pendant of Golden Healing, since I’d helped her get the pattern. How nice! I looked at the materials, and said that I probably had everything on my jewelcrafter except the gold bars. She said that if I wanted to give her mats, I could, but that really, it was no trouble, that none of it was hard to come by.

So, the warlock danced in and out to grab the mats, and then we met by the bank and she made me the necklace. So nice! I put her on my friends list so that I could send her the mats later, but then it occurred to me that it might be nicer to give her something else that maybe she couldn’t make for herself. I peeked in my bank and saw that I had the materials to give her +2 to all stats on her chest armor, a very nice enchant for anyone, really. “Ooooo,” she said, when I offered. “Yes, please!” And so I enchanted her Robes of Arugal. Very cool.

I’ve started a companion blog called Year of the PuG, where I plan to document my progression through all the instances horde side using only pick-up groups. Could be fun, could be painful… either way I think it could be an interesting experiment and an entertaining writing project. (Entertaining to me, in any case. ;)) You can read my plans for the project in the first entry.

And now I must really go get some work done… Bleh!


Like many other Blogger folks, I’ve decided to move, given their recent decision to disallow links by commenters to anything other than their Blogger IDs. Not cool. So, here we are.

I generally like it so far, though some of the mouseover stuff is a little weird. I don’t like getting the preview thing when I mouseover someone else’s blog, for example. Oh-kay, figured out how to turn that off.

I do wish I could fiddle with the colors and CSS a bit, but maybe if it seems I’m setting here for the long term, I’ll invest in the upgrade. Also, does anyone know of a nice Site Meter type thingie that works well with WordPress? Looks like my old one won’t work, and I’d really like to keep track of how folks are finding me (so I can link them if they’ve linked me, etc). I see that WordPress has blog stats built into it, including referrers. It just gets more magical by the moment!

Anyway, all of this moving has sucked up my writing time today, but hopefully I’ll have a chance to put something together soon…

Just a sec…

When I put myself into the LFG channel, this means that within five minutes or so (just a quick trip to the vendor, and I’ll even hearthstone to one if I’m not near a town), I will be ready for summons. Most of the other folks I’ve encountered seem to have very different philosophies. Unless I’m a mid-instance replacement or the 5th addition to the group, I’d say that 9 times out of 10 I’m one of the poor saps standing there by the summoning stone, scowling at one or more of the following comments, usually beginning “Just a sec…”

1) “I just leveled so I want to go train first.”

Ok, this is really annoying. Although training seems like a speedy thing to the person doing it, that 15-20 minutes during which you deliberate on which talent tree to put your gold into is like forever to those people standing there waiting for you. Sometimes I wonder if I’m waiting for the person to train in every profession they have, check their auctions, and reorganize their bank space before they are ready to be summoned. Times slips by when you’re actually doing something in the game (boy, does it ever), but to those waiting for you, it’s much longer than a “sec.”

2) “I just need to turn in this quest first.”

Once I was standing by the summoning stone at RFK with my group, waiting for the last guy to “just turn in this one quest,” and we watched him fly over our heads, back and forth, at least three times, between Thousand Needles and wherever he was turning in his quests. I’m sure it was one of those Fed Ex chain quests where you rack up some experience just by delivering letters back and forth. We kept asking him if he was ready for summoning, and he kept saying, “lol almost.” Dude, we are not lol-ing. In fact, it took us so long to get this group going, that partway through the instance, someone had to leave and so we had to go back out and get a fifth. When we ran out to summon him, this Fed Ex guy said, “hey I leveled, do you mind if I go train real quick?” The leader of the group said, “NO,” to my relief, but then said, “jk sure go ahead.” “Please, no,” I said. “Let’s continue.” Not kidding!

3) “Just need to finish this quest and I’ll be right there.”

I know how it is. You’re sure that next murloc you kill is going to drop that last eye the witch doctor asked you to collect for him. You’ve spent the last hour killing them, so just one more… one more… ok, the next one… I’m so close… certainly the next one will… no, just one more… (do none of these have eyes?) I’ve stayed up hours past my bedtime to finish a collection quest like this, and it always takes longer than you think it will. Plus, you’re never done when you collect the last item because your reward is to go turn it in. Just stop before you even type that sentence. It’s not going to be quick.

4) “I need to fly around and pick up all the quests first.”

Ha! I don’t think so.

5) “Can I just finish this BG first?”

I’m not kidding, someone actually asked if they could finish running the battleground they were in, and the leader of our group said it was fine. We did the usual ritual by the summoning stone while we waited… buffing, rebuffing, dancing, telling jokes, clucking like chickens, falling asleep, etc, while we watched this person’s health drop all the way to nothing and then spike up again as they were healed. We saw them die a few times, get their body, repeat… arrrrgh. I can’t even believe we waited for this person.

It takes so long to finally get a group in the first place, and then all the time wasting. Gah!

So, why do I wait for any of these people? *Sigh* I really like running instances, and it takes us sooo long to get that fifth person, that I may as well wait 15 more minutes because it could be another hour or more before the next group of five is gathered, and then another round of “Just a sec…”

Some of this time wasting may be over soon, thanks to my guild. I was a little slow to take advantage of our guild website for organizing instance runs, but some of the newer folks have been more assertive, so I’m starting to join their groups. I imagine some of the level 70 folks that have started playing their alts might join us in these runs as well. I’m really looking forward to it!

I won’t stop pugging anytime soon though (despite all the complaining). In fact, stay tuned for info about a companion blog, coming soon…