Vacation at last!

Here we are, headed into the ‘home stretch’ of the year. Here’s Matthew McAndrews’ Modem Problems for the past week:

Matthew McAndrews’ Modem Problems #310 – Boss Battle – December 18th, 2006

Matthew McAndrews’ Modem Problems #311 – Epilog – December 21st, 2006

And onward!
Health and well-being:
Not a lot I can really say on this subject. I’m well, for the most part, and it is now vacation time for me for the balance of the year. The week had it’s ups and downs, and I am sure the next one will, too. I did not do as much of the stair climbing part of my routine as I normally do. I felt a little under the weather several of the days of the week that I only did the ‘park at the farthest from where I need to go’ in parking lots things and didn’t go out of my way to avoid stairs. Just I took the escalators where I had a even choice between both, where normally I would take the stairs.
But I do feel better now. And I think that after vacation I should be able to get back to my normal routines and all that. My mental health is mixed. I think I was really rather short of sleep the past week, so this vacation will help with that.
I read ‘Sleeping with the Fishes’ by Mary Janice Davidson. Cute little mermaid story with a lot of humor at the beginning. But the characters she is writing fall into strictly predictable types of people. Female characters that are over-self-centered, and male characters that are arrogant pushy get-their-own way sorts. I’m getting a little tired of those sorts of characters. They seem sort of a short-cut used to not put a lot of effort into making them ‘real’. However, her secondary characters often make up for it, as happened in this book. That and the humor. But then that’s what I get for reading Paranormal Romance for a change of pace. The sex in the book was nothing special, and a little light for it’s sort of thing. But again, humor saved the book. Especially the first chapter’s humor.
Again, didn’t watch much of any. We will likely try to finish the Dead Like Me episodes we still have from Netflix while I am on vacation, though Mhari will be busy with FC stuff a lot.
Been doing a lot of FC Dealers Room stuff. Mostly email reassuring dealers as to them being seated next to the people they wanted to, and either confirming or denying they have tables. We always seem to have someone that thinks they ordered tables and didn’t, and other that have them but end up having to give them up to the waiting list. I’m going to get to make some people’s day next week when I offer some more space to the waiting list. And the who-sits-where first draft will go up on the website right around the end of the year.
EQOA – Monday was more of the same. Thursday we called it off so Mhari and I could go to dinner and then drive around looking at Christmas lights. It was nice. EQOA is getting boring to me. If Mhari didn’t have a annual subscription paid up through sept 2007, we likely would have given the game up. Oh, we all did get to level 48 Monday.
EQ2 – Monday we went out to the Sinking Sands and went up to a new area. Filthi raked in FOUR AA points and almost got a level. We’ll be returning to that area when we get back to doing the game again. I think that won’t be until New Year’s Day, if then. For the Thursday session it was just Filthi out and about. Discovered the Winter event and did the McScrooge quest. I will likely do Winter Crafting on Christmas night if I am on at all, and defiantly on Thursday. Oh, and Filthi did another step of a Heritage quest… so what if everything is grey now to her.
WoW – Last Sunday managed to get together with Eric Z’s character and did a lot of adventuring. I think my priest is level 17 now. Maybe 18, or shortly so. I don’t remember. I’ll look again when I get on-line on Christmas Eve.
Second Life – I’ve been putzing around with it some a little the last couple of days. I get on it when I want to be able to just sign on quick and head out the door. Sort of treating it like I used to treat TV or browsing websites. Instead I cruz the virtual malls… sure better than the real life ones. It’s madness out there!
City of Heroes – Been having fun. We did Villains doing the Father Time Quest on Tuesday, then went out Wed and didn’t quite meet up because I had to work late into the session. I was the on-call applications support for my job and that took well into the session. Sure glad I was working from home. Had I been in the office with that situation, I would have been very low blood sugar and livid at being ‘stuck at work’ so late. But the thanks from work folks made up for most of it. Friday night we got back on as Heroes rather than our usual villains and did all sorts of things. Near the end of the session we were opening presents out in the world and Whyaylooh’s Avenging Flame opened one up to a ‘naughty’ message and the Giant Monster Winter Lord spawned. At the SAME time, on a different rooftop, my Knight of Power did the same with the same result. We had TWO Giant Monster Winter Lords spawned in the same zone (Talos Island). Well, I called out on the Broadcast channels and let people know and shortly the battle was enjoined. I think it took something like 10 minutes of battle before the Winter Lord showed any damage, then another 3-5 minutes before we beat him! YAY! Got a badge etc. It was fun. Then the group broke up further and AF and KoP went off to do the Father Time quest together. By the time we were done, I was wasted and barely awake.. time for bed.
Well, that’s my week. I’ll be posting one more time this year and then it will be time for 2007! Have a good Christmas All!

