I woke up this morning to discover that I was prodded by two excellent bloggers — Contains Moderate Peril and Braxwolf — to answer their questions as part of “The Liebster Awards”. As Brax put it, these are “the blogging equivalent of a 1970’s chain letter” that caters (good naturedly) to “a particular brand of narcissism”.
As you well know, dear reader, I do enjoy talking about myself.
Both Roger and Brax presented 10 questions, so in the interest of fairness I’ll just randomly choose 5 from each. (Sure, I could answer all 20 questions, but who am I, Belghast?!).
1. How did you get started blogging? (Brax)
So, I was reading a copy of Wired magazine way back in 1999 and they had a tiny little article about this thing called weblogs where people “logged the web”. I was fascinated and decided to make one of my own, named Pith and Vinegar. Back then weblogs were less long form writing and more about finding weird corners of the internet and sharing links along with a bit of commentary. And there weren’t very many of us — you seriously knew EVERYONE who had one. We had to code our own comment systems. People would get in passionate fights over whether “blog” was appropriate shorthand for weblog, and also whether you pronounced it “web-log” or “wee-blog”. It was pretty old school.
2. Do you have faith in your countries political institutions? (Roger)
I do, actually! (Well, I do about Canada. The US is pretty messed up.) We’re coming up on a decade under a terrible conservative government in Canada who has been doing their best to ruin everything (selling off public institutions, removing rights and freedoms) but change is coming and I have faith in the Canadian people’s sense of good. We believe in socialized medicine, we believe in gay rights, we believe in protecting the environment. We believe in being polite! We’re not perfect by any stretch — we have a disgusting history of racism against First Nations people, for example — but I believe in Canadians.
3. Do you regret anything that you’ve written or said on a podcast? (Brax AND Roger)
A friend asked me this for a podcast retrospective not long ago (hi Corr) and .. honestly no. I realize that’s not the most humble answer, but there you go! I’m actually really careful about what I post on my blog, which is not to say that everything I write is correct or even smart but that I try to be honest and factual when facts are available. I’m super picky about accurate word choice. The only thing I really regret on podcasts is any moment where I start to blather. Oh, and every time I start to talk I open with “Yeeeeah”. STOP SAYING YEAH.
4. What is the origin of your blogging name? (Brax)
“Liore” is just a name I made up for Everquest that I liked. But allow me to talk about the name of my blog for a second. You see, back when I created this site in 2008 I was the guild leader of a semi-hardcore raiding guild named Machiavellis Cat. (Why Machiavellis Cat? That’s a story for another day.) I wanted to write a blog about my experiences as a guild leader, so the name Herding Cats seemed perfect. In actual fact, Herding Cats is a terrible name for a blog. It has nothing to do with what I write about now in my post-WoW years, it doesn’t indicate gaming in any way, and it’s such a popular phrase that it doesn’t stand out on a page or in search engines.
To compound the issue I decided to start a podcast that was initially going to feature a rotating cast of guesthosts from my guild, aka Cats, and so we went with the clever name Cat Context. Cat Context. Sigh. At least it’s unique I suppose but it still makes no damn sense to most people.
Long story short, don’t let me name your blog.
6. Do you find common place social conventions, such as going for a drink after work, or inviting colleagues round to dinner, a pleasure or a chore? (Roger)
So, I have been diagnosed with strong social anxiety and much more mild ADHD (hyperactivity rather than inattention) which means that making boring small talk with awkward strangers is pretty much my worst nightmare. I enjoy very much hanging out in person with friends but I have spent my entire professional career mastering the ability to weasel out of “work retreats” or other torturous concepts. I do. not. like. being. bored.
7. Which blogger would you like to meet in real life and why? (Brax) / Is there a blogger or podcaster who has quit the scene or retired that you would like to see make a return? (Roger)
I want to meet Syl because she seems like a lovely person with a curious mind who I would get along with like gangbusters. I also have never met my Cat Context co-host Arolaide in person and oh my god we are so overdue for that. Aro and I joke that she is the bad twin and I am the good one, and I know we could get into so much trouble in person.
I’d say Roger for the podcaster who quit, but we know CMP is returning. Umm, How to Murder Time? No wait, they came back too. Pink Pigtail Inn? No, she writes a great movie blog now. Does anyone ever quit blogging or podcasting for good? :)
8. What is the thing you like most about yourself? (Brax)
I think I’m smart, and I think I write well. But beyond that, I’m incredibly loyal. Once I’ve mentally sorted you as one of “my people” — and that can be a dear close friend or just my favorite barista — I will go to great lengths to help you and, well, pardon the language but I will totally fuck shit up if I think someone is picking on you or being a jerk. I’m not great at sticking up for myself, but do not mess with my people.
9. Do you ever find that your own personal values, principles and ethics put at odds with the wider gaming community? (Roger)
Ah hahahahahahahaha. Hahahahahahah! … Yes.
Look, I operate under the very simple rule of “Be Excellent To Each Other”. Sometimes people are having a crappy day and just need someone to be nice to them. The general wider gaming community, on the other hand, seems to think that everyone is a terrible scrub who needs to die in a fire. We are indeed “at odds”.
10. If you were to start up a video game company, what would you name it? (Brax)
Totally Legit Games! (My freelance company is called Totally Legit Publishing.)
11. You are standing behind someone who is unaware of your presence. Armed only with a seven inch filleting knife, what is the most efficient way to kill them? (Roger)
Okay, so according to tradition I have to tag in more victims and share some questions of my own. To wit:
1. What was your very first MMO character and why did you choose that race?
2. Would you rather have a tiny elephant as a pet, or a tiny kangaroo?
3. Do you overuse any figures of speech in your writing or speaking?
4. You can snap your fingers and visit any city in the world. Where are you?
5. What was your first (real life) pet? Who is your favorite pet?
6. You’re on a desert island and only have one album, one movie, and one book. What are they?
7. Why did you start a blog?
8. What’s your favorite video game soundtrack?
9. Which writers have been the most influential in your own writing?
10. What is your favorite virtual hat in any game?