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Music Lost to History Archive
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Pre-Blogger Archives
Stuff I Made
Vacation Photos
My coming of age story.
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Latest Humorous T-shirt Slogan:
"You Wish!"
This one has to be taken in context to be appreciated. The girl wearing this belly shirt was maybe 5'0" tall, with a muffin top going on, despite the fact that she was clearly in her third trimester of pregnancy. In addition she was wearing a thong that came up past her low-rise jeans and pushed her muffin top down over the edge to really emphasize the roll. I'm not in perfect shape so I don't expect that others should be, but when you are wearing that shirt, along with the rest of the outfit, you open yourself to scrutiny (and perhaps random looks of horror).

It's fun to hate:
The Soccer Moms who insist that they drive gas-guzzling SUV's for the safety of their children despite the fact that they are 6 times more likely to be in a rollover accident than any other vehicle. It's like beating your child unconscious with the butt of your gun so that he will remain on the floor, thus making him less likely to be hit by a random bullet coming through the front window.

When Shadowtwin reigns supreme:
There will be mandatory, passive birth control required to participate in any form of government assistance. If you can't afford to raise your child on your own we are here to help you, but we must first make sure that your reproductive organs are adequately contained. If you don't like that policy all you have to do is support your kids your damn self!
Vote Shadowtwin!

Wildly inaccurate, yet shockingly precise, predictions based completely on happenstance and arbitrary universal fluctuations.
Your Horoscope:

Sagitarius: 11/22-12/21
A typographical error in your Church's newsletter will lead to you performing sex acts on dozens of anonymous strangers in your pursuit of "oral highground."

Capricorn: 12/22-1/19
The stars did recently tell your wife to "listen to her heart" regarding whether or not she should leave you. The stars did not intend for you to listen to her heart. But once you used that bonesaw on her sternum (not trusting the stethoscope which just responded with a cryptic thumping sound), we're pretty sure she made up her mind anyway.

Aquarius: 1/20-2/18
The stars would like to apologize for stating in their last prophecy, "Be wary of the stranger you meet at beach this weekend. The stars aren't sure why, but they don't trust him." Through a cosmic hiccup, that information was supposed to be released this month. The August prophecy should have read, "A dark and handsome stranger will approach you on the beach, profess his love for you, and sweep you away for a jetset marriage. After which you will lead a long, happy, prosperous, healthy life as the Queen of a small island nation." We apologize for any inconvenience this error may have caused.

Pisces: 2/19-3/20
Your new stopwatch will allow you to time how long you can hold your breath underwater down to the thousandth of a second. Unfortunately, poor planning will mean that you are not able to actually share the information with anyone.

Aries: 3/21-4/19
Your innovative new device for beauticians to use while giving pedicures can be wildly successful and make you quite wealthy IF you change the name. Trust us, no one is going to buy a "Ped-O-File".

Taurus: 4/20-5/20
Your Mother always told you to wear clean underwear just in case there was an accident and paramadics had to see them. But as you board that plane today, the stars want you to know that you needn't worry about it. The debris field will be more than 8 square miles, making it impossible to find most human remains. Not to mention that the ensuing fire burned so hot that it disintegrated not only all fabric, but most of the thin metals aboard as well.

Gemini: 5/21-6/21
You just had to get that genital piercing, didn't you? The stars tried to warn you not to, but you went ahead and did it anyway... Now all your worst fears will come to bear when, at a campground this weekend, you run afoul of this guy:

Cancer: 6/22-7/22
The less traveled by areas of the Grand Canyon's north rim offer some of the most breathtaking views of this natural wonder. You will soon find out they also include some of the worst footings and none of the handrails. They do, however, provide equally awe-inspiring, terminal velocity impacts.

Leo: 7/23-8/22
The stars heard your pleas, begging for someone who you could share your love with and embrace for the rest of your life. If you are still single, throw your arms around the closest person to you at 3:44pm GMT on Dcember 9th -That'll be the one. Trust us, you won't have time to be picky...

