Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Launch day tomorrow !

Yep, my baby will soon be hitting the water.

Not sure if I'll be able to post a picture though, as it will give information that would let people guess the occupation of my blogmates who wouldn't want that ! I will be taking pictures though, will have to see if I can get a postable one.

Ok. What am I going to be getting up to. Gotta go to bed early tonight to let me get out of the house at as close to 5am tomorrow as I can manage. Then it's a 7.10am flight up to Glasgow, followed by figuring out things to do between landing and the launch. They want us at the yard around 12pm, with launch happening at 2.25pm. We're hoping that an event labelled "hitting the other side" won't be scheduled for 2.26pm. Then we hit the pub and head back to the airport at around 6ish.

Should be a fun day out but going to bed at 10pm (ish) will be highly weird.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Itchy fingers

I think I got 'em big time ...

And I blame my sister - muahahahaha !!!!! :-) Think my envy centre has been pinging since she got her laptop over the weekend. Anyway - here's what I plan to build :

Athlon X2-3800 (cheapest dual core)
2Gb Ram (more Ram helps and I'm not planning to fiddle for ages after this upgrade)
Radeon X850 (ok - it's not the newest but it's the most cost effective ...)
160Gb hd (current 120 is fine but a newer one is needed cos of a faster interface)
Water cooling

And the rest of the spec is fairly insignificant when you get down to it ...

The monster above will be called Godzilla, to accompany my Ipaq which is now called Godzookie. The water cooling is something I've been interested in for a while but I've never had the excuse to check it out. The chiller system pulls in some curious considerations though. With an internal chiller, it needs a decent size box to give somewhere to put the radiator. With an external chiller, it adds an extra box and extra fittings (fittings = potential leak point) but gives easier access to the reservoir for checking the water level.

It's kinda fitting in the way that Godzilla will be water cooled, seeing as Godzilla is the monster that arises from the sea to save the day. Sea, Water cooling ... Yeah I know. Any excuse to go for an expensive toy.

Which reminds me - must try out my other new toy - the vacuum cleaner. Watching Batman Begins at the moment though.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Brr ...

Blimey it's cold in here.

I've been at my parents' place over the weekend, which means I sensibly turn things off before I leg it because the house stays empty. The thing I always, Always have second thoughts about turning off is the heating ... Currently typing here on my main pooter contemplating putting my gloves on. It'll warm up soon. At least I have a working boiler ... which is more than can be said for one of my dearer friends. She has lots of heaters though :-)

Anyway, it was my dad's birthday today, which is the reason I went up there. He got stuff, my sister found a rather impressive laptop in clearance sale, I got a vacuum cleaner (mine died through overwork - yeah really !) but I didn't manage to get mum & dad to spend money on buying bits for putting wireless broadband into their house. Must keep trying there.

I got to see the dogs too. Ben is still a lovely pup and happily exuberant. Goldie is suffering a bit though, I don't think he's got that long left in him. I reckon he's got steadily worsening arthritis in his back end, which is making it harder for him to move around. But he still manages to get a Big Tail Wag going when he sees me for the first time on a weekend. He's done well has Goldie, I think we've had him for about 13-14 years so far and I think he was about 2-3 when we got him as a rescue dog.

I better get the washing on so I can wear my black jeans on Wednesday ... We'sa going up to Glasgow to see a ship launch and I want to wear my black jeans. Even though I should probably retire them for being too big. That's right - my black jeans are now feeling rather too loose :-) Something must be going right with my diet. This month, 13 stone, next month 12 stone (heh), this summer - more cricket due to less breakages caused by carrying too much weight. We shall see.

Washing time ! More tomorrow.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Dragon hunt

Missed posting yesterday ...

We did go dragon hunting and it was both an excellent display of teamwork and a let down for me at the same time ... The dragon in question is called Onyxia and the fight to kill her comes in 3 phases.

Phase 1 - she's staying still and our job is to make sure she stays on the warrior. Which means our usual Hit As Hard As Possible technique gets watered down. In this phase, she's on the ground and can either breathe on an area or whip with her tail. Both can do lots of damage, so the thing to do is stay out of the way.
Phase 2 - she's up in the air. We need to keep her attention on the warrior but in this bit, she tends to do a "deep breath", which precedes her breathing Big Fire on the raid group. If there's no clusters of people, the deep breath doesn't happen.
Phase 3 - she's back on the ground again as per Phase 1. This time though, she fears people ... There's things you can do about fear but if you break the fear when the warrior isn't feared, Onyxia will turn around and eat half the raid group. There's also molten lava coming out of the floor, which people have a tendency to run over.

How did it go ? On a fight like this, with people who haven't done it before (me!), you would expect to get wiped out a few times and have to start again ... Amazingly, we actually did it on the first try ! Stunning hey ... Time to go back to Orgrimmar and annoy everyone by having a party in front of where Onyxia's head gets put on a big spiky pole.

