Welcome to December

 Posted by at 13:06  No Responses »
Dec 022010
 

November has come and gone, and with it so has another NaNo. This year, I didn’t “win.” In point of fact, I chose not to win after a pile-up of circumstances. I started the month without a clear idea of what I wanted to write. Then, I started writing about a half-formed idea that intrigued me. About 10,000 words in, I realized that the idea wasn’t sufficiently thought-out in its current form to sustain a novel, so I tabled it. Instead, I decided to try and write what amounted to fan fic in a genre wherein I would have no trouble at all going on for 50,000 or more words. I reached 10,000 words yet again, and then it was time to drive out of state for Thanksgiving. That’s when I forgot my laptop bag in the house. At that point, I decided that spending the holiday churning through 40,000 words that I would never actually try to publish wasn’t worth it and abandoned it.

I’m okay with that decision. The first NaNo novel I wrote is unpublishable (probably ever), but it proved to me that I could write that much of a single story in a short timeframe. I had the second NaNo novel’s concept in mind well before starting, and was excited about writing it. I’ve only just started the massive editing work required to make it something I feel is agent-worthy, but I continue to be excited about it. In other words, my second NaNo novel proved to me that I could write something I was proud of and thought worth publishing. That set a new bar for novel #3, and when it became clear that the things I was writing weren’t going to be at that level, it lost its worth. Besides, there’s always next year. There’s also every other month in the year.

So, there’s that.

In other news, the guild has been tackling ICC of late and we’ve been running smoothly until we hit Sindragosa, who we’ve been stuck on now for three weeks! However, we got very close the last time we attacked her1, so I’m confident that we’ll down her next time. Then it’s on to Arthas. We’re all hoping that we can take down both Sindragosa and Arthas this time2, because that’d mean we achieved the entire point of Wrath of the Lich King just before Cataclysm comes out this coming Tuesday.

NASA is set to announce something in a few hours that a lot of people are speculating is the discovery of bacteria here on Earth with DNA that differs from every other known lifeform on the planet. Namely, this bacteria has arsenic in its DNA rather than phosphorous. If this is true, it fundamentally changes our concept of DNA and means the possibilities for life are much broader than we’ve known until now. It also means that at least two distinct types of life evolved on this planet alone, which in turn dramatically increases the chances of it happening elsewhere. My favorite quote from the article is this:

To my mind, this is the one of the major differences between science and religion: scientists get wildly excited and happy when someone proves our basic dogma wrong.

To round out, I want to share this blog post. I haven’t mentioned it here before, but the more I think about it, the more I’m convinced that the terrorist attacks of 9/11 were completely successful. I don’t mean in the sense of toppling the WTC towers, which were also obviously successful; I mean in the sense of defeating us. On 9/11, we were attacked by terrorists. We had, essentially, two paths to take on that day: we come together and continue living life as Americans, or we cave to the fear of another attack and throw away our way of life. The recent, absurd “security measures” implemented by the TSA are just another nail in the coffin that prove we caved. We lost. They won.

  1. Only 2% health remaining! []
  2. That’s a tall order. As hard a fight as Sindragosa is, Arthas is even worse. []

Little Steps

 Posted by at 00:04  No Responses »
Oct 062010
 

Cody got Dehydration tonight! On top of that, we’ll both be done with Netherwing rep grinding come tomorrow, so that’s one less annoying time sink to worry about. The plan is to hit Ignis the Furnace Master in Ulduar for tomorrow’s weekly raid quest, and then start in on ICC if people are up for it. If not, we may also be able to rope some guildies into helping us finish out our Glory of the Hero achievements. In another piece of good news, this post seems to suggest that the Red Proto-Drake reward may not go away when 4.0.1 drops after all. Still, I’d rather not risk it.

I started listening to The Instance podcast yesterday and continued today. It’s the first “talk show” I’ve actually deliberately listened to, and it’s quite enjoyable thus far. I mentioned it to Curt1 today and it turns out that he has a fairly significant history with the guys that host the show. Ah, connections. They’ve namedropped 38, Curt, and Copernicus a few times already in the two episodes I’ve listened to. This industry really is small.

Though I’m enjoying listening to The Instance, I already miss Dresden, Murphy, and the gang. James Marsters did a brilliant job bringing all of those characters to life, and I think a large chunk of my enjoyment came from listening not just to the story, but to his presentation of the story. The next book is due out in March and it feels so far away, even though it’ll probably be here in no time.

On a completely unrelated topic, the water department was supposed to come today to install a water meter that they could query remotely, since we don’t have a landline. I have no idea if they actually did it, though. The meter attached to the water line might look different from the last time I checked on it…or I might just not be remembering clearly. Ultimately, I’ll have to call them tomorrow to confirm.

  1. Yes, Curt Schilling. []
Sep 222010
 

If there’s one thing I really dislike about WoW, it’s assembling a PUG for a raid. If there’s one more thing, it’s that PUG just not being up to tackling the raid at hand, leaving everyone feeling like they’ve wasted their time. This happened last night after Cody, Kt, Steve, and I did Wintergrasp, in anticipation of running VoA-25. It took a while to assemble the group, with the usual one-off people randomly dropping throughout the recruitment drive phase. Once we had our group together, we get rolling…only to have Toravon curb-stomp us. Turns out a lot of our ranged DPS folks didn’t know you’re supposed to attack the three swirling frost spheres that Toravon generates.

As a general rule, I never mind having new people along on a group endeavor like this. Everyone’s new at some point. What I do mind is people not thinking to ask, “Hey, is there anything special I should know about this?” Granted, WoW has built itself a culture where asking something like this often results in being the target of scorn and derision. That sucks in its own right. New people end up walking a fine line between either asking when they don’t know and getting mocked (or even excluded completely1) for never having done something before, and not asking and getting mocked and derided after the fact for performing badly. Still, one of these is guaranteed to cause the group to fail, and that’s the one that’s inexcusable to me.

Once the whole “kill the snowballs of death” thing had been explained, we tried again. This time, two of our healers died immediately, but we still managed to persist on for quite a while. We got Toravon to ~15% before all hell broke loose. My Taunt missed, which caused Frostbite to build up to 5 stacks on the main tank. I managed to get Toravon off him once Taunt came off cooldown, but it was too late, and he died. I wouldn’t last long against Toravon alone—the fight requires two tanks, after all—and predictably dropped not long after that.

Then the group disintegrated. A good hour and a half or so wasted.

When Cataclysm comes out, the raid lockouts for 10- and 25-man raids will be shared. Loot will be the same between both raid sizes, with 25 simply dropping more. This is probably one of the things I’m most looking forward to. If there were no benefit to doing a 25-man raid over a 10-man, I would never do one again. Managing that many people results in too many assholes concentrated in one group and inevitably leads to failure. I much prefer the 10-man groups, which are much easier to assemble and tend to run much more smoothly.

  1. This is particularly stupid in the realm of things like ICC, where you’re required to post the achievement for having killed a boss to even go on the raid. How do new people break in? The raid runners don’t care. I’ve read up on every single ICC fight and probably know some of those fights better than multi-run veterans, but I’ve yet to step foot inside ICC. []