A Day Late, A Dollar Short

Running a day late here due to work. Details (sort of) below. But first, here are Matt’s Modem Problems strips for the week…

Matthew McAndrews’ Modem Problems # 308 – Last Stand – December 11th, 2006

Matthew McAndrews’ Modem Problems # 309 – I Can’t Believe That Just Worked – December 14th, 2006

Okay, back to things…

My week was the usual combo of things. But work-wise it was a little different because we had our annual ‘All Hands Meeting’. This is a sort of Rah-Rah event that is also kinda a holiday party though isn’t really called one. It always happens this time of year, though. In any case, it was held out of town and I chose to drive up to the area of it the night before so I wouldn’t have to get up before o-god-o’clock and drive in the wee hours of the morning to make it for the mandatory 9 am start time. So Thursday I did so, and Friday I was there for the meeting and drove back. Hense no entry here until today.

Health and Well-being:
Just the usual mix of things here. I finally am taking the stairs at BART again. So I am feeling better.

Let’s see, I finished Poison Study by Maria Snyder. Follow the link to go to the site and read the reviews there for details. I found the book to be a very good read and I am looking very forward to the sequel which is currently only available in hardback. The story is about a woman that has been convicted of murder that gets offered the job of Poison Taster to her home country’s ruler. The reviews on the site do it so much more justice than I can, so go there and read about it. Or better yet, go buy the book and read it yourself!

Heroes is presently waiting for January before resuming, and I wasn’t too interested in TV this week, so didn’t watch any.

Well, that’s really something for later today. Maybe I will write about it next week. I will be honest at the moment however that I really am not too interested in playing, today. My mind is just not in the right place at the moment, mostly due to a nightmare I woke up from before coming to the computer and writing this.

Today will be a Further Confusion staff meeting. It’s the next to last meeting before the actual convention in January. Last night I printed up all my data on the dealers and the like, and I will be taking it with a big map of the dealers room, to the meeting today. I have a supply of post-it notes with the names of the dealers on them, and I will be sticking them on the map this way and that working on who will be sitting where, taking into account traffic flow, social-political alliances and disagreements between the parties, logistics of likely wares, powercords and getting power to those that need it, and many other concerns in an arcane formula that results in as good a layout as I can manage. This will then be placed on the website (in a much smaller and different form) just after Christmas for people’s perusal.

EQOA – More mammoth hunting Monday. Didn’t play Thursday because I was on the road and out of town.

EQ2 – We didn’t do our usual XP outing Monday as one of the players was taking a much, much needed nap. So Filthi worked on Tradeskilling and got a level before I ran out of steam and signed out for the night. I didn’t play Thursday because I couldn’t get EQ2 to work on my laptop. So I played CoH instead.

WoW – Spent some good time online Sunday, met up with my friend Eric Z, who had made a character on the PvP server where I am playing Jethric just so he’d have someone to play opposite, much the same way I did. I think I might have mentioned about this last week. It was a nice session. Finding out how to get my Human from Stormwind to Aberdine was an interesting experience. I was real surprised I didn’t get gank’d in the Wetlands, but I didn’t see a single Horde on that trip.

Second Life – What can I say, I haven’t had time for this place other than wallsitting… I miss it some. I need to get back on there sometime and visit with friends.

City of Heroes/Villains – This has been a blast. We went out last Friday and did some fun things on the evil side. And last night we did more of it and finally dealt with the mission that Broulin had that took us out to Primeva to the Portal there. Beyond was a cityzone with warehouses surrounded by catwalks. On the catwalks and on the street level were hoards of Devoured Earth. Occasionally there were Nemesis fighting them, or a group of Longbow agents. The purpose of the mission was to find the Longbow Commander and dispose of him. Well, by the time we found him, he was fighting solo versus two spawn groups of DE and he was an elite boss. But the DE killed him before we got there. Mission Successfully completed according to the game! So we stuck around for the next 2 hours working on taking out every last DE on that map, meaning the mission lasted a total of 3 hours!

