July 27, 2010 – 8:02 am
My wife has left me (for the week) and I’m a bachelor once more. (Technically, I have been for the better part of 2 months, what with travel and all. But we’ll avoid that fact for the purposes of comic relief.) She’s taken my son and left me with two needy dachshunds. Needy in that they need to be fed daily. How’s a man supposed to handle the stress?!
Anyways, I was writing for some advice. See, I have these chicken filets that have been sitting in my freezer for God knows how long (3 days). I know I should probably eat them at some point, but I’m culinarily-challenged. I was told eating it straight out of the freezer probably isn’t the wisest choice, but I can burn water putting it on the stove. Any suggestions for a kitchen neophyte?
Utterly Lost Without A Female Around To Keep Him Fed And Showered
Dear Utterly Lost –
As a gamer, you’re more than capable of reading up and doing a bit of research on your class. Cooking is not that much different, it’s all about following a basic rotation! Granted, you’re probably not wanting a really fancy recipe that involves deboning a whole chicken, stuffing, and roasting it, but chicken breast fillets are easy to cook and quite delicious.
Also, I emailed you back, and you mentioned that you’re comfortable with a grill, but unsure about this whole “oven” thing. As such, we’ll cover both the vanilla recipe and a heroic version.
1. Defrost the chicken – either in the fridge (for probably 24 hours if they’re in a package from the grocery) or sealed in plastic under cool running water. The latter is faster, but requires more babysitting. If you choose the fridge, place the chicken package ON A PLATE, and keep it at the bottom shelf of your fridge. Chicken Juice + Anything Else = BAD. You want to avoid cross contamination, if you will.
2. Turn on the oven to 400F, and let it heat until the little “I’m heating up” light turns off, or it beeps and says OVEN READY or whatever your oven does.
3. Get out salt, pepper, and spices that you find tasty. For this recipe, look for a bottle of Italian Seasoning (usually a mixture of spices like Basil and Oregano) and a bottle of Garlic Powder. If all you can find is Garlic SALT, do not add other salt to the chicken.
4. Get out a large baking pan (I like a 9×13” glass pyrex dish, but anything with sides will work) and line it with aluminum foil. Put a little bit of olive oil in the bottom and spread it around, or spray with nonstick spray. Spray carefully, so that you do not accidentally get non-stick spray onto your floor. Trust me.
5. Carefully arrange the chicken breast fillets in the pan so that they are in one layer, and not too smushed up against each other.
6. WASH YOUR CHICKENY FINGERS. Warm water. Soap. Salmonella is full of fail, and you don’t want it (nor do you want to give it to your family, or have it growing on your spice containers).
7. Sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper and the seasonings. If you’re worried, go easy – you want to lightly dust them, not dump so much garlic powder on them that your coworkers will smell you coming tomorrow.
8. Put the pan in the hot oven for about 30 minutes. Use a timer. Use a NOISY timer.
9. After 30 minutes, check the chicken to see if it is done. If you have an instant read thermometer (See – cooking is appropriately geeky, you get to use cool gizmos), you want it to read 165F. If you don’t have such a device, carefully remove one of the chicken fillets and cut it in half through the thickest part. If the juices are clear, you’re good to go. If they’re still pink, back in the cooker they go, for another 5-10 minutes at a time.
You can, at this point, enjoy your chicken just like this. I suggest eating it with a vegetable or a delicious salad and some vinaigrette… or Ranch Dressing, if that’s how you roll. Also, once you remove the chicken from the pan, the aluminum foil can be tossed in the trash, and you don’t have a pan to soak and wash.
You can also vary this recipe by using different spices – cumin and chili powder will get you a “southwestern style” chicken, for example. Basically any spices will work here!
If you’re looking to try a HEROIC version, you can do the following:
Take some tomato sauce and spread it over the chicken, right there in the pan where it already is. (The plain tomato sauce in a can is fine, add a little bit of that Italian Seasoning and give it a stir before you add it to the chicken) On top of each chicken fillet (that is now covered with a spoonful or two of tomato sauce) add a slice of mozzarella cheese – or a handful of the pre-shredded stuff in a bag. At this point, you can add a few pieces of pepperoni to each chicken breast if you like.
Now put the whole thing back in the oven for another 10-15 minutes, or until the cheese is all melty and delicious. (Use your eyeballs. Look at the cheese. Is it melty and delicious after 10 minutes? No? Then set your timer for another 5 minutes and check back! If the cheese is getting toasty brown in spots, it’s /definitely/ done.)
Yes, I’ve just given you a recipe for Pizza Chicken. Enjoy, and try not to burn the roof of your mouth on the molten cheese.
Let me know how this turns out – hopefully you end up with a delicious and satisfying dinner! (If not, well, you’re home alone, and nobody ever has to know but you!) Just make sure to use a timer that you’ll hear, because while melty and delicious is good, blackened and smoking is not.
As with things in WoW, you don’t want your dinner standing in fire either.
