December 12th, 2009

#1851: Cry a river for the government agency

Some post offices may close.

Why is the post office the only government agency which is expected not to run a deficit? All the other government agencies are given scads of money to spend and Congress doesn't give a rat's ass whether or not the federal government actually has the income to cover the spending. So why put those poor postal employees out of work? WTF, just print a few more billion; at this point--with $1,000 billion plus annual deficits projected for the next few years--what difference does it make?

I mean, we're going to be sacked with inflation and high interest rates and unemployment anyway, so why not let those folks keep their jobs? At least someone will feel the brunt of the tax increases needed to pay down Obama's spending spree. How appropriate that it be government employees.

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Absolutely no mention of the AirBus A380 in this article about Boeing's 787. Of course.

I'm curious to know what's going on with the old A380; I haven't heard anything about it all year, good, bad, or indifferent.

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I thought this was true in many states. In many states, if an adult man has sex with underage girl who is 16 or older and the act comes to the attention of law enforcement, there is no crime if the girl refuses to press charges. The girl's not an adult but she can consent to sex with an older man--it's either sensible or crazy, depending on how you look at it, but it's the way the law is written in some jurisdictions.

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Since I discovered that shamans can wear chain after level 40, I had a look at Torgilgrimm--my first WoW character--to see if he could make anything Chenal could use. And I ended up playing him for the past few days.

The poor guy was 31st level for just about ever; now he's 35th. One week from today is his first birthday, and I'm thinking about trying to get him to 40th level before then.

Yes, I'm one week away from my first anniversary as a Warcrack addict. Whee!

Torgilgrimm is finally to the point where he can kill things effectively. I ended up cornered by five 30-ish yetis last night, and though it got a bit dicey I managed to kill them all without dying. Awesome.

Maybe it's just skill. I've been playing this thing for a year, after all.

And I've been having a little fun with the "random dungeon" thing, too, though it's still not very random. As a priest, TG is only really good for healing in an instance, but that's fine with me: you just stand back and keep an eye on everyone's health bar, and slap HP on whoever loses points.

...until you run out of mana, of course.

I ended up in a couple of groups with morons for tanks. I would signal that I was out of mana and the moron would charge right ahead into the next mob anyway. In a couple of groups I've had to say, "I CAN'T HEAL YOU IF I DON'T HAVE MANA". One guy figured out what that meant; one didn't.

There we were in the Scarlet Monastery library. I was totally out of mana, said so, and sat down to have a drink; then the tank that didn't listen charged on ahead into the room with the dog trainer guy. I sat there, drinking, watching his HP bar grow ever-smaller. I was going to rez the knob once combat was over, but he left the party.

Well, geeze, I am so sorry, but I tried to explain to you that I can't heal you if I don't have mana. I suppose the asshat thought, "WTF, you've got some mana now!" but what the hell do I do when the situation goes to shit and suddenly you need three or four healing spells in a row, bam-bam-bam-bam? What happens is, you die anyway and leave the party in a huff like the douchebag you are. Meanwhile the rest of us have to deal with the foes you stirred up, and like as not we all die. Anus.

A good tank asks his backup if they're ready for another fight; he doesn't just go charging into combat willy-nilly. And if he's smart he doesn't pull every goddamned monster in the area at once.

I had another group come apart because of that; the tank wanted to pull everything at once, but because mana is finite I couldn't keep slapping band-aids on his sorry ass. And it's worse when the tank can't even hold aggro and the DPS guys start taking damage; I have to heal them, too.

Worse, the guy would run out of my line-of-sight while I was casting. When that happens, either you finish casting the spell--in which case it fails and you've wasted three seconds, which is an eternity--or else you move to reestablish line-of-sight, in which case the casting fails and you have to start over. This guy would move, attack, move, attack, move, move, move, kiting the foes around, and making me move 3-5 times before I could finally slap a band-aid on his ass--and by that time he'd be down by half or more, which would mean I'd have to cast another one right afterwards.

DPS guys also need line-of-sight for their ranged attacks; this guy was effectively running away from his own spell support, which is a stupid thing for a tank to do.

I can only cast a certain number of healing spells before I run out of mana, and they take time to cast. If the bad guys are knocking chunks off you faster than I can slap them on, you're going to die and the situation is going to crater. When the tank gets killed, as long as he hasn't pulled too large of a mob, the DPS guys can usually survive and the healer can keep them in HP long enough to clear the mob; then rez the tank. But not when it's all the foes in an area.

So the tank died, the DPS people started dying, and of course the healer got killed in fairly short order thereafter. The third time this happened, one of the DPS guys complained, "this is the worst group I've ever been in" and quit, and the group fell apart after that. I guess I can't blame him.

So here's a handy guide to grouping instances:

1) Tank: don't pull too many foes at once, and give your healer time to replenish his mana. Make sure you keep aggro.

2) DPS: stay the hell back, away from melee. Use ranged attacks and pets. Try to avoid taking damage. If you can help with crowd control, do so.

3) Healer: keep your mana up and keep everyone alive.

I saw examples of #2 failures, too; DPS people thinking they could tank and running into melee, where they got chunks knocked off them pretty quickly. (Sometimes they couldn't help it; the tank wasn't keeping aggro on all opponenets and one or two would aggro a DPS.)

BTW, definitions may be in order.

