You Know You Play Too Much Warcraft When…

  • You are in the forest and see a bear and you try to make him your pet.
  • You yell “LFG” when being picked for sports teams.
  • You inspect people’s clothing to see if they are enchanted.
  • You don’t know someone’s name and you look above their head.
  • You go to a funeral and you try to loot the corpse.
  • You pass a cop and wonder if you just aggroed him.
  • You ask a store clerk how much you can sell your shoes for.
  • You buy a bag from the store and you check to see how many slots it has.
  • You visit airports just to get more flight paths.
  • You train to be Master Looter when shopping at the mall.
  • You wonder if real wolves have belts and shoes on them.
  • You pick up a rock and try to use it as a hearthstone.
  • Talking cows and zombies don’t scare you.
  • You brag to your friends that your belt gives you +5 stamina.
  • You think life ends at age 70.
  • You ask the nearest police officer where the closet weapon vendor is.
  • You try to book a trip to Azeroth.
  • You walk into a bar and ask for Stratholm Holy Water.
  • You get mad when you’re not allowed to deposit your weapons in the bank.
  • You run around the streets wearing nothing but underwear, shouting “GOLD PLS!”
  • You buy a horse on your 40th birthday.
  • You buy an even better horse on your 60th birthday.
  • You buy a small plane on your 70th birthday.
  • You climb on top of your mailbox and dance.
  • You are still reading this.
  • You go to a car dealer and ask whether the cars will increase your speed by 60% or by 100%.
  • You ask whether mithril spurs are an option.
  • You try to find a Mini Diablo at the local pet store.
  • You walk to the next nearest city so you can fly there next time.
  • Your girlfriend’s not 27 years old; she’s level 27.
  • Her underwear is a “rare” drop.
  • You stop wondering why your backpack can hold 16 pairs of boots, but can’t hold 17 rings.
  • You go to a park and pick flowers to improve your Herbalism skill.
  • You start mining stones.
  • You melt pennies and try to turn them into copper bars.
  • Someone asks you where something is and you yell at them to look it up on thottbot.
  • You ignore a level 60 demon, but remember when you ran screaming from a level 8 bear.
  • You ride the bus to work, telling everyone that you’re saving up for your epic mount.
  • On blah wintery days, you wish you could type “.wchange 0 0” to make the sun come out.
  • You rip your pants and try to have them fixed at a blacksmith shop.
  • You think of your belt buckle as an extra socket.
  • You install your own MaNGOS server just so you can play on Tuesday mornings.
  • You look for the NumLock button when driving in your car.
  • No matter what you’re doing on your computer, you first put three fingers on A, W, and D.
  • You drink ten cans of RedBull to increase your run speed by 30%.
  • You ask everyone you meet, “Wanna join my guild?”
  • Someone asks you to pick up something for them and you say “Inventory is Full.”
  • You take the subway and wish it had an underground aquarium.
  • You start expecting rewards for doing work.
  • A beautiful girl asks you out on a date. You refuse because your guild is doing a Naxx raid.
  • You didn’t think the World of Warcraft South Park episode was all that funny.
  • You check your in-game mail to see how your auctions are doing before you check your email.
  • When you see “Wow” in advertisements, you wonder why they got the capitalization wrong.
  • Having read this, you now want to play.

English Lesson: What are Heteronyms?

Every Monday, someone in my office writes a riddle or quiz on the conference room whiteboard to help get the week started. This week’s puzzle:

“What one English word is pronounced differently when the first letter is capitalized?”

Homonyms are groups of words that have the same sound and spelling but have different meaning (“fair” means reasonable and also refers to a carnival), so the answer is not a pair of homonyms. Heteronyms, on the other hand, are words that have the same spelling, but differ in both pronunciation and meaning.

Like many language-specific word games, there is more than one answer to this heteronymic puzzler: polish vs Polishaugust vs August; nice vs Nice, France; lima bean vs Lima, Peru; job vs the biblical Job; rainier vs Mt. Rainier; said vs Said, Egypt; ares vs the god Ares; male vs Male, Maldives; worms vs Worms, Germany; and many more.

One of my favorite comedic uses of heteronyms was from a 1982 episode of the BBC’s classic sitcom, “Yes, Minister“. When cabinet minister Jim Hacker decided to ignore a complaint that he received, he used a euphemism for a garbage can and labeled the complaint with “Round Objects” (as in, “spherical things”). Later in the episode, civil servant Humphrey commented on the cryptic complaint, reiterated by Bernard asking “Who is Round and to what does he object?”

Speaking of round objects…

The Tale of Maria’s Breasts

These themed examples of heteronyms do not meet the capitalization requirement of the original puzzle, but the illustration of concepts sure makes learning fun!

