World of Womancraft

Comments Gone Rogue, Sexism Edition

When my response to an excellently worded and intelligently thoughtful post on sexism in WoW got a little out of hand (one should never scroll THAT MUCH in a comment box) I decided to respond via blog post instead.

Please to be reading the original post first – yes, it’s very long, but it’s very good and some of what I say may not make sense unless you know what I’m responding to. (I also recommend the comments section, if you’re not the sort of person who normally reads them. Great discussion going on over there!)

I don’t see your problem: Sexism, World of Warcraft, and Geekery – from The Mental Shaman.

Stop and Think

The original post really made me sit down and think. Taken individually, each example of sexism can be seen as be innocuous or possibly even searching for things to find offensive. However, once you string them all together like that, it sure does add up to a disturbing result.

That being said, I’m not on the verge of boycotting the game or mailing in the ashes of my burnt bras (those things are EXPENSIVE, yo). I’m the kind of person that tends to hope that folks do things like this without really realizing their effect.

The Effect

What is the effect? I mean, if we’re all urban and aren’t the sorts of folks to take things like this to heart or DO them ourselves, what’s the harm?

First off, let me say that if you look at this and say “I would never do those things” I believe you. I do. It’s that particular response that allows me to roll my eyes at the skimpy armor models without getting furious and nerdraging all over Blizzard’s contact email.

The effect that concerns me is one of complacency.

Ha ha, the female characters make jokes about how flighty they are. They talk about their nails or their clothes or their makup. Whatever.

Ha ha, the armor models for the female characters are skimpy and completely unrealistic. Whatever.

Ha ha? Every strong, active leader is male and all of the female lore characters play second fiddle to their relationships with men?

Ha? Most female models portray a body type that is unrealistically sexy. (How many folks who think that magazines photoshopping already thin and gorgeous women so they will be “more” is wrong, but have no problem with this, or shrug it off?)

The effect that concerns me is the saying that this is all normal and no big deal, there’s nothing to see here. What lessons are we teaching gamers? What values are we instilling? What subtle messages does this send?

Theme

As a writer, one of the things that gets hammered home in lessons and classes about writing is THEME. What is the THEME of your story? What lesson are you teaching your readers?

Few readers want to be preached to. Having characters voice the moral of a story is yawn-worthy at best and patronizing at worst.

Writers learn to fold their theme into every conflict and every choice made by their characters. They instill the message so deeply into the story that it IS the story.

Similarly, you don’t have to have a male NPC standing on every street corner tossing a /whistle and /lick to every passing female character for a game to be sending a poor message to its players.

Solutions

So, if this can be said to be a problem (or at least something that ought to be paid attention to by decision makers at game companies), what sorts of solutions can we suggest?

If you take each individual instance and address it separately, you can “solve” each individual problem.

Add a female Victory statue. Design armor to look more like something you’d wear to battle than something you’d see on a Girls of Warcraft: Swimsuit Edition calendar. Allow more diverse character creation sliders so folks can control how their characters look. Add in female endgame bosses with the lore behind them to make them feel epic.

These are bandaid solutions at best. They’re certainly better than nothing at all, but it’s easy enough to argue that games where people have absolute control over the body type sliders and armor of their online avatars aren’t havens of equality. *cough*SecondLife*cough*CityofHeroes*cough*

I don’t feel like the original post was saying “fix THESE things”. I feel like the original post was saying “Look! These are symptoms of a greater ill. Please, someone pay attention.”

I am adding my voice to that cry. Please, someone pay attention!

So What Do People Want?

The studies on “what [gender] wants in gaming” that I’ve read have indicated that “boys” like things that look cool and “girls” like storylines.

My own informal testing, done on a small subset of the gaming community (and thus not to be taken as “average” opinions) reveals female gamers who want to look badass and male gamers who devour lore and storyline information as if it were manna from Heaven.

In my experience, GAMERS want a game that looks cool and has a compelling storyline. Gender neutral.

And yet, so much of the game seems to be geared towards stereotypical male gamers. (And I do mean stereotypical. I don’t personally know any male gamers who fit the image that comes to mind when sexism in video games is brought up. I know more male gamers that argue against the ridiculous armor than I do female.)

“Looks cool” becomes male models with Conan-esque rippling muscles and armor so big they’d send devilsaurs backpeddling in terror (and probably would keep them from being able to walk through doorways or navigating forests). (Surely boys aren’t susceptible to subtle messages, too.)

