I've wanted to say for a while how delighted I was to receive some of the dolls that were made during the "U Giv Doll" contest. They were sent into the office, and then carried lovingly to me by Developer Mail (well... he happened to be visiting close to me and thought he had room in one of his tentacles for a small care package!)
I have an exquisitely detailed sculpture from Jerze, a much-admired bowling pin doll from Francisgrace and Fairwindy, and a huggly soft doll from Countrytheta. They're absolutely lovely, and I have them on the side in my bedroom. It means such a lot, not just that people made these items, but that they took the time to send them in so that we could see them in person.
Last year, Scarymuffin and Princessj sent a lovely Christmas card with fruitcake sketches - I loved seeing the art, and the friendly message made me feel warm and wonderful. When I was at the office in November, Peanutswench had sent cookies down - not for me, but nonetheless they were delicious! [I sent her a message to come up at log-in that week saying "You have been awarded the (completely fictional) Cookie Cup." I have no idea if she saw the message - I hope she did, and I hope it totally confused her.] There's a set of shelves in the Three Rings office that has all kinds of player-sent goodies on it. Some show wild talent, others are funny, some are frankly a little scary. The whole concept of piratey items being sent to the office for us to enjoy is utterly awesome. I love that I'm part of a playerbase that is so active and generous and involved.
I also love that we have OceanMaster dolls to give out to players. We were first told of the idea shortly after I became an OM, and I was very pleased. (It's possible that I bounced. Don't tell Bisquick.) We've all given out dolls in different ways and in different numbers. Most of the dolls I've given out have been as prizes in various contests, but there are more abstruse reasons. Featherfin made me laugh when I was new and out talking on the docks for the first time. Leif is just all-round splendiferous. Tarrlox made my year with a couple of the Best Renames In The World EVARRR along with a petition-writing style that would melt the heart of the sternest grammar teacher. I like having something personal that I can give out completely at my own discretion - for a very good reason, or for no reason at all! I'm still hoping for those Ringer Eggs as well! Then I can give out more. MOOOOOOOORE!!1!one!1!!!
I've asked a couple of times for Brigand King dolls - they'd be great! And what a perfect prize they'd make for BK-themed events, eh? Unfortunately, I think the work involved to create the dolls isn't really justified by Apollo wanting new shinies to hand out in a small number of events. Alas!
While I'm in a squishy and "zomg I love you all so much" kind of mood, I'm going to say how much I enjoy spending time with you all when I have spare time on the oceans. Whether I'm talking or taking challenges, whether I'm on as Apollo or Sun or Luckysun, it's always entertaining. Of the three, Luckysun is by far the hardest work, predictably. During December, each ocean got several different approaches to how I allocated fights. I tried "DND off, take first challenge", I tried fastest answers to trivia questions, I tried random numbers, I tried various hybrid methods, I tried having an away message demanding a particular tell, keeping a list and whisking to people one at a time... All but the last one caused complaints, because I just can't fight everyone, but the last one wasn't as sociable - much more businesslike - and I missed the chat around me while the fighting goes on! There's an understandable amount of whining when I say I have to leave, as often people have been waiting a while - but on the whole, players are lovely while Luckysun is on (except you two on Hunter. You know who you are).
Sun is often in-game delivering prizes or setting things up for events. Apollo is much more likely to be on-duty if he's in-game. Apollo and Sun both spend some time at the parlor games table, though, and even pillaging! One weekend, I tried to take Sun on a pillage on all oceans. On Midnight, I was hired, recognized and then pretty much left alone to puzzle, at least until I had to make a broadcast for an event at the end of the pillage! On Cobalt, I was hired, recognized, and then got a steady stream of tells about game issues (I had to put up an away message directing people to the on-duty OM for game questions and complaints!). On Viridian and Hunter, I was hired and not recognized, so just puzzled! On Sage... now, Sage was interesting. On Sage, I couldn't get hired. I applied to several crews, and none of them wanted me. I was clearly far too much of a n00b for the likes of them. ;) It would be even worse now, as my character was recreated since then, resetting my stats! I don't think I'll try to get onto an Atlantis trip on Sage just yet! Sage does, however, have some great players - fun, creative, intelligent, entertaining. (You also know who you are!) I've spent some very happy hours there!
In summary: dolls rock, you rock, igneous rock.
That's it - fluffiness over. Back to grrrr mean old Apollo!