Monday, April 25, 2005

v3.8 - Today in History

Good Morning Folks!

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Ahhh, another week of work ahead of us and a crummy week of work behind us. Doesn't it feel just GREAT? We can now look back on the crap last week and finally put it all behind us. Look out people, a brand new week of crap is incoming!! :)

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I paint such nice pictures don''t I? :)

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How was everyone''s weekend? Mine was just super spectacular! We celebrated my son''s 5th birthday on Saturday. It was a tiresome day, but a lot of fun. The weather this weekend was superb, being over 20 degrees Celsius every day and sunny. My son had some friends and family members over and they had fun playing Pin the Spider on the Spider Man and various other birthday games. Folks, it is FINALLY over! We have survived (?) another April with only one last event left to celebrate. This time it isn''t a birthday, this time it is my wife and I's 6 year anniversary.

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Well, it has been almost 6 years we've been together. I can honestly say I''m happy with the way this relationship is working out. Sure, we've had our ups and downs and no relationship is complete without some pretty wicked fights; Katie and I have endured all that and we are still together today. I would have to say the hardest times in this relationship where during her off moments before we found out about her Thyroid issues. The issues that would set her off into a strange mood or change her feelings in the blink of an eye. Those were the hardest times and we made it through those times and now she has been treated and is doing very well.

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Sometimes I sit back and dwell on those days and wonder how the hell we ever pulled through it. I remember the fights and the hurt feelings and how brutal things were going. I remember not having an outlet or a person whom I could talk to about it. I remember feeling trapped and isolated and not sure what I was going to do.

You know, events like this can change a person to the extreme. I can honestly say I'm not the same person I was 2 years ago when all this was going on. It was May-ish last year she was able to go in for her treatment and she hasn''t been the same person since. It is quite amazing when you think of how a small gland such as your thyroid can make such a huge impact on the way a person thinks and feels. We both changed so much over the last year it is amazing we're still in one piece. The fortunate part of these changes is we both changed into something the other still felt attracted to. And here we are, almost a year later and I love her more than I ever have.

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So, how many of you went out and played Liar's Dice this weekend? :) I introduced the game to my family this weekend and we played a few games. It was a lot of fun and it is quite amazing how easily a close loved one can tell exactly when you''re lieing :) Of course, even when I''m telling the truth I still have this guilty look on my face (right Mom?). So trying to determine if I was lieing or not was quite difficult :) Not sure if lieing could be considered a skill or not ;)

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So here we are on the Twenty-fifth of April Two Thousand and Five. Did you know on this day in the year:

1214 - King Louis IX was born
1284 - King Edward II was born
1940 - Al Pacino was born

1507 - Geographer Martin Waldseemuller first used the name America
1678 - French troops conquer Ypres
1859 - Ground broken for the Suez Canal
1901 - New York becomes the first state requiring auto license plates ($1 fee)
1938 - First use of the seeing eye dog
1945 - Last Boeing B-17 attacks Germany
1953 - Scientists identify DNA
1985 - Wayne Gretzky scores 7 goals in a Stanley Cup game (2nd time)
1990 - Hubble space telescope is placed into orbit by shuttle Discovery
1993 - Russia elects Boris Yeltsin leader

???

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Yeah, I just had to know what all went on today in history. I was in one of those look up moods :) There were a LOT Of events which took place on this day in history. You can look them up (as well as other dates) at http://www.scopesys.com. I was quite amazed at how far back their dates go, some even into the 900s. Feel free to check it out and see what happened on your birthday in history :) Hell, you may even find your birthday recorded as one of the events in history :) heh

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You guys remember when I said I was going to put up my new World of Warcraft screenshots? Well I forgot again. :) I will, however, place them up for your viewing pleasure this morning. We had a fairly productiveve weekend in WoW this weekend. My toon dinged level 51 and is about 3/4 into that level. I hope to have him level 52 either tonight or Tuesday. I''m finding the post 50 leveling to be fairly easy requiring very little effort to complete. I am getting more and more soloable quests which are proving to be very nice on the wallet and experience bar. Of course, I''m still having issues with the social aspect of the game right now. I can count on one hand the number of times I''ve grouped with players I didn''t know. Most of the time I group with people from the guild or with my wife. There isn''t a lot of stuff (right now) that her and I can''t do at our levels which makes it nice. However, as the game opens up more and more with each level, I''m finding the need to g! roup with others to accomplish tasks. I have also begun to notice the raid instances which will require more than one group of level 50+ to complete. I''m in the middle of a gaming debate right now. Do I continue on and explore the social aspects of the game? Or do I put my main toon in an Inn and make him semi-inactive for a bit while I wait for the majority of the guild to catch up? Right now the average level of the guild (not counting myself) is around level 37ish. We have some in their 40s, some in their 30s and a couple still in their high 20s. Of course these individuals won''t all hit their 50s at the same time so it will come in stages. From my personal experiences, at level 50 you can pretty much get a group together and tackle any of the 50s quests and win. The high level raid dungeons are a different matter all together.