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
4 slices mozzarella cheese (or 4 handfuls of pre-shredded)
1 cup tomato sauce
salt, pepper, garlic powder, Italian seasoning blend
pizza toppings (optional)
Preheat oven to 400F. Line a 9×13 baking dish with aluminum foil and spray lightly with non-stick spray. Arrange chicken so that it is not touching/smushed up. Season with salt, pepper, garlic powder, italian seasoning. Bake for 30 minutes or until juices run clear. Place 1/4c tomato sauce on each chicken breast, top with 1 slice mozzarella cheese, and a light sprinkling of other pizza toppings. Bake for another 10-15 minutes or until the cheese is melty and delicious.
Makes 4 servings, and can be adjusted to serve more or fewer people relatively easily.
July 22, 2010 – 9:51 am
I have decided to get back into role playing. It has been about two years since I last role played. I will admit I am a bit rusty, slower to respond then I was, but I have been having a blast. I decided to roll a blood elf hunter. I love the blood elf lore, and feel the most comfortable rping one. (I love rping trolls, but they always end up comedic relief.)
My problem is this: Siouxsie is a complete bore. I didn’t want to create a character that is some sort of super hero, super villain, the most beautiful, smartest, ect. I wanted a normal girl, with a normal background. I am afraid though I may have made her too plain.
She is about 5’8, 147 pounds. She is a little round, and a lithe hunter. She loves to change her hair color, just so she can gossip with the goblin hairdressers. Her hair is short and choppy. It looks more like it was cut with a dagger then shears. She has a dark golden complexion, fell green eyes and friendly gap tooth smile.
Her history is, well I think it is mostly normal… (but too long for me to post in its entirety). She spends a lot of her time just watching and listening.
Personality wise she is pretty kindhearted with her own race, naive, a little on the dumb side, though more for lack of education then anything else. She has a sarcastic sense of humor, prefers to be more in the crowd the the center of attention. She is not at all comfortable around the other horde races, she isn’t rude, but she isn’t friendly to them either. She also loves bubblegum, and has a weak spot for anything sweet. She is a hopeless romantic, but she has learned everything about romance from a few of her mothers old romance novels. She isn’t quick to anger, but she will hold a grudge until her last breath.
And that is Siouxsie. I have tried to involve her in some role play, but the most I have gotten with her is some DK wanting to marry her after they spoke for 5 minutes. And a bit of a romantic intrigue with another blood elf. It is very nice, and cute role play and has some nice story potential. I just want more, and want to really make her more dimensional. I guess I just do not know how to do it, I want to involve her with more rp without making her seem to over the top, mary sueish (if she isn’t already), or a demon girl who does odd things with her tail. Though I will admit when I watched that RP it did make me laugh.
Can you help me? Advice, criticism, eyerolls anything would be great! Thank you, and take care.
I’ve opted to post most of your letter, since I think it gives a pretty good idea of how much time and thought you’ve put into developing Siouxie.
Here’s the thing. She doesn’t sound boring at all to me. She sounds like a character with some little quirks and flaws, and a healthy start towards a defined personality. It’s entirely possible to have a “normal” character that’s successful in RP – but it does take a bit of work, and it usually takes having other people around to help her develop a voice.
Her background is not the same as her personality and how she interacts with other people.
However – if the only RP you’ve found with her is someone wanting to marry her after 5 minutes and someone else wanting to be in a romance with her, you’re probably not seeing much of her personality! I think you need to give her a chance, and get her into situations that aren’t either awkward (“Why no, I don’t want to marry you, I’ve never seen you before and don’t even know your last name”) or floofy and sweet and sappy romantic (which is fun RP, but not exactly character illuminating).
As such, I think this is both a question of character and of finding solid RP experiences.
In all likelihood, you’ll run into lots of superficial stuff, which is totally fine – even the Riders have a good bit of “superficial” RP time each week, because everyone always being tied up in OMG DRAMA is exhausting.
As you’re just getting started, you’ll have a lot more “run ins” and a lot less consistent RP with the same people. Use those quick RP run ins to figure out who you might want to have extended RP with, of the not-romantic variety, again – romances are TONS of fun, but friendships, enemies, working relationships, and guilds/organizations are all much better ways to discover character development and personality, unless you’re willing to throw a lot of horrible obstacles into the romance, which can also be exhausting. Also, if the only thing connecting two characters is a romance, when the romance fizzles or waxes and wanes and loses the high of “new RP”, things will go south pretty fast.
Consistent RP partners and friends will help Siouxie develop her own voice and her own mannerisms beyond what you’ve created, which is essentially her backstory.
Backstories are great, but they’re not what make characters interesting or fun. The interesting and fun part comes out of the interactions you have with others.
Another way to bring out her personality is to throw trouble at her on your own, if you’re of the fic-writing persuasion (not all RPers are).
The best way I know of to find out how a character reacts to difficult situations is to just put them in one and see what happens. It can take a bit of “heartless” sort of writing – putting horrible things in your character’s path can be hard, especially if you know it’s going to cause them some heartache or pain – but it’s definitely worth it in the end. You also have to be strong and not let them take the “easy way out” (summoning in a Magic Dragon to take all the trouble away doesn’t count as problem solving!).
