Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Why I missed Blizzcon

This was my big project. :) He was born at 4:01pm, October 24. Julie, you called it.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Virtual Blizzcon, Mounts, Etc

Happy Blizzcon to those attending, and to the vast masses who, like me, are stuck with a virtual ticket, I'll be there watching opening ceremonies with you this afternoon. ;)

It's Hallow's Eve in-game, which means attempts again at the Horseman's mount. I already have my 100-mount achievement, but hey, it's another mount, might as well, yaknow? One of the funny things about the holiday dailies (since I don't really bother with random dungeon finder or heroics anymore) is when I'm recognized but thought of as an imposter. Just yesterday the first thing that was said in group was, "Summergale is a tauren." Well, yes, that was true a year or so ago... Most of the time I'm believed when I claim to be the real thing. Yes, if you see a troll shaman on Nesingwary named Summergale, that's actually me. Maybe next time, just for fun, I'll play along that I named her as a 'tribute'. ;)

Speaking of mounts, after many, many weeks of trying, I finally got the Brunnhildar polar bear. Eh, the daily took all of 5 minutes a day and I didn't have much else to do. I still don't have a green protodrake though, and I've been picking up Oracle eggs most every week. No, I won't be impressed that you got your protodrake after 2 weeks, I had a guildie who got *two* drakes in the first month or two. If you've opened more than 120 eggs and still don't have your drake either, *then* I'll be impressed.

I've been completely out of touch on Twitter lately, and mostly because I'd been too lazy to update Twitterific. It's updated now, I might actually start paying attention or tweeting again. Apropos since I started the Twitter account last year so I could tweet from Blizzcon, and then went and left my phone charger at home so I spent the entire con being uber conservative on battery usage.

I rarely blog about shammy stuff, but with Cata around the corner and ZG gaining popularity in the short term what with the mounts becoming no longer available, I'm on what's bound to be a futile quest. And I don't just mean the mounts, I mean I'm pursuing something I know I won't finish. Wushoolay's Charm of Spirits. +320 spell power to lightning shield for 20 seconds. Fun toy to use with Fulmination. I must try it. I've had Hazza'rah's Dream Thread in my bank for a year or two now. I'm going to see how many more Edge of Madness bits I can get. This is futile because I have almost certainly missed my window: Renataki was the EoM boss on Monday this week, and he won't be back around again until November 29th. The only chance I have to get my trinket is if 4.0.3 isn't released until November 30th, the VERY last week before Cata, and IF the EoM boss is based on when the instance is first created, ie, since the reset is on Tuesday that week, if I don't zone into ZG until Monday to create my raid id I'd have a shot of Renataki. Anyway, super-duper long shot, but I'm gonna give it a try. :)

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Life, the blogoverse, and meta-questions

Well, it's been a while! Life's been chugging along, my guild's having the usual summer slump, and raiding is once again getting a tad dull in anticipation of the next expansion. I've taken to reading a few elemental shaman blogs, and it took reading through a few posts before I realized that two of the bloggers were women. I wonder if it's something in particular about women who play ele shammies that makes us like to write blogs. Or it's just a coincidence. We have a handful of women still in my guild, probably split equally between DPS/tank and healing.

I think part of the reason I haven't updated the blog in so many months is that I've been using Twitter to get my short thoughts out instead of letting them build up over the month and then writing a large post. I've tried tying my Facebook page to Twitter, but I want Twitter to update the FB status, not for FB to update Twitter.

There was a bit of flurry on the Ulduar comments lately on YouTube about folks being excited that I actually do read nearly every comment on the video. And then came more questions. I hope no one has taken it terribly personally that I don't respond to each and every comment personally. There are questions that, I confess, I will always ignore. For example, "What's the original song?" Guys, it's in the video credits. This actually brings up something else that's been on my mind, a bit of a delicate topic. I like hearing from fans who say they like the vids. I'm happy to interact a bit and thank them for watching. I'm flattered when people want to track me down just to give me a compliment; who wouldn't be? It's not uncommon for folks to try to extend the conversation. Perfectly understandable, I myself would also love to keep chatting with someone whose work I respected once I'd found them and they responded. However, please understand that while I don't mind chatting about interesting stuff, and I realize that many folks will want to ask similar questions like when my next vid is coming out, it sets off a red flag when I'm asked questions that have really obvious or easy to find answers. What realm am I on, what class do I play, etc. That, and quoting my own lyrics back to me really trigger the fan-radar and say clearer than anything, "I can't think of anything else to say so I'm going to start grasping at straws just so I can keep talking with you." Again, flattering, but that's when it crosses the line from appreciative fan to annoying fanboy/fangirl. All I ask is that before you start pumping me with questions, see if the answers are really obvious first, and please realize that quoting my lyrics back to me does not in fact give the impression you were hoping for. Instead of saying, "hop on my mechano hog lol", tell me something I *don't* know, like, "I love singing this at the top of my lungs and annoying my little brother."

