Friday, September 28, 2012

Beautiful Blogger Award

I recently received a Beautiful Blogger Award

I was so surprised when Ravanel (, a fellow blogger who I admire, gave it to me and mentioned on her site.

She is very talented both as a writer and as a gamer, so I was honored to have her view me like that.

I met Ravanel when we and many other bloggers signed up on the NBI in May-2012 (Newbie Blogger Initiative @ Ravanel was one of the other finalist bloggers in the Best Newish Blogger category. (Best-Newish-Blogger) I voted two different days; once for her and once for myself. As is obvious by her blog, she has great computer savvy and is a fun story teller.

This post will be the longest I have written, but I am going to write my history about how came to be. If it is interesting for you, this post will say more about me than any other post. So, on to the questions… J

Why did I put a picture of the council of elves? … because it was a really neat picture. Lol! Left to Right = Aranelleth, Glorfindel, Danania, Elrond, Gandalf, Ereston, Laegbrannon. “Chillin out, maxin, Relaxin all cool…”

Why did you start a blog and why do you continue it?

Danahistory: An elf’s tale.
     ~In the beginning. In the beginning there was Pong, and it was good. I did enjoy my Atari games! I recall some games next along the way, such as Oregon Trail (actually I played it with a book and maps in school before it became a computer game), Civilization, and Warlords 2 (one of my all time favorites). Then, I enjoyed Warcraft and Warcraft 2, but had not played them online. My first online game was Diablo 2. I remember the frustration of a slow dial up modem, watching the lights blink as it tried to connect. No good, but I did like playing the Diablo 2 barbarians. J I enjoyed Nintendo a bit more… Donkey Kong 64. I had never seen anything so amazing. I could move my monkeys 3 dimensionally, similar but different than Diablo 2.

     ~Then came lotro. Fast forward a couple of years. My friends talked me into trying lotro. I had never actually played a MMO but I was hooked immediately. I wanted to know more. I didn’t want to miss a thing. Not one quest or deed. I figured that someone had gone through the effort of designing this entire world, *just for me*, how could I do less than see every corner of what had been built for me?

I was a Runekeeper, and an Explorer/Tailor. But, I did not know much. Danafact: the first time I met defeat I think I was level 7. I had not even left the Intro. Being completely unfamiliar and a noob gamer, I had not gotten the hang of don't-cast-induction-skills-over-and-over-while-monsters-are-killing-you. But, I was learning.

     ~Exploring the internetz. Where to learn? I frequented excellent sites such as Lotro-Wiki, Darzil’s guide, and CasualStrolltoMordor. That was about it. With his blessing, my given name is Danania Darzil. From lotro-wiki, I still have my printouts explaining what the basic RK skills were. The pages are tattered and have notes and marks all over them. At the time, I did not even know people blogged about lotro. Heck, I didn’t even know what a blog was and am not entirely sure I had ever seen one. (Yeah, I should get out more.)

     ~Szarwyn. I read about Szarwyn, a player from Arkenstone who had become the first “Featured player of the month”.

Seeing the date now makes me smile. I had literally been playing one month when she became the featured player. She was in Arkenstone, so I congratulated her. She replied and was very nice! So, I now had a friend, who introduced me to her kinship, the Riders of Rohan. It turned out that she was webmaster of a truly amazing site and forum which was all about lotro! 

After reading everything in the Riders forum, thousands of posts, I asked if I could join the forum without joining the kinship, because I couldn’t leave my friends and family kin. No one had ever joined their forum without joining the kin, but she and the officers made an exception for me, a little, unknown but excited elf.

     ~The forum and Creative writing. I enjoyed the Riders of Rohan site. It was really well laid out for guides and forums and events. I learned from those around me and discussed what was happening with me in-game. Most of the kin was at end-game (65), and here I was just now 30 something. I would take pictures, write stories, design contests… people seemed to have a good time with what I was doing.