So why was it a let down for me ? I died ! In phase 3, I strayed a little too far south. Add that to a badly timed fear that had me running a little more south. Stir in a little bit of Onyxia style Tail Baseball Home Run and you get a me going for a flying lesson into a pit ... Couldn't see a thing ! Better luck next time for me :-)

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Rumble in the Jungle

This is Iceangel, reporting from the depths of the Stranglethorn Vale jungle in southern Azeroth.

I, and 19 other intrepid explorers, are delving into the depths of the much feared Zul'Gurub region. Our mission ? To fight our way through hostile snakes, trolls and Damn Big Stone Things to tame a dinosaur, take a few cheeky pictures of the god Hakkar while he's not looking and to pull the whiskers off the Panther boss.

The scene is set, everyone is here and my fellow mages have made supplies for the rest of the group. Nobody's going hungry or thirsty in our team. And we're going in ... Hmm - resistance is being observed from some big snakey things ... Or rather it was, they take one look at Towwy and just melt into a melted pool of frost ... Onwards the group moves, fighting as we go. The natives are definitely restless but their resistance is futile.

We soon reach the "Panther boss" and our Revered Leader Sarai tells us the plan. The "Panther Boss" isn't actually a panther but has pets. How many pets ! Blimey ! We're outnumbered ... Unfortunately, this is where our resistance turned futile. Even after unleashing hell, frost mage style (our hell is frozen over), we couldn't cope with that many panther pets. We only escaped when it appeared that Miss Panther tired of feeding us to her panthers and refused to appear again ... I think next time we'll see a note pinned to the wall saying "Do not feed the animals, they ate so much last time they exploded"

Next step - onwards to the moat. What is there in the water ? We expected fish but we did not expect a THREE HEADED HYDRA ! It was about 40 foot tall. If you've ever been chased by the T Rex King Mosh from the Un'Goro crater, you'll know the kind of size I'm thinking of. Oh and what is my friend Skycn doing to that other fish ? He turned it into a sheep. That's not right. Poor fish will take ages shaking itself dry.

My fellow explorers and I were starting to get tired by this stage of our journey, there's only so much conjured water you can take before you start to flag. (We need to petition the Blizzard Gods to add conjured coffee to the inventory)

We didn't manage to capture any trophies from Gahz'Rilla or any whiskers from the Panther princess but I can't remember a more fun expedition. Even though we weren't getting much success, we were giving it our best and knowing that we could well afford to express the good humour in which our expedition was held.

Already looking forward to the next one, although I don't think I'll get the sun tan in the dank Dustwallow Marsh that we get in the more southern Stranglethorn Vale. Next expedition - we're heading to the part of the map that says "Here be Dragons..."

Monday, January 23, 2006

Multi buy offers are dangerous

I figured I needed a bit of time out of the house after work today, so it was a trip up to the local Mall.

My wallet survived Screenselect. It survived Game. It survived HMV. But it did not survive Virgin's 5 dvds for £30 offer ... It'll forgive me on payday.

What did I get ?
2001 - wanted this for ages.
Batman Begins - as re-imagininginings of characters go, they did well here.
House of Flying Daggers - beautiful film, martial arts.
Sahara - the Cussler-ites didn't really like it but I thought it was good popcorn mentality fun.
Team America - not seen but heard lots about it.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Time for dinner

Just come out of another day's WoW. Did I say I was giving that game up ?

Heh - I guess I just can't help myself when young ladies ask me to do something. (I got summoned into today's Molten Core rescrub)

Time for dinner :-)

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Yey ! almost to the next diet milestone

Which is to get down to 13 stone. Just weighed myself at 13 stone 1, down another pound or two, so I'm going to have pizza to celebrate. I only have pizza once a week or so, so that should be ok.

I still have a bit of a belly but that's why we were given stomach muscles. Aye - it's to let lazy people like me suck that tummy in :-) Target weight on my current build is 12 and a half stone but I may try and get all the way down to 11. That's probably a good weight for me, without trying to bulk up my upper body. My weight has always been above average because I have oversized leg muscles. I'm built for sprinting :-) What I'm a little bit wary of is that going all the way down to 11 stone may lose me some strength for batting. We shall see.

Starting to get my agility back too - those leg muscles aren't having as much inertia to overcome. Seeing it steadily come off has cheered me up a bit, especially as people have been noticing. Must be cos of my jeans being too big now. I no longer go out in public without wearing a belt.


Diet later. Pizza NOW !