“Looks cool” becomes female models with proportions that would make Barbie blush wearing “armor” that wouldn’t protect them from mosquitoes, let alone axe blows. (Clearly, females are mostly ornamental.)

Males are portrayed as being body builders and females are models. Where are the rugged explorers with the muscle tone that says “I survived Outlands”. The male models are closer to this than females. Casters might be understandably waif-like, but female warriors should have rippling thighs and muscular arms.

“Compelling Storylines” show how even women in charge of things are all slaves to their hormones, bitches, or subservient to the men who are REALLY running things. (Don’t worry, women in real life are rarely accused of “that time of the month” moodswings and the glass ceiling is probably just a myth.)

What I Think is the Biggest Problem

In my opinion, the biggest problem is the THEME of the storylines that are being told and the roles that women play in them. The lessons that we are teaching both male and female gamers about how women act.

“How I am supposed to behave” comes a lot less from real life these days than it does video games, books, and movies. Assuming that parents are teaching compete with hours of Jerry Springer?

Having one or two REAL, STRONG female characters shouldn’t be all that much to ask. Especially since the studies show that “girls” like storylines – why do all the storylines show weak female characters? And for that matter, what do those storylines teach gamers about how genders should interact with each other?

My Suggestion/Request

Add some real, strong, protagonist female characters and storylines that show them overcoming adversity and triumphing.

Sure, add in some baddie bosses to whack at, too – ones that aren’t holding down the fort until big daddy comes to town. But don’t ONLY add bad guys. Let girls be heroes, too. Let girls be role-models.

Pay attention, please.

No, World of Warcraft isn’t intended to be an after school special, but I don’t know any gamers who would consider it to be mindless entertainment, either. This isn’t Tetris. This has a STORY, and that story is the backbone of why the game is so popular. Even people who don’t leap feverishly on every new bit of lore know who Arthas is. How could you not, unless you skipped most of the questlines in WotLK?

If the story of your game matters, then the themes within it also matter.

Bandaids don’t fix broken themes and don’t repair shattered messages.

I don’t think the people at Blizzard want to send a message of “women are weak, but fun to look at” any more than I think gamers want to hear it.

Discussion

I know that with topics like this, I am sometimes less clear with my message than I otherwise would be because I feel strongly about the subject matter and emotions can overwhelm logic.

Not that I’ve had any trouble with comments on this blog before, but I know that sexism is a hot topic. Please keep discussion civil and free from personal attacks.

Disagree with me with regards to whether this shows any sexism at all, or whether the effect that I chose to address is the correct one, or the solution to it reasonable? Have your own effects or solutions to offer? Please, discuss! I’d love to hear what you think.

Mr. Moore is a Wizard

Exhibit A

Click to Embiggen.

Note, if you will, the fact that he fished up a turtle mount on his SEVENTH cast ever.

Clearly, he is a wizard. (Those of you who know nothing of World of Warcraft will have to take my word on this one.)

Exhibit B

This weekend, I devised a quick game of Hangman.

_ _ _    _ _    _ _ _ _ _ _ _

“B,” he suggested.

I wrote that down in the incorrect guess corral and added a head to his hangman.

“A,” he tried. Another incorrect guess. His hangman acquired a spine.

Things went on this way for a while. Correct guesses and incorrect guesses played out as hangman games do.

_ H Y   S O   S E R _ _ _ S

This is the point where he guessed the puzzle.

It was a movie quote from The Dark Knight. “Why so serious?” queried the Joker.

But Wait, There’s More!

The part where Mr. Moore is a wizard isn’t the fact that he barely guessed the puzzle in time to save his hangman (to be fair, he was on the phone AND the puzzle was upside down to him).

No, the part where it gets creepy is when we looked down at his incorrect guess corral and saw the following :

B A T M N

*cue Twilight Zone music*

Ergo Lorem Ipusm Ipso Facto I Don’t Speak Latin

Mr. Moore is a wizard.

E-Cigarettes: A Nonsmoker’s Opinion

Non-Smoker

Disclosure : I am not a smoker and neither is Mr. Moore. I also don’t have any money or kickbacks or reasons to write this post aside from a desire to tell others what I’ve learned.

That being said, both of us have smoking friends and both of us dislike the smell, mess, and that cancer stuff that are associated with smoking.

