Every week, Matt gets a chance to sit down with a WoW Blogger chosen by his Worg Pup. Find out a little more about your favourite bloggers as he tries to get to know them a little more!
This week, Big Bear Butt of his self titled Big Bear Butt Blogger was cool enough to kick back and set aside some time in his beary busy schedule to answer a few questions.
This has got to be the most important question I’ll ever ask and I just wanted to get it out of the way. Why Big Bear Butt?
Well, I wanted to choose a name that told people that came what they were getting themselves in for.
I play a feral druid, I spend a lot of time tanking in bear form, and when you’re in a narrow instance or up against a wall, your view is pretty much all bear butt. At least, until you swivel your viewpoint around.
Add to it is the fact that I’m a pretty big guy. I was in the US Marines for 8 years, and I was one of the guys that would have to hump the 80 pound mortar plate on the march… okay, you probably have no idea what that means. Ummm…. I ain’t short or narrow, and my bench press is fairly hefty. But I’ve been out of the service now for, oh, wow. 13 years now. It’s been a while. So anyway, visits to the gym or not, sitting at a desk playing wow has taken it’s toll on the size of my butt. So I’m a big bear of a man in real life, with a big bearish butt.
And I like to think I have a wacky Monty Python lovin’, Wierd Al and Dr. Demento enjoying sense of humor. So I thought Big Bear Butt Blogger pretty much said it all.
A couple of weeks ago, the first Blog Azeroth community topic was “What did you like most about the class you played”. I’m going to go out on a limb and ask you what you hate most about the class that is your main (in this case, your Druid).
The one thing I hate the most about the Druid, and yes, I do hate it, is the utter lack of individuality amongst Druids in forms. Every Night Elf Druid in cat form looks exactly like every other. Doesn’t matter the level, or the gear.
Deepest and darkest secret about BBB?
I’ve been writing for WOW Insider’s Shifting Perspectives druid column, and they put my real name up there… but it’s not the name I was born with. When I got married, I actually took my wifes’ last name.
There were a lot of reasons for it. Mainly, though, is the fact that I am from another state than Minnesota, and the product of a home that’s not just broken, but pretty shattered. My wife, on the other hand, is Minnesota born and bred, and her entire family, with dozens of close relatives, brothers and sisters and all their extended families, are all right here. Now. Local. And for every special occasion, everyone gets together as one big squabbling but basically happy family.
So I thought nothing whatsoever of casting aside my old name, breaking the chains, and launching myself into a happy life with my new extended family.
And okay, you know me well enough to figure out, I LOVE to see the looks on people’s faces when I tell them what my name is… and my wifes’ name… and my mother-in-laws’ name. Hee hee hee.
When you started your blog, what was your goal? Do you think you have achieved it?
Well, my goal was mainly to have a forum to get up on my soapbox and sound off on whatever in the game I was all worked up about.
My secondary goals were to write posts with helpful tips and suggestions that I’d wish I’d known when I started playing my druid back in the day. And also, I wanted to develop my writing skills through lots and lots and lots of writing. I’ve heard it said by authors I admire that the way to develop your own writing style is to write your ass off. So I am. These days, my main goals are to write frequently, to entertain, and to inform. If I accomplish just one of those, I figure I’m good.
That would be why I post so often.
Where were you when 9/11 occurred?
Well, I was long out of the military by then. I was actually at work as an engineer in a PCB manufacturing plant at the time. Not the same one as now. Coincidentally enough, I’d been re-reading Red Cell by Richard Marcinko right around that time, a book by a former Seal Team 6 commander fictionalizing his teams’ exploits as they accomplished theri assigned mission; simulate terrorist atacks agaisnt military and civilian airports around the world to test their security.
From the results of 9/11, you don’t need to guess what his analysis was, years before the actual real event proved him right. I will say, don’t believe anyone that tells you that no one knew the vulnerabilities of our airport security systems that ‘came as a complete shock’.
You’d have to understand that, when it happened, TVs were wheeled into break rooms, and we all gathered around. There was hysteria on the TV, and people both in the plant and on TV were sobbing and saying they couldn’t believe it was possible.
And the only surprise I felt was that it hadn’t been a backpack nuke or bio/chemical attack.
I know that sounds callous as all heck, but it’s true. But I come by it honestly.