PS I'm taking back the bad stuff that I've said on earlier blogs about Sarai. I had the chance to listen to her on Teamspeak earlier in a Molten core raid and she don't half sound rough. This is a bad time of year for her anyway and the stress of being Guildlink's spiritual leader must be really getting to her. I just wish she'd talk to me a little more, maybe I could help cheer her up. I got one Welcome Back whisper in game earlier but not much more. But that's ok, cos leading raids is hefty ... hefty enough for me to be not volunteering for it.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Mischievous fun

I started off a new character last night, called Flameberry. She's another mage, this time a troll (troll girls are the best looking Horde race). I'm curious as to what the higher damage, less defence Fire specialisation is like to play.

Anyway, Flame started off at a bad time yesterday, so I couldn't bring her into the guild. That came today, while my dinner was cooking (burning!) in the oven. I quite enjoyed watching the people in the guild guess who I was :-) Only two of them guessed it, one of whom knew already. One other fella, Towwy, got it too. The rest were mostly miles off. Muahahaha ! And that's despite me announcing my intentions over the Guildlink forums. I think a big smokescreen comes up due to this character being a mage and my main character being a mage. Not many people make two of the same character.

I'm just curious to see how long it will take to get the character to the level 60 experience cap. Means I might neglect my Eve character but there you go. I've already neglected my City of Heroes character enough for the free period to run out ... Shows how much that game kept me interested. Eve is well worth keeping an eye on for the long run though.

PS Must be a good day today because I wasn't expecting to see Miss L in the office. But there she was, worrying herself sick due to events over the next fortnight.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

More WoW Casualties

I've only had this past 9 months experience of online multiplayer games and I'm still surprised by the number of casualties they seem to rack up.

Firstly, we had Makai who left and went back to Eve (another MMO). Then Bolbit, who we were hoping would be our end game warrior and then my "retirement" over the Xmas period. After a while, you realise the toll games like World of Warcraft can take. I'd come to the point where I couldn't handle the attitudes of some of the players and being ignored for a few instance runs was the last straw.

And we've seen even more examples this week, when a character called Noobster blew his top pretty spectacularly, causing himself and others a lot of hurt and upset. He quit the game for a whole 3 days. Yep - he got over his problems in just 3 days. Gotta hand it to him, that's some recovery and I'm still wondering how he did it. Except he hasn't, in the few posts he put in on his "comeback", he was still displaying the same stressed addiction that causes his blowup. That's the thing about addiction, you aren't aware of the damage it's causing.

We've also seen it with Sarai, who has announced that she wants to step back from the position she's had with Guildlink for the past few months. With the Mercenaries (well, me and Zaphyr) immediately jumping in to say Good on ya. I see it as a recognition of what I've been subtly trying to tell Sarai over the past couple of weeks, that WoW is a game that consumes you. Not just your time but your soul as well. It turns you into a pale shell of what you should be. Especially if you have the weight of expectation on you, which is what Sarai has. She's the one who sets up the website and Teamspeak server, as well as the one who pays for it. The "I abdicate" came after one too many ungrateful so and so's complaining at not being picked for raiding activities taking place over the next 3 days.

I'm on Sarai's side on this one and have tried to pass on the message. However, I think she's still ignoring me still for some reason I'm not telempathic enough to receive. Heh - maybe I have guessed the reason ;-)

Why am I still playing ? I've found and got back some of the fun, now that the GL Responsibility weight has been lifted. And I've had a definite feeling of being wanted, which is far better than the feeling of being ignored that I had before Xmas. Maybe I just don't care anymore if that particular person wants to talk to me. But I'll still worry about her all the same, because that's who I am.

And, I still have Eve. Eve's set in a completely different world, with different people. Because it has more complex groundings in how it works, it attracts a fair more mature crowd. It probably attracts them because it's slower as well. All the kids go to play the flashy stuff like WoW, EverQuest and City of Heroes, so all the mature people go to Eve to avoid the kids.

So tonight's message is - Have fun ! Ignore Responsibility.
Cos Responsibility is a heavy weight that should be left at places like work.

PS Must remember to see if I'm still subscribed to Eve - the free period runs out soon ...

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Where'd that evening go ?

[chuckle] I only meant to go into WoW for not too long in order to get my warrior up to the max level and/or get a job done with my mage. That was at 6pm and I've just come out at 11.30 ...

Oops !

Got a fair bit done though, got through a few quest series that will open up access to some very nice kit. Completely missed Aginoth's debut in Eve though. Sorry Agi ...

Time for dinner. [checks watch] Uhoh ...

Tuesday, January 17, 2006


I hurt ...

Which I deserve :-) It's my body's way of telling me that I'm a lazy git who should be in training or at least getting regular exercise.

What's the problem ? The wicket keeping from last night means a lot of crouch, stand, crouch, stand etc. Plus there's short, sharp sprints on slippery floors. And bowling, which exercises the shoulder. So I have sore quads (upper front leg) and my right side is a bit stiff. What it means is that I have to concentrate on painblocking in order to walk around. But I'm not too bothered about that :-) It'll steadily slacken off over the next few days and it's nowhere near being permanent damage. I got away with potential cramp - my left calf felt like a piece of iron yesterday but I got enough water in me to prevent it from going BANG.