Virgo: 8/23-9/22
The stars have piled up most of your things on the front porch. You can stay at a friend's house, but you aren't coming back home until you admit what you did and apologize. The stars' Mother was right about you... (you must have really pissed them off; the stars were in tears while they told me this)

Libra: 9/23-10/22
The stars have been doing a little thinking and a lot of math. The population of planet earth is roughly 6,796,590,704. That means that roughly 566,382,558 people share each astrological sign. About 18,620,796 have the same birthday. Based on average life expectancy as many as 248,277 people were born on the same day, in the same year, for every zodiac sign. How can one statement possibly predict the future of all of them? Ehh, fuck it. "A full moon while Venus is rising is an omen of good things to come."

Scorpio: 10/23-11/21
They say you never know how you are going to react to a crisis. After a home invasion this weekend you will: You will scream, "Do whatever you want to my wife, but leave me alone!" You will then create a distraction by throwing your newborn at the assailant as you dive through the window to safety. Now you know.

Music lost to history:

Aerosmith - Dream On When I started doing these, I could never have imagined that I would be putting an Aerosmith song here. Since I was born in 1974, this song is well before my generation. It was recorded in 1972 and released in 1983 on Aerosmith's Self-Titled Album, but to read the information on it at Wikipedia most of us would become familiar with it from a re-release in 1976.

Like most of the music being released in the late 60's/early 70's that was pushing the rock-n-roll envelope, Dream On relies heavily on solid composition and and melody. Before the era of the modern effects processor, these bands had no distortion to hide behind (or very little), and synthesized instruments hadn't yet made their way into music. In that way the music always sounds more raw to us today because, quite simply, it was. While it seems laughable to think about today, music like this was so far removed from the bubble-gum pop of the 50's that it still wasn't accepted into the mainstream. As the baby-boomers became the target demographic, the rock-n-roll movement really started to pick up speed, with bands like Led Zeppelin and Aerosmith clearing the path for the much darker and heavier bands like Black Sabbath.

While I (and most of my generation) are probably far more familiar with the Aerosmith of the late 80's and early 90's, the reason this song makes it onto my MLtH page comes down to one thing: Age. Not necessarily the age of the song; In fact, as I sat down to do the research for this today, I had no idea when it was released, but would have guessed (closely) the mid 70's. Tyler was born March 26, 1948, meaning that this song was written when he was only 24 years old. I'm not sure why, but I have always thought this song was pretty amazing given his age at composition. I suppose it is human nature to wax poetic about the days of yore and the imminent passage of time, but the melody sets a mood that makes you feel it right along with him. As the song nears the end and his lyrics become more more frenzied, you can almost feel the pain (longing?) in his voice. Listen to it with headphones and no distraction sometime, you'll see what I mean.

I wrote a short bit some time ago about Kelly Sweet's cover of this song (see the video on Youtube). While I have since gotten over the initial hatred I felt towards the cover of the song, I still just can't like it. The words are there; she hits the notes; but I just can't hear it in her voice. As if there is somthing very personal about the song and Tyler's deliverance of the lyrics that just can't be duplicated. At least to me.

That said, I have heard Aerosmith doing the song with an orchestra, and it also seems to lack the passion of the original. So perhaps the thing that I like so much about it is the under-produced, raw sound of it, or it may be that I am still hearing it through the ears of that impressionable youth that heard if for the first time in a dusty old Van with my Uncle Art. Either way, it seems it is Lost to History.

Music Lost to History Archive

I Can't Believe it's Not Porn!
WhorePresents.comYep, it's not porn. It's not a site with gifts for sale either, which is probably a good thing since I can't imagine that any woman would be at all flattered to get a gift -no matter how nice- in a box that says "Whore" on it.

Daily Reading:
Magazine Man
Shane Nickerson
Wil Wheaton
Hoyazo's Poker Blog

My reading list changes from time to time, and there are many sites that I visit that are not on the list. They are listed in the order that I visit them, enjoy!

