Oh my Aching Feet!

But first, a couple of comics from our friend, Matthew McAndrews:

Matthew McAndrews’ Modem Problems # 294 – Coffin Stuffers – October 23rd, 2006

Matthew McAndrews’ Modem Problems # 295 – The Villains – October 26th, 2006

And now, on with our journal entry.

Health & Exercise:
I think I might have gotten my full walking exercise quota on Tuesday. You see, I went, with full blessings from my boss, to the Oracle OpenWorld conference tuesday after noon. Walked all over Moscone South and got home with 3 t-shirts, a cap, a number of pens, CDs, a top, a rubik’s cube, suntan lotion, and assorted doodads and buttons. I watched a number of little presentations, and both my feet and my arms got sore. Thursday Morning I repeated the process, going back to Moscone South and then going over and doing Moscone West. From that I came back with more T-Shirts (only one of them my size, so I gave the others to a co-worker), CDs, a Microsoft commuters mug, a poster of Oracle Database 10g Static Data Dictionary Views, a hand fan, more pens, more doodads, mints, and carrybags. And more sore feet and back.

I’ve had good health days and bad ones this week. But nothing outside of nominal operating conditions. Mental Health-wise, I’m doing fairly good. Only have minor doubts about myself and slight lonely feelings. I have my outlook adjusted some such that work isn’t bothering me quite so much. And I’ve made it though the week fairly good.

TV:
Dang! Heroes is getting REALLY good. I loved seeing the ‘Hiro from the future’ and the elder brother flying. Peter seems to be getting revealed as something of a Mimic. He can use the other special’s powers when he’s near them. He used Issac’s painting the future. So this explains why he could fly around his brother but not alone. And I LOVE the catchphrase that they used the last two episodes: "Save the Cheerleader. Save the World." Said in that fake-whisper voice. It just makes the hair on the back of my neck stand on end, in the good way. The writing on this show is showing a DEEP knowledge of both the television medium, good story-telling, and a better knowledge of pacing that I really expected. This show is going to REALLY rock when it goes to DvD.

And the folks writing the ‘last week on Heroes’ segments and the ‘coming next week’ segments know their stuff. I really feel like some of the stops are being pulled out in making this thing. They’ve been doing a lot of the ‘powers’ with really minimal special effects. All stuff that if it had been used with less style and grace would come across cheesy, as they HAVE done on shows like Mutant X. Ramping up the special effects a little at a time is really working here.

And the acting that’s going on, especially from the Cheerleader and her creepy ‘father’ is working very well. I love what the telepath finally did with his power to woe is wife back. And I like how the power, unchecked, in the convience store is messing things all up for him.

I don’t know if I have only watched up to last week’s episode, and need to watch this week’s, or if I have watched this week. Time shifting it with the DVR is throwing off my knowledge of which show I have watched. I -think- I have only seen it through Oct 16th. And that means that tonight, before CoV, Mhari and I can watch the one from the 23rd. So long as Baseball doesn’t get in the way.

I never thought I would take a disliking to baseball… but I am a little at this point. Neither team of mine is in it. But Mhari seems to enjoy it so much I can’t begrudge her it. And there’s only 1-3 more games to go. It might be all over tonight… and then we can watch some shows together again rather than having to put it off for Baseball.

We’ve got a lot of West Wing season 3 and Firefly to watch…

Books:
I’ve managed to get two books read this week.

1. Lost in Translation by Edward Willett (Author’s Website)
In this Science Fiction novel from DAW books, Edward Willett shapes a future universe where there is a Commonwealth of planets with 7 different species in it. Humans are the newest species in the Commonwealth, and they are in conflict with the S’sinn, a species that looks like something again to the classical devils or demons – winged, darkfurred wolven creatures with big sharp teeth and claws and hunter ways and society. They get in a war over worlds that they tried to settle at the same time. Enter the concept of ‘Translators’, a caste of people in the Commonwealth from all the species (humans and S’sinn included) with Empathy and the means, through alien biotechnology, to Link and become sort of a mind-melded pair for a time to provide translation services. The main characters of the book are a human female and a male S’sinn that have been scarred by the war, become Translators, and get linked to each other in the course of negociations regarding the war.

It’s a wellwritten book that surprised me in a number of ways. Willett does a wonderful job of bringing his characters alive for the reader, getting you interested in them, and having them do amazing things for all the right reasons.

When I first bought the book, I did it for the cover. I was a little worried by it’s seemingly small size (compared to most books on the shelves these days) and that I would not get good value for my money. Boy was I wrong. It felt just the right size. I rather strongly recommend it.

2. The Fifth Quadrant by CJ Ryan (Link about book)
This is the third book in Ryan’s Department of Extraterrestrial Affairs (Dexta) series. This series follows the exploits of Gloria VanDeen, a ultra-sexy goddess of a character in a future where sex mixes with the tiger-eat-dog corporate world in an imperial empire of humanity. Gloria uses her body, her smarts and her ability to delegate to have amazing adventures, get involved in imperial intrigue and corporate corruption. The first book, titled Dexta, was rather good, and the second, Glorious Treason was also rather good. This one took some work to really get into.

Gloria is now the head of her own division in Dexta, which has been created by the company’s ‘CEO’ specially for her, called the Office of Stratigic Intervention (OSI). But the Quadrant Chiefs don’t like her rebel ways of doing things as she is still quite a ways below them in the corporate ladder (She’s a ‘ten’ and they are ‘fours’.) Add into that mix the fact that she is starting to look into some things that others don’t want looking into, organized crime, and the fact that Gloria’s Exhusband (now Emperor of the Empire, though they divorced before he got that ‘job’) has proposed to her and wants to make her Emperess. Throw in a sidekick by the name of Petra Nash that is a cute, bright, and intelligent secondary character and it all works.

