Wednesday, November 30, 2005

All quiet in WoW land

My personal theory, I think the non-player inhabitants bribed the Blizzard people to show some mercy by not bringing the Maelstrom (our server) back online with the rest of them.

This is a list of the server status which shows people being able to play wow everywhere except where my guild's people are and

Is from a few of our people putting up their own little protest.

Ah well, it's given me a chilled out night when I've been able to natter to people, listen to a little music and maybe get to bed before midnight :-).

Time for a new toy

And what shall it be ...

I already have plans to build a new computer after Xmas strikes as my current one is starting to really struggle, even before I up the screen size with a TFT screen.

Nah. Could be getting a webcam, after being on MSN with someone last night who also had a webcam. Definitely adds something being able to see the other person smile when they read a daft comment that you just typed. And it would let me return the favour as well. Especially as the last picture I have of me is rather embarassing. It's from before the last cricket season, so I was probably slightly above 14 stone at that point ... (lost half a stone now - my belt feels looser already !)

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

What colour should your blog be ?

Spotted this one on Craziequeen's Blog and couldn't resist seeing what it said ...

Your Blog Should Be Blue

Your blog is a peaceful, calming force in the blogosphere.
You tend to avoid conflict - you're more likely to share than rant.
From your social causes to cute pet photos, your life is a (mostly) open book.

Wonder what I'd have to say if to get a "your blog should be green" answer ? Hmm. Bears some experimenting. Hmm. Yey ! Changed my answers slightly and got :

Your Blog Should Be Green

Your blog is smart and thoughtful - not a lot of fluff.
You enjoy a good discussion, especially if it involves picking apart ideas.
However, you tend to get easily annoyed by any thoughtless comments in your blog.

Just come back from our Mall. I managed to avoid spending anything on myself. This can be an economical time for me - I ban myself from impulse buys. Apart from David Weber's The Apocalypse Troll, which could be interesting. I now have everyone's Xmas cards. Muahahaha !

(Better mark who they go to, I always forget)

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Anyone know a good UK ISP ?

I've been experiencing the "expert" customer service from Blueyonder. Phase 1 - nationwide upgrade. Woo hoo ! 4Mb for the price I was paying for 512kb when I got broadband originally.

Erm - why is my internet disconnecting so much ? Most of the time it's ok but then you get the disconnects, which is usually in the middle of a fight in World of Warcraft. ARG ! Says my character as she dies.

So I look on the status page and it tells me (message gone now) that there's a problem at my location. Looking further, it tells me that the problem has been resolved and they're looking into what's causing it. If they haven't nailed down the cause, why have they marked it as resolved ? Grr.

Next step - I use their support page to tell them I'm not happy. (Giving their number as the number to call of course, I don't want them telling me about their problem, I just want it fixed ...) I get an email back saying "The fault that this Ticket referred to has been resolved. If you are still seeing problems there may be another cause, and as such we will require diagnostics showing the problem. We can then take the issue further." They haven't yet replied to the "If the ticket has been resolved, why am I still having connection issues ?" They also don't tell people how to provide the diagnostics. Wonder if they would reply if I sent them a few links with cut price ADSL offers.

Ah well - munchies and then maybe some more World of Warcraft. The disconnection thing just got me rather irritated yesterday because it was happening when I was supposed to be bodyguarding for a group of people from another guild. Bit embarassing when your warrior can't do that due to frequent disconnects. I have two characters I play a lot - Iceangel the mage and damage dealer plus Bashara the warrior, who's job is to get bashed a lot ... (she's the bodyguard)

PS I play girl characters because girl characters look better.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Reporting from the Molten Core ...

Or, from the depths of Blackrock Mountain, where you don't have to worry about having a woolly jumper. No snow down there ... It be a bit warm.

Molten Core is the second hardest raid instance* in World of Warcraft, it needs 40 people working together in harmony, getting the absolute best out of what their characters can do. It's tough ... This was only our third run inside, so we're still learning how to beat it.