Tank: someone in a lot of armor and with a lot of hit points. Death knights, paladins, and warriors generally fill this role. (Druids can tank, too.) This person is the point man, and spends his time in melee combat, toe-to-toe with the bad guys. He'll take most of the damage but his HP and armor let him soak it up; given a good healer he can take on the nastiest thing in the instance. Usually they have weapons which do a shit-ton of damage, but are relatively slow.

DPS: "damage per second". This role is commonly filled with shaman, rogue, mage, or warlock characters. It means someone who can provide damage over time rather than single bursts of damage. These people use area-of-effect spells to hurt a lot of foes a little bit at a time, but continuously.

Heals: just what the name imples; this is the band-aid-o-matic of the group and he focuses on keeping everyone alive. Priests are best, but druids are good for this, and shamans will do in a pinch.

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I'm going to have to do some Christmas shopping this week. I'm thinking of setting up the Christmas tree today, too.

...I still need to locate a Cinnabon franchise somewhere within a 30-mile radius of the bunker. (Orland Park, probably.)

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I don't like this chair all that much; I'm thinking about getting my high-back chair out of the basement and using it again. Problem: one of the casters on it is junk. I'm not sure what to do about that. Maybe "Gorilla Glue" will help.


The Escort is probably going to sit for the duration of winter. *sigh* Well, I prefer to drive the Jeep in winter, anyway.


The other day when it was snowing, I went to the garage for a snow shovel and spent a few moments gloating over the fact that it was snowing and my Fiero was not sitting out in it.


When the Weather Report Girl anime first came out, I and my friends were amused by the concept of "gorilla laxative". The word "gorilla" didn't mean it was for gorillas; it meant it was super-extra-powerful laxative. So I was amused when I learned of the existence of Gorilla Glue.

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No one is showing any good Christmas shows this year. (At least, not so far.) I'm not going to watch It's a Wonderful Life, either, because I'm sick of George Baily's jerkitude. I don't care if we have a white Christmas.

Best line: Potter saying, "And a Happy New Year to you--in jail!"

The only illegal thing Potter does in the whole movie is to keep the $8,000 Uncle Billy inadvertently drops in his lap.

I have to wonder: when he offers George a job working for him, is he planning to dump George as soon as George shuts down the Building and Loan? Since Potter is a typical one-dimensional Hollywood rich villain, I suppose that's so. But take Potter at his word, that he needs an up-and-coming young businessman with the acumen to represent him, and that he's identified George Baily as having the brains and the moxie to do the job correctly. He offers George a peach of a job, one that includes everything George ever wanted for himself--and George not only turns him down, but insults him ("you're nothing but a scurvy little spider!").

You know, I also reject the notion that George couldn't make any serious money by running the Building and Loan, because he was so helpful to everyone. Since George was the protagonist of the story (and Potter meant to be the most visible antagonist) we're meant to take George's word that Potter's rental properties are "slums", but were they really? George was obviously consumed with hatred for Potter from the very beginning, else he would not have used such an emotionally-charged word in a business meeting, and "they'll vote with Potter otherwise" wouldn't have kept him from leaving Bedford Falls and realizing his dreams.

Given all that, though, George could have made the Building and Loan a profitable business without stiffing himself on salary. Potter's lackey predicts that unless Potter does something to quell George's forward motion, "this young man will end up working for George Baily!" If the Building and Loan is that successful, George is a fool for not paying himself more.

Rich Hollywood people telling us how virtuous it is to be poor, and how evil it is to be rich--what crap.

Clearly, though, the main antagonist in the story was George himself; he consistently made choices which ended up confining him to Bedford Falls. But I don't think it's because he was full of noble self-sacrifice; I think it was because he hated Potter and hated the thought of Potter winning. He said he was going to shake off the dust of "this crummy little town" and go see the world and go do things--but in the end his hatred for Potter is what kept him in Bedford Falls, and it's what kept him from realizing any of his dreams.

Anyway, I'm sick of the whole thing.

#1852: God help me, I started a guild.

I ran into a guy in the Alterac Mountains who was yelling "ZAGA KEK" at Horde nerds. I asked him WTF he was doing and he told me that when someone speaking Orcish typed "noob lol" it came out as "zaga kek".

...about 20 minutes later I was paying 10 silver for a guild petition in Ironforge for a guild named "Zaga Kek LLC". I offered gold and vanity pets for signatures, and got what I needed; and so now Zaga Kek LLC is a going concern.

Amaleni donated 500 gold to the cause, so ZKL now has a single guild vault tab and the guild contains nine members, self included.

Oh--Torgilgrimm is the guild master, which means I'm going to have to play that character more often. But this isn't a problem since he's now beginning to be strong enough to be playable.

Today I went after the "Forsaken Courier" that walks between Tarren Mill and that orc farm in Arathi--with his bodyguards, it makes a mob of five level 35 undead--and at 35th level I managed to kill them all without dying myself. This from a character who--at level 17--couldn't take one leve1 14 monster.

The guild tabard? It's a mushroom, of course.

To make matters even more entertaining, I random-grouped again and ended up doing a Razorfen Downs run. I got the achievement for it, and took care of a quest worth about 5,000 XP--not bad.

One of the people who signed my guild petition suggested we hit Warsong Gulch, so I said, "WTF, why not?" and tried it. It was frenetic and I kept dying, but I did manage to kill one orc all by myself, and he was a higher level player character than I was. That was pretty cool. I may do more PvP stuff with a more combat-oriented character class.

But right now, I can think only of going to bed.