Friday, February 23, 2007

What I do When I get Flu

I go off from a working five night shifts in a row and what happens?

I get flu on the first evening off from work. Obviously, that doesn't help at all. I hope the extra money is going to be worth it.

So I stay home and do as little as possible, which is quite boring to be honest.

It's a good thing WoW is so exciting these days. The server that I play on seems more "crowded" than it used to be and there's more action in the Auction House. Also, I bump into a lot more people in the wilderness. I've been in a few good 2-man and 3-man groups these last few days.

I watched a fascinating documentary on Discovery Channel yesterday about Indian astrology. I particular found the bit about nadi astrology very fascinating. According to nadi readers, thousands of years ago sages and wisemen used their powers to look into the past and the future and record down the destinies of everyone on palm leaves.

Everyone. A bold claim to make no? It was quite surprising to note that the nadi reader featured in the show knew personal details about the client (family members' names and current problems etc).

I thought about it for a second and despite being rather curious about it, I don't think it's a good idea to know my own future. To be honest, I have a rough idea of what it's going to be like anyway.

Hopefully February will end well and the holiday mood I'm currently in will wear off soon.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

A Stigma

One more night of work to go, then I'll be off to sleep my head off. It's been tiring and busier than what I would've liked.

Anyway, here is today's post.

I was reading some stuff on Wiki the last few nights and I recall some conversations I had with my friends about games, computers and gamers.

There is a bit of a stigma attached to someone who likes to use the computer isn't there? That someone would be labeled a nerd or a geek, wouldn't he/she? Even worse when the computer is used for gaming and even worse than that, if the gamer isn't a child.

From what I can observe, this stigma is particularly strong in conservative societies and amongst older people.

Why is it apparently ok for someone to sit on a couch and watch TV for 10 hours but not ok if the same person uses the computer for 10 hours?

What's the difference?

Why is watching TV for a long time more "normal" than using the computer for the same period of time?

This is an interesting bunch of questions no?

Anyway, when I think about it the answers are legion. Perhaps it's the natural inclination for people to fear stuff that they don't understand, considering the fact that most people who think computer usage is not "normal" are older people. Perhaps it's that lack of empathy for people who like different things. Perhaps it's anti-intellectualism, because the most stick computer users get tend to be from dumb jocks who are technologically illiterate.

It could be all of that and more, I guess. What do you think? Would you think it's strange for someone to prefer surfing for news and other info, reading blogs and playing games on the computer/internet to spending time watching telly?

Another thing that came to mind was that stereotype of gamers being "kids" or "childish" or shit like that.

Well, I disagree obviously and according to what I found out in the US the average age of a gamer is 29 and the average age for people who spend money to buy gaming software is 36.

As can be proven all the time, stereotypes are always wrong.

Anyway, how is playing a computer game more "immature" than getting smashed on cheap, smuggled beer on a Saturday night?

I would like to know, what is the average age of a gamer in Malaysia? Is it still kid's stuff here? Do yuppies and blue collar people play games too?

In my own circle of friends, I can tell you that they do in fact play games.

Does anyone have any stats? I'd like to see.

PS. Case in point is this thread from the World of Warcraft forums where older gamers introduce themselves. Also, this is probably the best thread ever to appear on the WoW forums in terms of spelling and grammar...

Friday, February 16, 2007

The Dark Side of Praise

I was reading stuff and discovered the following article:-

How Not to Talk to Your Kids

I think it's very important. Please read it, especially if you have children.

Meanwhile, I've started my uber exhausting weekend where I work through Chinese New Year. I'm going to be very, very tired by the time I start my break on Tuesday.

I hope everyone else will have a fun weekend.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Valentine's Day

A lot can change in one year. Even more in two.

I got curious as to what I did on Valentine's Day these few years so I went and read a couple of old entries, one from 2006 and one from 2005. I also read some other old stuff from February from both years.

In many ways, I've changed quite a bit, I think.

For some people it's a good day, obviously.

Valentine's Day can drive people up the wall sometimes, especially those people who are single. Other times, it can cause people to act rather strangely, and not in a good way. It even affects some people who for the rest of the year, couldn't be bothered about their "status".

One could say such people are "weak". Maybe that's true. But no one likes to be reminded that they are single, even if you normally don't care. I'm not sure why really. Perhaps its the overdose of mushy Public Displays of Affection(TM). Perhaps its the blatantly overpriced Valentine's Day "peripherals". Perhaps it's the whole cheesiness of it.