Impressive run tonight, the dog packs that had us for lunch last time (they need special tactics) found themselves turned into kebabs ... My Iceangel character was getting chubby, although being undead you can still see the ribs sticking out. And the elbows ... and the knees ... (will have to post a pic sometime)

First boss, Lucifron, was summarily dealt with and one of the really good items that dropped went to a guildmate, so that's me happy. Also happy that even without spending loads of time in the game hunting the best gear, I did the 5th most damage of the 40. Managed to get in the thick of it and cause major chaos, mayhem and destruction. Definitely a happy me. And it was good to hear our Overqueen laughing away too, although it seems that she has more trouble fending off her cat than in keeping the warriors alive. My character's there to do damage, the Overqueen is there to heal the warriors that are supposed to take the damage.

Excellent run, we're going to be hitting it again on Sunday.

* a raid instance is an area in the game where you have privacy. Each group that goes in has their own copy of the instance, so groups don't interfere. It also limits the number of people who can take on the instance. In the case of Molten Core, it's a full 40 person raid.

PS They should make another high end instance in somewhere snowy, so you can melt snowmen.
PS2 I can go to bed now ! Brian Lara just got out after passing Alan Border to become the highest run scorer in Test cricket. Good on 'im :-) I was hoping he'd go on to beat the 400 he scored against England but that's not to be.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Yey ! Friday

And Friday means bacon sarnies. Bacon makes me go hyperactive. I like bacon.

Also had the first snow of this season, hoping to get a photo prepped and posted later. It's on my digital camera at home and I have to do a couple of edits to it because I'm not sure that my neighbours would like their car registration plates on the internet !

In the meantime, here's a picture of snow, courtesy of Aginoth.

Glad I've managed to resist the temptation of changing car, my Puma's traction control came in handy this morning. Didn't notice the anti-lock brakes kicking in but I was being careful.

Just thinking politics and saw ...

From Cricinfo, Tatenda Taibu quits as an international.

Who is Tatenda Taibu ? He was the person chosen to head up Zimbabwe cricket on the field as captain, after that nation's cricket suffered a mass walkout of almost all of the senior players. When he got the call, he stepped up and led the remains of that team like an absolute hero, picking it up by the scruff of the neck. When the team didn't perform, he did. And he performed rather well.

Taibu came in as an 18 year old against the West Indies and despite playing in a team that was hopelessly outclassed on all occasions, managed a batting average of just under 30, which is decent for any international keeper. And that average went up to 37 as captain. What marks that achievement even more is that he was also a very young captain, taking on the captaincy at 21. And it's not easy to bat in a side where you're more worried about the fragility of partners than you are about just getting on and getting the big score.

I've been pretty mild about the politics aspect of this so far and intend to stay that way. Everyone knows what's going on in Zimbabwe (at least what we've been told about it) so I don't need to repeat that ;-). Anyway, Cricinfo covers the politics background far better than this humble player can. I just think this particular player (Taibu) needs his own slice of recognition and credit for being able to perform at that high level, despite the peer pressure from former teammates and the greater pressures from his cricketing masters. It's quite sad that someone has been forced to quit by people who aren't interested in cricket as a game to be loved.

You could even describe it as one man, left stranded on his own and caught out in the middle after fending off the bouncers.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

What's in a name ?

One or two visitors may be wondering where the name of the Blog came from ... Not the Sleepypete bit but the Iceangelthemerc bit ...

Around 8 months ago, a group of people from work got the idea that it would be a good idea if they could help each other out on the online game World of Warcraft. We'd start up new characters on a new server, band together and get ahead by sorting things out between us. The new server was The Maelstrom and the guild name we chose was the Mercenaries Of Darkness. Or rather, one fella suggested it and it was a dark enough name that we jumped on it. I like the name. Seems like a few other people do as well, as we've seen other guilds spring up since with similar names. Army of Mercenaries and Legionnaires of Darkness. Oh yeah, we play as the Horde, aka the Bad Guys. My main character is undead, with the 3 other Horde races being Trolls, Orcs and Tauren. You'll have a fair idea of what trolls, orcs and undead will be like, the lesser known ones are the Tauren which are modelled on big, bipedal cows.