When we exited with all our experience, we noticed that the game was running awful slow, the framerate really down. It was almost painful to fly across the zone to a Quartermaster to sell our Enhancements to. Pink Squirrel decided to call it a night after selling as the low framerate was making her sick. I was feeling nausious from it. But Broulin and I pulled up our taskmanagers and saw CPUs nearly pegged, and the game taking over a Gig of ram rather than its usual 500-650Meg. Not good. So I went to the forums and looked to see if this had been reported yet. I didn’t find anything so I posted there about it in detail.

Last Tuesday was good, too. It was where we peeked into the mission that I mentioned about and decided we would need to come back to it on Friday and spend the night doing it the coming Friday. Wednesday we went out and did Kinght of Power and the Angels again. Lots of fun.

Then Thursday a number of things happened. First, the launched the annual winter event. And I had to drive out of town for work. As EQ2 didn’t work on my laptop, Mhari (at home and feeling up to it) and I (from the hotel) played CoH and did the Father Time mission as Stand In and Momcat twice. That Snaptooth is not easy, but he’s not overhard, either. He does a lot of Lethal and Smashing, and a little fire when he throws a minion at you and the minion explodes after beating on your head for a while. Thrillseeker did the mission 4 times solo and was only a little worried one of those times. But then he’s level 50.

The Father Time mission scales to the level of the person that took the mission and will always be a little rough. Characters that don’t have a lot of lethal and smashing resistance/defense are going to be rather hard pressed in the Elite Boss fight. I recommend taking friends. And note, Heroes and Villains can work co-op on this mission.

Well, that’s really it, today. I’ll post again next week. Only 3.5 work-days until vacation!

The Glass is Half

Full or Empty doesn’t matter. The week fits either way. Here’s Matthew McAndrews’ Modem Problems for the week:

Matthew McAndrews’ Modem Problems # 306 – Prizes – December 4th, 2006

Matthew McAndrews’ Modem Problems # 307 – A Bad Plan – December 7th, 2006

Okay… onward.

First of all, my mental health has been something of a roller coaster this week. This past weekend was the San Jose Holiday Parade, and though I didn’t work it in one of my fursuits, I did work the parade, as a Character Escort for Critters By The Bay. In the image linked <here> I am NONE of those fantastic critters you see. I am the guy with the beard over on the far right, in the door of the trolley. I had no idea I was in the shot. I was trying to stay out of the way and the shot. For more shots from the parade, go <here>.

It was a very full Sunday morning. I got up at 4:45am so I could get to the hotel that we were staging from by 6am. Once the room was open for us, we set up a tent in the room and a soft floor so the suiters could change into their furry persona’s in something close to privacy and comfort. That done, while people were suiting up, the trolley arrived and we set to work decorating it and getting the banners and the wreath attached securely, as well as getting it loaded with the necessary assortment of water, juice, candy bars, towels, tarps and blankets that would be needed.

Then around 7:20 or so, the critters piled aboard and we were off to our staging point in front of the hp pavilion. This is the time were all the folks in the parade get into their order and get checked in and the like. This is also the time when the critters mill around the trolley and interact a little with the other folks that will be in the parade. Usually with the folks in line ahead and behind us.

As usual the star wars contingent of storm troupers came over and there was a photo op. This is also a rough time for the critters. As despite the cold of the morning (I was wearing three layers of clothes to keep warm!) their fur makes them overheat easily. And we are here in the staging area for close to 2 hours before we can head out!

So, about half way through the time, we set up some privacy walls using tape and the tarps we brought, covering up the windows of the trolley to give the critters privacy and shade. I go on station in the back, handing out water and juice and candy as treats to keep the critters happy and hydrated while they rest up for the parade to come. And I hurry to repair the tape holding up the tarps time and time again as the forces of chaos try to interrupt the critters in their rest and relaxation.

But the time eventually comes for us to get rolling. Us escorts wake the critters, get their outfits in order and prepare them for returning to the world. The tarp walls come down to cheers from outside. It would appear that many citizens had gathered waiting for the critters to wake once more. There is a flurry of activity and all the escorts work hard to organize the critters and fold the tarps and throw away the trash of the used water and juice bottles. We manage to have all the tarps folded away and the supplies covered in blankets before we cross the official starting line of the parade.