Well.. mostly. I found the first half of this book quite difficult. It’s rather a mix-mash of things that just didn’t gel for me. I put it down and read the book above, instead then came back to it. I think what I found was that I was tired of Gloria using sex as a way of doing things. I felt that she should have outgrown some of that. And that her ‘bad’ ways were rubbing off in the wrong way on other characters in the book. But the author finally pulled things together by pulling all the disparate parts of things together and making it all work by the end and let the characters grow a little.

I’m still not sure if I would recommend this book. If you’ve read the other two Dexta novels, you might want to read this one, too. But this feels like the weakest of the three, so far. Of course, at the end of the book is a sample of the fourth book, aimed for fall of 2007. I didn’t read that. I’ll have to look carefully before I will buy it when it comes out.

MMOs:
EQOA – We finished off the Level 45 quests. Didn’t die doing the beginning of the ‘Black Gate’ one this time, as there was no level 60 group out there this time. So that went sweetly. Though at the end of it my character did die when we got swarmed with Ghouls and I took the hits and agro away from the healer so he’d have time to keep everyone else (and himself) alive. Narcelupe resurrected my character and we finished that one with no further deaths or issues. I was out of debt with the reward for the quest. And the other of the level 45 quests went fine, even if Arpiean did pull a Fungal Eldar by accident while we were waiting for the Ambassador to respawn. Didn’t hurt too much, and we can repair our faction later. We didn’t play Thursday as Narcelupe’s player (Whyaylooh) is packing and boxing and going nuts trying to get everything ready for his movers to arrive this weekend. He’s heading for the west coast next week! Yay! But that does mean no EQOA for the next couple of weeks. We are NOT going to adventure without our healer.

EQ2 – Monday Filthi got level 42. We were in Everfrost, and it went rather fast. Thursday night I did the Haunted House and Trick-or-Treating with Filthi and then called it a night early. I had gotten on early due to no EQOA and wanted to get to bed at a reasonable time. I’m going to keep with this game, it’s getting fun, but I do feel like I am holding the other back during our Monday nights. It helps though that we are also getting one of the other’s players Cleric up in level, too. Or is that Inquisitor… I keep forgetting the classname for the Freeportian Priest.

Second Life – This was another of those weeks where I didn’t do much on SL. But I will mention one thing – I LOVE the new login screen and how it presents data like the titles of the latest secondlife blog entries and the server status. MUCH BETTER use of that screen. Smart move, Linden Labs!!!

WoW – I think I was online here for maybe a total of an hour. I forgot it was Yaoicon weekend, do blackcypress wouldn’t be around Sunday. But I found out before spending too much time on. I can’t seem to be online when my other friends are on, so unless I get hooked up here with Blackcypress on a semi-regular basis, this is going back into stasis until Burning Crusade comes out in January (or whenever, if it gets pushed back again). I’ve got until around Thanksgiving to decide, as I’ve already paid for November up to that point. I -still- say this game is worth it. Just not if all you are going to do is play it solo through the first 30 levels again and again. I’ve done that for like 20 characters now. Not interested in doing that again, solo. At least not until the new playable races.

CoH/V – Having something of a blast here. More folks are getting their ventrillo set up and joining in. Last Friday we had a good group for villian night. And then Tuesday we had six people on! Purple Blur, Katiri, Lost Thrill, FelisTigris, David Paterson, and Avenging Flame stood before a door in Talos Island and Trick or Treated until everyone had their costume pieces. And all of us on the Ventrillo server that Avenging Flame had set up. Wednesday night I got my own Ventrillo server running and Katrianna, Snowslide, Knight of Power and Katiri went out and took on Defeat all Lost in Rage Lab mission that would have been very, very tough for any three of us. It’s one that always has hi powered mentalists in it. As it was, Snowslide got KO’d once. But we got her out of debt, I am sure. And Katrianna, Snowslide and Knight of Power all leveled! We were all on Ventrillo, too. Though Katrianna’s player doesn’t have a mic yet, it still made coordinating the team easier.

So here it is Friday. And tonight will be ‘Trampling Time’ again. That’s where Commander Kitty (Sure to hit Level 40, to night), Pink Squirrel and Broulin take one or more lackeys like FullDark and Trackless Shade out on the town to tear appart other villains and foster mayhem on the Rogue Isles and Paragon City. We call it Trampling Time because three masterminds together… the non-masterminds get ‘trampled’ by all the henchmen! 🙂

What can I say, I am really, really enjoying City of Heroes and Villains again. Voice chat may take a little of the roleplaying away here and there, but we really didn’t do a lot of role-playing when we were typing things, as in the middle of combat it’s hard to take the time to write quips and the like. And slowly we are starting to do some role-play in the voice chat. But we also chat allong in stream of conciousness, or just call out ‘look out’ or ‘trick’ or ‘treat’ or ‘You’re next Felis’ or other things related to the game. It’s going to be interesting seeing where it goes.

Conventions:
Nothing really to report here. I’m working on the random number selection system for selecting the next 12 lucky dealers from the waiting list next week, for Further Confusion’s dealers room. For Consonance I have reminded the chairman that the price increase for pre-registration is the end of the month, so it’s really a good idea to get me a progress report/press release thingie to put up on the webpage and all that. And for BayCon/WesterCon related things I haven’t heard from the box office person yet. So things are rolling along here.