What I am concerned about still is my neck and my ribs. My neck is a carry over from my dislocated shoulder and I really should get it looked at. I get the feeling that the fella who did physio on my shoulder originally caused the problem in my neck. The ribs still feel as if I've been jammed in the side with a spiky thing due to an attempt at making a throw easier at the end of last cricket season.

Heh heh heh - I can still, walk, talk and turn a game of cricket around though, so that's one way of saying - "I'm still here ! Ready to kick butt and take the names of the people I run out"

Next game - 6th Feb and I'm looking forward to it already. Despite the likelihood of a repetition of the soreness I have now.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Small Swings vs Sloggers

Game tonight :-) 4pm until 5pm at work's gym. I play for the team around the corner, which has lots of decent looking young ladies working for it. We're "Small Swings", the other side were the "Sloggers". Bit of a contrast already in what the two teams go for I think ...

They batted first, which means I stand behind the stumps, waiting for the batsman to miss it. There were lots of accomodating people tonight who just wandered down the wicket slightly, letting me stump them. A wicket takes 5 runs off the score so that was being rather profitable :-)

Everyone has to bowl two overs and mine came in the middle and end. I have a shoulder problem, which means my bowling isn't as reliable as I'd like (used to be a strike bowler for a village team) but I managed to keep the nasty ones to a minimum tonight. 10 runs and 5 runs off my overs. The other side got 55 in the end off the 12 overs, which is not something to write home about. My batting record is I think 54 in 4 overs ... I think my bowling suffers from not having my wicket keeping to get the stumpings :-)

We batted next and cos I'm not anywhere near fit yet (down to 13stone 2 last night ! from 14stone 2 a few months ago) skipper let me have a break, having me bat in the middle. First pair got 37, my pair also got 37 and our last pair got 44, making our total 118.

Handy win :-) Not as spectacular as we could have been, the ball can make the game a bit of a lottery. It's good to know you can make a difference though :-) We had 2 outs for -10 runs in all, they had 11 outs for -55 runs in all. When you also consider that you don't score off those balls, the actual loss for us was something like -14, with the average loss for them being -77. My keeping must have gained us about 6-7 of those outs.

They really were being that suicidal.

It's real good to know that when your main skills aren't that effective (I'm work's opening batsman and should be a main bowler), that you can contribute in other ways. That's tonight's game - both sides played pretty well, with us having a better run with things. It was also played in excellent spirit, which is the most important thing about these games.

PS I'll add a Blog post sometime summarising the rules :-) They're a little bit different to the outdoor game.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Game today, game tomorrow !

I'm honestly writing this post at the time it says on the bottom, I'm not playing with the time buttons again ... honest ...

Ok. Maybe cheating a little ...

Heh - my World of Warcraft retirement probably lasted until this weekend. Friday night was spent in the Lower Black Rock Spire, which we completed. I logged on today lunchtime to put some items up for auction and immediately got a "Please help!" from people I like. So I jumped ... Completed that place too ... Although I didn't tank quite as well as I'd like. Still learning. I also got a "Please help !" from the guild as well, so we hit the Lower Black Rock Spire again tonight.

Completed it again :-) Not as well as the other day but still pretty well. And I got another bit of loot to keep as well. I'm finding the tanking to be a lot more fun than the mage job but then I always get more fun from a bigger challenge.

No WoW for me tomorrow though - cricket instead :-) Which will turn my brain to absolute mush due to what usually happens when I'm running around. I even have trouble counting to six when I'm bowling, with the number six being the number of balls in an over. Yep - my brain goes [fry][sizzle][pop].

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Par-tay !

Here at the Family Aginoth place today. We be watching a heap of dvds and nattering.

Lots of natter about blogs cos they're even more addictive than things like World of Warcraft.

Seen Scooby Doo 1 so far, which is good fun and has Linda Cardellini in it, which is enough to keep me happy. We'll be watching The Island later. Hmm. Scarlett Johannssen. Hmm.

Dreamy moment - Please wait until normal service is resumed

Ah - that's better. More later maybe. Currently sitting here, stealing an Aginoth laptop, writing this entry with an evil grin on my face. Muahahahaha !

What a rush ...

It's funny how a job that needs a huge amount of concentration and attention paid to it gives you a rush when it ends up as a job well done. I took my warrior into the Lower Black Rock Spire today, to help a few people through a quest sequence.