It was a new experience for me. “Creative” writing might be one of my weakest areas. When I wrote in school, it was always technical. Even when I branched out, I was technical. I recall in my Senior English class, while others were writing about sports or social commentary, one of my term papers was on applications of Newton’s Law of Cooling, in which I explained how to “Determine the Time of Death” using thermodynamics. It was complete with explaining differential equations and theorems until the professor had me take out many of the Greek symbols and simplify. Unique? Perhaps. “Traditionally creative”? I dunno.

Ok, that last paragraph went off on a tangent. The point was that while I was writing stories on the forum, people were recommending that I start a blog… but I had no idea what that meant. The reply was… “you are doing it now, except you are scattering the stories across various posts”. It did in fact look like a scavenger hunt.

     ~The transition. Szarwyn built a section on the site just for me. It was my very own blog! From the time I joined the site until then, I had written 1000 posts (or replies, etc), many with pictures. That was my “warm-up” into the world of blogging. I still had not seen another writer-Blog (unless CSTM qualifies as a blog, though I think "mecca" is probably a better term for CSTM).

I just did what I enjoyed …until ~gloss over this next part ~ the kinship moved to a “low-function-low-maintenance” guild site, the webmaster went a different direction, and the site imploded and everything was gone. With my friend’s advice, I picked up my very new blog and moved it to Blogger. had been born. You can see that the first 10 posts on were written before the move.

     ~The NBI. I continued writing but now I was on my very own site! I enjoy it, and I learned basics about how to work with Blogger. I still read CSTM as my main news source. One day, CSTM carried a post about the NBI, aka Newbie Blogger Initiative ( I followed the link and to my astonishment, there *are* other bloggers out there, a *lot* of other bloggers, many who write about lotro!

Syp, the NBI leader nominated me into the category of "Best Newish Blogger" …and you dear Readers showed up by the truckload to vote.

Wow! Now that was a humbling experience, knowing that you actually cared. Talk about motivation!

     ~Why I continue to blog. I bring my passion for my hobby to …and you show up. I see it in the Blogger visitor stats. You sign up in the “Followers” list. You comment. You tell me about it in game and send mail. You enjoy the stories and get value out of the guidance I try to provide. I love and thrive on the feedback. And, I want to do better. If I build it, you will come, and that makes me happy.

Danania versus Ergoth: “I’m your huckleberry…”

What does your average day look like?

Dana’s Day: I am married with young children and am an engineering manager for a large company.

Engineer? Shocker, right? Lol. Yeah… my main degree is in chemical engineering, and I specialized or got minors in biochemical engineering, environmental engineering, quantum physics, and psychology. Moving along…nothing to see here… J

My day starts around 5:45am. We are up and kids are out the door and off to school by the time the sun has risen and I am off to work. I do engineering stuff for the bulk of my day.

The day is a normal workday, and I come home. If no lilhobbit organized activities (baseball) are occurring, there is dinner, homework/playtime/bath-time with hobbits, house chores and such, “married” stuff, and hobbits are off to bed by 8:00pm. Then, some quality married time, and at 9-10pm it is time to…

To what? It is roughly 8ish hours until I wake up and do it again. How bad does the fire burn within me to enjoy my hobby, to save Middle Earth, and be the Supergirl of Lorien? This is my main playtime, when everyone else goes to sleep.

My friend Bilbo described the situation quite well, “I know I don't look it, but I'm beginning to feel it in my heart. I feel... thin. Sort of stretched, like butter scraped over too much bread.

Mebbe one day, my Fortitude to burn the candle at both ends will run out, but that day is not today, the fight has not yet left me, there are quests to do and Steeds to acquire!

After 2+ hours as I pass the midnight threshhold, I start to wind down and prepare to do it again tomorrow. Of course, even I cannot run on 5ish hours sleep *every* night and I take days off. J 

Besides, I have the DVR running to watch “Once Upon a Time” on ABC, “Switched at Birth” on ABC Family, and catch the reruns of "Sliders" on the Hub network. (I am hoping that Sliders is better than the reviews say as I have never finished the series.) My all time favorite series were Quantum Leap and Chuck. My favorite cartoons were/are “Kim Possible” and “Phineas and Ferb”, and my favorite “shows-that-only-I-seemed-to-like-because-they-were-canceled-early” include “Flash Forward” and “Journeyman”.