Photo © / Miroslav Ferkuniak

  • The plastic surgeon will implant the second implant in the flat-chested Maria tomorrow morning.
  • For the sake of the morning’s surgery, he will not drink sake while eating his shrimp tempura tonight at dinner.
  • The surgeon’s attorney took deliberate care to deliberate the language of the agreement.
  • The doctor signed a contract to contract Maria’s breasts if she thinks they are too big. Fat chance!
  • At the last minute during surgery, the doctor made a minute adustment to perfect the position of Maria’s perfect left nipple.
  • As such, Maria’s left breast remained number than her right for a number of hours.
  • The nurse wound a compress around Maria’s chest to compress her surgical wound.
  • Maria now attributes the great look of her new attributes to the brilliant plastic surgeon; the evening of her breasts make her look stunning in an evening gown!
  • So far, Maria has found no one to contest her winning the nicest-fake-bøøbs-ëvër contest.
  • Alex the drug dealer (Maria’s next-door neighbor) tried to addict others with his wares, but soon became an addict himself — to voyeurism.
  • When Alex fell off the roof again while peeping into Maria’s bedroom window, it only served to compound the injury of his existing compound fracture.
  • I suspect that the jury will take the suspect‘s status as an invalid into consideration, and throw out the case as invalid.
  • The town counsel felt that the judge’s decision to appropriate Alex’s meth lab was appropriate.
  • The now big-breasted Maria shed a tear when the bulldozer began to tear down Alex’s house; it used to house her grandmother.

Sadly, I’ve never met the fictitious Maria pictured above, seeing her only through the screen of my computer console when I purchased a license of her image from iStockPhoto. Otherwise, I would have been happy to console her myself.

Review: Old Ironsides Café

The ground floor of a typically dull office park might not be where you’d expect to find some darn good, authentic Greek fare, but the owners of Santa Clara’s Old Ironsides Café (located just off Great America Parkway north of Highway 101, and about a quarter mile south of the Old Ironsides lightrail station) have been serving it up since 1988.

Photo © Old Ironsides Café

Most of the valley’s Greek-themed luncheonettes dish out Cypriot-style gyros, some even serve them in a bowl — a culinary crime, in my book! But Old Ironsides leans toward the classic Greek. Thinly sliced strips of mildly spiced lamb piled high with red onions and lettuce are smothered with a tangy yogurt dressing, then folded into a soft, warm, round, wheat flatbread. Like all good gyros, once you remove it from the paper wrapping in which it is served, you won’t be able to put it down for fear of it falling apart.

Old Ironsides’ lunch combinations come with hummus and the café’s Veggie Delight — essentially Mujadara (a traditional Mediterranean rice and lentil dish), subtly infused with caramelized onions, and enlivened with crisp diced tomatoes and cucumbers. Mixing in a spoonful of minced jalapeños (you have to ask for them!) transforms the side dish into a delicious transcontinental fusion one would only find in Silicon Valley. The tabbouleh (made from crushed wheat bulgur, and finely chopped parsley and tomatoes) is cool and fresh with a hint of lemon. If you’re not quite ready to plunge into unfamiliar kibbeh, kabobs, falafel, dolmas, or gyros, a wide variety of less-Mediterranean choices are available, ranging from Hoagies and Polish sausages to Philly cheese steaks and a slew of vegetarian dishes.

A can of soda is included with any of the combos, but you can substitute anything else (the typical bottled waters, juices, and beers) for a nominal surcharge. I don’t drink coffee, but I’ve been told by several coworkers that the traditionally thick, twice-boiled Turkish coffee, a specialty of the café for many years, is exceptional. I’m sure it goes quite well with the assortment of flaky, homemade baklava and various slices of cakes displayed on the ample countertop.

There is a reasonable amount of seating, but the round tables are quite small — suitable for two, but very cramped and a bit awkward when forced during peak hours to accommodate your party of four. High-top counters and bar stools line the front, and there is room for some spillover in the patio area of the office complex at the rear of the café.

Old Ironsides sports the kind of wall treatments one would expect in an informal Greek restaurant, the somewhat confusing exception being a large poster of Bavaria’s Neuschwanstein Castle. The misnomered “Deli Bar” in an unobtrusive corner begrudgingly relinquishes a small space for communal sauces and condiments, as it mainly serves as a touching mantelpiece of old family photos. The familial atmosphere is further enhanced by the proprietors themselves, who — while a bit brusk and hurried during the busiest times — are otherwise very caring, friendly, and accommodating.

The pair of surrogate Greek relatives coupled with the fresh, authentic Mediterranean cuisine entice me back once or twice a month to fulfill a frequent craving.

Author’s note: I’m feel like I should be somewhat apologetic to these nice folks that a review of their family-owned restaurant happens to sit between Maria’s breasts and two prostitutes from Dominican Republic.

Hmmm… On the other hand, I guess I shouldn’t feel too bad because I wouldn’t mind being between Maria’s breasts and two prostitutes from Dominican Republic myself…