We also have multiple friends who have made the switch from tobacco to “tech”bacco.

What is an E-Cigarette?

E-Cigarette is short for “Electronic Cigarette”.

The nicotine is delivered through a cigarette-looking doohicky with a battery and an atomizer. The action is very similar to smoking, but without the tar and burning and soforth. It also loses the cancer-causing major health problems found with traditional cancer sticks while still delivering the nicotine payload that causes addiction.

What an E-Cigarette is NOT

E-cigs are not a smoking cessation device.

Sure, they can be USED as such, but they’re still delivering doses of nicotine, in all its addictive glory.

Why NonSmokers Care About E-Cigarettes

  1. We care that regular cigarettes cause known health problems (of which cancer is only one, though it’s got a scarier and more familiar name than the others). We don’t want you to die early, lose your sense of smell or taste, get hooked up to oxygen tanks, or ruin your lungs. This is especially true for our loved ones, but it’s even true of YOU, random guy flicking your cigarette butts out the window of your truck. I care about YOUR health, too.
  2. Speaking of flicking cigarette butts – that’s bad. It’s called littering, and it also causes fires. And I’m not only talking about little bitty trashcan fires, I’m talking about raging wildfires (I remember one that ate up acres of Texas near my home, caused by a flicked cigarette butt) and housefires that claim lives (we had a Fire Marshal give some examples of that as recent as yesterday). Nobody TRIES to fall asleep with a still-lit cigarette dangling from their lips, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t tragically happen on a VERY regular basis.
  3. The SMELL. Or, shall I say, the LACK of smell. E-Cigs do not cause the bad breath (though I’ve not kissed a smoker, I have smelled smoker breath in casual conversations), the clinging odors, the clouds of noxious fumes, the stale scent clinging to everything in a smoker’s home and car … my experience as a non-smoker has told me that the smell is 100% eliminated.

Why Smokers Care About E-Cigarettes

  1. E-Cigarettes are (currently) legal to use even in places that ban smoking. By current law definition, E-Cigarettes are NOT “smoking”.
  2. Did I mention the DRASTICALLY reduced health problems caused by E-Cigs? I think I mentioned those.
  3. I also mentioned the not dying in a fire thing, right? Good.
  4. Cost. This one’s up to the smoker. If you compare nicotine cost in cigarettes versus E-Cigs, they are cheaper. However, there is no indicator of “now you have smoked one cigarette” with the E-Cig. If you can smoke till you get your fix, then E-Cigs are cheaper. If you zombie out and smoke till your fingers burn … you’re going to cruise through a LOT of E-Cigs in a short time period.
  5. You can use E-Cigs as part of a smoking cessation program if you choose. Quite successfully, I might add, and this is based on the experience of my friends rather than reading online reviews. I have seen it work, though I don’t know anyone who would call quitting smoking “easy”.

GreenPuffer

One of my friends tried the GreenPuffer E-Cig. He got it from a kiosk in the mall and he had Very Bad Things to say about it. It did not work properly and was enough of a hassle that, had I not pointed out the Blu E-Cigs to him, he might well have gone back to regular cigarettes. Support and return policies were nonexistent.

From this, I want to note that not all E-Cigs are created equal. Buyer beware, indeed.

Blu

The Blu E-Cig is the one that I’ve heard great things about.

As a matter of fact, the only negatives I’ve heard have been that it weighs more on the far end than a cigarette (causing it to tumble from chatty lips) and that it doesn’t have the harsh, burning sensation on the back of the throat that regular cigarettes have. And yes, the smokers I know have called that a negative. They say it’s too smooth, and they miss that burning feeling.

Aside from that, the hardware has gotten rave reviews, and I’ve experienced the shipping from their website myself – fast, efficient, and private.

Three neat things about the Blu that set it apart from the GreenPuffer.

  1. You can purchase what I call “Half-Caff” cartriges – half the normal dose of nicotine. You can also buy empty cartriges – no nicotine at all. This is especially nice if you want to try and use the E-Cig to stop smoking.
  2. Blu comes in flavors! I’ve been told the coffee flavor is particularly noteworthy.
  3. I’ve been told you can soak the used Blu cartridges in water to extend their life, thus saving even more cashola.

Learn More!

A great site that goes into more detail (and is written by a smoker, so should carry a bit more weight on the opinion-side) is this page on Squidoo:

The electronic cigarette


Names, Pseudonyms, and Porn Stars

Tami Tammy Tamie Tammie Tamy Who?

