Sunday, March 26, 2006

Mixed blessings

Turns out my copy of Oblivion wasn't defective, there was just another program messing up the install. People kept messaging me while I was installing, and I guess Oblivion didn't like that much. I shut down Trillian and tried one last installation, and it went off without a hitch (aside from a mysterious CRC error when installing the credits, but how often do I look at the credits for anything?).

I've already made more progress (quest-wise) in 2 days of Oblivion than I did in 4 months of Morrowind, which is a good thing. I'm playing a Nord Crusader (wheeee, combat!), but so far the only attributes I've been able to get lots of practice with (sneaking, security, athletics, and acrobatics) aren't my main attributes, so leveling up is going to be a long process until I start running into every random dungeon to commit heinous acts of genocide (in the name of Good, no less!). Once I do that, my blade, heavy armour, and whatever the healing magic is called attributes will start increasing, and I'll become so very powerful. I just hope I start running into monsters that use cold damage because I'm naturally resistant to it (one of the benefits of being a Nord)...

Complicating my Oblivion schedule has been the Guild Wars: Factions preview weekend. We have 3 days of access to a chunk of the Canthan conitnent, and a selection of quests from both the rival factions, the Luxons and Kurzicks. I like the Kurzicks more, mostly for their gothic architecture and non-snooty refinement. The Luxons seem like a pack of boors who only care about fighting, which is strange because the Kurzicks annihilate them whenever the two sides get into a fight.

For example, there's a Kurzick quest where you get ambushed by a few waves of Luxons, and it was easy. In opposition, there's a Luxon quest where you defend an area from a few waves of Kurzick attackers, and it was a bitch. Assassins were teleporting everywhere, elementalists were wiping out my spirits (I'm playing a ritualist spirit healer, in which I bind a spirit and then suck out its life to heal my allies), and I'm not sure what it was, but something kept pummeling our healing and protection monks, thus turning them into ex-monks. I spent a lot of the fight resurrecting them, let me tell you.

So, that's the good stuff. Everybody was happy in Scotty-land. Until yesterday, when I checked my email.

The strike is over.

The Ontario college teachers' union was on strike for 3 weeks, starting immediately after Reading Week. I'm coming off a whole month of doing absoultely nothing, of sleeping til noon and playing video games all day. Now I'm expected to go back to class, to get up at some ungodly hour and get on the stupid bus to cram my head with knowledge. (No sympathy from anyone expected)

I don't know for sure if I'm still supposed to hand in all the assignments that were due over the past 3 weeks, but I'm in the lab right now doing them. For some reason our swipe cards were disabled during the strike and haven't been reactivated yet, so I had to go to the security office and jump through hoops just to get in here, and I can't leave without having to go back there and jump through the same hoops over again.

Knowing I can't leave has given my the strongest craving for coffee I have ever had, and there's a Tim Hortons so close. So very close...


Friday, March 24, 2006

I am angry

I bought The Elder scrolls 4: Oblivion today. I've been looking forward to this game for a while now, ever since I heard about it pretty much. I've been quiet about it, because I didn't want to overhype it.

So, I bought it today. I was over at Steve's and Cid and I took a walk down to Merivale in search of a power cable with an L-shaped plug. That's a whole other story, and isn't important right now. Anyway, we got the cord and decided to take a walk down to Future Shop to see if they had any copies of the Guild Wars: Factions preorder, because I wanted one.

They didn't, and neither did Best Buy, so we both bought Oblivion instead. I debated it for a bit and finally caved. Cid bought it because I did, like he said he would. We were both happy, and we walked back to Steve's.

While we were there, his copy got installed on 4 different computers. It was glorious, everybody loved it. I deliberately didn't look at it so I'd get the full experience firsthand. Eventually I got home, and popped the DVD into my drive.

It installed and was sitting there in its post-install copying phase (I assume it's copying stuff, it just sits there for 5 minutes before the installation fully finishes). Suddenly, I got an error message. Catastrophic failure. No other information.

I tried it again, catastrophic failure. One more time, catastrophic failure.

I rebooted and tried again. Catastrophic failure.

I rebooted again and shut down my virus scanner. Catastrophic failure.

I gave up at that point. I have 30 days to exchange it, and I intend to. My computer exceeds the minimum recommended specifications, so I know I can run it. A different copy worked on 4 other computers, so I know the game itself isn't faulty, just my copy.

I figure I'll take a few minutes out of the Factions preview weekend to get a new copy of Oblivion, and hopefully this one will actually work.

It's very frustrating.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Period of adjustment

I tried out the trimmer today. After the first use, I was a bit uneven, so I went back for a second attempt.

The directions say to set the head to how long you want the hair (from 5/8 to 1/8 of an inch), and to only go in the direction the hair grows. I tried that, and it left everything a bit too long and still a bit shaggy. Even at the shortest setting it looked too long, and I know it was cutting because there was hair everywhere.

So, on the second pass I tried going against the hair growth. Last time I got my hair cut the barber did that, so I figured it would be okay.

I think I cut it a bit short. It's still a full beard, but it's not much longer that fuzz. It's thicker than fuzz, thankfully, but I think I'll be glad when it grows in a bit more.

Home haircuts are not for the faint of heart.

New acquisitions

I bought a beard trimmer.

