I am a weird dude.

I am a weird dude. I still feel like there’s a huge part of my personality I’m hiding from everyone, including myself. I feel like if I go in there it would be really weird.

When I was in first grade I won the spelling bee because two other people misspelled the word “thief.” They both spelled it “theif.” Dan Madonia won the Spelling Bee in 2nd grade. Then I won again in 3rd grade. In High School I finally realized that the spelling bee is a retarded competition, basically because retarded people started winning it. Sure, if you do nothing but teach spelling 24/7 you can win… duh. Anyway.

I’m starting a new job next week. I’m hoping it will rock my socks. I was really unhappy at my old (current, as of today) job and it affected me badly in several ways. Also I need to get a haircut, I look like Dilbert’s boss again.

As I get older and older I begin to realize I should have been writing down my memoirs over the course of my life so that I have something to look back on when I’m older. My life was so fucking bizarre, I don’t think anybody could believe it really happened. And I haven’t gone up into the belltower yet.

In closing, 2 things. One, a quote that only real nerds like me would get: “Some people, when confronted with a problem, think “I know, I’ll use
regular expressions.” Now they have two problems.” — Jamie Zawinski

2nd, my pgp public key, send me some encrypted shit, I LOVE IT.

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Thursday, March 17, 2005

I am a player of World of Warcraft, I play as Cellen the Human Paladin, currently on the Doomhammer server. As a refugee from EverQuest I found WoW to be a big breath of fresh air after the eternal grind of EQ. As of this writing my character is level 56 and I am still mostly enjoying the game, however the game does have some serious deficiencies.

The one I’ll discuss presently is the poor itemization for most quest rewards. In EQ, as in WoW, classes were limited to certain armor types – cloth, leather, chain, plate. One subtle difference in WoW is that each tier of armor-wearer can wear all the armor below their tier as well as the armor designed for their class. This means a plate wearer in WoW can wear mail, leather, or cloth. This has the interesting effect of allowing people to “Graduate” to higher tier armor once they reach level 40 (though the same thing could be accomplished in EQ by restricting an item both by class and level). Now this isn’t the main problem with WoW’s itemization but it does tie in, as I’ll explain.

Most of the items in EverQuest had stats and effects that would be useful to any class that was able to wear the item. A leather bracer may have +100 HP, +100 Mana, +50 attack, +4 Mana regen, +10 Stamina, +10 wisdom, +50 armor. This is just an example but there were plenty of items like this. The 3 leather wearing classes in EQ were Monk, Druid, and Beastlord. Because the stats were balanced between melee, caster, and hybrid, any of those 3 classes would benefit from wearing the item.

Most items in WoW don’t follow that pattern. A typical quest reward item in WoW would be a leather bracer with +17 agility, +17 Strength, +100 armor. At the high end (level 40+) game, the only leather wearers are Druids and Rogues. This bracer clearly only benefits rogues – it provides nothing for a spellcaster; and while druids are definitely capable of meleeing in their animal forms, very few druids would gear themselves as melee characters and neglect the mana/casting side of their characters. While my character is a Paladin, I play mostly duoing with a Druid, and I’ve seen firsthand how few quest rewards offer any benefit at all to Druids, especially those that choose to gear up as healers (casters). Almost all weapons and armor that are usable by a druid give little to zero benefit to mana or casting. Around level 40-42 when we completed the Scarlet Monastery instance, and my druid companion got Whitemane’s Chapeau , a cloth hat, which was by far the best item at her level. To make clear: the best item for a druid – a leather wearer – at that level is a cloth item.

Anyway that’s the basic problem with itemization. There are too many one-sided items for members of a class when there should be more balanced stats on all of them. Instead of +17 agility and +17 strength, the bracer described above could have +17 Agility and +17 intellect, or +12 agi, +12 str, +12 int. Or add a healing/damage bonus for nature based spells, etc. SOMETHING to make the item appealing to anybody of that armor tier.

That’s all for now! Kek!

Cellen!

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Yesterday was probably in my top 5 worst days ever in terms of commuting. When I left the house around 8:15 AM it was about 35-40 degrees. Sometime around 11-12 it started snowing, and by about 2 it was blizzarding heavily. The wind was insane. Snow stopped around 5 PM and the sun came out – wee!

So I end up leaving work at the normal time, 6:45. There’s ice all over the street. I get into Penn Station and my train is operating about 2 minutes late, which is pretty good considering the weather.

As the train approaches Jamaica we come to a dead stop. After 10 minutes of sitting, the conductor comes on the PA and announces that we’re waiting for track space in Jamaica. Another 10 minutes and we’ve moved about 30 feet or so. This is a PACKED LIRR train – people are standing shoulder to shoulder pretty much, as usual these days.

So we finally roll into Jamaica 20-25 minutes late, and of course my connecting train has long since departed. So once again I get to pass the time in the “New” HORRIBLE FUCKING PIECE OF SHIT Jamaica Station LIRR waiting area. Whoever designed this fucking thing should be sued, and then hunted down and shot. The way Jamaica used to work was that there was an enclosed overpass that connected all 8 train tracks. If was a decent waiting area because it had a TV and – get this – HEAT!