Then it’s parade time. I try to keep seated and watch over the critters nearest to me at the back of the trolley. They all seem to way to stick their heads out the windows and wave to all the excited people. But then, that’s what they are here for. This is my rest time. I get to sit and just watch as the critters roam out on the street around the trolley and on board as we transverse the route. People are lining the streets. The weather, despite the cold, is just beautiful and the air crisp. There are happy faces and all the kids and their parents are always excited when the critters come through. But all too soon, the parade is over and it’s back to work for me as an escort.

We gently urge the critters back off the trolley and they gather for photos and the like while the escorts watch out for them and some of us start the work of cleaning up the trolley. Once all the photos are taken, some of the escorts help the critters back up to our room and the rest of us set to work. The decorations are taken down, the remaining refreshments taken off, the trash policed up and we leave the trolley none the worse for our presence, though I am sure there was fur that had been shed nearly all over. 🙂

Next up was the cool down for the critters. They would rest while their other selves would get free of their confines. Some more pictures were taken now, this time of all us escorts nearly falling asleep on the stairs of the hotel. Then we gathered once more and tromped off to lunch. Our goal was Jonny Rockets, and we were a party of 25 or more. JR didn’t have room for us, so we strode down the road to The Spaghetti Factory and had a fine meal.

Then it was tromp back to the hotel and wake those critters that would be entertaining in the park. A third of our number bid us ado, as they had other obligations. Then it was Critters in the Park time. I took a fine wolf by the name of Trapper out with me, we wandered the park and he amazed, amused and occasionally, if unintentionally, scared the children and parents in the park. They city had a fine display of trees decorated by various scout troops, and dioramas and entertainments and food vendors. Some of the people that walked in the parade got to perform on stage.

Soon I got a little tired and convinced Trapper that I needed to take him back up to get water and refreshment. I said my goodbyes to the other wonderful people and critters, had a few truffles and the like and then slipped off.

Monday I was a wreak, *chuckle*. My feet and back really hurt. But I still don’t regret doing the parade. I never do. This is the first time I did it as an Escort rather than being one of the critters myself. I thought it would be less work. It was nothing of the sort. But it felt damn good, and I was sure happy I could provide the escort duties I did, as sort of my thanks to the critters for doing the same for me when I was the one in the suit the past few years.

The rest of the week was rather blah… until I got to late Wed and all of Thursday. You see Thursday was my mother’s birthday. Or would have been were she still with us. She passed in ’03, and I miss her dearly. I spent Wed night and all of Thursday in something of a funk. I’m still just crawling out of it as I sit here and write this and prepare to go to work.

I wish I could have told her about my experience working as an escort in the parade. She would have smiled seeing me so animated about doing so much hard work. She would have told me she was glad I had enjoyed it and we would have had a wonderful outing last night as I had always taken her out for dinner on or around her birthday over the past decade before she died. I know it was her time, and that she is beyond suffering. Her final year of life had been trying for her. Full of trips to the hospital and with concern about my unemployment. The day she died I was due to head in for an interview at EA for a job and had to call it off. They understood and I later did get that job. But enough of going down that memory trail.

I miss you, mom! Thank you for giving me this life.

Watched the last episode of Heroes for the year. Now we have to wait until Jan 22nd 2007 for the next one. In this one they came back to the present and visited each of our specials. Looks like Nicki is turning herself in for her crimes as Jessica. Peter is having visions of the future and his well-being is in great question as he lays on the sidewalk not breathing with his brother crying out for help. Issac has managed to trigger his powers without drugs through using Hiro’s advice. The woman with the compulsion powers went to confront Syler and likely ended up freeing him, but not before managing to kill herself before he could kill her and take her powers for himself. Claire is in a panic as neither her brother nor the boy at school that had become her friend even remembers being a friend. It’s all the work of the silent man that works for her father erasing their memories… then in a twist it turns out he’s not so silent as he seems and may have an agenda of his own. And there’s been a hit of superiors above Claire’s father that might be the real bad guys. Who knows. We had hints, and teases and revelations that were incomplete. It continues to be good TV in my opinion. And rare in that it makes you think.

And the new tag line: Who is on the list?

And it’s implied question: Are you on the list?