Ordinarily I'd have a bunch of pictures of it, but I didn't feel like taking any. It's a Conair rechargeable something or other, with a bunch of attachments that will let me trim this bushy thing on my face into something I can be proud to walk around with.

Well, it's not that bad. It's just getting a little shaggy, and there's no way I'm going to the barber every time I need it trimmed up.

For those of you who don't know: I have a beard. I started growing it in Novemeber, and here it is 5 months later, still attached. Some people might remember my previous misguided attempts at facial hair, but this time I avoided the pitfalls.

In the past, I trimmed it up into a goatee. That was a bad idea, and I've scrapped it. It's a full beard, from sideburn to sideburn. Again, no pictures because I don't feel like taking any, but that might change in the near future.

In other news, I'm now 1/5 on Roll up the Rim to Win. While drinking those failing cups I started writing down ideas for a story. Perhaps a short story, perhaps a novel, I haven't decided yet. Most of the ideas have been swirling around my head for a while now, and they're part of an attempt to answer a simple question: What happens when a wizard retires?

Stay tuned, you might find out.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Nobody told me

Why didn't anybody tell me I used the wrong brackets in my last post? It spent 5 days showing that I can't tell the difference between HTML and UBB code, and at the same time making me look like an idiot. Oh well.

In strike news, there is no news. The days continue on as they have been.

In Roll Up the Rim news, there's also no news. I haven't bothered going out for coffee in the past few days, opting instead to make my own.

In other news, I've settled right back into my happy little rut.

Friday, March 10, 2006


Ontario's college teachers are on strike. Thus, I have an extended break, which I've spent mostly sleeping and playing video games, and not blogging. As you might have noticed.

Anyway, in the past week I've completed editing a technical report, reinstalled Diablo 2, and finished capturing all the necromancer and ranger elite skills in Guild Wars. Next up, warrior and monk, followed (eventually) by mesmer and elementalist. My goal is to have them all before Guild Wars: Factions is released, because then I'll have two new character classes to find skills for.

Luckily the release date is still at least a month away, so I have lots of time. Might even be two months, I can't remember if they've announced a date or not. There's a beta preview starting on March 24th, and I recommend everybody participate. Go to the Guild Wars website for more information, if you're curious.

I spent today cleaning the crap off my desk. I haven't done this for at least 5 months, and there was an impressive pile of stuff on it. Luckily I could just throw a lot of it out, but there's a lot of financial and tax information that I have to save, and some school-related stuff that I have no idea what to do with. I guess I could file it somewhere, but that just delays the inevitable. Still, I don't want to throw it out because I worked hard on a lot of it.

I'll figure something out.

On a happy note, I'm 1/3 on Roll up the Rim to Win (the real most wonderful time of the year). My prize was a coffee, which is my favourite thing to win. I usually don't get doughnuts or cookies, so when I win one of those I feel obligated to get one (or several). By winning coffee, I get something I'd normally be spending money on for free.

I intended to go get another coffee today and see if I could get back to .500, but the weather was kind of miserable and I caught a case of laziness. Maybe tomorrow.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Oh glorious day!

I am now finished all but 1 section. My previous command to kill me has been lifted.

Turns out two of the appendices I was editing had almost nothign to correct in them, so I dodged a bullet there.

The section that's left is one I actually gave up on earlier, so tomorrow is going to be a fun day.

Why'd I leave this so long?

I'm knee deep in the technical report I have to edit. I have 2 of my sections completely done and am almost done a third. Sounds good, right?

Kill me.

Every line needs revision, every time a word could be wrong, it is wrong. Every awkward construction you can imagine is there. Every time something has to be changed, it makes everything else have to change.

If the engineering group who wrote it is reading this, I'm sorry for going on about it. It's not your fault, this isn't what you're good at, and I realize that. I'm sure you'd feel the same way I do now if I were to hand you a stack of product diagrams and ask you to critique and improve them.

But still, it's painful.

And the longer I spend on it, the more I need to do. My goal is to get it done by tomorrow so I can take Monday to do my Dreamweaver tutorial, but I'm not sure that's going to happen.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Shortest archive ever

I made 5 posts in all of February. That's pathetic.

Nothing to add.


I'm alive.

How many recent posts have started with a variation of that line? Too many, and almost all of them are followed by a pledge to write more posts here. I'm not going to do that this time, because it's not much fun repeating myself.

It's getting to the end of Reading Week now (so much free time, and it's been spent running stupid errands and editing a technical report), and I haven't done any real relaxing. Sure I've been sleeping til noon (most days) and not doing much, but it hasn't been relaxing.

It's been sunny every morning, so every morning I've woken up drenched in sweat in an oven. That's a bad start to any day, and the place never cools off, even with the windows open. I know nobody likes when I complain about the heat, so this is the last you'll hear of it. Ever. My personal guarantee.

I've had a few interviews for my work placement, and I think they've gone fairly well. I had some trouble relaxing for both of them, and as a result I stuttered pretty much right through them. Sadly the interview for the place I really wanted to go to was the interview I couldn't string two words together for (one million English teachers just clutched their heads and screamed as I finished writing that), but I think I managed to get my point across and hopefully made a good impression.

I'm supposedly getting set up with another interview, but I don't know when that's going to happen (Jim the course coordinator sent my resume off to another place yesterday). So in the meantime I'm editing the technical report for our mechanical engineering team. I should have started this earlier, but hey, I'm lazy.