My name actually IS Tami Moore.

I thought it was a relatively uncommon name – particularly the spelling of “Tami.”

Turns out, I was wrong.

Google Alerts

Many authors use a tool called Google Alerts to find out when google crawls new information about them or their books. Curious about the process, I set up an alert for my own name.

You know, the name I’d planned on trying to publish books with.

Turns out, “Tami Moore” isn’t as rare a name as I’d hoped. As a matter of fact, it’s common enough that someone doing a google search for my name would find my website first on the list … but also a great many websites that aren’t obviously “not me”.

For All I Know, She Is A Perfectly Lovely Person

One person who shares my name (though thankfully not the exact spelling) has the sort of job title that I do not want people associating with me. Most especially with my Young Adult author goals.

My google analytics “common search terms” indicates that even with a different spelling, people searching for porn stars are still finding me.

For the record? That person is not me.

Pseudonyms

No less than FOUR of my writerly friends have chosen to introduce their internet selves under pseudonyms.

They all have valid reasons for doing so and I agree that in their cases, it is in their best interests to do so.

Two of them number “impossible-to-spell names” among their reasons, one wishes for real life anonymity, and two have somewhat accidentally built a strong internet following around their pseudonyms.

Contrast

My name is fairly easy to spell. I have yet to be burned badly enough to seek anonymity, and any strong internet following I’ve built has either been around obvious internet pseudonyms (The Egotistical Priest would certainly turn heads if printed on a dust jacket, but perhaps not in the way I would like) or around my real name.

I don’t have any of the typical reasons to seek a pseudonym.

CoAuthor

I can think of one reason to opt for a pseudonym, and that is because Mr. Moore is coauthor to my books in ways that I feel are belittled by putting my name alone on the cover. Ilona Andrews (a FANTASTIC author) is actually a husband/wife author team. They use a pseudonym because many people are leery of co-authored books.

Mr. Moore, on the other hand, has assured me that he doesn’t mind the books attributed to “Tami Moore” and he does so with enough frequency and fervor that I believe him*.

Back to the Beginning

Which means the only real impetus to consider a pseudonym is because there are an awful lot of Tami Moores running around the internet, and I want someone searching for ME to have no trouble finding ME. (And I’m sure people seeking THEM would like the same.)

It’s hardly as if I’m operating under the name John Smith or J.K. Rowling (both of which would be very good reasons to seek a pseudonym, methinks).

And yet, the question niggles at me, like a loose tooth.

The Question

Deciding WHICH pseudonym to use would be a minor question after deciding whether I should even seek one out.

So! As I so often do, I turn to you, my internet friends, to give your opinions on the subject.

Should I find a less common name to build my author brand around? Or should I stick with what I’ve got built already and keep Tami Moore?

* I believe him, but I’d be lying if I said any pseudonym I chose wouldn’t involve him.

Smallerfication and Impossible Physics

Moving Weekend

This past weekend, we changed residence.

The Parking Lot (all of our apartments earn a nickname after we move. It’s tradition.) was 1,200 square feet and sported two bedrooms and two full baths.

The New Place (they’re always The New Place until we discover the proper nickname) is about 740 square feet and is a loft/efficiency style apartment, which means stairs and no bedroom door.

Yes, you read that right. We nearly halved our square footage and we did it on purpose.

Sure, we could pretend that the only reasons we moved were for the cheaper rent and the drastically reduced drive to campus for Mr. Moore, but we were also deliberately seeking a smaller apartment.

Smallerfication

Our first apartment was a tiny one bedroom shoebox in Texas. We had a loveseat and a bed and everything fit just right.

Since then, we have moved repeatedly.

We moved several times while I was in college, once to Houston, and three times now in Wisconsin.

In all but this past weekend’s move, we’ve slowly crept up the square footage scale. It wasn’t until we had to make room for a houseguest (and then that houseguest leaving) that we thought “Holy cow! Our apartment is large enough for us to have a WHOLE NOTHER person living with us without too much trouble. Maybe our apartment is TOO BIG.”

Seriously. We looked in on the now-deserted second bedroom and wondered what the heck we were going to do with all that space.

How About A Nice End Table With A Potted Plant And A Few Dustables?

You know what we’ve done before? We’ve FILLED it.

With STUFF.