What is your best and your worst collaboration with other bloggers?

Collaboration: Another interesting question. I did mention that part about barely even realizing that other bloggers were out there when I started not that long ago. Since then, I have been so excited to read other blogs! The NBI had an amazing number of gamer writers, and Blogger has features to search for other bloggers.

I put some of my favorite links on my page, (Danania's Links) and am still finding new blogs I like to read each month. I try to share them as I write new articles.

Does Aegthil count as a collaboration? The letters danced back and forth between and You can get up to speed with the summarized post, Adoration.

What does this blog mean to you?
When I game, I often think about how what I am doing might bring joy to my blog. I mentally prepare posts well ahead of time and often have at least one post written in advance, and stick to the Tuesday (and sometimes Friday) schedule.

When thinking about this question, I wondered “do I game just so that I can have entertaining things about which to write?” Which is greater for me, or actually gaming? The answer would still be gaming. I love playing with my friends and meeting people. However, writing about what I do and what I have learned (or am trying to learn) brings such joy to me now that I have trouble imagining one without the other.

As long as you show up, I will continue to rolls the drums. 
Thank you so much for making full of life!

The Nomination
When I received this award, it was with the responsibility to nominate someone else. I am really starting to get into reading other blogs and enjoy so many of them, but there is another that has really sparked my interest that I have read regularly.

My nomination for the next Beautiful Blogger Award winner is

Lothirieth has such a quick wit about her. She has the cunning ability to read between the lines and understand the way things work. I have learned much from reading the way she sees the world. 

I believe that she is the type of person that could change the world (or go Incredible Hulk on it and Smash!, hehe, tune in to her site to find out). Also, she has an artistic side and has a flair for taking interesting pictures! Lothirieth is a deserving Beautiful Blogger. Thanks for being you. Enjoy.

The six bullet points of this blog award1. Who gave you the award? 2. Why did you start a blog and why do you continue it? 3. What does your average day look like? 4. What is your best and your worst collaboration with other bloggers? 5. What does this blog mean to you? 6. Who would you like to nominate yourself?

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Treasure Hunt, Bilbo’s Birthday, and CSTM

What a weekend I had! Since it was a change of “normal” pace from deeding away, it didn’t feel like I was as eventful, but looking back at all that happened I had so much fun! The festivals have been rolling in and next up is Fall festival starting now, so exciting!

Today, I will talk about the excitement of the treasure Hunt, Frodo and Bilbo’s Birthday, and visiting the CSTM Live Event.

Treasure Hunt:
Let’s start with the Treasure Hunt. I had written a different post about steeds which I will delay until next weekish. In that post, I mentioned my disillusionment about “random” drop steeds, preferring that they be bartered, even if the cost is outrageous. Then, Treasure Hunt is released, and yay, a bartered goat! Sure, it cost 1000 tokens, but if you really wanted it, the 1000 token mark was very achievable.

The lildanas and I went nuts at the previous treasure hunt in February, 2012. I think it only lasted a day, but we made the most of it. We had gotten everything there was to get, except all the steeds. True, we did take 8 home. I only got one though, the Treasure Laden Goat so I am in it to win it this time. Delion was still silently bragging about having won all three steeds during that February event (Less-math-more-ponies).

Dig, dig, dig. Just keep digging, just keep digging… la la la la la la la la….

Yay for Huge caches! I think we won a steed about 1 out of less than 10 huge caches. I do like that the event restarts almost immediately after the previous one ends. It really keeps things moving!

Wins! Of course, all the steeds show up here on on the page All the Steeds.

Cave claw masked horse for the win!

Time to take him out flying.

Treasure Laden horse… win! (I still don’t like random winning. However, like most of the “random” wins for me, so much of it is about persistence. You do not even want to know how many hours I treasure hunted between last event and this event. OMG. Thankfully, I really really enjoy the Treasure Hunt.)

Treasure Laden goat! Ok, I had the goat last time, but he was feeling left out of the show. Hey, I think someone is following us… Aegthil is that you?? They’re always after me lucky charms…

The goat is a bit wide for me, so I threaded my leg through the saddle edge. Some might see this as a design flaw, but I am sure that is the way it is intended.