I’m sure I have forgotten something, but I am already going to be one BART train later than I normally for a Friday. So it’s off onto the flash drive for this post, and I’ll upload it sometime from work.

Hope everyone had a wonderful week, and thanks for reading!

Up out of the Darkness

Another week, more comics from Matthew McAndrews:

Matthew McAndrews’ Modem Problems #292 – Time Out – October 16th, 2006

Matthew McAndrews’ Modem Problems #293 – Good Guys – October 19th, 2006

And on to my life for the week:
The title of this entry tells some of the story. So I will start with my

Physical and Mental Health:

The first half of the week was more of the same. My toe got better, and I felt physically better for the most part. I continue to climb the stairs and take the longer walks than neccessary to get from point A to point B. But despite all that, my back started hurting more, my energy was ka-put and I just plain didn’t care.

I noted in earlier missives that I was dissatisfied with my dissatifaction and upset about being upset. This boiled to a point on Tuesday midday that I was barely stumbling through my day and the smell of other people’s lunches in the office came close to making me sick. So I went home early from work, and when I got home I went to bed, after asking Mhari to wake me around 6pm for CoH time.

The nap helpped a little. Then we lingered about on line for a while. Then when team night was over, I went back to bed. Wed was a work from home day, so I slept in. Got up only enough to do basic work email and then back to bed with me. Got up around mid-day, did some more work from home, then out to do my Wed chores. That night I went to bed early. And Thursday morning I was feeling much better.

Thursday was a good day (other than some things noted in EQOA and a little mental hicup causing me to get some numbers wrong in some internal FC con email. But that got straightened out).

Best I can tell I have pulled out of the depression I was in. And a LOT of it may be lack of proper sleep. With that in mind I am going to try to do better about getting sleep. I had been getting 4-6 hours a night at best. I’m going to try to turn that into 6-8, and 10 when I can spare it. I can handle a LITTLE depression, but that mess my head was in was not something I want to live with day to day.

I’m still not happy with my job. But I am buckling down and digging in. I’m going to make of it what I can, without closing my eyes, ears or mind to other opportunities that might appear.

TV:
Haven’t watched this week’s Heroes yet. Just couldn’t fit it in. Might try to watch it, tonight, before CoV time. Last week’s episode was cool! Do Hiro and his friend are coming to the US and heading for Vegas. The telepathic policeman is joining up with the gal that arrested him and have confronted someone that might be this Sklyr (sp?) person. He saved the little girl. And the cheerleader just wants a normal life. The elder of the brothers outed his younger brother’s "attempt at sucide" to further his political agenda. I’m starting to think they need to be near each other for flight to work for them. The show continues to be strange, but good in the way of things like Rising Stars by J.M.S. I really do want to know where it goes from here.

I’m keeping tabs on Star Trek: The Original Series with the new effects. Not much to mention so far. I’ve seen each episode too many times, and some of the changes they’ve made are just tooooo subtle for me to notice. I am looking forward to The Doomsday Machine or another episode with more space special effects to see how things come out.

Need to watch episodes 17-22 of West Wing Season 3. They are sitting next to our TV thanks to Netflix. Really need to watch them.

Conventions:
BC07 & WC07 – I should hear back sometime this next week on what ‘the plan’ is here. Will they give the Anime folks a 24/7 room to do their stuff in, or will they take the easy way out and choose not to have an Anime track at all?

FC07 – Well, the newsletter should be hitting the wires soon. The dealers that were offered half-tables back in August are Finally getting their payments and paperwork in. Next set of half-tables go to a random draw next month, from folks on the waiting list. Furry Market Place will have 10 more spaces going for sale first-come, first-served starting Nov 1st. Folks interested should grab the form from the website and send it in with payment starting Nov 1st. Items postmarked BEFORE November 1st won’t be considered until last. Watch for the newletter in the usual places or go to the dealers part of the Further Confusion website for more proper details. Oh, and we are looking for staff to help man the Convention Store. Send email to   info AT furtherconfusion DOT org   and say you are interested. They will forward it to HR. Working staff members do get a discounted membership rate.

MMOs:
EQOA – Monday went rather well. After a bit of confusion with both Arp and I giving directions rather than a single voice doing so, we did one of our level 45 Castle Light Wolf quests. It was rather easy for us since we had already collected the Ice Worm Meat and Glaciers Hide while we were out doing other things and working our way to level 47. It was slightly tricky going after Olivia MacFadden, but we managed it rather well. Thursday on the other had wasn’t so good. We went through the Black Gate and dropped into the Ocean. Our quest notes we were following told us to save time and get something from a lighthouse to the north. Going there we found out that since the quest notes were written, they had changed the quest so you had to do some things in order. So back to our landing spot we went. We managed to take out our squid target rather easily the first time. However, there was a group of 60’s in the area, and it appears they were pulling a much larger beast in the same spot. They warned the zone in general it would be a nasty and did AOEs… and we thought we were clear enough. They pulled it and it killed them then came for us. Complete group death. Why the FFFF did the devs put the quests in overlapping areas like that. That level 60+ mob must be raid grade or some such. I just know to us 47’s it did an AOE Damage over time of 750 points. Even if our healer could have gotten off his big heal in time, it would have only saved him. And an Evac would have just left 4 dead bodies at the arrival point, as none of us could suurvive 5 tics of 750 points each. SOOOO, we went out and worked the debt off then signed out. We’ll do that one again… but abort the mission if there is a group of 60’s out there waiting for that nasty spawn.