To play on World of Warcraft, you need to pick a class as well as a race and my first and main character is Iceangel, the undead mage. Mages specialise in doing damage on a grand scale over multiple targets, the trouble is that if anything even waves a pointy stick vaguely in their direction, they'll go down like the proverbial feather. Answer - don't get hit ! (I'm getting better at that).

Could have been worse - Iceangel was nearly called Darkangel but I figured that was a bit too close to a TV series character. Iceangel has worked out to be a pretty decent name. I have a few more characters but because I'm limiting my WoW time a little more now, I don't get to play them too often. After last night's marathon, I've managed to avoid WoW completely tonight, currently chillin', writing blog, with Madonna's Ray of Light on in the background.

Arg ! I've been digressing again ... You may have noticed the link to the guild, Mercenaries of Darkness. Unfortunately, we're having a bit of a leadership led coup at the moment to get things little more under control, hence some of the messages on the front page. We started up with a pretty free recruitment policy, which means more likelihood of picking up bad eggs. We've got rid of most of those now, shame that we didn't act sooner because we lost a couple of other people who I'd have liked to keep. However, I'm fairly happy that we can get back to monster thumping, with a relaxed, happy guild. We'll see how it pans out over the next week or so. [fingers crossed!]

Anyway, that's where Iceangelthemerc comes from, it was the first attempt to get a Blogger login name that worked out of the many attempts ... Somebody had already beaten me to Sleepypete.

Last bit - I can't mention World of Warcraft and the guild without mentioning Guildlink. As far as we know, nothing like Guildlink has happened on any WoW server. Guildlink is a collection of the smaller guilds, coming together so that we have a chance at hitting the big end of game dungeons. The one we're going to hit tomorrow, Molten Core, needs 40 people. The Mercenaries only average round 15-20 at peak time, so we'd have no chance of hitting Molten Core on our own. We're part of the engine room of Guildlink though and there will be around 6-7 small guilds, including the Mercenaries, in the group tomorrow. Should be fun. First time there, we did a huge amount better than everyone was expecting (killed the first Big Monster) and definitely better than the latest "big" guild to try on our server. They didn't even get to that first big monster. I've also linked the Guildlink forum page, which is the place we use to get organised for group stuff, swap tactics or generally have a natter about the game. All credit to the person behind the character Sarai for setting all that up as well as the calm, controlled and fair way she looks after it. With the 200+ people with accounts, you can probably guess the influence the odd politician is having on it ...

Today must be a good day

The reason ?

I get to talk to sweet, attractive people ! First opportunity was this morning as a happy side effect of being in bed too long. Meant I got to walk in from the car park (decent way in our car park) with said person who was also late in for work. She'd just flown back from one of our other offices the night before.

And just now, I got to talk to sweet, attractive person again when fetching my lunch.

Must be a good day. The sun's come out as well.

Almost forgot the IT Girl, who is also sweet and attractive and one of the better reasons for working where I work. [throws evil grin at the IT Girl, who's probably giving the game away by blushing like a beetroot on reading this]

PS The raid on Darnassus last night was fun. It was planned in secret, with the subterfuge working like a charm. We managed to smuggle in 40 of our people into one of the enemy's capital cities without them noticing. Didn't manage to take out the leader though. (Yep - this is a World of Warcraft PS, readers may need to get used to those ...) Alterac Valley afterwards was fun though. Went in at about 8.30-9pm and finished the battle at 3.30am. Horde (my side) for the win :-)

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Music in my head

You know the way you can get a catchy tune running around in your head ?

I have two.

On the one hand, I have the Youssou N'Dour track from the early days of Civ 4. Not complaining, I like it. And it's different to what I usually listen to ... (I like variation) But it drives me nuts a bit because it's on a short loop.

On the other hand, and making a valiant attempt to supplant it, is Adam and the Ants, Kings of the Wild Frontier. Specifically, Dog Eat Dog, which is the opener to that album. Heh heh heh, I just happen to be encouraging the Adam and the Ants by playing it numerous times. I only bought it last week.

Must get myself back onto listening to Alisha's Attic.

Gotta work on that TTLB thing ...

I am not a microbe, I am a free man !

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Coming clean

Ok ... so what was I up to on Sunday morning to get my body complaining at me for lying on the kitchen floor in weird and wonderful positions ...