I guess time will tell. I have been debating on going back to my Druid character again and getting her a few levels to be at least 20. Perhaps after I brave through a few more levels with her I may decide to play the Hunter again and get him to 60.

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For now, I just want to have fun with the game. Yes there are a few things that suck in this game. The one that is really starting to burn me is the group sizes. In DAoC we had group sizes of eight players; in World of Warcraft the group size is only five players. Sure, a 3 person reduction in group size isn't that huge, but when you have 6-7 RL friends you play with, it makes it hard for us all to go out and do something. Especially when its something fun like Scarlet Monastery which is a group only instance dungeon; 5 people max. This is one thing about the game I dislike right now as it is making me feel alienated. Typically when I login I go and do my own thing. Katie will join me, of course, and we do things together. This is something I wanted when we first started playing. However, I would also like for us to join our friends and play with them but the mechanics of the game do not allow that. If Blizzard made the group sizes a max of 6, then things would b! e nearly as bad. Oh well, I''ll manage :) The game is good enough that a limitation such as that won't push me away.

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Other than the group limitations, the only other beef I have is with the lag. Not sure what was happening last night, but I reached an all time high in latency with 1004ms. I have never seen my latency that high before and it was creating some serious challenges in the game play. Katie and I were on a quest to increase our Faction with the Timbermaw Firbolgs. Luckily the quest was only level 48 (me being level 51 and her being level 48) so it wasn''t difficult to do and we could survive a few lag spikes and delays.

One adventure I want to tell you all about was our trip to Winterspring. There is one way to get to Winterspring and that is through a cave infested with these Timbermaw Firbolgs. These guys range in level from 53 to 60 inside a network of caves. Even at level 60, I doubt anyone could make their way through there solo. Fortunately for us, there was a friendly Firbolg outside of the cave who was willing to give us a chance to prove ourselves to the Timbermaw :) We gladly accepted his mission and preceded to increase our faction with the Timbermaw. The quest was fairly simple (minus the travel) and we only had to repeat it once to gain enough faction with them to pass through the caves unharmed. This was the first time in the game I had really worried about my faction. This was also the first time I had ever seen an ''Unfriendly'' faction title for a race. Up until now, when you clicked on an NPC they were either Red (aggressive), Yellow (neutral) or Green (Friendly). W! ell, the unfriendly faction title is Orange. We walked into this cave and all the names were in a funny Orange color. We couldn''t attack the mobs either which I also found interesting. Even some of the neutral factions will allow me to attack them, but not these Unfriendly factioned Firbolgs.

We made our way through the cave and came out in Winterspring. For those who don''t know where that is, load up your map of Kalimdor and look at the North East zone way up at the top. The entire zone is snow covered and beautiful. There are trees there bigger than anything I''ve ever seen before. Even bigger than the trees in Dales of Devwy (DAoC). The smalled level mob I found there was level 53 which was a 2 headed dragon type mob that was quickly killed when we saw it :) There is a neutral faction town there called Everlook. Very similar to Gadgetzan, Everlook is run by the neutral factioned goblins of the world. There were even a few of the Argent Dawn faction folks there who promptly had a couple quests for me to deliver some reports to the Argent Dawn in the Plaguelands.

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We did some exploring and I was able to uncover about 95% of the map. There was this one place in the southern area of Winterspring where this HUGE bridge spanned this huge gorge. It was an awesome sight and I took a couple screenshots of it. The bridge was so high, in fact, a simple fall would kill any rogue with safe fall. My wife tried it :) It wasn''t pretty. It was fun to explore this new region and I can''t wait until I''m high enough to go back there and do some more exploring and quests. We went back through the cave that brought us there and noticed another branch of caves leading off the main tunnel. We took it. The cave came out into a zone some of you Druids may remember. That''s right, the zone is called Moonglade. I had heard about a cavern that would take you there but could never find it. We found it this time and were able to finally discover this hidden zone. Unfortunately, the whole zone is geared for the Druid class and not even the Hypogryph Merc! hants would talk to us. They just looked at us and laughed stating we were not Druids. Talk about making someone feel bad :)

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It was a grand adventure and I had a lot of fun exploring this new area. While there I also spied out my next pet :) Unfortunatly I need to be level 57 just to tame it so I''ll have to treat my current pet well until then :)

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Well folks, I have some screenshots to upload before things get crazy here :) Have a great day and we''ll see you all again here tomorrow.

Cheers,

Al