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?


Lothirieth said...

Congrats! It was also really nice to learn more about you! :) In some ways I think it's probably really good that you don't have hours and hours to play Lotro. It keeps it more fresh and enjoyable. I think I ended up burning myself out as I have had too much time to play it and did too much completionism at once? I think little doses works far better in the long run and keeps people optimistic.... oh and probably not reading the official forums. :P

That was an unexpected surprise at the end! :O Thank you so much. :) *hug* I immediately went and put a more positive entry up to be at the top. :P I'm still sensitive about being too negative, so it means a lot that some people like you find my rants constructive! ;)

TheElvenTailor said...

Wow! Congratulations, you completely deserve it, Danania!

Unknown said...

Lol! Funny that you mention the "official forums". I didn't realize such a thing existed for the first year of my time in Middle Earth. I still haven't gotten acclimated to checking it as often.

Keep up your constructive ranting! :D

Unknown said...

Thanks so much Cat, the Elven Tailor! That means a lot. :D

Apelred said...

Congrats on a well deserved award and as a family man I am even more impressed at the quality of your blog given your other commitments. I hope you can keep Lotro & your blog in your work/life/play balance for the long journey to Mount Doom.

Rakuno said...

Indeed, a very well earned award. :)

I am surprised though that creative writing was ever your weak spot. The way you write makes it look like you have been doing it pretty much your whole life so that by now it just comes naturally to you. That you are also skilled in technical writing makes it even more impressive. They are two hard skills to be good at, in my opinion.

Thanks for sharing your story! /salute

Unknown said...

Thanks Apelred! :)

I appreciate the comments. They are like a light in dark places, when all other lights go out.

Do come back anytime. :)

Unknown said...

Thanks so much Rakuno! :D /kneel

My creative writing is styled very differently than technical writing. It tends to be more free-form. I still loathe typos and deep grammatical errors, but sentence structure is much looser (not that I still won't make typos, but when I see them after the fact it feels like taking an arrow to the leg).

I will keep working at it! :D

Anonymous said...

Congratulations Dana on the well-deserved award. I am currently taking a pause from LOTRO, but you and my other friends in Arkenstone are always on my mind, and I do enjoy reading your blog updates. It keeps me informed what's happening in here :)

See you ingame


Asciel said...

1. Congrats on the award!
2. Do the littlehobbits know that you call them hobbits? Do they know what hobbits are? Do they think that they are actual hobbits and try to not wear shoes and eat multiple breakfasts and laugh in a "fruity" manner?

Unknown said...

Yay Endacil! Thanks for dropping by!
I will try to inform well.
Looking forward to your return, or at least contact in the comments. :D

Unknown said...

Thanks so much Asciel!

2/3rds of the lilhobbits realize that I call them lilhobbits. They play lotro elves some but have no real concept of what a hobbit is, other than what they see in the Shire. They are still too young to watch the movies but not too young to play Creeps in the Moors. ;D If ever you think that people in the Moors act like children... well, they just might be. lol. (oh, and they do indeed eat like hobbity gremlins...) O.o

Aeronwy said...

Congrats! This was a fun read (as always), and it was nice to learn more about you in the process. :D

Unknown said...

Yay, thanks so much Aeronwy the Purple Steed! :D
Always a pleasure to have you here.

Ravanel said...

Hi Dan, what a great post! I love the pictures (especially the one in which you are "flying" haha), and it's great to learn about the real you. Whoa, you must have so much energy. And is that you on the last picture? ^^

Unknown said...

It is me; I am Supergirl. :D

Thanks Ravanel! I was proud that the flying picture turned out as well as it did! lol!

It doesn't "feel" like I have so much energy some days, hehe.
Sieze the day! (or something like that...)

Post a Comment