For some people, the things they see on Valentine's is the most glaring evidence of their "failure". Even worse when you are alone and all your friends are not single. It's like the whole world is laughing and going na-na-na-na-na at you.

I used to feel like that. It's not very nice to be reminded that you are alone and can't really "join in".

Boy, that was a long time ago.

Those thoughts come back every now and then but these days, it is just background noise. I deal with it. I just wished I dealt with it 10 years ago. Would've saved me a lot of angst and time.

I had dinner last night at a Japanese place with Gette and Rin. It was nice. I had salmon yome. It was better than I thought.

We weren't celebrating Valentine's day. It was just dinner with friends and that is a good thing on any given day regardless of special occasions.

It's tempting to write off Valentine's Day but I choose not to do that now. Regardless of my own thoughts about it, it is a good day for some people and I'm not going to begrudge them the good times that they will no doubt have.

For those people who do have someone with them on Valentine's Day (and other festivities and special occasions) I just hope that they realize that they are extremely lucky when compared to some of their friends.

Perhaps it should be a day for gratitude as well, not only for lovers but also friends. It's worth a thought no?

I am having a good week though. On Tuesday, Burning Crusade arrived.

It's bloody awesome.

Saturday, February 10, 2007


I read two articles about "ganking" just now. For those of you who don't know, the term "gank" is an online gaming term meaning to attack and kill another player who has no means to effectively defend him/herself. Usually, the attacked player is much, much lower level the the attacker.

In other words, ganking is bullying. A ganker kills other players and griefs them just because. Usually, there are no ingame rewards for such activities. The just do it for kicks

There are many opinions regarding the practice of griefing and ganking in MMOs. Many people don't approve of such behaviour, myself included. Other people seem to think that it's acceptable.

People who may argue for the case of ganking\griefing as acceptable behaviour sometimes use the phrase "it's only a game" to justify their argument.

The problem is, it's not only a game. An MMO like WoW is not only a game, it is also a social construct, There are real people in the game world. So basically, ganking\griefing apologists condone the practise of enjoying themselves at other people's expense? Says a lot about their own personalities I think.

The thing that I sometimes find rather perplexing is that gankers\griefers and their fanboys act all surprised when people complain and condemn them on forums and other places.

They can twist and turn their argument any way they like, but the at the end of it all the truth is ganking\griefing is unacceptable and people who defend\indulge in it are assholes. They can use a million excuses but the fact remains that while they feel quite good after killing and corpse camping a level 8 character with their level 55, there is someone else out there who is getting pissed off and frustrated, and he can't do anything about it.

The entire thing is pointless and is the equivalent of schoolyard bullying. Pointless and a total waste of other people's time. Justifiable?

Obviously, having been camped to death and toyed with myself, I don't appreciate the ganking\griefing. The same way I hate bullying in fact.

Anyway, ever since I went back to WoW I've accepted the fact that if I play on a PvP server, I will probably be regularly killed like a sotong by some piece of shit 25 levels higher than me. It's fine. I'm not going to lose my temper because of something happening in an MMO. Only this time, I'm going to write down their names...

In fact, within 90 minutes of my first log on to my lvl 33 priest character I was attacked and nearly killed by a lvl 51 Night Elf hunter. Thank goodness for Fear...

I have an idea on how to reduce ganking in WoW actually. In WoW, when a player selects a target, he/she will be able to see the targets level. That level is denoted by a coloured number or a red skull. It's relative to the player's own level.

The skull indicates an opponent who's level is so much higher than the player and that combat is suicide.

A red number denotes a much higher level mob\player who is substantially more powerful than the player. A player who fights an opponent whose number is red will lose 99 out of 100 times.

An orange number indicates that the target's level is some way higher than the player and would make a very tough opponent.

A yellow number indicates and opponent that is similar in combat ability to the player.

A green number means a lower level opponent that will probably be easier to kill.

A black number means that the target is so low level, killing it will yield no XP or honor or reward of any kind.

Now, if Blizzard really wanted to control ganking\griefing they could introduce a PvP rule where a player cannot initiate combat in open play with another player whose level is too low in relation to himself (ie. denoted by a green or black number). Combat may be joined if the lower level player initiates combat first.

I'd put this in the WoW forum but I'll be hounded by ganker\griefer apologists who will accuse me of being a "carebear" or other terms like that, so I won't bother.

Besides, I feel Blizzard feeds off this issue and the controversy that it generates.