The new Jamaica LIRR waiting area is a fucking eyesore and is probably the most poorly designed structure I’ve ever had the misfortune to enter. Now, instead of a nice enclosed tunnel, we are expected to stand in this cavernous steel/glass enclosure that is *OPEN ON THE NORTH AND SOUTH SIDES*, creating a sort of wind tunnel. It had stopped snowing around 4 PM but in the LIRR waiting area of Jamaica Station it was like a fucking blizzard with the snow blowing around and around. There are these glass panels up there that keep you from jumping down onto a train – these glass panels were pure white, covered with snow, despite the fact that there’s a 50 foot ceiling over them for 100 feet in all directions. Someone took the liberty of writing “The MTA HAS NO CLUE” and “THIS FACILITY SUCKS!!” in the snow on the glass panels. Oh, also the waiting area has 3 or 4 heat lamps – enough for maybe 7 or 8 people to stand under – as its only heat source.

I have no idea if the Jamaica station is “done” or if there is still more to build, but assuming it’s “done” in terms of leaving the north and south sides completely open, whoever designed it should have his/her/their architecting license revoked and then burned. A FUCKING WIND TUNNEL AS A WAITING AREA!

So then my train finally rolls in around 8-8:30 PM. We pull out of Jamaica and all is well until the train stops and the conductor gets on the PA to inform us that the switches are frozen and we have to wait for them to thaw. So I’m thinking, man when am I going to get home, April?

Anyway to cut the story short I got home around 9:30. Let me reiterate how happy I am to be paying 5% more to the MTA for this great service. I can deal with weather issues and can cut them some slack, but don’t raise the rates and then give shittier service. One day I’ll have to get into the issue of the fucking “new” M7 trains that the LIRR keeps touting as being so wonderful, but they are uncomfortable, poorly designed trains that smell like shitters on wheels.

Hugs!

Monday, March 07, 2005

Here’s a sentence whose horror can only be appreciated by people familiar with the Long Island Rail Road:

“Ladies and Gentlemen, for today only, this train will be making all local stops to Penn Station.”

Seriously… fuck you guys. My monthly ticket went from $168 to $178 and the service has continued to degrade.

Car is working, family is well, life is beautiful. 🙂

The smiley insertion thing doesn’t work well here.

I’m enjoying putting two linebreaks after every sentence.

March 1, 2005

Ok this day is starting out really super. I wake up to my alarm clock blaring, interrupting a dream in which somebody was yelling at me that “The database connection is DOWN! It’s DOWN, man!” But I don’t think the guy meant down as in like, defunct, he just meant it was down, like, “man the database connection is really down with it.” I don’t know what that means. But I do know that I was fucking exhausted when I woke up. I sat in the shower for like 10 minutes hoping the water would thaw my eyelids open but it didn’t work. I got dressed, and went outside to shovel the step and the driveway. The guy who lives downstairs loaned me his snow shovel which was a lot better than mine, and man this thing cuts ice like nobody’s bidness. So I got the sidewalk cleared and I looked around, and none of my neighbors had cleared their sidewalks. Whatever.

So I head over to the train, which, remarkably, was actually on time despite the snow. Change in Jamaica was really super, my normal express to Penn Station wasn’t there, so I had to walk from one end of the train to the stairs up to the newly redesigned, completely fecal looking platform, then wait for them to announce a track. Oh, track 1! Joy. So I go down to track 1 and of course the fucking thing is packed. I go alllllllllll the way down to the other end of the train to find a place to stand. The train sits on the track for about 10 minutes with the bell ringing like the doors are closing, but they don’t. So I’m standing in the train in Jamaica with the doors open.

Crap, work to do. I’ll finish the story later.

(11 hours later)

Ok so I was standing on the train in Jamaica. Finally the train moves out of the station and we head to Woodside (it wasn’t an express like my normal train). We get to Woodside and the conductor gets on the PA saying, “Due to a disabled train in one of the tunnels, we STRONGLY suggest that if you can take the 7 train to your destination, you do so.” So, like, I can take a hint. I get off the train along with 500 other people and trudge up to the 7 train (yay for having an emergency MetroCard, I think it expires this year though and has $20 on it ). I’m not really a subway person so I had no idea really where to go, but since my office is on 5th avenue, I got off at 42nd and 5th and walked the rest of the way, which was fine. So I got to work like an hour late.

The day got somewhat better after noon; I solved a minor problem that was caused by someone else’s shitty programming. I had an Italian hero which was pretty good except for the fact that they used regular huge onions on it instead of those purple ones (Vidalia?) that you expect to see on an Italian hero.

I also found out that one of my banks, Bank One, is merging with Chase. That’s kind of surprising; I hadn’t heard anything about that until their message. When Fleet merged with Bank of America I knew about it right away. Bank One has a decent web interface for checking your account, but they also charged me $39.00 for a late payment… asses.

It’s 9:10 PM right now and I’m waiting for my WoW server to come back up. These guys could learn a lot from Sony in the ways of making a scalable game infrastructure.