EQ2 – Filthi hit 41 on Monday, and on Thursday I took her out and got her to 31 Tailor, then went to the Enchanted Lands and tried to get to Runnyeye to do some writs… the group of mobs guarding the bridge took me out. So I went to Lavastorm instead. Got one of my Lavastorm writs done. Then Called Home and logged out and went to sleep early to keep my mental health in shape.

WoW – Didn’t really do much with this. Though I talked with Blackcypress on the phone and we will try to get together this coming Sunday to adventure. If that works well, Sunday may become my WoW day. It’s worth the monthly fee if I get to play beside my niece online. Otherwise I will be pulling the plug on my subscription until the new expansion comes out. Which IS soon.

Second Life – Again, didn’t do a lot here. Spent some time on it on Sunday evening, dancing and playing about. Got to spend some quality time with a couple of friends. It felt real good. But I had sort of gotten online for the wrong reasons that night. I’m glad it worked out.

CoX – As I posted earlier this week, this is really my game of choice. Last Friday night was fun, trampling FullDark again while the three of us masterminds took on Infernal and Litithu (or however her name is spelt). On Tuesday we hung out on Heroes side for a bit, then moved to Villians and Trackless Shade was the trampled one between us masterminds until FullDark arrived and shared the position. Trackless Shade even got a level out of it. Don’t remember if FullDark did as well or not. Then Wed the Halloween Event began. It’s fun. One of the rewards is an extra costume slot (we wondered what that fifth slot was for). We did the Trick or Treat thing until we collected the right things as treats. Then I took Commander Kitty out to a place near the Magic Quartermaster in St Marshel where there are lots of Level 35-38 Freakshow, Arachnos and Family hanging out and this perfect door amoungst them. You can Trick or Treat once every 60 seconds. So between those times, I would take on the street spawns around. Kept the XP rolling in slowly, but faster than just the Trick or Treating did. (A Trick causes a spawn of 2-3 mobs at a level even with your own.) I earned the badges for the zombies, the witches and the werewolves. Going to work on the vampires and spirits next. The Firbog don’t seem to have one. But they MIGHT have one that’s something like 333 defeated. We’ll see. Plus I have the salvage to trade with others that need them. I am looking very forward to tonight. This event is helping make things fun. Oh, and Issue 8 is on Test… it’s neat. I look forward to taking real characters through it when it goes live.

Well, I am sure I have left a lot out. But I’ve put enough mindlessness to this and I need to head out to work. Getting a ‘free’ flu shot, today. So into the flash drive it goes to be uploaded when I have time at work, today.

Addendum added from work: BART was interesting today. Train I was on had trouble getting out of West Oakland station. We eventually got moving, but I was nearly late to work. But I made it in time for my flu shot.

Made it through another week

What does one say when one can’t think of what to write in their livejoural… well, I guess I start talking about what I usually talk about. But first, a couple of comic strips from Matthew McAndrews…

Matthew McAndrews’ Modem Problems # 290 – Take Charge – October 9th, 2006
Matthew McAndrews’ Modem Problems # 291 – Besieged – October 12th, 2006

An on with a week in the life:

Health and Fitness – This week the event of note for my health with my banging my left little toe REALLY hard on the little railing along the top of our tub-shower combination at home. OUCH!!!!!! It was painful enough to make me cry out and Mhari come rushing to see what happened. By nightfall it was a vivid bruise on the inside side of the little toe, between toes. I was limping badly that night, and the next morning. It was so bad Thursday morning that I considered staying home from work. But I went anyways. It wasn’t easy, but I made it in to work. And by evening it was feeling a LOT better. But I discovered that I must have wrenched my back and shoulder some when I reacted to the impact on my toe… as it really is out of sorts. It comes and goes, and likely will be better (it’s already better than it was). And if all else fails, Dr James will put things to right on the 22nd when I need see him. And I can always call him and beg for an ’emergency’ short-slot to put it right.

Now, if only my pride were as easy to heal…
 
Mental Health (Also thoughts on work) – I’ve been doing some self-mental assessment of late. Mostly because I am rather unhappy with my present job. And I don’t really feel I should be so unhappy. It pays REALLY well, and it’s benefit package is what has kept my own health issues and those of Mhari’s in the financially treatable range. Our medications are rather expensive. Though mine, even with her latest stuff, is more expensive than her’s.

However, I finally figured out that I am going through some underconfidence issues. I presently feel that I was hired under false expectations, and I don’t think I am going to measure up well in the coming annual evaluations. I am dissatisfied with myself over my dissatisfaction with my job, and upset about being upset about it. With out going into detail (as some from work may read this space), I don’t feel I am being utilized properly and that some are expecting things from me that I never said I could do. However, at the same time I am afraid to speak up about things for fear of being handed more stuff to do to the point of not being able to handle it all. I am also NOT used to dealing with a company that takes a ‘long view’ about things, and plans and works in that manner. I am too used to short development cycles and outlooks. So I am sort of filling in for the stress that is missing with building stress over there not being as much stress as I am used to in the workplace.

I have also been asking myself the question of "Well, if you are not happy with your current job… what is it you want to be doing to make a living?"

It’s not an easy question for me. Yes, I would love the ‘dream’ gamer’s job of working in the gaming space again. But doing what? I am -not- a programmer. While I am DAMN GOOD at taking a procedure that was designed by someone else and turning it into data for someone else to do something with, I am not a direct innovator. And there are hotshots out there that do things WAY better than I do. I’m a ‘hack’ in that department. Not a ‘brain’. I am a good researcher, in that I can sit down at a computer, bring up search engines and dive into the web to look things up and find out things. I can sift data well. But I am not a genius at it.