I entered the Marines in 1986, and I was raised on films such as the Missing in Action series with Chuck Norris, the original Rambo series, Full Metal Jacket, Platoon, Hamburger Hill, the list goes on and on. Most people think those movies glorify warfare as a living action film full of fun, but to me as a teen growing up watching them, the message I got was that war was a horrible, violent chaotic mess, filled with human frailty, but that it was a necessary thing for an armed force to exist with strong, willing, capable volunteers, to help those who cannot help themselves and to actively work to preserve peace and liberate the oppressed. And that the previous generations of men and women in my country had done their part to step forward, to serve, and to suffer for their principals and stand firm. I felt it was my duty to do the same. With no illusions as to how ‘glamorous’ or ‘exciting’ it would be. Glamorous. HAH!
In the years since, with all the traveling I’ve done in cultures around the world, I think I’ve developed an awareness of how precious and precarious stability can be. And how blessed we have been to have the stability of Canada and Mexico to our North and South, and the massive barriers of the ocean to our East and West to make bringing war directly to our shores a difficult process requiring massive investment of resources.
But when others hate you, for whatever reason, and weapons exist in the world that require little in the way of resources to deploy, well….
When 9/11 happened, my state of mind was; “Praise God that, so far, nuclear, biological and checmical weapons weren’t involved. Thank god.” Followed closely by, “I wonder if those attacks will soon follow. Are they done? And if they do, where?”
I hope that I answered the spirit of your question.
Your blog states that you served in the US Marines. You willing to share any good/humorous stories during your time there?
I assume that the statute of limitations still covers… yeah, okay, so those are out. Hold on, let me think. What can I say that wouldn’t incur legal fines or liability?
I’ll be nice and limit myself to a Marine story, and not include the subcategories of drinking, practical jokes, drinking, crazy physical stunts… oh, wait, that reminds me. Okay, I’ve got one. And I don’t think I can be arrested for anything in it.
So, I’m in the barracks with some friends, in the desert of Twenty-Nine Palms, California. And there are a bunch of us, and we’re bored, and it’s Saturday morning.
One of the guys has a car, which when you’re all PFCs or Lance Corporals, is a BIG thing. So someone suggests we get a shitload of alcohol, bundle some camping crap into the car, and head for Yucca Valley National Monument for some serious drinking and barbequeing, maybe stay over for the night.
Now, at the time I was the ringleader of our little clan, the resident Game Master of our gaming group. (Hell yes, Marines play role playing games. Best groups I’ve ever had in my entire life were with Jarheads. Intelligent men and women, tactically proficient and possessed of wondrous imaginations and low and evil cunning. God, I miss gaming in the service. Oh heck, where the hell was I? Oh, right.)
Right, I was the ringleader. And I usually organized games on the weekend, followed by everyone drinking, listening to Dr. Demento, and then having a steak and lobster tail barbeque in the beer garden outside. Beer garden? Don’t ask.
So I get us all organized, sort out who is going to bring what, then we hit the package store (where you buy your alcohol on base) and off we go out into the High Desert.
And we drive for miles, and miles, and miles. When we finally approach a likely looking campsite near some particularly fine rock formations, we are waaaaay out there.
As the car rolls up to where we’re gonna park, the engine makes some knocking noises… and then with a loud bang! we watch the hood of the car lift up with the force of a massive blow. The car stops. And I mean, right then and there.
So, we look at each other in the back seat, and then we look at the owner of the car. With a deadpan emotionless tone of voice, I say, “Engine threw a rod, Mark.”
He says, equally emotionlessly, “Yep. Looks that way.”
I say, “It’s a hell of a long walk back to the main road, man.”
He says, “Yep.”
I tell him, “Better carry a case with you when you go. And carry a bag. No littering in Yucca.”
He says, “Yep. Damn it.”
So off he went, with a case of wine coolers, to go flag down a ranger. Which he did, eventually.
In the meantime, heck, we had food, alcohol, and lots of free time. This was years before cell phones, so nobody had any way of getting the word out but by walking. Fortunately, it was Saturday, so we had two days to figure out how to get back to base before we’d be missing a movement, namely Monday morning formation. No worries.
Well, at the time I fancied myself a fair free rock climber. I went out fairly often, and enjoyed taking a camera with me to take shots from “How the hell did you get there” angles. I didn’t have any gear with me, but some of the rocks out there were pretty easy grades for a novice. I left the other guys to their drinking, and headed into the rocks.