Locations of visitors to this page

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Friday, July 31, 2009

fun with text walls

I have been spending some time going through my content pages (here so called for lack of another term. While I question just how much "content" there is on them I don't know of a more applicable term) in an effort to make them more uniform and clean up the coding a bit. Most of the pages that I set up before blogger were all set up before I knew a great deal about html, and while I knew how to set up tables and use most of the tags I needed, I didn't know about the simple "---include virtual---" html command (which, of course, needs the greater-than/less-than symbols to make it work). So that rather than having a file that held my link bar, which I could then just insert into pages using the virtual command, I had been coding the links directly into the html. So if I added a link, as I recently did in the case of the Music Lost to History Archive, I would have to go through every html page one at a time and add that line. Needless to say, many of the pages just never got updated.

I was downloading some of the html files through my ftp client yesterday so that I could change the table layout on them and get the banner into the right half (matching the layout you see here), but when I opened the source on many of them for editing, I saw roughly what you see here:

That is a pretty incredible wall of text! I have only two ways to view that: I can bring it up just like you see there, or I can turn word wrap off and see the same thing with a combined total of about 4 lines -each stretching on for near eternity. I know I didn't write the pages that way. In fact I can clearly remember the cut-and-paste fashion that went into creating all the pages, and I don't really know why they are displaying like that for me now. I have intentionally always done all my HTML programming in notepad, theorizing that I then wouldn't have to worry about the stuff not displaying correctly for me if I set them up in Word or Frontpage and later upgraded to a newer version.

The good news is that it hasn't been as bad as it may look. There are really only about four distinct sections of each page, so with 4 clicks of my return key I am able to break them up into workable sections for what I need to do. I suppose if I cared a little bit more I would go back and change the META tags to something a little bit more useful and search-able, but I can't imagine that anyone is ever really going to enter a keyword or string of text into the google window that would result in one of my poetry pages, or one of my 2004 archive pages coming up anyway.

But it seems with each bit of html/layout I get cleaned up, there is more to do. The big question I am facing now is if I should go back and change the formatting on every page of the pre-blogger archives, or leave them as is for historical purposes (read:lazy). I have already changed the first navigation page of that directory, and I will probably get as far as fixing the monthly listing pages, but not the day to day pages. I actually find some amusement in clicking back through the old archives from time to time to look at how the site has evolved from trying to emulate the really bad 90's homepage look to the more tame setup it has changed into.

If you are at all curious as to why I have decided to clean the site up a bit, it is because I went ahead and registered my name and pointed it here. A google search for my name now brings up pages of hits, of which only a few are me. Better to grab the name myself in case I should ever be rich and famous. Of course it is no secret who runs this site, as I have always had my name displayed on the bottom of each post and content page, but for those who may happen across this site looking for a different Donnie Burgess, I'm hoping to at least give the impression that it is not written by a monkey flinging feces at the keyboard and posting whatever text strings appear (My level of success at that being debatable). Also giving the entire site a uniform look will make it clear when you are navigating away from it, not to mention it gives me the excuse to edit the content of some of the pages that have really just been there as placeholders for these last 5 years.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

A couple of changes

I have made a couple of changes to the site in the last few days. Some of them are cosmetic, as you can no doubt see, the others are horoscopes and advertising.

The latter first. Advertising on websites has really evolved over the years, and looking into the buttons and banners they have available to place into a webpage now I wasn't nearly as disgusted. I decided to add a small button there on the top left, as well as a vertical banner (set to display image ads only, I hate those long text link ad bars) for a month or so to see if it is worth my while. Currently I have had them on the page for about 36 hours, and have netted a whopping $.01! They pay based on both impressions and click-throughs, though they don't really specify how much for either, so I will just leave them up for a bit. They are just taking up dead space anyway.

And among the various updates I made to the sidebar was the addition of Wildly inaccurate, yet shockingly precise, predictions based completely on happenstance and arbitrary universal fluctuations. horoscopes. I used to frequent a few sites that did humorous horoscopes, and I figured I would try my hand at it. The current plan is to update them once a month or so, but that will vary with how overfilled (or underfilled) my notepad of ideas becomes.