I am a good Black Box Software Testing Tech. I can take a predefined or otherwise well defined process/program/device and tell you where it fails to meet the predefined conditions. I can also tell you where it made me ‘frustrated’ and make suggestions for making it less frustrated. I can tell you where something fails to meet my personal usability standards. And I can take a developer document telling someone how to run something, figure that out and write a document giving the step-by-step of how to do that same thing for someone who has never touched the system before. So that they can follow those steps and do it themselves. (This is the sort of document that would then be good for a real writer to meld with the developer’s info into a real user document.)

But I am NOT an innovator. I can not tell you HOW to test that program/process/device WITHOUT first having that predefined expectations all laid out. I won’t be able to tell you WHY the program/device/process is not working. I am garbage in:garbage out, with just a little more garbage that doesn’t fit in with what you fed me. I am intutitive. Sometimes I -will- find something that I KNOW is out of place, but won’t be able to tell you why. I just know it is.

I am good with people, but I hate dealing with them in too large of numbers or too many at once. (Hense, I do NOT wish to be in sales. Or face-to-face customer service if I can help it.) I have the intuitive ability to figure things out given time and ‘space’ to do so. Part of this is knowing how to read a manual, how to search the web for information, and some of it is just being willing to try everything until I either get the results I want or get frustrated enough to throw the ‘dang thing’ away.

Things I know about what I want to do are: 1> I wish to work in something related to computers. 2> It would be nice to work in the entertainment field. 3> I enjoy playing the games, even if they are broken. So Black Box Software Testing of games is good. 4> Something in the Massive Multiplayer space would be good, as I have an intense interest in this field. 5> I like messing with the hardware from time to time, keeping up on the latest technology and configurations. 6> I do NOT want to be Top Dog, but I don’t want to be the lowest of the low, either. Yet I still wish to bring skills to the ‘table’ that seem to be of true value to my employers.

I am presently considering Software Testing for MMOs, be they only Social MMOs like Second Life or There, or ‘Role Playing’ ones like WoW or EQ or CoX.
But I also think it would be equally interesting to work as a Community Rep for one of those places, or Live Help, or GM.
And also something supporting the hardware, from desktop support for the office workers/developers/etc that make those things work.
If that company is also small enough so I am not just another face in the crowd… that would be nice too.
Oh, and all this at a pay scale that allows one to be able to support and care for a loved one without worrying every second about fiances would be nice.
And I am willing to move away from the bay area if I need to, so long as I can take my loved one with me. I’m not leaving her. Not for anything.

Okay, I’ve bared my soul enough… back to other things.

TV:
Recorded Heroes… haven’t watched it yet. Too much Baseball.

MMOs:
EQOA – Same old same old. We’ll all ‘ding’ 47 on Monday, net-connection gods willing.

EQ2 – Filthi hit 40 on Monday. THANK you guys! Thursday I got in about another 10-20% towards 41. And picked up a bunch of resources in Zek.

CoH/CoV – Bought the GvE prestige items Friday. Nice. Finally Heroes/Villians have a way to ‘go home’ (or at least to Pocket D) like characters can in most MMOs. That’s what the Pocket D VIP card power lets you do. It’s a long to act, interuptable teleport to Pocket D’s VIP area. With a 30 min recharge time. And the Jump Jet Pack is nice. We’ll see how it will change things. Especially for the starter character. Just note that unlike Super Jump, it does NOT help you avoid the damage from falling once you are up so high. So be careful.

Otherwise not much to report. We did the massed villians thing adventuring with the trampling of Fulldark on Friday night (likely will again tonight). And all three masterminds are level 39. With Commander Kitty really heading for 40. Fulldark got 21, I believe. (Or was that the week before that… it blends in my head.)

Tuesday it was Avenging Flame (Whyaylooh), Momcat (Mhari) and Stand In (myself) out there battling. Momcat got KO’d once, but Stand In brought her back. And things were tight more than once. But I think we all got out of debt. Don’t know if anyone leveled or not. Don’t remember as it’s not my focus on things any more.

I am looking forward to Vet Rewards that they will be bringing to the game. There’s some nice abilities coming up from that. Ways that will make it easier to varry one’s character further. And Issue 8 will have a lot of things to make things more varried for the heroes. They talk about bringing the Heroes all on par with the types of things that villians have, but with the hero flavor. And turning a hazzard zone into a city zone, with missions and things. But Heroes will still have something villians don’t yet have… a prestige ‘class’ character unlockable by getting to level 50. Villians still don’t have that. Maybe they will once I get Commander Kitty to level 50. 😉

Second Life – Spent a little time on here. Dancing in Club Chaotic.. and weathering the grid-wide attacks that SL suffered. It was some BAD times for LL last weekend. It was the first time since I have started my Second Life existance that I was Glad NOT be a Linden Labs employee. One or more Griefers released a pair of attacks upon the grid. In both cases it was though some sort of self-replicating thing. And the self-replicating things also finds the nearest characters and starts endlessly giving them item after item. This spams the chat with messages about it, and also fills up your inventory with thousands of useless items. And like email attachments carrying viruses, you ‘drop’ one to ‘open’ it and it spawns more and more and more… It was icky. Dealt them a blow that took them offline for like 20 hours over 2 days… or more.

