Archive for the ‘Off-Topic’ Category
I was going to write a post today about burning bridges because I received a particularly nasty note yesterday from someone that I genuinely enjoyed and it’s been eating at me since I read it. But when I sat down to write, I decided that I didn’t really want to think much about that vitriol filled note right now. I may still write the post, but the hurt is too fresh and my thoughts too muddled, so I’m going to think about it for awhile. Instead, I thought I’d share with you what I did today while I was in Aspen, because it was something really beautiful. And right now I need beautiful more than I need nasty.
(this was taken with my iPhone – I can’t wait to see what the ones taken with my camera turn out like!)
I’m traveling the next week and a half for work. It’s a trip that I take every year, and one that affords me two days in Aspen, Colorado. Usually I walk around and window shop during my stay here, but this year I decided to ride the gondola to the top of the mountain. It’s about a 20 minute ride to the top, and I learned very quickly that I don’t do particularly well in enclosed spaces hundreds of feet above the ground. I also decided it’s a good thing that I don’t ski, cause I’m not sure I could handle the open air lifts! Anyhow, a few deep breaths and an internal conversation convincing me that I wasn’t going to plummet to my death every time the wind blew, and before I knew it I was on top of the mountain. It was breathtaking. And it was completely worth it. I feel fresh and invigorated after my visit.
Warning: This post will have spoilers for all three of the Hunger Games books. If you haven’t read them yet, you may not want to continue reading this post. If you get to the end, and are pissed that I spoiled something, I will simply remind you that the very first thing I wrote in this post was a warning.
My hands have had a bit of a set back the past few weeks. While the original issue has somewhat plateaued in the improvement department, about three weeks ago I developed additional tendon damage/injury to my left thumb/wrist area. While this has been highly disappointing, and the new injury has affected more than just playing on the PC (trying working with fondant when your hands hurt trying to soften it up or color it, or try shuffling a deck of cards when the action causes pain in your thumb), I’m trying to roll with the punches and facilitate as quick a recovery as possible. Which means that I’m not spending a lot of time on the computer and I am again spending a good deal of time reading, watching TV and doing other things.
I bring this up, because over the weekend as I sat and enjoyed one of the ten days of sunshine we get here in Seattle, I finished up the Hunger Games trilogy. In fact, I was so involved in them that Saturday night found me up way past my bed time trying to finish the final book (I sadly had to give up with about 75 pages left when I just couldn’t keep my eyes open any more). Anyhow, as I read through the three books and observed the changes in Katniss and the other characters I had some thoughts on them that I wanted to flesh out, and figured this is about as good a place as any to do so. Before I move on, I want to again remind you that I am about to enter into spoiler territory, and if you haven’t read the books yet, you may well want to stop reading this post now.
Read the rest of this entry »
I made this cake for Brade’s brother’s birthday (inside joke), but I think it turned out really well!
There isn’t a whole lot new on the WoW front. We finished getting everyone a firehawk last week, so I can finally say that I am (mostly) done with Firelands! We have an out of guild tank that has been helping us for the past month-ish and so we will probably do one more run to send a firehawk his way as a thank you. But other than that, I think we’ve likely put that fiery lord to rest once and for all.
We are still trucking along clearing out Dragon Soul every week. And, honestly, I think that is note worthy. I know that there are a lot of people who have stopped this effort, and each week that we get a full raid team together to continue pushing through I am grateful. Ends of expansions are hard. Motivation is lacking. This year it has the misfortune to compete with summer. And, honestly, after seven months of clearing the same content to be able to come together as a team and do it one more time each week shows dedication. And that, in my opinion, should be heralded.
I am a little more than disappointed with beta testing right now. I am not going to lie, I’m sitting somewhere at level 88 (or like a bubble from it, maybe), and lost some desire to continue my level push when Diablo came out. It had long been my intent to make a pre-made 90 to hit the raid content when it became available. Except that they have started some of the raid testing, and announced that they would not have pre-made 90’s available yet. I was disappointed, to say the least, but started looking at my schedule to find some time to push my character to level 90. And then they announced the raid test times…which so far are all when I’m still at work.
I understand that Blizzard is in the same time zone that I am, and that they want their folks to be able to go home at a reasonable time every evening. But man does it really suck to want to be a part of beta testing for raids and realize that it’s not going to be a possibility because you are on the west coast and have a commitment that keeps you from being at home during testing times. That has pretty much driven any desire to continue to level to 90 right out. The reason to get to 90 was to get a feel for how my class plays in a raid setting at max level, and realizing that it is unlikely for that to be an option for me pretty much bums me out completely. Read the rest of this entry »
Have you ever had one of those weeks where you wish you could just fast forward to the end of it and be done already? That was pretty much my week last week. The oddest part was that I was off of work last week. You would think that it would be relaxing, laid back, enjoyable! But you’d be wrong! You see, Brade had surgery on Tuesday – nothing overly major as far as surgeries go – just a day thing, but lord if that week didn’t take it out of me. By the end of the week, I was so exhausted that even if I didn’t want to sleep my body was telling me to get my ass into bed.