Don’t give up on Siouxie yet. She’s got a strong foundation to become a character that you love. Remember that RP happens WITH you, not TO you, and seek out some more consistent opportunities, whether that’s in guilds, through your server’s “open RP gatherings” (like pub nights and such), or just through running into random people and figuring out who you do and don’t want to keep RPing with. You might get frustrated, and you might not find the best opportunities right off the bat, but you can find a good group for her, or just a few other unaffiliated people that can help her find her voice.
As always, if any of you (my readers) have other comments or suggestions for Siouxie, please leave them in comments – whether those are character specific suggestions or ways to find quality RP environments. I’m not particularly well versed in Blood Elf lore or RP, so my Horde readers will likely have better suggestions on that front!
Good luck, and may the Loot-Fu be with you!
Note: I’m posting this because I think Siouxie has a common problem – lots of backstory but not a lot of interaction. Only she can actually “un-boring” the character, and her backstory isn’t really the way to do it. As such, these are hints that I think can help a lot of roleplayers. If you’ve got lore-specific or character specific questions, I can try to answer them, but this space isn’t generally for “PLZ FIX MY CHARACTER” advice (otherwise I’d totally bore all my readers!).
Comments Off on Aftermath – Icecrown
July 20, 2010 – 8:42 am
This is part 1 of Aftermath, the “what happens next” story of Aely, a Lordaeron Paladin, after the fall of the Lich King. You can see the introduction and other parts of the story here.
The landscape didn’t change much, really. He had fallen; they had won. But the snowy desolation of Icecrown was still snowy and desolate, unchanged from the events that occurred inside.
Light-forsaken. The land where even sunlight would not shine.
The Light’s work had been done regardless; the Crusade marched onward, past the ever menacing gates of Icecrown, until the sound of Fordring’s voice echoed in the very halls of the Lich King. It echoed past the chambers of plague and blood, past the reanimated dead and willful, fanatic living, past the screams of Bolvar Fordragon and the screeching of frostwyrm and Val’kyr, until it reached the very halls of the Frozen Throne. And they had been victorious at the end.
The Lich King fell, but with such a terrible price as to be almost immesurable.
Aely walked, rather resolutely, past the gathering throng of people waiting outside and back to her tent on the Crusade grounds, ignoring the ever-increasing shouts and whoops of victory.
Not far behind, Arrens tried to trace her path, pushing his way through mobs of celebrating men and women and families searching for their loved ones in the crowd. He had seen Aely storm from the keep doors and tried to get her attention, but the loud, unruly crowd had kept her from seeing him.
Once he reached the bottom, however, she was gone.
He raced towards where he had last seen her and found an injured soldier sitting on the frozen ground surrounding the tents. Hurriedly, Arrens asked, “Excuse me. I’m looking for Aely Larsdottir. Do you know where her tent’s located?” The soldier never bothered to look up and instead flicked his thumb behind him in the direction of several dozen tents.
Arrens raced passed him, asking anyone and everyone where Aely’s tent was. At last, a bloodied, grizzled-looking Dwarf had an answer.
“Ye be lookin’ fer Dame Larsdottir, she’s like ta be o’er ‘n tha’ tent, lad,” he said, pointing towards a tent on the edge of the Crusader’s medic camp.
Thanking him profusely, Arrens got there just in time to hear the clattering of metal on metal. Fearing the worst, he yanked the flap of the tent open, only to have her sword come clattering to a stop at his feet, surrounded by a pile of hastily discarded armor. Her hands were badly scratched and bloody, and she’d picked up a nasty gash on her forehead but was otherwise whole. Relieved, he pulled her gently in against his chest. He whispered softly as he ran his hands over her hair, pushing it out of her face. “It’s over my love. It’s over.”
She leaned against him. “I ken. I saw. ‘s just… na real yet.”
July 19, 2010 – 9:22 am
Starting this week, I’ll be posting another extended story here on the blog. I’ve been calling it Aftermath. Though it’s not entirely a creative title, I think it fits, since this is the story of Aely after the fall of Icecrown. It’ll be digging into a lot of her past and how she’s planning to go forward now that a big part of her life and purpose is no longer there.
This is the “Well, now what?” story – what does a Paladin who’s spent her entire adult life fighting Arthas do when suddenly Arthas is gone. How does she go back to life, how does she deal with the destruction of her homeland and family, and what will she do with herself now? How will her life be different, and how will it be the same?
In a way, the post from a few weeks ago, titled Old Breeds and Old Ways, is something of a prologue.
I’ll be posting the actual “Part 1” tomorrow.
Until then, have you guys written stuff to deal with your characters post-Icecrown? Have you had in-game RP events to that affect – possibly revelry, or even some introspection? Was Arthas’ death a big deal, or just something your character helped with because their friends cared, or was it something that happened far away, with other people, and barely touched your character?