Threanody reports for duty to take over digging. Good luck hobbit! (I ride the Dunedain War-horse in this shot.)

Nimitar doesn’t miss a beat or a festival. If it is there to do, he will be there. He and Danaish wait patiently to be granted more picks to try their luck. (Nimitar rides the Nimble Black Goat).

So many people showed up at the Treasure Hunt! With the lack of things actually going wrong (see Farmer’s Faire and Summer dwarf races), I think this is a success!

Ytanya is excited about her “prospects”. Surely, there is a steed token in there for her?

Danaszar meets a Domesticated Green-back Cave-claw. It is so cute you could just /hug it. If you hug them all, you get a lovely title and complete the deed. Yay deeds!

Of course, the lildanas have their own pet cave-claw at the Angels house. (draigoch-statue-lil-danas-moving-day) We opted not to get another one right now just in case they might fight and leave the yard a mess. Turns out, the neighbors wouldn’t mind so much. We took a walk around and discovered that 76% of our neighbors were deadbeats that were locked out of their own homes, including all of the other kinhouses (one of which has gone into foreclosure and is up for sale). Go on, roam the neighborhood Trained cave-claw!

Finally, the star of the show has arrived. Here is the Harvest Brew Goat, the barter goat of the Treasure Hunt. Ok, this goat only has +62% speed, but it just might be the cutest goat I own (don’t tell the other goats). He is in the top ten goats for sure. Lol! I love the theme, and the stine on a stick out in front of it is a neat touch.

The Treasure Hunt emotes are some of my favorite! There are 6 available during the event, and thankfully they are at least Bound to Account. It would have been great had the Steeds also been Bound to Account, but they are in fact, Bound on Acquire. The 6 are: rich, counterfeit, inspectgem, pan, dowse, coinflip. Thankfully, I got them last time, so I had less things to think about while hunting for my steeds.

I am /rich! No doubt about that. Rich in friends. A sappier Supergirl would say these gold coins are just representation of blessings falling on me. (Aim your /heave over there…)

I check to make sure that the coins in my steed's pack are not /counterfeit (lilhobbits, don't put things in your mouth without washing them, that is a good way to get germy... that, and visiting the Foundation of Stone, very germy place.. Bring sanitizer).

You are getting sleepy…  /dowse. You are now under my control…

Oh Arkandon, don’t you know that these jedi mind tricks don’t work on Supergirl? I am not the droid you are looking for.

Yes, yes… I spy a diamond in the rough. Let me /inspectgem that for you.

Frodo and Bilbo’s Birthday
After Goldenstar, Frodo and Bilbo are two of the most famous hobbits in Middle Earth. If Frodo ran a site like CSTM (, he would be better known, but I digress.

Since it was Frodo and Bilbo’s birthday, I flew out to Rivendell to wish them well. Frodo snookered me into assisting him deliver a present to Bilbo, who was only like 100 meters away in Elrond’s house. For fun, I will lay out how the conversation went.

Meltera met me there so that we could celebrate birthdays together. Mebbe the Bagginses will have cake. Or pie. I like pie. And chocolate. Dark chocolate. Fudgey dark chocolate. with pie. Mmm... Where were we? Oh, yes.. let's go wish happy birthdays.

Hello Frodo! Happy Birthday! I would have come yesterday, but I had to dig up Treasure Laden steeds; you know how it is.

Frodo replies with asking me to visit Bilbo.

Mae Govannen, and Happy Birthday to you, Bilbo. Here is a present from Frodo.

Bilbo replies by asking me to deliver a present to Frodo. You know, he is standing in the next room? Oh fine, I will deliver it.

Hello again Frodo. Here is a present from Bilbo.

You want me to go tell him thank you… for you? You know, he is just across the hall? Le sigh…

Hiya Bilbo. Frodo says thanks. You are welcome. You have a present for me on your birthday? Hobbits are interestingly odd people. J You should walk across the hall and see Frodo some time. He has a neat ring that he wears on a chain around his neck.