How did it go ? Before that, I'll give a little history. We've hammered at this place before and it wasn't pretty. It took a lot of effort and frustration to get the job done. Tonight, the team was Zalzar healing, Tauranius doing everything, Tarook being mage and Augorn being ranged damage with his hunter. My job, as the professional punchbag (aka warrior) is to hit enough things just enough, so that the bad guys hit you instead of the more vulnerable people. How did we do ? We aced it ... We died about 3-4 times but you expect that. Sometimes you just can't stop extra mobs coming in, which is when you have lots of problems. But despite that, we got all the way to the end, with the bosses (toughest things in the area) not knowing what hit them.

How did I do ? I run something called damagemeters, which is a stats person's dream. Even though I only contributed 1/7th of the damage, between 5 people, I hogged 54% of the damage done to us :-) Which, considering that a hit on me does half the damage that a hit on a mage or priest would do, I'm pretty impressed with that. However, it helps having a decent priest to keep you alive. We announced what we'd done on the Guildlink chat channel and were greeted with disbelief :-) Think I'll be walking my warrior into future raids. When I take my breaks from semi WoW retirement that is ...

Oh yeah - I got to spend an hour in the same room as the lovely Miss L while at work, so a very good day all round.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Who am I ?

Ha - I've been struggling for the past 15 minutes to figure out something to put today, so I thought I'd give a little bit about me. Things that people who know me now have only seen glimpses of.

Curious ? Muhahahaha !

What do I do ? I'm an Electronic Engineer by trade, specialising in computers and software. I studied at Nottingham University, taking 4 years to do a Masters in Engineering. Since then, I haven't actually used much of what I learnt in the lecture hall, I've used what I learnt at home with the PC instead. I'm still using that as well ... You see, I build my own computers, have done for 10 years now, starting with my second. It's a pretty good way to get something better without spending huge amounts in one go.

I'm now using that Electronic Engineering to help out on a project that needs a lot of computers to work together, in different linked systems. They need to pass data around between them, they need to be robust and they need decent performance. And they need to be usable by normal people. So that's what I do ! I try to get my fingers into absolutely everything ...

Fun :-) Especially when you get full clearance to do digging where people didn't really want to tell you anything.

Back to uni - 4 years at Nottingham, where I met friends who I've kept up with since leaving. There's 1 or 2 Centre Parcs trips every year, where we meet up, play games and where I get challenged at badminton. The fella I was chatting to on Eve last Sunday is one of those friends.

1st year - I got second in the year, with an 82% average. I also met someone called Alyse who I eventually ended up going out with in my second year.
2nd year - Alyse and the PC appeared ... and my work done amount suddenly went through the floor ... Oh yeah - I was also the van driver for the hall shop, which my Astra didn't thank me for.
3rd year - Living in a house with Alyse and Fraser (Maths grad, very smart - First +10% probably). Moved into the house to find Alyse curled up with some other bloke ... End of that relationship. Shame I still had to live there for the rest of the year. I spent most of the time at the uni hall with the Centre Parcs people.
4th year - Living with the Centre Parcs people. This was actually a fun year but I'd got disenchanted with the uni lecturers and uni method by then. If I'm looking at things that have been done many times before, I'm just not interested ...

So that's uni ... and that's it for now ! Especially as the dinner bell's (microwave timer) been gonging for the past 5 minutes ...

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

What's your birthday mean ?

This one comes courtesy of time travel, as well as Craziequeen's and Dawn's blog. Tomorrow's blog today ! After a gap, I'm trying to stay ahead.

Curious results ... I can see some of it in me but not all. Wonder what other people think ... I like the month bit. Easter comes in April, which means Easter Eggs. Best time of the year outside November/December.

Your Birthdate: November 13

You're dominant and powerful. You always need to be in charge.
While others respect your competence, you can be a bit of a dictator.
Hard working and serious, you never let yourself down.
You are exact and accurate - and you expect others to be the same way.

Your strength: You always get the job done

Your weakness: You're a perfectionist to a fault

Your power color: Gray

Your power symbol: Checkmark

Your power month: April

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Sinking a Temple

Ah well. My world of warcraft retirement lasted until today. I came back in to help out some guildmates carry out some murder, death, mayhem and destruction.

My job ? Take all the hits so they don't have to ... Did ok too, ended up as the top damage taker, which was good, because I was the lowest level there. Lower level means you don't do as much damage, which makes it harder to persuade the mobs to hit you. Trick is to do a little bit of damage to everything, so it goes for you instead of the fella who's trying to heal you.

The downside is that you don't tend to do very much damage. It's a selfless task, you need to go kamikaze because of the way the damage rules work. If a mob hits for 1000 damage, that damage gets reduced by armour. Bashara has lots of armour, giving around 55% reduction. That means that the 1000 hit only does 450 damage. With Iceangel, she only has 10% reduction, making that 1000 hit do 900 damage. If you also factor in the damage that can be taken, Bash can take 9 of those hits, whereas Ice will be dead after 3. So the aim is to get all of the hits going in against the tank, with the warrior class being specialised to have lots of tricks to persuade mobs to hit them.