Anyways, I've made peace with the idea of being griefed in an MMO. It is a social construct and like the other social construct that it mirrors (ie real life) there will be assholes and criminals who prey on the weak and defenseless.

At least unlike in real life, I can eventually avenge myself without consequence...

In other WoW news, I'm also back to playing my highest level character, a lvl 51 warrior on a PVE server. You can't get ganked on a PVE server.

It's so much less nerve wracking.

I can also report that the pings I've been getting are pretty decent and the game doesn't lag quite like it used to.

I'm very pleased.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Shooting Over the Crossbar\UNO!\WoW

Eight days into February and only 2 posts. That is quite a lot number. During angstier blogging days, I would have at least 6 by now. When I think about my relatively low blogging activity, I do feel as if I'm being lazy.

I must keep my eyes peeled and write more. Perhaps I should write about girls again. I know one or two people who quite enjoy reading that kind of stuff.

To be honest, I quite enjoy reading about that too.

While I'm on that vein, relationship based topics are quite interesting to debate are they not? I do notice that a lot debates involving relation topics tend to generate into a "whose fault it is?" kind of flow.

I guess we all look for answers and many of us are kind of frustrated by our own apparent lack of ability to do what others seem to be able to do without even trying.

Anyway, I read another blog post about relationships here. It is yet another one of those "nice guys finish last" type of posts, a topic that is quite interesting to me.

I'm not going to write about the "nice guy" thing in detail though. I've written a lot of stuff about it before.

I do have an extra point that I've just thought about.

Those of us who, for one reason or another, can't get into relationships, need to consider one very important point.

When I go out and try to date, am I being realistic?

As I've said in another post before, sometimes we need to look in the mirror and see whether the person we like will have a reasonable chance of liking us back. Sometimes, we set ourselves up to be let down. We aim too "high".

That sounds kind of harsh doesn't it? Weren't we told that all us humans are equal and no one is better than the other? The sad truth is, in relationship at least, there is such a thing as levels. There is such a thing as vainly trying to attract someone who is way above you. You know the expression "way out of your league"?

At least from my own experiences and observation, this is true, unfortunately. Even yourself, are you going give your time of day to EVERYONE who says that they like you? There is always some kind of "minimum requirement" that potential partners must fulfill regardless of whether we are consciously doing the filtering or not. Someone can ask what kind of "minimum requirements" are justified and what are not? This is a whole topic which I can't be arsed to think about right now, to be honest.

Anyway, there you go. I think for some of us, the seeds of personal catastrophe come from the choices that we make, consciously or otherwise. So the next time we fall for someone, let's ask a question:

Am I being realistic?

Another thing that comes out of this is the question "How do I change my tastes in women/men?" Unfortunately, I have no idea.

These days, I like to say that my status is "Inactive" or "Out of Service" instead of just "Single". The thing is (and I think I've mentioned this in a previous post too) I have this self-destructive habit of getting attracted to women who are unavailable (married\long term relationship) or who will never see me "that way" or otherwise bad for me.

I still don't know why and I have no idea if it's related to my "tastes" which is, to be fair, quite reasonable. She doesn't really need to be physically "hot" like some model. She just needs to be "interesting". Also laid back. And not uber intense. And not interested in those "power games" some people like to play. And not have a short, unreasonable, random fuse ala my mom.

Sorry, I digressed.

Back on topic, I don't know where my self destructive relationship streak comes from. If it is my taste in women, how do I change it?

See? We all look for answers. Until I find a way to undo the fatal attraction, I will remain "Out of Service" until further notice.

In other news, my D&D thing is delayed due to work and a general lack of ideas on my part. Writing a plot is not an easy thing. Really. Anyway, my friends and I have discovered another equally evilly addictive pastime to while away the hours.


This game is Evil. Seriously. It is so good, it's bad.

In other news, I triumphantly returned to World of Warcraft yesterday after spending the entire previous day download 900Mb worth of updates. So, I log in, go to my favourite server and loaded a character.

That was when I discovered that I had completely forgotten how to play the game...

So I went and created a new character to help me reorient myself. Things are going well and I'm going to resume a more advanced character tomorrow morning.

One of the better things that I noticed about this latest patched version of WoW is the way the game handles latency. My ping is quite bad, around 900ms. But the game doesn't feel laggy at all even when I'm in a city.

Oh yes, I've also just ordered Burning Crusade. I hope it doesn't get lost in the Chinese New Year mail rush.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

The Call of Azeroth...