Right then and there, we got a wake up call. We thought we were doing fairly well keeping our home from clutter and unnecessary possessions – but we hadn’t. Granted, we weren’t in danger of an intervention but we certainly weren’t doing as well as we thought.

Every time we’ve moved, we’ve bought more STUFF to fill the extra space.

The realization did not make us happy.

Whaddya Gonna Do About it?

The first thing we did is assess our furniture.

The bedroom furniture was our first target. A massive chest of drawers, an equally massive dresser, and thick queen-sized headboards and footboards. Solid wood, expensive, very nice – and unnecessarily heavy and huge for our lifestyle.

We have turned down houses because we were afraid our bedroom furniture would not fit in them.

This is a problem.

It was gorgeous – and it was tying us down. We don’t NEED furniture that big. We struggled to find enough things to PUT in it.

The OTHER thing we did before moving was to drastically reduce our “library”. I went through and purged any book I knew for sure I was never going to read again, or that I replaced with eBook versions (Call of the Wild and White Fang are free eBooks, did you know that?)

SEVERAL heavy loads of books made their way to a local charity event.

We also got rid of every single VHS tape in our home. All of them.

Furthermore, we donated our TVs (yes, multiple) to my mom (hi, mom!) who told us we can’t have the big screen back. *grins* We intend to replace the tv with a smaller, slimmer alternative soon.

That immediate downsizing was Step 1.

Itty Bitty Living Space

Step 2 was to move into a tiny apartment.

You would be AMAZED at how glaringly obvious all of our possessions became when we had to find a place to put it – and no such place exists in the new apartment. We had an entire extra bedroom, closet, hall closet, bathroom, and laundry room in the old apartment to squirrel away stuff.

And squirrel away, we did. We unearthed things I’d forgotten we OWNED and found food in the kitchen cabinets that I’d replaced thrice over because I didn’t know I still had plenty.

We moved more than fifty boxes of stuff – and that does not include things that were too awkward to fit in boxes or furniture.

The oft-quoted line from Anchorman takes on new meaning when you’re actually asking yourself, “Do you REALLY love the lamp? Or are you just saying you love the lamp?”

Arranging our new living room area is remarkably like playing Tetris with blocks the size of couches. Making it all fit and look nice is an exercise in impossible physics. Concessions will have to be made if we intend to add a TV or projector to the room.

Step 3

Step 3 – I don’t know what Step 3 is yet. We’re still unboxing.

We think Step 3 involves getting a smaller desk for Mr. Moore and going through our STUFF to decide which stuff we love and which STUFF we interact with only to move it or dust it. (Or, um. Not dust it. As the case may be.)

This move was exhausting even with the help of my mom, the robot ninja spy, and his lovely wife.

Step 3 is NOT to put things away and then forget about them. We are going to move again, despite the fact that every single time we move, Mr. Moore and I flop to the floor, face each other, and say “We are never moving again. Ever.”

We have too much stuff, simple as that.

What I Want

I don’t want my stuff to define my life and hold me back. I want to live a simpler, less cluttered lifestyle.

I’m reminded of the movie Labyrinth, and the time the heroine almost lost her way in a trash heap made of all her stuff.

I also want to be comfortable, so I’m not in danger of donating everything I own to charity and seeking lodging in a nunnery – but surely there’s a comfortable medium to be found.

What YOU Want

Tell me, have any of you had similar experiences or wake up calls with regards to your possessions owning you? Any suggestions or advice?

July Arts

Oh, let’s see. What’s new (and scanned) since the last time I posted art? *dives into her art folder and starts digging*

My good friend Deb had a birthday recently, and we started a tradition of random sticky note doodles as birthday gifts. Here’s her Badkitteh, who is clearly unhappy at having to wear a pointy birthday hat.

Working on some gift art for Iris. Lyxes are SO much fun to draw. Also, finally found a style for butterflies that I’m pleased with!

Jodi Meadows held a contest on her blog for the word “butterfly”. I ended up entering a short story rather than this art, but I liked it enough to ink it anyway. =] (Also, I totally won! Sure, it was a random choice from a hat, but the Red Sox hat chose ME. And the five page critique that was rewarded was incredibly helpful. <3 )

Uncle Snake

Not Quite an Accent

Uncle Snake had a voice like wet gravel rolling around in a snuff box.