WoW – Well, thanks to some of the attacks on Second Life, I did a bit more in WoW than I would have this week. Made another fighter character, this time a Nightelf. Got him to level 11, I think. I’m losing interest again… you can only play solo in this game so long until you are just repeating content again and again. Of course, I did do somethings with my new Nightelf I had not done before… hadn’t gone south much from the regularly travelled areas. I might look at this some more. But still, without companions…

Conventions:
FC – Got all my event entry items into the staff wiki. Just need to upload the maps of my spaces for the BEOs. And Mhari is going to send out the reminders to the prospective dealers that they need to get their forms in with payment by November 1st or forfit the offered space. I also need to make the Phase 2 FMP forms up and send them out to the webmaster tonight. Phase 2 of FMP sales starts Nov 1st.

BC/WC – Nothing new.
 
DDC – Made my hotel reservation

Consonance – much chatter. will likly result in an update for the convention website soon. Just need the progress report from the chair, since we might have something to report soon.

Pen and Paper gaming:
It was ‘BuddyCon’ this past weekend. That’s a gathering of friends that all have done pen and paper gaming together in the past. It started as a gathering at a local convention in Sept each year. Then when that convention got flaky, and we all discovered we were only going to the convention and gaming with each other at it, we skipped the convention part and started the annual gathering privately. And called it ‘BuddyCon’. It was great seeing Leo and Ed and gaming with all the folk. I would have spent more time at it (It went Thursday to Monday, I only was there for Saturday), but I didn’t feel 100% well, and didn’t want to spend that much time away from Mhari.

I played Father Peter Parelli, my ‘Fist of God’ character in a Dark Champions game run by Eric Z. and featuring The Regulators. We are vigilantes. We got pulled in on the search for a missing son of a contact that the leader of the group has. It took us to a almost empty town where somehow we ended up ‘someplace else’ that was also the town. But with strange otherworldly creatures and nasties. Totally different sort of thing for this group. It was a good game. The Father is NOT a combat type, but with his dice of luck (which can allows me to declare that any roll can be rerolled to get a better result, so many times in a game) and his blessings (helpping the good guys fight better and the badguys fight worse) and healing, he’s a good utility character and force multiplier. And a change of pace for me. It made for a good game.

Well, I’ve nearly made myself late. Not going to have time to upload this until I get to work. So off onto the flash drive it goes and up to the journal sometime during the day. If you’ve read all this, thanks for reading. If you didn’t read it all, I will sure understand.

The things that can happen in a week…

It’s been another week… and this one has been something of a little doozy. But first, a word from our Sponsor, Matthew McAndrews’ Modem Problems!

Matthew McAndrews’ Modem Problems #288 – Repair Crew – October 2nd, 2006

Matthew McAndrews’ Modem Problems #289 – I Heard A Rumor – October 5th, 2006"

Now, back to our program.

As you might remember, last week I entered my journal before going to work on Thursday due to heading off on a Road Trip the next day to see my brother get married.

Well, that’s exactly what I did. Friday morning I bundled myself and Mhari_Lindhaven up in the car and after a stop at Safeway for some breakfast bars and Starbucks coffee… we were on the road. What followed was a wonderful break in pattern, with a stop at every California Rest Stop from 580 to 405, sponsored by the makers of Lasix, the wonderful pill of much…water. If you want more details, go to the link HERE and take a look. Both Mhari and are on it for differing reasons. Mhari to combat accumulation of liquid that she is prone to due to her health condition, and I to combat the same due to the side effects of one of the other medications I take and My health condition.

Mhari’s doctor wanted her to be sure on this road trip to make stops about every hour to move around and the like. Not a problem. The lasix had us in Need of that stop every rest stop. Some of them are really rather nice looking. And all but one of them had a restroom. Those restrooms leave a lot to be desired, though, and their cleaniness ranged from somewhat clean to sparkling. At least on the men’s side. Mhari didn’t tell me what the other side looked like. But the stainless steel look seems to be ‘in’, and weak airblowers and low pressure waterlines seem to be all the rage.

Then there was the Greater LA Basin. From the moment we exited the ‘grapevine’, we were in slow traffic. First it was due to the fact that I5 passes right through the middle of one of the raging wildfires the state was suffering. First we saw blackened hills on the west side of the freeway, then on the east side… then a flight of helicopters battling the live blaze. We spotted a number of flaming spots being the focus of their attention as we creeped through the area.

Once past that, we we sped up, but not for long. For that backup through the fire zone delayed us long enough that it was now early rush hour… and we turned onto the 405 in time to get right in that backup… despite the carpool lane, it was still stop and go. After about an hour of it, our bladders forced us to first struggle out of the carpool lane (you can only exit it at certain spots, and even then the traffic was so dense it took several of these openings before we could manage it) and then over to the slow lane (again, something of a battle, especially when your bladder is distracting you), and then off the freeway at the first place that had a fast food joint. (Thank heavens for Jack in the Box! Of course, any FF joint with a clean bathroom would do. Hell, a hole in the ground would have been fine by that point.) With that relieved, it was back up into the traffic and another hour and a half or so. It took us 3 hours to do something that took us about 20-40 mins going back on Sunday.

We got settled into our hotel, visited the loo again, and sought an internet connection. GAH! Marriot has NOT gotten it through their head about free internet being the IN thing these days. And to top that off, their public spaces used one provider charging for the wireless access, and another branch of that provider charging that price AGAIN for wired access in the rooms. Not ONE price for service anywhere in the hotel… wired was one charge per day, and wireless (which didn’t work in the rooms) another charger per day. Why, even some of Marriott’s other properties, like the Courtyard hotels, have learned to do the free internet thing in the lobbies, at least, and usually through the whole place.