I'm contemplating going back to World of Warcraft. More specifically, I'm contemplating going back to the gank infested cesspool of PVP hell that is Tichondrius, my very first WoW server. I have no idea why I want to go back.

One good thing I can think of is how it would affect my D&D gaming. I might be able to insert some WoW elements into it.

I went to the WoW website just now and I've also discovered that the Burning Crusade expansion is available for direct download. It's 1Gb plus though, so I think ordering it from TSB makes more sense. Besides, if I order it I get to keep the nice box and the CD.

So, I've decided to reactivate my account tomorrow night. If only one day or one week activation was allowed. I'd rather not pay one month's worth of subscription at this time, at least not before I'm satisfied with things like latency and patch downloading speeds. I'm going to go through with it though. It's not too expensive anyway.

And talking about money, I've also make a decision to remove a large chunk of my outstanding credit card bill one shot. I'll be in the black in February what with the Chinese New Year holidays and other overtime deals coming up. So when the bill arrives, I'm going to pay off at least half. So far so good, I've managed to stave off any desire to spend indiscriminately. I'm quite pleased with that. I had a list of stuff to buy using my credit facilities and so far I haven't gone above it.

I'm also contemplating pumping some cash into my ASB account to jump start it. I've recently started auto deduction straight of my monthly wages.

As you can see, I've been thinking quite a lot about money recently.

Ah money. I complain a lot about all kinds of shit in my life but if there was one (relative) success story it would be my financial situation.

I was perpetually broke for something like a decade. It feels nice to not be broke.

While I may not quite have enough to own property and drive a flashy car, the money I make is more than enough for my standard of living. If things work out, that situation is going to improve. Provided I don't go nuts and buy something shiny and ludicrously expensive with my credit card...

So I'm going off to reactivate my WoW account then. Before I go, I would like to share this excellently cool website with everyone. Freestuff = good. Thanks a lot to Gette for putting it up on her blog. I've been meaning to put it up here but I kept forgetting.

Back to work. Off on Monday.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Dead Torrents\D&D DM\Scudetto

Sometimes, it's hard to log on to Blogger. Like earlier this evening. And late last night.

My torrent problem is unsolvable. I tried a localhost proxy server and that allowed me to actually connect to a torrent tracker without having the connection reset after 2 seconds but my speed is still zero.

I'm going to give that a rest for a while.

Besides, I've discovered alternative ways to get downloads. While it is slower that using bit torrent, it should be enough for a while.

In other news, my friends and I are very sad because our resident Dungeon Master has decided to move to Singapore due to family and employment commitments. We wish him the best.

Of course that leaves us with a bunch of eager roleplayers with no DM.

I did mention in an earlier post that I was contemplating about running a game didn't I? So I've decided to try it.

So, I've been doing some reading and research the last few days. Those DM shoes are really big to fill I've discovered. The devil is in the details. Underneath the game is a whole load of rules that makes everything work.

It's all quite daunting. And that's just the game mechanics. I haven't mentioned the fact that a DM needs to think of a story to place the game in.

So yes, it's very daunting. At the same time, I'm quite excited. I have a rough idea of what I need to do so this isn't exactly a stab in the dark, unlike some of the other things I've done.

We'll probably start prepping properly next week when I'm off work. This is going to be fun. Hopefully.

Wish me luck then.

Meanwhile in my Football Manager 2007 Juventus game, I've just won my first Scudetto after a titanic struggle against the two Milan teams. I won it on the last day. On the third last round, we had managed to somehow lose to a relegation threatened Atalanta side and fell behind 2 points with two games left to play.

Both remaining games were against bottom sides for both us and Milan. I was thinking the title is lost, no way is Milan going to lose to Modena and Rimini. Even if we did win our own two final games at Catania and Modena (oddly enough) we'd still be 2 points behind.

We went on the road and as expected beat Catania 2-0. To my shocked delight, I noticed that Modena had somehow managed to hold Milan to a 1-1 draw. Advantage back to me and Juve, 1 point on top.

So in the last game of a rather difficult season, all I had to do was beat Modena at home.

We beat them 7-1.

Such a sweet victory but to be honest I felt kind of sorry for Modena. By losing to us, they got relegated back to Serie B. If only I did better in my other competitions. I got knocked out of the Champs League by Chelsea and the Coppa Italia by Inter...

Ahh Football Manager, a sports management sim so realistic it also models the hair tearing frustrations that real managers feel. Being at a top team doesn't make it any easier...