Most horoscopes are necessarily vague, and I decided to throw that out and write some very specific ones. Millions of people were born every day of the month, hundreds of millions share the same zodiac sign, so odds are these will be accurate for at least one person. Or not, they are pretty out there. But the goal was to add something new to the site, something that I could get by with updating infrequently, and, at least for now, they fit the bill.

If you are a regular visitor to the site, drop me an email and let me know what you think.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Inverse credit card scam?

I'm not really sure if this is a commentary on myself or the state of the world today. I received a letter in the mail recently that read:

Dear Consumer:

The Federal Trade Commission ("FTC"), the nation's consumer protection agency, filed a lawsuit against Kenneth and Teresa Taves, and Dennis Rappaport and their businesses J.K. Publications, Inc., MJD Service Corp., Herbal Care, Inc., and Discreet Bill, Inc. The complaint charged that the defendants were billing consumers without authorization for alleged visits to web sites. Consumers saw charges on their credit card bills under the names "Netfill," "N-Bill," MJD Service Corp," and "Webtel." The defendants bought access to lists from a bank that provided the account numbers for more than 3 million valid Visa and MasterCard credit cards. Rather than use the lists to confirm that potential customers had valid credit cards, the defendants debited the cards for web site services the cardholder had never used.

The unauthorized charges were incurred by you many years ago, and you may no longer have the credit card that was charged. The enclosed check is you share of the funds collected.

(Who knew you could buy 3 million valid credit card numbers?)

I actually do remember having a charge appear on my credit card back before I moved out of my studio apartment (2 actually), somewhere around 1998 or 1999. I don't remember the name of the company that made the charges, but they totaled $98. I remember that clearly because I spent hours on the phone arguing with someone about the charges before I eventually hung up, cut up that credit card, and canceled that account -the credit card company refused to reverse the charge, and I was not able to contact the company that had actually made the charge. In an odd twist of fate, I never paid the credit card bill and let it go into collection (That credit card company (MBNA) was later part of a different class action lawsuit, where I also received a check) but it never actually made it onto my credit report.

Now that brings me to the part where I don't know if it is a commentary about my paranoia, or that credit card fraud and mail scams are so commonplace. This letter came with a check attached. The amount, $27.68. The entire thing is printed up on an impressive letterhead, complete with a claim number and a return address of "FTC v. J.K Publications, Inc., et. al." There is also a link listed on the letter: I followed the link through, and this does appear to be the legitimate FTC website for this case.

While it is possible that this is 100% legitimate (I would go so far as to say probable), how can I be sure? If I cash this check my bank account number will be stamped on the back of it, and whoever issued it will then have access to that number once the check is cleared to their bank. How can I be sure that J.K. Publications didn't send out these checks in an effort to gather bank accounts? I mean really, why did it take 10 years to get these checks issued? The website says:
Most of the illegal billing dates back to 1998. Substantial time passed between the court’s judgment and the issuance of these checks because the defendants moved millions of dollars of their ill-gotten funds offshore, and it took significant time and effort to locate and repatriate the fraudulently obtained money.

If J.K Publications is based offshore (which isn't made clear in the FTC information) it is entirely possible that they are still involved in fraudulent activity, and what better guise to hide behind than a court ruling; Mail out a few thousand dollars in checks to get account information, then move a couple million from those accounts to your offshore shelter...

This has every air of legitimacy, and I'm sure it probably is my cut of the class-action suit. But the skeptic in me says that it's not worth the $27 to find out. The fact that I am going to wad this check up rather than take the chance either says that I need a tin-foil hat, or something needs to be done about the rampant mail scams and credit card fraud. Possibly both.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Audio Editing

Since I have been playing WoW so much less of late, I find that I have had some time to work on a couple of website related projects that I have been putting off for, oh, let's call it 4 years. If you stopped by my page in 2005, then again yesterday, you would have noticed that my navbar (everything to the left of the body here) has remained unchanged for that entire time (and you would also have a freakishly good memory). Since converting to the blogger script way back when, I have to update my blogger template to change any of that. Of course when I do that anything that is already over there is just gone unless I take the time to archive it. What I have been working on all day is just that: archiving the Music Lost to History.