I sort of feel like I need a vacation from my vacation!
Anyhow, one of the upsides to having the week off (even if there were a lot of down sides as well) was that in between Brade care I had a lot of extra time to play Diablo. I’ve been enjoying it quite a bit, and have even surprised myself with how adept I’ve become at it. I played through the normal version alone, wanting to enjoy every nook, cranny, barrel, jar of ash, bookcase and loose stone in my own slow, tedious glory. I finished all the way through the story with a Witch Doctor, and then started up a Barbarian on the side.
However, once I finished, I surprised myself by wanted to try the harder modes. Which, really, isn’t something I expected. But about 3/4 of the way through normal, I asked Brade to hold off on Nightmare with his first character (a demon hunter) until I could catch up, so that we could co-op. And so we trucked through Nightmare together, adding a third in our co-op for the last two acts. I didn’t really feel that the difficulty had ramped up that much, and I really enjoyed the second play through. I even threw caution to the wind and started to venture my way into the Auction House a little bit. By the end of Nightmare, I found myself excited to venture into Hell. Again, something of a surprise to me.
On Saturday, we finished out Nightmare and started Hell. I’ve been running this build with my Witch Doctor, through all of Act 1 Hell, and it’s been working out for me fairly well. I’ve been debating giving up one of my passives for Pierce the Veil, but I’m undecided as yet. I may also eventually swap out Wall of Zombies of the confusion ability, but I’m liking wall of zombies so far. I will say that Hell is most definitely a step up in difficulty. In fact, I think I’d even say it forces you to re-evaluate the way that you play and requires you to think outside of the box, and I find that fun. I can’t tell you how many times we’ve had our ass handed to us by an unexpected elite pack, or how much trouble we’ve gotten into with our (my) obsession for killing every treasure goblin we find.
We intend to start Act 2 Hell tonight, and I find myself excited to see what the difficulty offers as we progress. So far, I’ve enjoyed the curve, and the challenges presented, and I can’t wait to see how everything plays out as we get towards the end of the game. I’ve heard a lot of bad things about Inferno levels of play, but I’ve also heard some fun things about it as well. I never really pictured myself as the player that would venture into that level of play – I’ve never been one to put a game on it’s hardest setting “just because the challenge is there”. So I do wonder if I have the mettle for Inferno. I do think that I will at least try it and see if I can muster up the mettle it would take to finish.
In addition to the Witch Doctor (which I’m loving), I’ve gotten my barbarian about half way through the third act. I’ve really enjoyed plaything this character. There is something very primal and satisfying about smashing in faces with a giant weapon. I can’t explain it, it just feels good! I will probably venture into checking out the wizard next and seeing how it plays out for me. One thing that I think I can say has been great, has been the ability to swap between characters and do something different for awhile. I think that it is refreshing, and has added a good deal of enjoyment to my game. I also think it is a large part of the reason that I’ve decided to try some of the harder difficulties in the game.
Anyhow, I feel like this Diablo brain dump is starting to get a little rambly. It isn’t quite the post I had envisioned when I started writing, but sometimes that happens and you just have to go where the post is taking you. In this case, into the very jumbled, sleep deprived parts of my mind that have been pre-occupied with Diablo!
I know I have been enjoying the game, but I’d love to hear your thoughts on it if you are also playing! Do you like the story? Do you like the game play? How do you feel about the different levels of difficulty?
I was in the middle of working on a post about Symbiosis when I came across some information regarding Diablo III that was so awesome that I had to stop and share. While everyone in the world has been battling full servers, error 37 and a myriad of other Diablo III launch issues, I wanted to take a minute and highlight a truly amazing step that Blizzard has taken for their Australian clientele. I do not know if you are aware of the troubles that GAME Australia has recently faced, but they have recently (and rather untimely for Australia’s Diablo playerbase) entered into “Administration”. From what I can tell, this is relatively equivalent to Chapter 11 Bankruptcy here in the United States.
It seems that it’s an attempt by the company to enter into re-orginization, and in the process adjust (or erase) many of their debts, so that they can continue operations. What that means is that the company becomes protected from their creditors while an attempt is made to see if the company can be salvaged – or if they need to go into a full on bankruptcy (chapter 7 here in the US) and liquidate/cease to exist. It is not uncommon for a bankruptcy to be assigned a trustee (in this case administrator) to continue the business operations while a company is undergoing a bankruptcy. It is also not uncommon for unsecured creditors to basically have to kiss all or part of their investments, inventory or funds goodbye.
What is so unfortunate in this situation is that everyone who put down any amount of money for a pre-order of Diablo III, be it a reserve amount or a payment in full, fell into the category of an “unsecured creditor” in this circumstance – as the Administrator determined that GAME would not be receiving any copies of Diablo for sale (the reasoning for this makes a lot of sense – the cliff’s notes version is that likely the Administrator is preventing the purchase of any additional assets, or accrual of additional debt, to protect GAME’s current creditors). Unfortunately, what this meant for Australia’s GAME customers is that they were pretty much left in the cold, holding a claim for the funds that they paid, with nary a hope of ever receiving a nickel of it back.