That’s the one on the website. 😉

I am still working on The Wizard of London by Mercedes Lackey. It is about two young girls with Talents. One is a natural medium, one is her guardian. They both have birds as their protectors and companions. And the headmistress of their boarding school is a Talent herself as is her husband. They are warriors of the light. The Wizard of London of the title is an Elemental Master of Fire who has been turned to the forces of Ice (anti-fire) by a woman that is an Elemental Master of Air that got ‘turned’ sometime back by a Glacier spirit or some such. She seems like a Snow Queen and she is using the Wizard of London as a tool to get the power that, as a woman in that era in London, she could never have. And the children are a danger to her, and their headmistress is a woman that knew the wizard some time back before she was married. It’s all classical style farie tale told in Mercedes’ unique and talented style. My only problem with the book is that Mercedes’ books are very often about troubled or abused children, the people endangering them and wanting to cause them harm without much remorse. While it is a valid premise that engenders some strong feelings, it can get a little frustrating when an author’s books contain exactly the same base elements again and again. It’s an almost constant theme of hers. Still, it IS well written, and it does not have the feel some of her work sometimes has of being done purely to complete a contract so she can write the stories she Wants to write. This one has the feel of something she honestly enjoys writing.

EQOA – *sigh* Same old, same old. Except that Mhari convinced me to get on as Jethric (A gnome enchanter of 20 levels) and start my level 20 quest. It’s a long one, so we only got through about one major part of it in the short 40 some minutes we put into it before our normal Thursday session with our level 47’s. Arp was feeling a little under the weather, so we stopped a little early. We’ll surely get to level 48 next time.

EQ2 – Monday was the usual outing. Though we are out in the desert (Sinking Sands???) fighting on an island. Filthi got killed once, but it was no big deal. We had gotten blindsided by a Named mob that spawned on top of us. We took it out later. Filthi got level 45! On Thursday the rest went out xping while I went out harvesting resources. Sounds like each of them managed to level up there in the Kingdom of Sky. I just managed to fill my packs with plenty of resources so I can do tradeskills next time I am so inclined to do so.

WoW – Since I did the Parade stuff on Sunday, I didn’t really do anything on Wow at all. But Eric Z has mentioned he would be interested in joining us sometimes on Sundays, so I gave him the name of the server and the times I play there and the name of my character there. So we will see. He’s suffering from the same problems with WoW that I do of always seeming to be on at times my friends are not, and thus always soloing, so why is he playing the MMO at all. He could be playing other things and not spending the monthly on a game he does really play.

Second Life – Barely on it. Just wall-sitting, mostly.

City Of Heroes/Villains – Last week was a good session of villains on Friday. We started out playing lower characters, and found that one mastermind with a dominator and a corruptor as a trio works quite good. Then we switched to our higher masterminds and did trampling time as the others got on. I think folks got some levels. But we were mostly doing newspaper missions. Those seem well suited to our gatherings.

Tuesday we did something of a change of pace. I didn’t feel like villainy, so we took out Knight of Power and some the girls. KoD, Katiri and Snowslide. Then we did that again on Wed, adding Mr Adventure, Katriana and Avenging Flame to the mix. Seven of us on Wednesday and we didn’t get our butts handed to us! But then we were operating doing level 26 Police Scanner missions and picking Warriors, Freaks or Family as opponents. Circle of Thorns at this level is nasty with all those ghosts. But it was fun. Knight is a Defender, and the rest of his main team are 3 scrappers and a tank. It was nice having a blaster along (Mr Adventure) and having another tank (Avenging Flame) is always fun.

Knight’s Angels is starting to make a name for themselves as a subset of Dark-Star. 😉

Tonight will be villainy again…. But I still look forward to it.

Well, I’m going to be late to work if I don’t get out of here. I’ll add the links and things when I post this from work. Thanks for reading!

A Cold Week…

It’s been colder than I am used to. But not cold enough to prevent there from being two new Matthew McAndrews’ Modem Problem’s comics… so here they are:

Matthew McAndrews’ Modem Problems # 304 – Plan B – November 27th, 2006

Matthew McAndrews’ Modem Problems # 305 – Would You Believe Plan C? – November 30th, 2006

And here’s the usual update of meaningless personal weekly life:

What I have been up to in general:
Last Friday, when we got back from our Thanksgiving trip, we settled down into just relaxing. The drive had been amazingly easier than either Mhari or I had expected. There had only been a slight bit of slow traffic from Salem to Albany, and a bunch of rain for the first hour or so. Then it was rain on and off to the Oregon boarder… and from there on we were ahead of the storm. It was beautiful weather and we were tempted to stop along the way, have dinner, and stay over night at a hotel to sort of further celebrate having a good trip. But as the day wore on and we chatted, it just felt more natural keep driving. Of course we had to stop often to handle the demands of Lasix and our bladders, but other than it being a little chilly, all was well.