I had to trudge through all my pre-blogger posts to find as many of the songs I had featured there as possible, and was a bit irritated that the links to samples of the songs were now all broken. So I decided to figure out how to do the samples myself. First I had to figure out how to embed them. Of course I know the standard HTML functions for embedding .wav files, however since a 1 minute wave file weighs in at about 11megs, I wanted to try to get a slightly smaller format. That was when I found out that a standard MP3 can't be embedded unless the user (you) has a third party plugin to play it. I also found out that the third party plugin that had been in use for Firefox browsers has been blacklisted for allowing remote code execution. So I had to find another way.

A bit of hunting around on google found me a number of audio embeds, but the thing they all had in common was that the source was stored on their server. These are available from Google, Yahoo, MSN, pretty much any name that you can quickly link to anything internet related. Since the actual source is stored on their server, it is subject to being moved/renamed/changed without warning, thus leaving all my links just as dead as they currently were, so that was straight out the window. Most of these players are running in Shockwave Flash though, so I started searching for shockwave audio embeds rather than MP3 embeds and soon found myself at this site, which was offering just what I wanted: A source that I upload to my own directory for embedding the files. Bonus is that it is so lightweight and hides away (mostly) when not in use, and is easily resizable. Here is a sample:

So now that I was able to embed it, I had to find a way to edit the MP3's so that -hopefully- I won't get any angry emails from the record companies. I am going on the logic that if I am only offering a small sample of the song I am more likely increasing their revenue (by forcing readers to seek out the MP3 and pay for a download) than advocating piracy. I don't know anyone that has an MP3 library filled with about a minute's worth of each song at the very least.

In the past I have used Goldwave for my audio editing needs. At least I have tried to. Since I lack any post-graduate work in audio engineering, I am barely able to figure out how to make it do a damn thing. I'm sure it is extremely versatile (hell it has to be with that intimidating wall of sliders and buttons), but I've no inclination to become a sound engineer just to sample a song. Thankfully I happened across Audacity.

Audacity is great for what I am doing. The intimidating wall of sliders and buttons are neatly stored in drop-down menus so I don't have to look at them. There was a minor situation involving being able to extract my edited songs as MP3's, which required downloading a "Lame.DLL" encoder, but that went fairly smoothly. Now I am able to open up the song, slide the bars to the section I want to sample, extract it as MP3 and upload it. It only takes a minute to get all this done (a huge plus since I am so lazy), so I have no excuse not to do it.

If I would have known how easy it would be to find the tools I needed to complete this project I would have done it years ago. There are so many programs and applications available for just about any task you can imagine now, it boggles the mind. When I first set up this site I had a problem finding applications like this, and if I even could find them they were ridiculously complicated to use. I'm glad to see that so much of this stuff is so readily available now. Perhaps it will motivate me to take care of a few other things I've been meaning to do here...I still haven't changed the rest of my navbar since 2005, for instance.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

The World of OMFG Get a Life, Man

World of Warcraft has become a time vampire of epic proportions for me. It seems that no matter how good I become at the characters, or how much gear I get to drop, there is always something else to do. Maybe it's working on getting my reputation to exalted with some faction; maybe it's getting my trade skills to maximum level; maybe it's leveling my fishing skill... And when you find yourself fishing in a game, I'm pretty sure that is a warning sign (unless it is actually a fishing game, but that is probably a completely different warning sign all on its own).

I have been getting bored with the game of late. Having not played at all for a week while I was on vacation, I found that it was dreadfully boring when I tried to play it once we got back. I have run a couple of raids since we have been back, but the thought of day to day questing and reputation grinding just isn't appealing anymore -at least not right now. The Wrath of the Lich King expansion added 10 levels and a lot of new dungeons, but the levels went fast, and the dungeons are old news by now.