But then Blizzard did something that I honestly cannot say I’ve seen any other third party company do in a Bankruptcy – they stepped up and protected their customers. Or, to put it another way, Blizzard stepped in and cleaned up a giant mess that GAME left for those who pre-ordered Blizzard’s intellectual property from GAME.
We’re aware that some Australian GAME customers have been left out in the cold on what should be the hottest night of the year — the launch of Diablo III. To help with this situation and get these players into the game as soon as possible, we’ve put the following process in place.Australian GAME customers with a valid preorder/prepurchase receipt dated before May 15, 2012 can do the following:1. Purchase the digital version of Diablo III from http://www.diablo3.com
now or anytime before May 21, 2012.
2. Download and start playing when the servers go live!
3. Submit your GAME Australia preorder/prepurchase receipt to us before June 30, 2012.
4. Receive a credit from Blizzard, for the amount you paid in advance to GAME Australia for Diablo III. This credit will be applied to the payment method used for the digital purchase.
We’ll post further details here on how to submit your GAME Australia receipt to our customer service team as soon as possible. Stay tuned, and we look forward to seeing you in the Burning Hells!
Basically, what is happening here is that Blizzard is paying GAME’s unsecured creditors who own a claim for any part of the cost of Diablo III. Which means that Blizzard is going to absorb the loss of GAME’s poor business decisions, to ensure that Blizzard’s customer’s aren’t getting the short end of this particular stick. I haven’t done a ton of research on if other companies have taken similar steps in the past – so I cannot say that it is “unprecedented” – but I will say that this is extremely rare. And amazing. Really, really amazing.
So the next time you are really angry at Blizzard about something (like not having the smoothest of game launches or nerfing paladins), and you want to accuse them of not caring about their players, I implore you to remember this. Because I am going to straight up say that this is far more than “above and beyond” on Blizzard’s part. I take my hat off to you, Blizzard, and will say that you have gained an innumerable amount of esteem with me.
I am a little distracted this week, so if I seem off or inattentive I apologize in advace. There are a few reasons for this, but I think the largest of them is that I am making a surprise visit home over the weekend. I haven’t been home for probably over six years, so this in and of itself is of some note, but the reason I’m going home is much more important.
You see, roughly seven or so years ago I nudged my mother into going to college. She’d had me very young, and in a time when women attending college were still more an exception than a rule, which meant that even though she really wanted to achieve a higher education, she instead raised a child. She’s always been quite brilliant, so it was easy to talk her into considering that higher education now that her children were all grown up.
I told her to start with just a few courses at the community college, and see how it suited her. Well, it turns out that it suited her quite well. Because after lying down the base course work required, she applied to the college of education at one of the major universities in the area, and the one formally known as the teacher’s university, and received admission. It took her a few years longer than it would your average student, because she continued to work while going to school. But here some seven years later, she is graduating with a college degree.
She excelled at her academics (I’m not surprised) and will be walking with something like a 3.9 GPA. She aced her licensure exam and scored within the top 5% of all people in the country sitting for the exam, something that will be noted on her permanent licensure record. And I am exceedingly proud of her.
And so, come Thursday afternoon, my father will be picking me up at the airport and taking me home. I will be walking in the door, a complete surprise to my mother, and taking her to her graduation. Followed the day after my a celebration I’ve been organizing with my uncle for family to share in her achievements. I can’t wait to see the look on her face.
It also occurs to me that my mom will be sharing this particular graduation celebration with a number of other people who are also reaching milestones in their lives, and that those folks should be lauded as well. So I want to take this moment and congratulate all of you who will be proudly crossing that stage this May. I wish you a bright and fulfilled future!
Or so I’m told, anyhow. Perhaps I tell myself that just to keep me sane. I mean, I have been digging for the crawling claw for quite some time. I had started to believe that it just did not exist, and it was some cruel joke that WoW Devs were playing with me. Let’s face it, I have enough tiny mosaics to cover an entire pyramid. I have enough emerald eyed cats to put Earnest Hemingway to shame. I have enough scimitars to arm an entire army. So there I was on my 238th Tol’vir solve today. Not expecting anything special, perhaps a map, maybe sand castle, and there it was!
I may, or may not, have screamed as if I’d just found Ed McMahon at my front door advising me that I’d just won the publisher’s clearinghouse sweepstakes. It may, or may not, have cause Brade to say “could we stop screaming now” (hey! it’s not my fault he’s a downer!). But there is was. All mine, with only 150 fragments. Unfortunately I had errands to run before the raid, and I went into the raid a mere 19 fragments short of my prize. But don’t worry – I was right back digging in the dirt the second we finished (and the elation when my 150th fragment hit my bags was almost enough to make me forget the pain of our ~30% spine wipe).
And just in case you didn’t already know, the claw is a fun interactive pet as well! Check it out!
Needless to say, I will be taking a break from playing in the dirt for awhile. I wish I could say “forever”, but the truth of the matter is that I will likely torture myself a little more to finish out the achievements in the category.