It was pretty food fun too. Being the damage leader means I was doing my job properly, which was confirmed by no one dying over the whole time we were in there. Pretty decent achievement, although we were maybe a little overpowered for it. It'll be tougher on Friday - will be tanking for a group in a harder instance.

Mostly avoided paying attention to everything outside the job at hand and I wasn't in the capital city too much. The capital is where the morons tend to congregate.

On to Stargate ... and then to Battlestar Galactica so I can see what happens before reading all about it on the work forums tomorrow.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Eve ho

I like Teamspeak, it's a many to many voice communication thingummy that lets groups of people talk to each other online. Extremely useful for gaming as it means you don't have to type things in and you don't have to have a chat window open either.

Anyway, had Aginoth and Mrs A on there last night, running a Civ4 game as well and today I had Widget from Eve on there too. Widget is played by a very good friend from uni. Might even restart my World of Warcraft addiction by moving to his server.

(breakout - Bloody hell Claudia Black is hot. Watching the Stargate SG1 episode that introduces Vala)

Back to Eve - I've got to the point where I can ditch the starter ship in exchange for something far, far better. Merlin class frigate called Iceberg which lasted about 30 minutes before being blown out from under me by a pirate player. Ah well ... Widget bought me a new one.

(Claudia Black is really hot) Glad I taped this SG1 episode - I've been ignoring the Channel 4 ones because they're a season back on what's on Sky. But Vala is definitely worth it. Might need a cold shower in a bit.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

New Year Meme

Saw this one on Mrs A's Blog and couldn't resist nicking it ...

Here's the original : The musings of a juggling mother: A new year meme

1. What did you do in 2005 that you’d never done before?
Visit a different continent - the USA

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I don't tend to make resolutions at a certain time of the year, but I do try setting targets for myself. The target for now is to get ready for a better season this summer, which means being ok to bowl, which also means losing a little weight (only about a stone).

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
Heh - Mrs A - the person who I nicked this Meme idea from !

4. Did anyone close to you die?
No, unless you count the numerous times I killed off my World of Warcraft characters ... (probably doesn't count !)

5. What countries did you visit?
USA and Scotland. Hey ! When you don't go to that many other countries, you have to include the really close ones ! Forgot Wales - visited there as well.

6. What would you like to have in 2006 that you lacked in 2005?

7. What dates from 2005 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
June. See above ...

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Highest score batting - only 40 but it's improving ... Would have liked to get a bowling average under 20 as well (I should average 10) but the shoulder didn't quite cooperate.

9. What was your biggest failure?
Keeping myself intact, failure to foresee what would happen after coming back from the States.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Muahahaha ! I always suffer injuries ... I just play too hard. This year, it's intercostal muscles on the right side and a reoccurance of the groin strain. No broken bones this year, as far as I know. I rarely feel the breaks. At least I didn't tear up the shoulder again, just the rib area.

11. What was the best thing you bought?
I'm tempted to say World of Warcraft, because it kept me entertained for most of the year and it made up for the lack of company.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
The Crazies for putting up with me over a rough summer. Miss L for giving me some confidence back (she probably doesn't realise that she got me back on the road to getting out of a deep depression pit). IT Girl for being an angelic pixie. Oh yeah - Zaphyr/Zalzar, Souleater, Re/Charge, Fubb and Makai.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?

14. Where did most of your money go?
Mortgage and remortgage (having to release some equity because of what happened in June). Car for petrol, apart from that though, I'm pretty economical. £275 on a washing machine ?

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
The USA trip.

16. What song will always remind you of 2005?
Tough one - I'll have to go for Free, a rare demo track from Alisha's Attic.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:a) happier or sadder?
Little of both. The future is a little clearer and I don't feel as if I'm marking time any more. Which makes me happier. Bit sadder though due to lack of company.

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?
Getting out more. More exercise.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?
Snacking ! One of the things I'm trying to do now is to not eat when I don't have to, instead of just constantly grazing.

20. How will you be spending New Year’s Eve?
Spent New Year's Eve playing Eve, an online multiplayer game that I'm just starting out with. So a quiet night ... Think I started my Star Wars marathon that night as well.

21. Did you fall in love in 2005?
Several times :-) But one now completely ignores me and I'm not sure about the other 2.

22. How many one-night stands?

23. What was your favorite TV program?
Stargate Atlantis. Good start for that one takes it ahead of my other unmissable - ER, which has been slipping a little of late.

24. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?
Hate is a sad waste of time and energy. There's a few people who I'll be avoiding over the next year or so but I wouldn't say I hate them. Pity is a more appropriate word.

25. What was the best book you read?
I'll go for 3 here, which still counts because they're re-releasing those three as a single book. David Weber - Mutineer's Moon, Armageddon Inheritance and Heirs of Empire.