The biggest contributing factor for my distaste for it at the moment is the bloated badge system that they have going right now. You use these badges to upgrade your gear, and prior to WotLK there was only one type of badge: the Badge of Justice. Just collect however many you need (items cost between 15 and 150 badges) and trade them in. Right now there are three separate types of badges: Emblems of Conquest, Valor, and Heroism. There are 3 separate vendors that sell items for each respective emblem, and each emblem can only be acquired by running very specific dungeons or raids. So if you run normal 5-man dungeons you can only get one type of emblem, that can only be traded for very specific items. If you want the better quality items, or something for a different item slot -a ring for example- you have to run 25-man raids. And of course the best items (newly released with the Ulduar patch) can only be acquired by doing 25-man Ulduar, which can only be done once per week. Blizzard seems to have realized how cumbersome and annoying the current system is and are scrapping it completely with the next patch, making all emblems from all dungeons and raids the same -which can then be traded in for other emblems if you need to fill other equipment slots. Once that happens I may start taking some more pulls at the giant slot machine that is WoW, but for now I just find it annoying.

This morning, just for fun, I logged on and took some screenshots of each of my characters to do a cast of characters here. So here we go.

This is my Priest. Since the WotLK update made dual-specs possible, I haven't been referring to her as a Holy Priest, but that is my specialty. Which is a nice way of saying that I kind of suck at Shadow. I have never really played her as Shadow, not even for leveling, and do so now only when it is necessary in raids. She was my first Horde character, with a time played of 35 days, 1 hour and 10 minutes. She is probably the easiest for me to play. Of course as a healer you do get the majority of the blame for any deaths in the raid, regardless of how the death came about: Say a Tank accidentally pulls 3 groups and the party wipes, that is the healer's fault. A Rogue forgets to stealth when he tries to sap a mob and pulls while you are drinking thus wiping the party, again, your fault. A Mob Mind Controls you for 15 seconds and no one in the party attacks that mob, so the group goes for 15 seconds without a heal and wipes... Yep, your fault. Even so, a good healer can be tough to find, so if you play the class well (hell, if you just don't outright suck) you can easily find a group for pretty much anything you want. Prior to this recent step back from the game I had been playing her a lot again, after not paying her much attention since WotLK came out.

This is my Warrior (the name sounds like bullseye, so the mobs know who to attack). He is my second Horde character, with a time played of 26 days, 5 hours, 53 minutes. I haven't bothered to dual-spec him, since I have only ever played him as protection, and have no intention of playing him otherwise. I created him when I was a member of a guild who just didn't have enough tanks. I was able to get him to max level in about 7 days (time played, not calendar days) which was my fastest by far at the time. He was a main tank to be envied back before WorLK came out. I dispensed with the classic stamina is king mentality and instead built him on avoidance. Just before WotLK came out I had built him up to an impressive 60% avoidance (dodge/parry((through gear, socketing and enchantments))) so that only 40% of attacks even made it far enough to roll for damage. Though my health was low for the class, I didn't get hit often, and as such most healers I played with loved me for not taxing their mana pools. Since WotLK, the Death Knight and Paladin have become kings of tanking, capable of more or less instantly getting threat on every target in a group. Because the Warrior still can't do that (it takes several seconds to get them all) they have really been relegated to dps/offtank duty, and I just don't play him that way. Aside from leveling him and getting him a base level of gear, he has been on a shelf since the expansion.