Bilbo gave me the choice of receiving a toy flute or a toy dulcimer. They play a tune that lasts a couple of seconds and… that is it. It has a 30 minute CD. It is the thought that counts, right? J

CSTM Live Event
I got to enjoy the CSTM Live Event on Saturday! It turns out that CSTM was recording their weekly show but added on a streaming video while they were doing it. I usually fly across the spatial abyss into Landroval once a week or so to check fan mail and visit whoever happens to be around (thank you so much to all you who leave messages there J) and found my friends Tomrica and Goldenstar both in Bywater. It was great timing since CSTM was in the middle of their show.

As I headed to Bywater, there was quite a crowd and I found Tomrica waiting for me at the back. The poor thing won’t be able to see with all these trees standing in the way. I got a chuckle out of just how many hobbits there are around here. Yeah… I don’t make it to the Shire enough. Hobbits, hobbits everywhere.

It was a great gathering. It seems that if you get enough of the Lonely Mountain Band together, it is like a bring-your-own-party. I got to meet several lovely hobbits, including the hobbit-gnome Anthemisi and her dancing friend Carica.

Tomrica and Goldenstar pose for photos and autographs at the Green Dragon. These last two shots were taken by Tomrica, who is a most excellent photographer.

The Lonely Mountain Band hobbits ride a team of goats collected from the Treasure Hunt. Tomrica is out front, followed by (L-R) Galspi, Elyita, Carica, & Anthemisi.

How can you not smile seeing a line of hobbits riding goats?? That is so cute. Lol!

Friday, September 21, 2012


I received this caption on the first picture from Tomeoric of the Academy. The shot was taken on the day that I met him during the Spring festival 2012. He caught me by surprise when he walked up and said he was a fan of That put a huge smile on my face. :D I am so happy that people actually enjoy coming here and that I can share stories and guides with you! Tomeoric wrote briefly about the encounter at the link.


Speaking of encounters, I mentioned once before that Aegthil of Gondor had written about me.
Aegthil Here… 
  • “... Oh, oh, my love, wait for me, as I shall wait for thee, though all the world shall turn at last to dust, and all the stars shall descend into the darkness of oblivion, yet shall my love for thee shine like a beacon unto the very end of time.

To which I replied, 
  • I create feelings in others that they themselves don’t understand, and blah, blah, blah, blah…” You do know you have Competition, yes?
Then more Aegthil here… 
  • This all changed when Supergirl came into my life. Well, to be strictly honest, she hasn't yet come into my life, not as such, but she will when I accost her in the Dancing Goat tomorrow, present her with a bunch of flowers

Note, that he was a complete no-show… and was called out for it.
To which he responded… 
  • It appears that we made an understandable error in the Dancing Goat the other day (anybody could have done it!), and ran off with the wrong young lady dressed in blue and red.

He is an intriguing fellow. So, I sent the Supergirl Spies out to see what this minstrel does when he isn’t waxing poetically about me.
Aegthil plays in a band, and he looks nice in his coordinated attire. His bandmates all look like upstanding Middle Earth citizens. He is the one with the “shifty” eyes playing the oversized stringed instrument. I am thinking that someone else must have dressed him this morning judging by what the Spies showed me next...

When the performance ended… he slipped into something… well… oh my… lost for words. I am having trouble looking away though. I can't tell if it is more like watching a horrific accident and can't look away, or more like a moth that gravitates toward the flame mesmerized...

I went to consult a few others on the subject.
Legolas just smirked as we walked together through the forest. He is an elf of few words (but good with his arrow…). He was amused by the situation, stating that only a minstrel would wear such an outfit.

Aragorn seemed put out. I had told him once before that it would not work with a human when he was trying to woo me, so he moved on to another elf. Sensing he might have another shot, Aragorn has that dreamy look in his eyes again. Such is the human condition.

I tried to talk to my fellow Lorien elves, but Belegoth, reminding me that life's options abound, just tried to propose. Elves can be smitten sometimes too.

Tomrica of the Lonely Mountain Band was the one with the most sense… we just flew over and had a time at the Prancing Pony instead. Sigh...