26. What was your greatest musical discovery?
Being free to listen to music again instead of having to ignore cartoons.

27. What did you want and get?
England winning the Ashes back.

28. What did you want and not get?
An injury free year.

29. What was your favorite film of this year?

30. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
Bought donuts for the team at work, restarting a tradition that had faded :-) Went to see my parents and sister and got molested by the dogs. 31 this year.

31.What one thing made your year measurably more satisfying?
Being in control of my destiny again instead of having to manage and apologise for a manic depressive.

32. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2005?
Does it fit ? Does it have a subversive message, does it have any holes in it.

33. What kept you sane?
Work people, the Crazies, World of Warcraft core guildmates and joining them is this blog. This blog is letting me talk about the things that normally wouldn't get known about due to not getting past the exterior. If someone asks me "everything ok?", it turns me into a pathological liar because the alternative would be a thirty minute summary.

34. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Suzi Perry.

35. What political issue stirred you the most?
Iraq - should never have been sucked back in there by the Americans.

36. Who did you miss?
Family because I don't go back to see them as much as I could. Brother still.

37. Who was the best new person you met?
Miss L.

38. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2005.
Make sure you can stand on your own before demanding help from others.

39. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.
"I wrapped up all the love we had And threw it in your face" from Alisha's Attic's Valentines '98.


Got a little distracted by Aginoth challenging me to a Civ 4 game.

Well, the challenge is really tomorrow when Agi and Mrs A connect up for a game ... But we just had to do a test run tonight, starting at about 8pm (when we got it going) and finishing at 12 when we'd finished knocking out the Romans.

Managed to avoid thumping Agi so far but that won't last. There's only 5 turns before I start building tanks and I have a heap of cavalry left from thumping the Romans.

PS Looks like the Moo2 post attracted some attention from random searches :-) Hi people :-). Now wondering what will happen after I do an oldie review of Tie Fighter and XCom.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Old game appreciation society

Heh heh heh - I haven't got any better ideas for today, so it's Old Game Appreciation Society time ! When I do one of these, I'll be giving a mini review of my memories of a game so old you're not likely to ever find it.

First up : Master of Orion 2. The copyright on this one dates all the way back to 1996. And it's still installed on my main machine. That's gotta be some kind of record ...

Anyway - what is it ? Think Civilisation in space and you won't go far wrong. It's a little simpler than Civ though, instead of having a map that you navigate units over, you steer fleets between solar systems. They can only go system to system, which makes it even easier. It's grand scale space strategy in the best way - as in turn based. I like the turn based style because it gives you time to think. You can also manage everything in your own time, instead of being rushed like in real time games.

What's it offer ? Total customisation of ships, gameplay that works nicely without getting in the way and the satisfaction of knowing when you've turned the corner into turning the Avalanche of Doom on your enemies (ahem - neighbours). However, that said, when you do get into the position of unleashing the Avalanche of Doom (Stars - think Star Wars Death Star ...), it turns into a bit of a grind because there's nothing the computer can do about it.

I play on impossible and I deliberately make it hard with the most important bit by choosing a race that doesn't research well. On the other hand, they go nuts when the time comes to build warships. It's a well balanced game.

Anyway - Master Of Orion 2, still on my machine after 10 years. I even go back in to have another poke at the computer now and then too ... It narrowly beats its predecessor because it has better customisation. Instead of having fleets of 30000 small missile boats, the Moo2 hitting fleet size is more like 10 Death Stars. It's light years ahead of its disappointing successor and handily takes the crown of Sleepy's Favourite Space Strategy, beating out contendors including : Imperium Galactica, Pax Imperia II, Stars! and Star Wars Supremacy (aka Rebellion for the US). I've also looked at GalCiv but that isn't going on my list because I didn't actually rate it. Thought the balance was badly off and the developers have a serious attitude problem.

PS Back to work today, only had two people coming up to me asking about PC problems ... One's looking to acquire new stuff, the other has a mate who has a virus.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Back to work ...

Ah well. End of holiday tomorrow with me going back into the office.

On the one hand, I've got the normal anti-work feelings but on the other hand, I'm strangely looking forward to going back in.

I'll be handing over the David Weber book to the fella who's been borrowing them off me. I'll be catching up with the friends. I'll be interacting with the Crazies over email and I'll be hopefully finding excuses to harass certain people :-)

In the meantime though, 5 minutes until my dinner burns, which will probably make me pause Return of the Jedi during the scene when Leia gets introduced in disguise.

Yep - I'm looking forward to work. There's the IT Girl to harass, Diablo to take the mick out of and an RCA to wind up. Plus a few more besides ... Just gotta get up in time to get a car parking space ... That reminds me - I better get a picture of me with the minibeard so I can pass it on to RCA. It's coming off tomorrow - I think I'm allergic to my own beard !