My Mage, time played: 17 days, 21 hours, 3 minutes. One of my first WoW characters was an ally Mage that I named Nukenheimer (I was going to name him Oppenheimer, but I didn't think many people would know who that was), and he was a lot of fun to play. I made this Mage when I got tired of getting killed by Alliance on my Holy Priest and Prot Warrior. I did a lot of PvP on my Ally Mage and had gotten fairly good at it, so I kept this guy wherever my Warrior or Priest were leveling/questing to get some retaliation on people who would attack those relatively defenseless classes. Since the release of WotLK I have been in a guild that didn't need me to play my healer or tank, so the Mage is the one that normally raids with them (the only one that makes it into groups for new content and progression). Unfortunately it isn't the one that I really like to play. As I say, I loved to PvP with him, but I get tired of doing instances and raids. He does great damage, but it is so dependent on mana that I am often sitting in the back drinking while everyone else has already moved on to the next fight. There are so many silence and interrupt spells on the new raid bosses that I am often just standing around waiting for a dispel. Once dispelled, I often only get 2/3 of the way through the next cast before I am silenced again. Frustrating. A fun class to play for sure, but one needs a break from the mana-dependent dps and endless silencing from time to time.

My Death Knight, time played: 9 days, 20 hours, 48 minutes. Death Knights were the new class in the expansion, and when it was initially released they were comically overpowered. One could go into any dungeon or raid wearing only common items and do more damage than any other class in full epic gear. I had to get me some of that! I leveled this guy in a hurry too (easy to do since they start at level 55). I didn't really have the intention of playing him when I created him, and that is how it has become. Several changes to the talent trees have taken him from comically overpowered to merely ridiculously overpowered. I take him out to collect herbs for potions and elixirs since the Allys tend to leave him alone, but I never really enjoyed playing him. To this day I couldn't tell you the name of more than 2 of his skills since all you have to do is mash all the buttons to do great dps. He is fun to play in battlegrounds, but in the end it almost feels like cheating. I haven't ever really raided with him and I probably never will.

(That's right, Epic Fail) My Rogue, time played: 11 days, 12 hours, 32 minutes. I had an Ally Rogue, and I loved the class. When I got sick of the aforementioned problems with the Mage, I made a Horde Rogue. This one is a lot of fun to play because there are so many skills. You can't just 1 button your way to good dps, nor can you just mash all the buttons. Good dps requires a good skill rotation and keeping a number of buffs active on yourself, while keeping debuffs active on mobs. Always deadly in PvP and against single mobs, the Rogue was given an updated AoE skill for multiple mobs in dungeons and raids. There is probably no class hated as much as the Rogue, mostly for their ability to kill players (or NPC's) without the other guy being able to cast a single spell. The problem is that there are a lot of really, really bad players who have Rogues. I named him Ehpikfaal for the humor of it, but have come to realize that when you create a character that already has a bad reputation, giving him such a name will keep you out of most groups. So you see him on the right there doing what he does most of the time; sitting around town waiting to get into a group for a dungeon. Even so if I had to pick only 1 character to play going forward it would be the Rogue. Great dps and a lot of fun both PvP and raiding.

My Warlock, time played: 18 hours 39 minutes. It was in an episode of American Dad that I heard one of the kids call his relative "Uncle Bad Touch" and I liked it so much that I made a Warlock with that name (had to leave out 1 character because it was too long). Included here only because I like the name. I also have an Ally Warlock and I was never able to level either of them. This class bores me to tears. The play goes like this (at least for leveling): Your minion tanks the mobs, you cast a couple curses on them, then stand around and wait for them to die. You can't really use and direct damage spells since they are so costly in mana, and they aren't necessary anyway (at low level) since everything dies so quickly from your curses. I think I would really like this character at max level, once you are able to dispense with your minion and start doing some direct damage spells, but I simply get too bored trying to level him. Uncle Bad Touch has a macro that I run around town casting on people that reads something like this: "...Psst, hey (character name)..." "Would you like some candy?" "UncleBadTouch beckons (character name) to follow" "I have some in my panel van parked behind the Inn in Brill." I laugh every time I use the macro, though the people I use it on rarely find it as funny as I do.