The most common question I get that isn't addressed anywhere ridiculously publicly is when I'm going to make another vid. (This blog doesn't have a huge ginormous readership, so I will still be happy to answer this one if you track me down, especially as the answer may change in a month.) Right now, I don't know. Nyhm is on a WoW hiatus, likely until Cata comes out. Ulduar was done in a fit of inspiration, and I haven't been hit with anything I've liked as much. I've started writing a couple other spoofs, but nothing has been inspired enough to get finished. I think my next project is going to be just an excuse for me to sing something. I have a few songs that I just love to sing, so I've thought about recording them and seeing who I can talk into making something pretty video-wise to look at while the music goes.

I've tweeted about it, but it's official, I am not going to Blizzcon this year. Sad panda. Unfortunately I knew as soon as the weekend was announced that I wasn't going to be able to go, so I didn't even try to scrounge up tickets. On the bright side, I've got a pretty awesome personal project in the works (which is directly related to why I can't go) that I'll most likely post about shortly after Blizzcon. Fair warning, it's an RL project, it's not Warcraft, it's not a new movie, and it's got nothing to do with my singing. But since it's rather important to me on a personal level, I'll at least want to show off the results once it's done. Especially since finishing it is so important that it's going to keep me from Blizzcon. I'll try to find time to at least get some more singing up sometime between now and then, though!

Friday, March 12, 2010

PuG Podcast and Social Networking

Hi folks! Bit of an update.

First, I'm going to be on a podcast! is home to a lot of WoW and gaming related podcasts, and Jesse Cox hosts "PuG" every Saturday evening at 7pm Eastern. This week is a "Girls of WoW" episode, and yours truly will be featured along with the machinima artist Quixotica and Panserbjørne of YouTube's "Trade Chat". I unfortunately won't be able to stay for the whole episode, but I should be on for the first half hour.

I've actually had a Twitter feed and a Facebook fan page up for a while now, but I suppose they haven't been very well publicized:

I twitter a few times a month or whenever I feel like it. I started up the twitter feed for Blizzcon, and unfortunately being a Cow of Little Brain, I forgot my iPhone charger so I spent the entire con trying to mooch charges off other attendees and tweeting much less than I wanted to. My recent tweets are off to the right on my blog page if you don't actually have a twitter account.

The facebook page is legit and is my official page, but there's not a whole lot on it atm. 138 fans for almost no publicity, I can't really complain. :) But hey, if you want to go fan it, I'll keep monitoring the page and try to be better about announcements!

Speaking of fans, I've got over 11,000 subscribers on YouTube -- when did that happen?? Thanks for subscribing! I'm sorry I don't put out more content, I'll try to get some of my projects off the ground. Would any of you folks be interested in just more of my singing, even if there's no video attached? What if it's not even WoW-specific, but just me playing around with the mic and my audio software? It wouldn't be too hard to put together a few pretty screenshots to look at while the audio's going, but it wouldn't be anything I'd actually call "machinima".

For those wondering, yes, I technically have a MySpace account ( but I never log into it and there's no music on it because I just never got into MySpace. Only so much one troll can do! :)

Friday, January 15, 2010

One to Watch: Isolte

I just heard something I had to share with you guys. I was going to do a more thorough "first post of 2010", but I wanted to share this vid quick before I finished crafting that other post.

This girl has got to be my Alliance counterpart or something. She has as many Draenei as I have Tauren (or did before I caved and racechanged the shaman to a Troll, she writes some of her own lyrics and finds some great machinima artists to do her vids, her grasp of parody vocal production is pro, and her vocal talent and skill are among the best I've heard in the WoW community. Check it out and enjoy!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Still Alive

Post title is in tribute to having seen Jonathan Coulton in concert recently, with of course Paul and Storm as his openers. They all put on a fantastically funny show, and the whole time I kept seeing SpiffWorld's videos in my head to the songs as they were being performed live. Particularly this one (which is a Paul and Storm):

Quick post. I have a few projects on my plate, mostly voiceover stuff that I said I'd do and got pushed to the side while I was sick and had no voice. (I haven't forgotten!) Still have that lingering "I'm going to last for weeks!" cough, but I really should get those recordings done before I leave on holiday.

Hope everyone enjoyed the lag and crash fest that was patch day. The other guilds on my server decided not to even try the 25 man stuff tonight, so we ended up with server first kills of Marrowgar (we think) and Deathwhisper. Woot. :)

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

"Grind (That Bar)", gear, and guesting

New vid came out Sunday!

So, here's the story behind this one. Nyhm wrote the lyrics to this and recorded it *months* ago. In terms of how long the typical Mad Cow project takes from recording to completion, this is far and away the longest. I actually used the song as an excuse to go visit my partner in machinima infamy and his family, but this time I brought my recording setup. See, Nyhm records most of his vocals on a vent mic. As his audio engineer, this drives me *nuts*. I wanted to see how it sounded if I got his vocals recorded into a slightly better setup. This is an inexpensive solution that has worked for me, and is the same setup I used to record all my own vocals up until this one. I finally picked up a new mic this summer, a real nice fancy one, and my vocals for Grind were recorded with that. First, more about the vid, then I'll get into a spiel on equipment and software since folks always have questions about what we use.