So I went on in a little valley twixt the steep walls of rock, picked an approach, and started climbing. And the rock out there is nice, there are frequent and easy to reach handholds, indentations, fissures, you name it. I was just climbing to have fun, stretch out a bit. I was wearing jeans, combat boots, and no shirt, because I thought I was quite studdly, and I wanted to get some Sun for a tan.
I am sliding around a steep grade, feet inching sideways on a narrow crack as I work my way over to where I can see the way up is going to be easier. I’m a long way up, but it’s cool. I am pressed flat against the rock, arms spread wide and hands out, kissing the rock good and close, just kinda inching my way sideways.
As I go across this flat steep face, the rock is pretty gritty, and it’s suddenly smooth. It’s like sandstone, with a very fine grade of loose grit on the surface. And I start to slide down.
I force my body closer against the rock, I’m desperate for the rock to love me long time. I mean, I am seriously bear hugging this rock in a way that should require a marriage license and a hotel room.
And as I slowly slide down, I can feel a tugging on my pants as my belt is scraping along the rock. And then, suddenly, hella pain. Somehow, I make myself stop dead, possibly through heretofore unknown psychic powers, I don’t know.
What happened is, the belt buckle post grabbed on the rock, and my belt worked itself free, and the buckle, looped through the belt, came out of the sheath, but was still caught in the belt, all tangled up.
Oh, did I forget to mention that I was an amateur real-life leatherworker, and I’d hand-stitched my woven belt? And I’d used a belt-buckle palm dagger (what is known as a push knife) as the buckle with a sewn in sheath? Sorry, that must have slipped my mind.
Yeah, so the belt buckle came undone, grabbed on the rock, twisted on the leather looped through it, and pointed itself up… into my stomach. Braced agasint the rock.
And I was slowly sliding DOWN the rock face.
Yep, paints a pretty picture, doesn’t it?
So, let’s recap, shall we? I’m way up a rock face, I’ve got a dagger sticking into my stomach, I’m wearing no shirt, and I’m starting to slide down. And as I slide, the dagger is digging deeper.
Now, I calmly access the situation. I am not panicking, but I am 100% aware that I am the stupidest person on the face of the planet, and I’m about to die, die by being stuck with the dagger I myself spent hours crafting into a belt, and the worst part is I have 6 Fosters Oil Cans at the camp that I’ll never get to drink.
Such are the thoughts of a single Marine. Just so you know.
Obviously, I didn’t die. Sorry to break the suspense, but I thought I should mention that, just in case you were getting worried.
Instead, I kept on hugging the rock face fiercely. I slowed my rate of descent, kind of hoisted myself by the skin of my forearms straight UP and then inched the rest of the way onwards to my destination, since I had traveled a hard way up, and then eased my way back down to the bottom of the gulley.
When my feet touched down on soft desert sand at the foot of the rock, I gently pulled the dagger from my stomach, I unthreaded my belt from my pants, and then I threw the entire damn thing with all of my might as deep into the rocks as I could possibly get it.
I assessed my injuries. I had a nicely bleeding, seeping really, hole in my stomach, and the skin on my inner arms, from my wrists to my elbows, was gone. Sinmply gone. my inner forearms were raw exposed meat from being abraded against the rock to stop my slide.
I walked calmly back to camp, and I’ll be perfectly honest here… I derived a certain sense of satisfaction, knowing that my reputation as a bad ass was going to be ramped up a few notches by walking out of the desert covered in blood. Kind of a consolation prize for being a galactically stupid moron.
I proceeded to borrow a buddies’ shirt to wrap up my arms and stomach, after pouring beer all over my arms to try and wash away sand. I’m intentionally trying not to think about how bad that hurt.
I kicked back, had a steak grilled over an open fire, and drank Fosters for the next 8 hours or so, until Mark came back in a park ranger truck, and we carried our happy butts back out of the desert, and I made my way to the base sick bay.
And as I walked into sick bay on that Saturday night, contemplating how to possibly spin what happened so I wouldn’t look like such an incredible dumbass on the inevitable after action report… some corpsmen rushed a guy past me into sick bay on a gurney. And the guy’s mouth was covered in dried blood.
It looked like the guy took a punch in the mouth, but the corpsmen seemed VERY anxious to work on him, so naturally I asked at the counter what was up with him.
