Worlds Collide, Then Have Brunch

For the first time my WoW life has intersected with my real life.

The lovely Bossy Pally.
Not Shown: Her Giant Spoon
One of my favourite Paladin bloggers, Ophelie from Bossy Pally and the Giant Spoon is moving to Alberta to start her new career after graduating University in Newfoundland. On her way to go apartment hunting in her new town, she was planning a quick stopover in Edmonton, and I managed to convince her to meet up with me and spend a couple of days hanging out together.

Bossy Pally has always been one of my absolute favourite Paladin blogs, and Ophelie's mix of sharp, intelligent class commentarty and intimate, personality-filled writing were very influential in defining the style and topic choices that I would adopt for Battle Medic. Of course, I didn't tell her that in person because I didn't want to come off as a drooling fanboy, but it's true nonetheless.

We had a great time while she was here. Ophelie is an remarkably engaging and vibrant person who is incredibly easy to talk to. Surprisingly so, considering she is constantly describing herself as "Super Shy" and an "Insecure Nervewreck" on her blog. We had no difficulty maintaining great, interesting conversations the whole time she was here. I don't think I have ever met a person who maintains better eye contact while talking than she does, and she gets this intense, measuring squint to her eyes when she's listening to what you have to say. Suffice it to say that I think we hit it off pretty well - my dogs and the Dwarfling were certainly taken with her.

She arrived in Edmonton on Thursday morning and I picked her up at the airport. I had seen the photos of her that she had posted on her blog, but had never seen her in person before, nor did she have any idea what I looked like. So to make sure that she would know who was there to pick her up I made a Giant Spoon Chauffeur Service sign, which actually proved to be an effective ice-breaker.


After a nice brunch with my wife, the Dwarfling and a some friends of mine visiting from Saskatoon for the U2 concert, Ophelie and I headed to the Alberta Art Gallery to check out an exhibition on Andy Warhol. It was the only Canadian stop of this particular exhibit, so I'm glad we managed to catch it as it was filled with some amazing work. In particular, there was an installation called Silver Clouds; neutrally bouyant balloons that floated around a room that was very cool.

Andy Warhol's Silver Clouds
A rather odd moment happened as we were touring the gallery. It struck me as quite trippy that I was standing there with someone who I knew, but didn't know; a surreal blend of new and familiar. It was a odd moment of realization that my online world and real world were colliding in a way that I had never really experienced before. The fact was brought home rather humourously when I sent out a quick Tweet from my iPhone about it, and less than a minute later her cell phone buzzes with the notification of the Twitter Mention. We had a good laugh, and it sparked a great, half-hour long conversation in front of a psychedelic-pink silkscreened version of The Last Supper.

After the art gallery, we wandered the downtown core for a few hours and then went to Da-De-O, a cajun-style hole-in-the-wall diner that is a local institution. Their sweet potato fries and Po'boys are legendary in Edmonton.


There is a punchline there, somewhere...

Friday night saw Ophelie and I meet up with another Edmonton blogger, Corath. Who, despite living in the same city, I had not met up with before. We arranged to meet at The Bothy, a ultra-cool, upscale wine and whisky bar that I go to frequently because my best friend is the bartender there and gets me cheap drinks.

I admit, the meetup started out a little awkward. Once we got the table snafu sorted out and sat down there were a few rather uncomfortable moments of silence; all three of us looking in different directions and not talking. It took a couple of "So, WoW!"-type proddings to get the conversation moving, but once we broke the ice we had a great time talking about WoW, blogging, wine, cheese as well as a whole bunch of other topics.

Corath is an interesting guy, as it turns out. If you have never read his blog - straightforwardly named Corath's Blog - I highly recommend it. He is a diverse writer and blogs about a lot of widely varying topics. It turns out we have a lot in common. His biggest flaw: Dirty Hordie DPSer.


During our walk through the art gallery I told her about my previous career as a portrait photographer and I asked her, somewhat timidly, if she would be interested in letting me photograph her. It's been a while since I have had an opportunity to do a portrait for anyone outside my immediate family, so I jumped at the chance when Ophelie agreed. It was a lot of fun; Ophelie is a natural in front of the camera and we got some great images.

My god, did it feel good to get behind the camera and do a portrait session! It's been far too long since I've had a subject in front of me that wasn't directly related to me. I don't think I ever feel more alive than when I have a camera in my hand, a person in front of me and the freedom to create whatever I feel like. Why don't I do this more, seriously?

It also helps when your subject is a looker.


I had a great time getting to know Corath and Ophelie. This was the first time I have met any of the people that I have been getting to know through WoW, Battle Medic and Twitter, and it was nice to have someone to talk about the game and blogging with in person.