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Chinese Farmer

Is a term that people use in the online games when talking about the people who play the multiplayer online games professionally. Search on Ebay for World of Warcraft gold sellers and you'll get to them rather quickly. It's a term used to describe the people who will be on the game, going from mob to fast respawning mob, trying to get as much gold or items from them. They're the source of much ridicule and hate, especially when the mobs they are farming tend to be quest mobs ... (They get in the way of people getting on in the game.)

And then there's the requirements for something coming soon to WoW - the things needed for the opening of a gate in one of the new regions :

60,000 Heavy Leather 60,000 Rugged Leather 80,000 Thick Leather 96,000 Peacebloom 19,000 Firebloom 26,000 Purple Lotus 90,000 Copper Bars 18,000 Mithril Bars 22,000 Tin Bars 400,000 Runecloth Bandages 250,000 Mageweave Bandages 250,000 Wool Bandages 17,000 Spotted yellowtail 10,000 Baked Salmon 10,000 Lean Wolf Steak

Ok, some of that is easy and it's made easier by the bits being gathered by all of the players on the server. Yep - between 1000 and 1500 online at peak times on the Maelstrom. But to me, it just looks like another example of the insane amount of farming that has to be done to get on in the game.

Think I got out at the right time.

The old ones ...

... are always the best.

(I like my cliches)

Just from the opening half hour or so of Star Wars A New Hope, I'm reminded of why it must have been such a sensation in its day. And then I'm reminded of the Star Wars games that were around in the early days of proper PC gaming. Games like XWing, Tie Fighter and lastly, XWing v Tie Fighter.

I never went all the way through XWing, it was quality ... but it had missions that were insanely difficult. And I got my first PC after its successor, Tie Fighter, came out. So I ended up fighting for the Imperials. There's been certain games that have stood out in the era they were produced and Tie Fighter definitely is one of the best of its era. Of course, you'd struggle to run it on a modern PC now but that's what Slowpoke is for. Slowpoke is my old PC, specially rebuilt to run games like Tie Fighter and Master of Magic. I'm not likely to play Tie Fighter again as the more modern games have gone past it. But it still has its charm ... Like the original XCom, I'm known to have the odd raid into that one still ...

Hmm. Subject for future Blog entry - what's my favourite games ! Hmm. That would be :
1 - What's my favourite games
2 - What games have I spent most time on
Different list for both - we shall see what I come up with sometime soon.

In the meantime, it's nearly time for Mos Eisley. You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy.

PS Music can have a definite effect. I think it's one of the things that make the first Star Wars what it is. It fits what's happening on screen perfectly. It also works well with those Star Wars games as well, as the games adapt the music to play different bits of the score according to what you're up to. And it does a very good job of it too ...

Monday, January 02, 2006

Marathon continues

2 down, now watching the third ...

Only seen Revenge of the Sith once and that was in the cinema. It's been good watching them in turn as I'm seeing more of the setups come together. Mind you, it's George Lucas here, so the setups are in plain sight and easy to decipher. But I like Star Wars anyway.

Going to have to read the Rogue Squadron books again. They're by Michael Stackpole and Aaron Allston, who both set up excellent, believable characters. And any story should be about the characters. If the authors get too impressed by the technology, a la Star Trek, it can bog down the story and make it boring.

Currently reading a book by Michael Stackpole set in the Mechwarrior universe. It's not bad, I'm enjoying it so far. It's definitely going better than the last book I read, War of Honor by David Weber. 920 pages in that, with over 700 dedicated to interstellar politics (yawn) and not enough on the actual war bit.

Anyway, back to the film ... and my dinner which will be burning in 7 minutes.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Star Wars Marathon

Time for a big grin ...

Been meaning to watch all six Star Wars films in a run for a little while now, session starts here :-) I won't finish tonight, maybe tomorrow morning. Nah. 2 films and I'll break for the night. Think I'd faint from lack of food before the third one finished anyway.

Got caught in Civ 4 today ... which meant starting at around 11.30am and coming out with a Domination win at 9.00pm after terrorizing most of the known world with my all conquering tanks. The year at the end of the game ? 1754. Yep - tank rush started at around 1680AD. Think I must have got a good start. Maybe I need to up the difficulty as well.

Oh no ! Jar Jar Binks just made his entrance. Glad I'm distracted by blogging ...

Last thought - this is my second day (could be third) away from World of Warcraft and that feeling of being heavily used is happily going away. No - that feeling's not down to the people in the guild, it's to do with something else to do with the server we play on. I might expand on that in a future post.

Happy New Year

I hope 2006 brings people all the good things they were expecting and a few nice surprises that they weren't expecting.

(crosses fingers for Suzi Perry knocking on me door)