Turns out he’d been drinking with his buddies in the desert (surprise), saw a rattlesnake, and decided to show what a badass he was by biting the head of the snake off.
Except the snake chomped his tongue GOOD. And even though he succeeded in biting the snakes’ head off, the fangs wouldn’t release.
I stopped worrying about the reception my story was going to get. Apparently, on a base full of Marines in the desert on a Saturday night, my story wasn’t even gonna make the top three.
What is the one addition or change you would like Blizzard to see done to Druids in general?
I touched on this earlier. I’d love to see Blizzard introduce the ability to expand the appearance of our forms. There are so many different ways it could be done, like simply having different basic skins available from your trainer to choose from when you can train the basic shapeshift skill, and make you have to respec to change your appearance. Or allow us to choose to display some kind of morphed armor, an admittedly difficult thing to do that I would hold out no hope for. In a perfect world, we would be able to choose our tribal Druid tattoo in forms, and customize our appearance in terms of mane/hair style, bulkiness of body frame, and then choose from colors, patterns and eyes.
Whose teddy bear is that in your blogger profile?
Why, that would be mine, thank you. That is mine. My wife asked me for a list of things I wanted for Christmas a long time ago, and one of the things I found was that bear on a cafepress store, and I told her I wanted it. I don’t know if you can see, but the shirt says “I’m in Bear form”. It sits on my headboard. When I made my Blogger profile, I needed a photo, and I immediately grabbed my bear. Cassie took the picture.
What’s in store for readers of BBB in the upcoming year?
I purchased a domain, www.thebigbearbutt.com, and I’m planning at some point to go to a self-hosted site using WordPress as the framework. I’m moving ahead slowly on getting some t-shirt designs worked on, and I’m going to continue to write in the exact same way as I always have. At this stage in my life, I regret that I may be unable to change. If my readers are hoping for maturity and growth in the next year… I’m sorry. Ain’t happening.
Considering the weird crap you throw up on your blog, why do you think people still bother to come back? (Thanks to BBB for suggesting this question when I was stuck on number 20)
Well, I think it’s because I post regularly, I say what I think, I try and have a sense of humor, I do try and post informative info scattered amongst the jokes and ramblings, and I’m honest about what’s going on with me and Cassie and the game.
Also, I actually do see the people who come to my site as friends, and I think that comes through. I’m not running a business, although I certainly wouldn’t mind making enough money to support the blog, as long as I can do it on my terms. No gold sellers! Grrr! I do this for fun. That being the case, I assume people who are coming to read what I’m writing are, themselves, in some sick way, having fun.
Or, and this might be just as true… I am insane, and you are all natural-born enablers. Shame on you.
Either way, I’m damn happy with the people that read, and especially the people that comment. I have some of the smartest, coolest commenters on the planet. My Addon article alone, I had TONS of helpful suggestions of addons that improved my game experience immensely. So much for me teaching anyone else something.
Imperial or US Pint?
If it’s a Guinness, any pint will do.
Biggest criticism you always hear as a player:
You tank so well I’m getting bored.
Bears should be able to sport visual armor: Agree or disagree?
Agree, damn straight.
As a Druid, the next animal form you want is to be able to shift into:
A Mount for other players to ride. Seriously! Unicorn FTW!
Most annoying nickname:
Wow, I got some great ones. BBB, Tri-B, B^3. Love em all.
In your opinion, AWOL stands for:
A Waste of Life. “Doomilias is AWOL again”. “No, Doomilias is AWOL, still.”
Guns don’t kill people, but ______________ do:
“Guns don’t kill people, but I do”.
But Matt, that is just filling in your blanks, that’s not letting me tell you the real version.
“US Marines. You can run, but you’ll just die tired.” There. That’s better.
One thing you wish you knew about blogging before you started blogging:
How many people were going to expect me to come up with pretty pictures for every damn post. And screw the damn word count, that’s the truth.
David Letterman, Jay Leno, or John Stewart?
Jay is an awesome car guy, but Stewart is evil.
Rejected tag line for Big Bear Butt Blogger:
“This is not the gay porn site you were looking for.”
Shout outs to:
My readers, who leave comments that are frequently better than my posts. Thank you! You guys rock.
Again, go check out the Big Bear Butt’s feral druid blog for tanking goodness and all things feral!