We managed to get in to home right around 8 or so. We stopped at the store, got some food, and went home and watched TV and rested in general.

And the next day, Saturday, I got the cleaning bug. You know, the one where that house cleaning that you have been putting off for months suddenly hops up and bites you in the gonads. When I got back from lunch and some chores, I dove into my room with a purpose. First the bed got lifted up and propped up against the wall. And then I started tearing the place up. Moving boxes, sorting the things from within. Throwing away things, vacuuming, etc. Five hours later I was out of daylight, my computers were all disconnected and buried under things, and I was WAY out of steam and hurting all over from my exertions, ‘almost-in-tears-tired’ and wondering why I had even begun.

Mhari and I went out to dinner at Sweet Tomatoes, then over to Circuit City where I bought a new TV (just a flat screen CRT sort, as it’s inexpensive and low-guilt, as apposed to the $400-$700 flat panel LCD I could have got) because my old one which was getting moved out of my room proved to be dying. We got home and Mhari gave me some positive reinforcement and praise for my activities as we watched TV and went to bed.

Sunday was more work on the room. But by the end of four hours of intense activity, I got it where I would have my own bed to sleep in that night, and the little personal entertainment center was back running so I would have music to sleep by… and we went off to our chiropractic massage appointment with Dr. James and he repaired some of the troubles I got my body into with the exertions. That night I slept heavy.

Monday I woke feeling a mess. I managed to go into work, but it’s like over half the office was out sick. I put in a half-day and headed home. Where I put another 3 hours in on my room. This time it was the computers I got back into working order… and I put in the balance of my work day from home.

My room is not done, but the rest is stuff that I can do in bits and pieces to slowly get the remaining junk out and create a more usable space. But all told I managed to really, really, really make myself a better place to live in. And things are arranged to take advantage of the sunshine during these cold winter months to come rather than hide from it like I preferred to do in the hot summer ones.

Health and well-being:
Well, other than all the aches and pains from my weekend cleaning stint, I seem to be doing okay. I took thursday off from work as a sick day, and that appears to have dealt with the last of what felt like a cold coming on. *knock on wood* Mentally I am doing much better, with fewer down days. The week-long vacation of last week and the cleaning of my room this past weekend helped a great deal.

We’ve started (first while we were away on our trip and more when we got back) watching Dead Like Me. It’s a quirky cable tv series from a couple of years back where this cynical girl gets killed by a toilet seat that fell off the russian space station as it burned out of orbit and crashed into her. She ends up recruited into the ranks of the reapers. They get assigned a person to go meet just before their appointed moment of death (usually in some strange bizarre way) and ‘claim’ their soul before the horrid event, if possible (and if they do, the soul doesn’t have the trauma of the death on them) so that they can move on to their reward. All the reapers are strange people and our main character, Georgia (or George for short), keeps peeking in on her family as they deal with her passing. Lots of good acting, bizarre situations and characters, and lots of allegories and strangeness. Likely it was too ‘deep’ and ‘weird’ to last more than the one (or was it 2) seasons.

As to Heroes, we watched this week’s episode on Wed, I believe. It was the ‘six months ago’ episode, that showed a lot of where things started and reveal Syler’s origin, among other things. Very good, very interesting. And next week will be the last new episode until next year. Or so they are hyping. And it looks like it takes place back in the ‘present’.

Role-Play gaming:
I didn’t mention this in my last post, as I was writing from a hotel before getting back on the road to head home from vacation. But two weeks ago this coming saturday the games begun again. We played the first game of a new Fantasy Hero campaign run by Eric Z, and more of the space game by Ray P. Both were good games. I don’t really have a lot of detail for here. Tomorrow we would normally be gaming again, but Ray P’s father passed away the sunday after last game (on the 19th) and Ray’s off on the east coast spreading the ashes of his parents and visiting his kinfolk. My heart goes out to him. Losing the last of your parents hurts like no one that has not gone through it can ever know. And it hurts for a long, long time. I still miss mine, too.