But we got on, got our email, and started searching for someplace to buy a wedding present at. (I wanted a Bed Bath & Beyond card for them.) The TV in the room was a WONDERFUL flat panel widescreen unit from LG. And it had front inputs! All I needed was the proper cable for my laptop. So Circuit City was put on the list. And Mhari wanted chinese food for dinner. My sister, Linda, and I hooked up, and she was going to nap while we got stuff, and then we were to call her before we planned to head over to P.F Chang’s.

So, out we went. Up Jamboree road in the direction we thought was right… it seemed to become wasteland, but that was an illusion. Then we were at The Marketplace… BBB and CC was there. No problem. Waltz’d right in and got the card for the present, a wedding card, and out we went. Over to CC. Ick. The place seemed to be in disarray, and they didn’t know the meaning of ‘average’ equipment. I just wanted a S-Video cable and a mini-plug to RCA stereo cable… gah! No one at the checkout stands. Nearly 8 people behind customer service counter and they all were chatting and couldn’t seem to be bothered. When we did get their attention, they claimed they couldn’t run the registers nor take money. Finally the ‘Game Wizard’ took over (That’s what his badge said!) and he was able to help us. We paid and got out. I was so angry and frustrated I didn’t look at the recipt until we got back to the hotel. He had double charged me for the overpriced S-Video cable! GAH!

In any case, I didn’t learn that fact until later. Instead we headed the other way on Jamboree to find Fashion Island and PF Changs… again through the desolation, then into the dark, dark streets. It’s like the area doesn’t believe in lighted street signs or something. We turned on MacArthur and finally, after the road turning into freeway again then back, found Fashion Island. Of course, we had let Linda know we were on our way, along the way.

After thinking we had missed the turns or something, turning early then finding our way back and finding the right turn, we got there. The place was crowded, the wait was 40+ mins. So we called Linda, who had made a wrong turn and thought she had the right way now. I think my directions confused her more, rather than helping. But we changed plans and siigned in at The Cheesecake Factory next doors to PF Chang’s. Wait was only going to be 25 mins or so there. The place was packed, NOISEY as all get out, and tiring to wait for. I called Linda again and checked in with her. Then she called me and said to go ahead without her, she had gotten lost again and was just going to go back to the hotel and rest. See us in the morning.

We got our table and the food was wonderful. But the noise made it almost unbearable. It was an assult upon the senses. If we hadn’t been so hungry I suspect we would have left. But the food was great! Yes, they were only burgers, but they were GREAT ones, and we were able to substitute brocolli for the frys. Heaven!

We got back a tired pair and I tried the wires on the TV and discovered the error on the recipt! Grrrr. And the cables didn’t work. I still don’t know for sure, but I suspect those front pannel inputs are disabled on those flat pannel TVs in there, or you have to get hotel permission to use them or something.

I also tried to get a pair of self-recorded DvDs from home to work on my laptop… no go. It seems it will play commercial DvDs just fine, but home made ones, forget it. Bet it’s a firmware thing I can correct… we’ll see. That will be a project for another day. Mhari takes a bath, needs help out because the bars on the wall are not positioned right to help one get out (there is ONE bar, at ONE end, too high to reach from the tub). We call it a night.

The bed is soft and soooo comfortable. For laying on, not for sleeping, really. We wake rested but tired at the same time.

Saturday morning rolls around. I hop up, drive over to The Marketplace, have breakfast at Carl’s Jr (oops, a bit much, even without frys… still adjusting to my new diet), then go scream at people at CC. This time customer service IS service to the customer. I return the S-Video cable that didn’t work, get credited for both it and the double charge, and am a happier camper. I kept the other cable, as it will come in use for other things.

Got back to the hotel in time to give Mhari the breakfast I picked up for her, give her the news about the easy return of the cable and correction of the error and get to greet my brother for a while before we all head off for the church and the wedding.

It was a WONDERFUL wedding mass. I am not a Catholic, though I once was. My brother and his bride are. Both of them are divorced and have had their old marriages annulled by the church. Their children and grandchildren were a part of the wedding party! My brother’s son was his best man, and his bride’s daughter was her brides maid of honor. It was an inspiring and beautiful ceromony. Linda was only a little late after getting lost between the hotel and the church. Mhari and I left that building with faint echos of possibilities for the future and the shared fact that we both love pagentry. Hmmmmmm.

We formed a convoy with the wedding couple in a stretch limo, and the rest of us behind in the traditional formation. But without the honking. Linda didn’t get lost. 😉 She stayed with us the while way to the country club. Much partying was had with pictures taken all over the place, except by me. I didn’t bring a camera on this trip for some reason. And didn’t miss it, really.

We left a little early and snuck some cookies into the wedding couple’s room for them to have that night. They were staying only 2 door down and across the hall from us. They would be headed to Italy and Hawaii for the honeymoon. Mhari and I retired to our room for a little. Maybe this is when Mhari took the bath. I am not sure. My memory of the timing here is a little scarce.

We watched the final 4 episodes in the Peter Eckleson season of Doctor Who on my laptop (commercial release, so it plays fine), some of the making of stuff, and the behind the scenes for the Christmas Invasion episode for 2005. I hope that one comes out soon. I bet it will just be part of the new guy’s season of Doctor Who or something, as it has the new doctor in it, not Peter. We’ll miss Peter. He is SO good. And that GRIN! We took a break in the middle to go to Wheinersnitcel (sp?). Then back to it. Then to sleep on the too-soft-weird-to-sleep-on bed.

Sunday morning we are out of there. Over to The Marketplace to fill up the gas tank, then back to I5 and parts north. The journey to the Grapevine, as I mentioned earlier, was SOOOOO much easier in this direction at this time of day. The trip back was the same sort of rest area stops except for a long stop at a Wendy’s/Pilot at the halfway point. We had had lunch there coming down, and we had lunch there going back. Also filled up on Gas again.