The idea of turning a casual, internet acquaintance into an actual, real-world friend is a very cool prospect. Up until now my online life and the life that is spent with my wife and child have been very separate because my wife has absolutely no interest in the game, and I don't know anybody who plays. This was my first opportunity to show my wife that there are real, interesting people that can be connected with through this game, and not just a bunch of Internet Dragons to slay.


  1. I had a blast meeting the two of you as well. Mrs Corath and The Spawn definitely need to meet Mrs Fannon and The Dwarfling at some point. :)

    It's weird meeting up with people that you know in any setting online in real life. I was nervous as all whatever, but thankfully having something in common makes it a much easier experience.

    Plus, I had the best BLT I've ever had.

  2. But...but I like slaying internet dragons!

    I do get what you mean, though, I'd like to meet up with some of my guild mates one day and have a bit of a bash :)

  3. /looks around for Mrs Grimm

    Lovely indeed! Amd, you have a talent for photography, no doubt about it.

    Some of my closest friends are from the internet. I even married one. (OK, it was a primeval version of the internets, BUT IT COUNTS!)

  4. Really compelling post there.

    I have always imagined meeting with fellow WoWers/Bloggers and gamers alike that I have met through the net.

    Made me laugh with your airport sign!

    - Jamin

  5. Sounds like a blast - and those pictures are GORGEOUS. I wish I could take portraits that stunning. The fact that Ophelie's gorgeous doesn't hurt, of course. ;)

    That said, if y'all are ever down near Syracuse, NY for any reason, let me know, I'll drive up in a heartbeat - it's only an hour away, which while an OMG SO LONG drive to people around here (*snort* New Englanders. They should try growing up in the southwest, we'd drive an hour to go to DINNER sometimes) is not so much OMG SO LONG to me and I'd love to meet you. :)

  6. What a neat opportunity! I'm so glad Ophelie let you do a photo shoot of her -- it shows another side of her, and lets us see more about you, too. You've written about your photography before, and it's fabulous to actually see some of it.

  7. @Corath: The next time we have some people over, I'll let you know. We can have a nice BBQ on the deck and The Spawn can chase the Battle Beagles around the back yard.

    @Bloody Gneisha: Don't get me wrong, I am all about the Dragon Slayage as well, but it is nice to be able to meet the people on the other end of Ventrilo. I guess my point is that it's a little odd to talk to people so much (via comments, twitter, gchat or whatever) and yet not really know them. Getting a friendship out of the digital ether and into reality is extremely cool.

    @Grimmtooth: /look for Mrs. Fannon

    I concur!


    And as for 'primeval' forms of communication, back in the day I ran a BBS on a 286 with a 2400bps modem. Primitive hardly describes it.

    @Jamin1993: The airport sign was a great little ice-breaker. It meant that we were both laughing and relaxed when we first greeted each other. I gave her a copy of it, and she added it to her travel book.

    @Apple: Certainly having a stunningly beautiful subject certainly helps, but it's more important to try and have the images say something about her personality and character, and I think I managed that. There are a couple of the photos that simply are Ophelie, if you know what I mean.

    And I have always found the secret to taking great photos is to slow down, take your time and just look and think about what you're doing. Most people just point their camera and push the button, but don't ever give what they're doing a second thought.

    @kamalia: I am really glad I got the opportunity too. In retrospect, I'm sad that I didn't take any at our meetup with Corath, or didn't take more with Ophelie and the Dwarfling (which was really cute). I'm not much of a snapshot kind of guy, and I don't really take many shots that don't have some measure of control to them in terms of lighting, background or subject matter. My need to have every image I create perfect has caused me to miss more than a few great opportunities to capture memories.

    This was really the first opportunity that I've had to showcase my photography in what is still supposed to be a WoW blog. I hope I get a chance to show some more at some point.

  8. @Fannon - That's exactly what it was. Viva la FidoNet! #DatingMyself

  9. @Grimtooth: I was a WWIV man, myself. All the Fido boards in my neck of the woods were hacker/pirate oriented. The WWIV community was much more mature and chat-oriented, which was what I was looking for. Besides, I loved tinkering with the source code of the WWIV software to customize my board exactly the way I wanted it.

  10. @Fannon - Amiga BBS (DLG), myself. I liked it so much I bought the company. And then the bottom fell out of BBS software. Silly internets. So complex and naughty.

  11. My, Ophelie is positively adorable! Your photography is also rather stunning, I think you should definitely do a bit more of it and share it with us all! Sorry, fangirling a touch ; )

    It sounds like the two of you (three during the time you were together with Corath) had an absolute blast. This post kind of jazzed me up even further for the trip that some of my long time guildies/friends are going to be making here in August. So very, very excited.

    Lovely, lovely post Mr. Fannon.