South Texas has a reputation for growing thick, syrupy accents. Combine that with Uncle Snake’s voice and I think most folks would need a translator or two just to turn his conversation to English. I’m convinced he knew it, too. There was a mischievous sparkle in his eyes roundabout the third time I’d ask him to repeat what he’d said, despite it seeming less and less intelligible each time.

Digging’s More Fun

He had a particular habit when it came to people that I’d never come across before. Most folks, if they tripped over an uncomfortable subject or accidentally tweaked a sensitive issue would back off, get quiet, or apologize. Not Snake. No, sir. That man was convinced there was only one solution if he found himself half-dug in a hole … keep digging. China’s down there somewhere. I can’t argue with success, either. He had me laughing so hard that I forgot what he originally said to make me blush.

Apache

Not many people nowadays know just how horse-crazy I was. Still am, truth be told, but back in high school, I was feverish with it. My first job was as a groom at a horse ranch, and nothing would satisfy me till I had four hooves and a velvet muzzle to call my own. Unfortunately, college campuses don’t exactly allow pets that size in the dorm rooms, so my hard-won paint horse had to stay behind when it came time for me to move away. For a time, he lived at Uncle Snake’s.

My horse was a sweet thing. I got him for a song from a harried-looking father whose little princess didn’t want a pony after all. He’d been a heading and heeling horse (that’s rodeo speak, for you cityfolk) and he was gentle as a lamb. Had a white barbed-wire scar wrapped around one hind leg and an ominous cloud growing over his eyes. He was half blind when I bought him, and mostly blind by the time I found a new home for him, and that was the state he met Uncle Snake.

Never saw such a thing. I’d come out on the odd weekend to visit and there’d be Uncle Snake. Thunder and Lightning at his heels (his dogs), wading through a knee-deep stream of feather-footed chickens, hollering out for my nearsighted horse to come see me. He looked like something out of an old tv show. Grizzly Adams, maybe, with that fierce beard of his.

Never took a dime from me for boarding my horse there, either. Refused every time I offered, then invited me in for dinner.

Nice to Meet You

One of my favorite stories about Uncle Snake isn’t mine, but I’ll tell it anyway.

As you might have guessed, Snake wasn’t his birth name. All of his brothers ended up saddled with a nickname, and they wore them so long most folks didn’t know them by any other. Snake’s birth name was Frank, an ironic name for a man who so loved to tease.

Snake also had a beard – a glorious thing, covered him from cheekbone to breastbone.

One day, he up and shaved the whole thing off.

Didn’t take him long to realize just how much fun he could have with the event. He started walking up to folks he’d been friends with for YEARS, introducing himself as “Frank.”

They’d chat a while, and once or twice the person on the other end of the conversation would ask if he knew a feller by the name of Snake. Good guy. Frank reminded them of him.

I wouldn’t be surprised if Snake didn’t drag out the conversation before finally letting them off the hook.

Uncle

I met Uncle Snake just before I went off to college. He’s Mr. Moore’s uncle, but I figure I can claim him as my own through marriage if affection alone isn’t enough.

I miss him.

Travel and eReaders

Travel

This past weekend found myself and Mr. Moore making an unexpected and last-minute trip down to Texas.

We spent about 24 hours (spread out over two days) on air travel, including multiple remarkably long layovers.

During that time, I came to the conclusion that if I traveled regularly (even twice a year) I would own an eReader. No questions, hesitations, or qualms.

Entertainment

We took several things to armor ourselves against the expected time delays – things which took up a great deal of room in our carry-on baggage.

Some items got used not at all (airports are, surprisingly, terrible places to try and plot stories or do networking homework).

Additionally, I brought along a single book (Patricia C. Wrede is rapidly becoming a favorite author), my laptop, and Bones (my iTouch).

Laptop

The laptop was only used at our destination. Even then, all we used her for was to check email, listen to music, and watch a few youtube videos (Dara Ó Briain, you absolutely crack me up. <3).

It was awfully heavy for such a tiny use, and I was constantly afraid it would break or be stolen. (Athena is my only computer, and she has all my writing. I DO have frequent backups to an external hard drive, but STILL).

The Book

The single paperback book didn’t take up TOO much space, but I still managed to squish and fold some of the pages, lose my place, and shove it in five or six different places trying to find a good home for it.

Also, I finished it just after our first flight, which meant I was carrying around a finished book all weekend. Oddly enough, it seemed to take up MORE space after I read it. *winks*

Bones

Bones was the highlight of the weekend.