The trip back was uneventful except for the rain. Lots of it. And it was DIRTY rain. Ashfilled from the fires. So the car was quite a mess once we got back home, so a car wash and gas tank fillup was in order.

We got back in plenty of time, were pooped out, but ready for our own, comfortable beds. Was that only three days??

So, then we went back to ‘normal’.

Health and Exercise:
I was feeling a mix of ways. Monday I did the exercise thing at work and also changed my mornings a little to have a slightly longer walk from BART to work. (Going to Montgomery station and walking from there, rather than Embarcadero). Tuesday saw more of the same, though I was starting to feel a little out of it. Felt bad in the morning, better after the walk, then bad again before lunch only to feel a lot better after lunch and the work out. Then not so good again in the evening. It was weird. Wed was a work at home day, and I took it mostly easy. But on Thursday morning… yikes! I woke up with a headache that turned into a migraine or something like one. I tried to banish it with shower and tylonel, but not luck. Called in sick and went back to bed. An indeterminate time later the headache eased and I slept. Slept a lot. Felt better in the evening, and fine before bed, if a little worn. This morning before writing this I am feeling great. Thank heavens. My head feels normal and my mind is clear again. Wheee.

TV:
Recorded CSI’s second part of the season opener last week. Recorded it to DvD and was going to watch it on the road trip. But my laptop won’t play it so we haven’t watched it yet. Recorded last night’s, too. Don’t know if we will keep with it.

Mhari’s watching lots and lots and lots of baseball. I’m tired of it. I’m a baseball widdower.. *chuckle* She’s trying to get her fill of it before its gone again and football and basketball will make a mess out of TV, driving her away. 😉 She will long for April to get her for baseball season again.

We watched the second episode of Heros on Wed night (recorded from when it aired on Monday). Interesting. They added a new guy. A telepath, to the mix. Poor police officer is getting himself in trouble. Then there’s our teleporting friend. He jumpped 5 weeks into the future it looks like. He thought it was Oct 2nd, and it’s November 8th. He then jumps back to his normal spot in time at the end of the episode. The brothers are learning they can fly, the cheerleader is dealing with being invunderable and her creepy foster father knows but hasn’t told her. The precog artist is going nuts, and our teleporter friend found a comic book that has him in it doing all the things he did right up to him getting in trouble with the law…. for the death of the artist/writer of the comic he found!

It’s INTERESTING!

MMOs:
EQOA – All the usual, actually. Complete with two of our number now playing from hotels as Arpiean is in So Cal dealing with family issues, and Whyaylooh is wrapping up his final weeks at work in prep for his big move. Playing from hotels means uncertain connections and characters dropping offline in the middle of combat. It made last night’s session short.

EQ2 – Monday’s session was rather nice. We went back to the Ferott and made a mess there. Pulled in about a level an a half. Our cleric type made level 40 and Filthi is level 39. She’ll pull 40 out next week for sure. If I don’t manage it before hand. But I won’t be doing that if I do like last night. I wasted the time finishing up stale quests and pulled only about 5-8% of a level out. But I did clear a lot of quests out.

CoX – Didn’t do any CoV last Friday because of the road trip. That also cancelled out the regular weekend play times. Tuesday was mostly a wash in the City of Heroes, too. Mhari and I logged in to find no one else on from the supergroup. She logged out to go back to her baseball game. I fiddled around until around 7:50p or so then called it a night. Chatted for a little on Ventrillo with Whyaylooh, then headed to bed. I wasn’t feeling so great.

WoW – Wed evening I put in some time. Thrilli is almost 24. Thursday afternoon I started up a Human Warrior. Paired up with a 10-year-old (confirmed by parents that were also on line playing their level 60’s) playing a new mage and we both got our characters to level 6. She was real new to the game, but getting the hang of it. It was her first character. The lines I remember of note: Her: "I’m 10-years old and new" Me: "Well, I’m 44 and old". It was kinda fun. Too bad I won’t be on in that time-slot often, or we could game together some more, according to her parents. I will also admit I am not 100% comfortable playing the game opposite a 10-year-old girl. Too many bad connotations that someone could draw. So I’m likely going to drop the character. I hope she finds some good people to play opposite. But I don’t think it should be me.

SecondLife – Nothing really to report here. I was barely on, even in a ‘wall sitting’ capacity. Though Kyim did dance for a time at Club Chaotic and enjoyed herself a lot. Good people there. Nice money ball they have running. And they pay their dancers for time spent dancing and only take a 10% cut of the tips. Nice.

Convention Stuff:
Commented to MC that I am not sure about working staff for either BC07 or WC07. I do NOT like the ‘Feel’ of BC07 as coming across the mailing lists. And I really don’t want to work for Mr Slimy on WC07. Sorry for anyone that likes him, but he just is rubbing me the wrong way. I don’t know how to describe it.

However, I am looking forward to DDC07 and made my hotel reservations. I -will- be in the con hotel this year, and not the residence inn across the other side of the freeway!

Got my BEOs for the Dealers Room, Furry Market Place, Fan Tables and Convention Store done and entered into the staff wiki. So that’s a real accomplishment for me. If I keep this up I might have to turn in my procrastinator’s membership card.

Can’t think of anything else to write at the moment, and I better hurry if I want to get to work. As it is, it’s going on the flash card and will be uploaded quickly sometime during lunch from work. Pizza today… hope it’s the good stuff.