So this morning I was logging onto the characters to see how long I have spent playing the game and I made the foolish decision to total it up. Counting only the characters you see here (which ignores all Alliance players, of which I have 2 at level 70 and 5 others between level 40 and 70) I have 99 days, 8 hours into playing. Mind you that is actual game time, so we are talking about 2384 hours spent playing. Is that disturbing or what?

At any rate, I may find myself enjoying it again once they make the changes to the badge system, but for now I am getting really burned out on it. But after 2400 hours, can you blame me?

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Vacation photos page

Tentative vacation photo page is now up! You can find that Here

Saturday, July 11, 2009


Vacation is underway and this year I brought along a laptop pc and the camera my wife won at a party at work. Of course in addition to that we brought along a Tomtom (no link on borrowed electronics) that my brother-in-law has set to give voice directions as Mr. T. For instance, "Don't give me no jibber jabber, make a right at the next stop and then get on the motorway. Mr T. Don't get no tickets!" (that is a quote.) And an iPod, in addition to both of our cell phones... Se we're not exactly leaving the world behind this year, but then I'm not sure if I could function without at least some of this stuff.

Vacation destination this year was the California coast. The wife looked up the locations of the missions that run along the coast on El Camino Real, and planned out a day trip to the Channel Islands. I have been merrily snapping pictures the entire time, not even remotely concerned about running out of memory on the camera means I am taking pictures of damn near everything.

Right now I am sitting in a hotel in Lompoc, CA. This is the first night that I have had access to WiFi, and I am taking full advantage of that by uploading hundreds of photos. I am taking care to only upload the reduced versions of them though (most of which I have reduced to 35%) because the full size ones are 2.2MB, and don't really buzz through the airwaves on this gratis connection. But the resolution on them is amazing. Here is an example:

What you are looking at there is a cropped and resized version of this scene which isn't exactly web friendly, if you know what I mean.

So until I get back home and have the time to wade through the picture and properly thumbnail them, etc, I am going to just throw a couple of them up. On these next ones just click on the image to see it in it's browser bending beauty.

Here is the Mission Santa Barbara. This is the first one that we stopped by today.

While I am not a religious man, I have to admit that when you see these structures you have to at least be taken back a bit by the amount of time and effort the believers spend both building and maintaining these throughout the centuries. The buildings really are beautiful, and somehow manage to evoke the same reverence in everyone who walks through the doors. I only took photos inside the main temple of one of the missions that we visited today, and then only when it was expressed to me that it was okay to do so. Not that I think it would have been an affront to God to do so, but that I thought it would have been disrespectful to do so without permission. And I had no intention of seeking out someone to ask if it was okay.

This next one is from the outside of the same mission, in the graveyard.

That was (I think) one of the best photos that came from the missions today. It was actually very dark inside there and with the naked eye I could hardly tell what it was at all. In the photo you can clearly see that at least two people are interred there (one on either side). The stained glass in the center is gorgeous, but to look at it from the outside it actually looked like it was paint. This photo was snapped between the bars of a locked gate in the cemetery -a place that I am relatively sure I wasn't supposed to be taking a photo. Of course if you were to ask me why I thought it was okay to take this picture while I didn't think it was okay to take them inside the church I would stare at you like Paris Hilton would if you asked her a math question.

We also took the time to stop at the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History. While I have never been to this specific museum, I am pretty damn sure they make these things with a cookie cutter and throw them up every 200 miles or so. It looks just like the one I remember visiting in Oregon and in Arizona. Right down to the planetarium and the fossils. One interesting thing they did have though was the butterflies.

If you are going to look at the full size versions of any of the pictures I posted, make it that one. I wasn't sure that the camera was going to be able to capture the colors and contrasts of the butterflies, but boy was I ever wrong. This looks like the photo you would see on the outside of the box the camera comes in; the one that you can never take no matter how perfect the lighting. The thing is I managed to take about a dozen photos of different butterflies that all look this good. The ones that don't look good are because the damn butterflies refuse to sit still for the pictures. Bastards!

Anyway, once I have a real broadband connection again I will finish uploading some photos from vacation, and there may even be a couple worth looking at.


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