I finished The Protector’s War by S.M. Stirling this morning. All I can say about it is that it is very good, and it really seems like me that magic is starting to come back into the world. But it’s barely there, yet. What will NOT be found in this book is a full blown war. The war that is happening is a sort of luke-warm cold war. One of forces gathering and and planning and skulking. It sounds to me like the war must take place in the next book, which is called Meeting at Corvallis. It’s interesting to me all the more from taking my little vacation trip up to Oregon and seeing some of the place names there.

And the book I have just started is called The Wizard of London. Funny, but the beginning of the book feels so familiar. It’s starts with a boarding school where food is brought to the back gate after tea time for any hungry children that might be there. But I think what that is, is a echo of an earlier book as I think the male wizard that is featured for a tiny bit so far (the husband of the headmistress of the school) was a urchin off the streets of london and that was what happened to him. Or something. We will see as I read. It is by Mercedes Lackey, one of my favorite authors, though I have not liked many of her more current works of late.

EQOA – We got back to this, this week. Nothing exciting to report, really. Just up in Permafrost and the Snowblind Plains fighting mammoths and anything else we think we can handle. We’re ranging further about in these travels as the old mammoths are getting blue and white to us mostly rather than the yellows and reds we were used to. But then we are level 47 these days. But really I can’t be very excited about this game…

EQ2 – Again, back into place here. Filthi hit 44 on Monday, I think. Or was it that she just progressed. It starts to blur for me. And on Thursday she was mostly working on her trade skills. Made two levels in Tailoring, and am now a level 35 tailor. And out of pelts and roots, so it will be time to go out resource hunting again next week.

WoW – Didn’t do any of this on Sunday because my room was torn apart and my computers all detached from the network and even from power. But I did do a little on Wed and I think my Priest is level 16 now. Not progressing as fast now. But then I am not putting in as much time on it. The high point here was getting connected on teamspeak and chatting with the other members of Cannon Fodder. That was fun, though some of the folks are awful chatty.

Second Life – Barely touched it. However, the update that went live on Wed is VERY nice. And once they get all the database issues dealt with that have cropped up, it is going to be much better. New privacy controls. You can now make it so the fact of your being on-line or not can be hidden from the rank and file with a simple preference setting. And over-riding that is a new depth to the Friends list. So now you can have one setting for the general public (in my case that is ‘don’t show’) and then different settings for the people on your fiends list. You can set each friend independently to being able to tell if you are online, where exactly you are, and you can allow them on a case-by-case basis to edit objects you own (this last is most usable in shared spaces and the management of that). There’s more than that, but that was the part I loved the most. It almost sounds like we’ll be able to have actual privacy soon. Though I really doubt that.

City of Heroes/Villains – Didn’t play Friday, or any on the weekend at all. But Issue 8 went live on Tuesday!!! Tuesday night we went and played on the Evil side, and had a rather good time all told, with Demon Voltage being 40 (Eric P), Mistress Myst (Mhari playing her Mercs Mastermind at level 24 or the like), Commander Kitty at 41 (myself), Broulin at 40(Whyaylooh), FullDark is 24 or so (Zafel), and Trackless Shade is somewhere in the 20’s (Eric Z). It was fun, though I worry about the non-mastermind lackey’s getting any real action with all the henchmen trampling all the action. We did a EB battle against Demise (A commander kitty mission) and went and rescued Ramsey from the Shadow Shard (a Broulin mission). I think we did one newspaper mission, too, but my mind doesn’t hold the details well.

Wednesday was a wash, as due to a comcast broadband issue, from 7-10pm we couldn’t connect to the game. So the Hero night was just Nightwind and Zafel out there. I did get on after 10pm as Knight of Power and did his cape mission and a costume mission to get a costume slot. Then made two alternate armor costumes for him. Now he has medieval (his original), an Asian one with wings, and a Futuristic one with a cape. And he seems to just barely be able to solo missions now. Just barely. Which is nice. My other healer, Stand In, can’t solo worth a darn, no matter the respec I do for her.

Somewhere Thursday evening I started a new Peacebringer on Guardian by the name of Sister Lung (demon winged asian armored furry woman) that I rather like. Maybe I will get back into the hero side again. Who knows.

Tonight it will be villain time again. Not sure I want to play Commander Kitty right now. Wouldn’t mind playing Purple Moose (Brute) or Glacial Leopard (Dominator).

Well, that’s it for now. I got half of this written before heading to work, and the rest on my lunch break. I have too many meetings today! And one as soon as I get back from lunch. So I better upload this now… thanks for reading.