Not only did we use him to listen to music (poor Athena, she’s just too bulky for easy music sharing), but we also played apps on him (Scramble supplied LOADS of entertainment for everyone in arm’s reach) and I had multiple eBooks* ready to read from three different eReader apps (Stanza, iBooks, and Kindle).

Furthermore, I pasted our itinerary on him and used him for note-keeping throughout the weekend.

Best of all, he took up far less space than any other entertainment item we brought.

eReaders

Looking around me, I saw many, MANY passengers with Kindles and other eReaders.

There’s no denying that the traveling masses have begun to embrace eReaders for their portability and convenience.

And I have to admit, if I traveled more often, I wouldn’t hesitate to snag one. Based on my experience on this trip, it would likely be an iPad. I could still use the other apps that proved to be so entertaining and useful this weekend, but on a larger screen. It would be easier to read eBooks, and easier for my friends to join in the app games with me.

I would have replaced most (if not all) of my other entertainment options with a single product.

That’s pretty sweet.

Why Not Now

If I’m so enamored of the eReader, why do I still not have one?

1) Cost of eReaders

eReaders are much more affordable than they used to be, but they’re still expensive and my current lifestyle doesn’t NEED one. I drive to work, don’t travel often, and spend most of my time at home, where I have my laptop. I have to balance cost with need. Even in my geeky inner heart, I know I don’t need one yet. (And my geeky heart has its sights set on the iPad, which is the most expensive of the eReader options)

2) Cost of Books

eBooks CAN be much cheaper than paper books … but the prices are still pretty steep for a girl who refers to Barnes and Noble as Full-Priced Bookstore. I DO like that most places let me preview a few chapters before I buy – that alone relieves a great deal of concern I have for wasting money on books I might not like.

3) DRM

One of my favorite benefits of paper books is my ability to share them with friends. The Nook has some capabilities built in, but I’d like to see both GIVING and SHARING of eBooks become a common feature. And yes, my expectation is that if I share a book with a friend, I don’t have a copy to read any more. I purchased one copy and if I loan it, I no longer have a copy. But maybe it has a “Property of Tami Moore” on it, along with a settable loan time which would remind the borrower to return the book. That would be awesome … and is totally unrealistic in an age where publishers are so terrified of people stealing eBooks that we have trouble moving our eBooks from device to computer.

I’m not going to go into a long, drawn-out speech on DRM. Many others have, and with more eloquency than I can muster. I point only to iTunes and beg for sanity.

4) Format Wars

Currently, I am afraid that if I buy a book on the Kindle and then later choose to purchase an iPad, I will LOSE all of my eBooks. I feel absolutely zero certainty that my purchase will be transferrable, that it will be readable by other eReaders, and that it won’t be lost forever if my eReader goes kaput.

If I spend $10 on an eBook, I want to KNOW that it is the only time I will be required to spend money to buy that eBook. If I want another copy or another version, that’s different.

Your Opinions

Do any of you have eReaders? What are your thoughts on them? Have things changed for you in the past year or so?

* For the curious, the eBooks I read were His Majesty’s Dragon, by Naomi Novik (Fun read and a superbly well-realized idea for battling a-dragon-back. Fans of historical fiction and battle will find this interesting, indeed.) and Call of the Wild (which is an old, old favorite and STILL makes me cry *sniffle*)

Quick Fix or Right Thing?

Some of you may already know that I have a keen interest in health. After losing a lot of extra weight, Mr. Moore and I got into a home workout and health program called P90X.

Their most recent newsletter had an article that really hit home for me, so I want to share it with you. Although p90X is a fitness regime, this particular article is broad enough that its hard-hitting wisdom can apply to any area of life where improvement is desired.

Two Excerpts:

We have become the United States of Quick Fixes.

Why are we so addicted to shortcuts, tricks, and magic potions? Far too many people in this country live in some kind of wannabe fantasyland. We’re trying to keep up with the Joneses without working as hard as they do. This bigger, badder, and faster world doesn’t give us an opportunity to stop and look at real and authentic ways to achieve greatness.

and

Why do we reach for drugs, alcohol, sex, food, lies, blame, anger, hate, guilt, and self-pity far more often than power, courage, discipline, forgiveness, wisdom, and self-reliance?

The Full Article

BeachBody P90X Newsletter #038