As I was saying before I got sidetracked, this was recorded months ago. The files were all on my laptop, and I said I'd take care of the mixing and mastering, getting things synced and lined up properly, and I'd get the song back to him. Nyhm can be a very intense worker when he gets hit by the creative muse, and generally focuses on that one project until he gets it done (or until he gets bored if it just isn't working for some reason). Well, before I got around to editing the song, Nyhm decided it was time to do that book he'd always wanted to do. I won't deny that I was slacking on editing, and his focus on another project made it a lot easier to put "Grind That Bar" on the back burner. (While the official name is "Grind", there's also a WoW machinima series called "The Grind", and my internal name for the song was "Grind That Bar", so I'm going to refer to it as such in this post to distinguish it from other prior works.) Fast forward to last Friday. Nyhm sends me an email. "So I am feeling a creative void forming. VERY tempted to make a new wow vid this weekend." I got my butt in gear, recorded my vocals again, sent him a draft to work on while I mixed the final version, and (since I work on Saturdays) finished up the final mix on Sunday evening. We were done with our respective parts within an hour of each other, which was quite convenient and unplanned.

The reviews on this one have been a bit mixed, so I think I need to give a bit of context so that the video is appreciated properly. This video isn't so much a WoW visualization of the lyrics as a parody of the original video from Busta Rhymes, "Break Ya Neck". I recommend watching that vid before watching our spoof since the video will make a lot more sense.


My first 'real' mic was an Audio-Technica ATR30 dynamic mic. It's very sturdy, very resilient, and perfectly functional for very basic recording. I also used to use an M-Audio AudioBuddy preamp. The problem was that it had only mic level output, and my computer doesn't have a mic in, only a line in. I needed something to boost the signal coming out of the AudioBuddy, and the only device I found was this little plastic USB dongle called an iMic. It's the same thing I used for my headset for talking on Vent, and is not what one would call top of the line hardware. But it worked, more or less, especially for just playing around.

My new setup is sure to last me a fair bit longer. I splurged on a nice shiny new mic: a Rode NT1A condenser. And, of course, a matching silver pop screen to replace the makeshift "coat hanger and panty hose" pop filter I'd been using. I also simplified my signal chain by getting a firewire preamp (PreSonus Firebox) so the sound will go from mic to preamp to computer.

The other nice thing about getting that preamp is that it came with Cubase LE. Now, I know a lot of folks use and love Audacity. I use it myself a lot, but there's no instruction manual, really. So when I had issues like, "Why aren't my headphones monitoring in real time," there wasn't an easy way to troubleshoot. Also, I had serious issues getting it to do something as basic as reverb. I installed a couple of VSTs, but the previews weren't working, and the reverb wouldn't process, and ugh. Using the NT1A, the Firebox, and Cubase, it became much easier to get things working properly. No question of compatibility or whether there was a bad link in the chain or if I just needed to restart my software. Eventually I'll be upgrading to the pro version of Cubase, but for my purposes now, the limited edition is working great.

I imagine a number of folks reading this blog have heard of Decision (old channel), a WoW parody rapper and former member of the now defunct A6 which included Nyhm, Gigi, and the DruidBoyz. Well, Decision does occasional broadcasts on BlogTV, where he broadcasts live video, and various folks sign in and chat via text, ask questions, and so on. He tweets when he's broadcasting, and last night I had about half an hour before raid so I decided to stop in. I sign in as a guest, and thought I'd be all clever and such. For context, Decision and I met in person at BlizzCon, and every time he or Bry (his oh so lovely girlfriend) saw me, they'd go nice and loudly, "OMG, are you the REAL Summergale???" So of course when I log in as a guest, I have to give him the same treatment. "OMG are you the real Decision??" He doesn't catch the joke.

Him, on camera: "Um, yes, I am the real Decision..."
Me, in text chat: "Sorry, inside joke, this is Summergale."

It hadn't occurred to me that other people might claim to be me, which apparently happens about once a show. My comment is received with a request for proof from Decision and other viewers commenting oh so cleverly, "Hah, yeah, I'm Nyhm." "hurr hurr, I'm Summer too!" So Decision says to the camera, "If you are the real Summergale, I think you should call me, like right now." (We'd exchanged cell numbers at BlizzCon to keep track of each other.)

Him (voice): "Phone's not ringing, I don't hear it. It'd be funny if that actually was her."

Then I finish digging my cell out of my purse. Locate Deci's number in my contact list.

Me (text): "Ring ring."

The look on his face when his cell actually started ringing was priceless. He even showed the camera the face of his phone where it showed "Summergale" calling. (Yes, he put me in his contact list as Summergale.) So, I got to guest star on Decision's blogTV show for a bit as a call-in and feel all famous when everyone was impressed that it really was me.

Wow, this post got waaaaay too long. Maybe I should post more frequently...