Installing a washing machine !

First step - the oo eck, something's not right here. Last washing machine decided to have multiple things go wrong at the same time. It shredded a door seal and was making the house power trip ... And the last load I put through included a fleece that took 2 days to dry. So it was time to spend money.

Sunday morning - new toy appears and because of insurance, I have to disconnect the old one. First panic, where's me grippers ! Is this another miscellaneous item that got removed from the house by my ex ? Perhaps. I had to borrow some off the delivery people. Problem number one ...

I got me a leak. Next 30 minutes, maybe an hour, were spent with me on the kitchen floor with my finger in the end of the hot water pipe as the tap wouldn't fully close. I got my washing machine fitted though, basic engineering skills really help out sometimes :-) It worked too and didn't flood the house when I put a test wash through it. Bonus ! It's a Whirlpool washer and after putting the test load in and seeing it disappear in the cavern of a drum, I started thinking that I should have got a washer/dryer.

And when I told one of the World of Warcraft people about it, I got an offer to go to her house and lie on her kitchen floor in weird and wonderful positions. Wonder what she meant ...

Anyway, even the strangest comment can have a perfectly simple explanation behind it, especially when it's me making the strange comment.

My laptop is slow

Currently putting Civilisation 4 on my laptop, Minibox. Which means I'm getting distracted into a little bit of housekeeping ... You see, this laptop used to get used by my partner, who left 6 months ago. Ever since then, it's been looking for a use. I've managed to use it to resurrect some games that don't like my main pooter (Guilmon, to be renamed Godzilla), so it hasn't been completely idle.

Anyway, this post is brought to you courtesy of a Sleepy person sitting in front of the telly with a laptop on his lap (where else!). Oh look ! Pakistani cricket cheating again*. Fella called Shahid Afridi taking advantage of a break in play to scuff up the pitch to help his bowling. Ah well, he just got banned for the next couple of games. Silly boy. Not as good as the fella in the Lincolnshire leagues who got himself banned for 2 whole seasons, with his club's two teams relegated two whole divisions ... each ! Their captain headbutted an umpire. It was the right kind of punishment to give out, trouble is that the relegation just meant that there were a couple of mega powered teams working their way up the leagues over the next few seasons having easy games. Including the game against us where I was fifth out, top scoring with 7. I made the mistake of panicking, thinking I should try and push the scoring on before I ran out of partners. Our team scored 19 all out ... That game didn't last long.

Poor old Minibox is still doing its housekeeping and I should really be going to bed now ... Just one more turn on Civ 4, which isn't even installed yet. Hope I get up in time to get a space in the car park tomorrow ...

*Cheating cricketers. I was hoping Ian Bell would stay in the England team this time instead of Paul Collingwood, Bell is coming to terms with being an international quite well, whereas Collingwood hasn't done nearly well enough with the bat. Trouble is, Ian Bell claimed a catch in this game that would have been ruled out with video refs ... The scoreboard says that he did catch the ball ... but doesn't record that he dropped it after before picking it up off the ground. Ho hum. Things like that even out after time and I'm not convinced that the other side had a legal catch on one of their wickets.

PS I like cricket, I could natter for hours about it ... Or at least the time needed for Minibox to do its housekeeping.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Hello World

First entry from me :-) Who am I ? That can wait. Where did I come from ? That too. Why am I here ?

Blame Aginoth ! (I like Agi really, he bought me a good book for my birthday)

Things will be a little bare here until I figure out what to do with Blog pages, so I'll keep it short by just saying where the Blog name comes from ... My alter ego is an undead girlie called Iceangel, in the game World of Warcraft (WoW). I'm the guildmaster of a guild set up by people at work. I just happened to be the best powergamer when we started, spending the most time on there, getting to a position where we could set things up. So I ended up being the GM. Things are going well for the guild, we're part of a unique gathering of small guilds that come together to do the end game content. Imagine the chaos that could ensue when 40 characters come together ... That's us ! But it's not as chaotic as it could be because we have good leadership.

Anyway ... hello world. Back for more later after I get more sleep.

PS OW. Still sore after lying on the kitchen floor in weird and wonderful positions yesterday morning. Back hurts.