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  • Archive for June, 2011

    (P)C:\ ADVENTure


    2011 - 06.29

    You are in a small room, with shelving spanning two walls. A third wall is covered with simple shapes in a number of colours. They look like sprites from “Space Invaders”. By the entrance is a desk strewn with miscellaneous computer equipment: monitors, keyboards, laptops, optical disks. There is a large fake-leather chair by the desk.

    There is food here: cheese on toast
    There is a glass of milk here


    My gradually-failing PC finally reached the point where it was more often not working than working, so I thought I’d better do something about it. I tried a motherboard replacement with no success. “Perhaps it’s the power supply?” I mused in guild chat, in between reboots and crashes.

    So last night, having checked to see whether the PC was still unstable (yes — pretty much unusable) I untangled the spaghettiball of cables inside the case and swapped in the power supply from my currently-unused media centre PC1  It wasn’t a straightforward process, but thankfully I could at least remember where I’d stashed the spare cables2 and, after a bit of cursing re: graphics cards that require 2 PCI-e power connectors and which are long enough to overhang the SATA cables, I got everything plugged in.

    *Click* *whirrr*

    Ok. I can log in. That’s an improvement. Let’s jump ingame and stress test it. A quick frostlord run…done. Great. So what next — maybe I should *bweeeeee*

    *Black screen*

    *Silence*

    Oshit. *sniff*

    Is that… burning? BURNING!

    *frantic unplugging*

    Great.

    You are in the small room with the shelving and the space invaders. A defeated and haggard-looking Ano is slumped by a wall. His knees are tucked under his chin, tangled hair covering his face. He looks at you blankly, then goes back to staring into space. Muttered curses are just audible.

    There is a part-dismembered PC here
    There is a screwdriver here
    There is a tumbler containing oily amber liquid here
    There is an open window to the east
    There is a door to the west


    Time for plan C. With a quick USE SCREWDRIVER I removed the remaining components from the media PC, discarding the TV tuners and redundant parts. After a certain amount of poking and prodding, more cable-restringing, a couple of skinned knuckles, some mid-level swearing, three instances of turning the case upside down to retrieve a dropped screw and several ow-my-neck-I-really-should-have-moved-the-case-from-under-the-desk breaks, I was ready.

    *click*

    *whirr*

    *beep* *beepity-beep* *beepity*

    Oh yeah. Many BIOS settings to change.

    *click*

    *whirr*

    *beep* *bweee* <<auto-reboot>>

    Oh you little basssss…*beep*

    <windows logo>

    Huh?

    *chitter-chatter*

    <drive activity light goes nuts>


    <time passes>

    …and it’s working! Huzzah! Or at least I think it is. There was a certain amount of housekeeping to do, and I still can’t get the proper AHCI drivers to install because the dumbasses at AMD seemingly want to use the Catalyst installer for all driver installs, which would be fine except all it does (no matter what I download) is reinstall my graphics drivers. Which is irritating. But it does appear to… work. I think. Hopefully I’ll find out later tonight, when I get back from the zoo.3


    You are in the small room with the shelving and the space invaders. In the corner, there are two piles of computer components. From a bedroom nearby comes the sound of someone operating a chainsaw. Or possibly someone drowning a pig. Whilst operating a chainsaw at the same time.

    There is an empty tumbler here, smelling faintly of peat
    There is a small pile of 6-32 screws here
    There are some earplugs here

    It’s dark. A hollow voice says “plugh”. 

    --
    1. Happily, I discovered it was a nice 500W modular effort from OCZ rather than some no-name rubbish. Clearly I had been at least a little awake when preparing that machine… []
    2. the worst part about modular PSUs: remembering where you put the cables you didn’t need at build time []
    3. I’ve been invited to a party in London Zoo. I’ll find out tonight if I’m there only because the furry creatures will be asleep and they want someone to pet []

    Verily I doth admire the players of roles


    2011 - 06.13

    I’m not a role-player. I think I might be RP-curious though1.

    The first time I thought about roleplaying in a Warcraft context was probably when I came across Righteous Orbs, reading Tam’s early stories of the prettiest elf et al and the character of his … er … characters. I know this isn’t roleplaying per se, and I certainly didn’t think of it as such, but it was much more characterisation than I’d previously considered.

    Fast forward a bit. Until I read some of Pilf’s RP stories2 I hadn’t thought of roleplaying as anything other than a suspect extension of childhood make-believe. It’s stupid, I know, but that roleplaying is storytelling mixed with improvisation — two things I particularly enjoy, and skills I wish I had — simply hadn’t occurred to me3.

    When I moved to Darkmoon Faire (a European RP-PVE server) I was intrigued by the idea that RP would be taking place around me, even if I didn’t plan to do any roleplaying myself. Of course, in Europe the *real* roleplaying server is Argent Dawn, and whilst there are role-players on DMF I think there are probably considerably more people here because “RP servers have less obnoxious types”4. Anyway, aside from the occasional IC silliness when bumping into a guildie by the auction house, I’ve remained a largely RP free zone. It probably doesn’t help that my main is largely characterless, and try as I might I can’t seem to retrofit a personality to him. He’s just me, wielding a mightier weapon *eyebrows*.

    To that end, I love to read the blogs of people who I think do RP well or are able to get inside the game world and the minds of it’s denizens, and I was delighted by this particular post from Glorwynn at Heavy Wool Bandage about what it means to be a paladin5. Obviously, I have a bit of a personal interest in followers of light, despite Ano-the-character’s persistent Keanu-level characterisation, but it’s with the backstories and lore summaries that I find myself most taken, and the obvious-now-I’ve-been-told revelation that “paladins are people too”.

    I might not be a role-player but even I’ve heard the term “Mary Sue“. One of the problems I’ve always had when considering the character of MY characters has been finding the balance between interestingness and believability. It’s hard to care about the life and times of Brian Q. Bland. It’s harder still to talk to Jeb “Dagger” McDangers (they say he once killed a bare with his bear hands — perhaps he’s a druid) without sniggering. It seems to me that Glorwynn’s post could go a long way towards helping someone get it right.

    So last thursday I was able to join my first raid since… a long time ago, it feels like. I was healing (!) as we had a slightly odd mix of people available, so as a nice gentle introduction we went to Baradin Hold for the first fight.

    The second fight was Cho’gall. *whimper*6 Does anyone else think this makes our raid leader a meanie?

    After 90 minutes, we seemed to have hit a wall in terms of improvement so toddled over to Blackwing to quickly kill the first couple of bosses; a cheerful end to the evening.

    Next on the to-do list: the troll dungeons — I did most of one of them before I left but haven’t had a chance to go back, and now I’m all nervy about going in clueless. *whine*

    --
    1. to mangle a popular phrase []
    2. I must have followed a recommendation from something; it’s not something I would have sought out. I’m glad I did though. []
    3. handily, I don’t think I’ve ever claimed to be smart on mb.com []
    4. that’s the impression I get at least []
    5. it made me go back and read her blog from the beginning, an activity I’d highly recommend if you find yourself with a little free time []
    6. a disadvantage of my not having played for a while, and not being a main spec healer, was that it was hard to know exactly how badly I was doing during the Cho’gall encounter. Wiping to tank death on pretty much every attempt probably offers a hint or tw, mind. Certainly, the difference in stress level between the Cho’gall fight and the Golem council fight (which is reasonably complex from a moving-and-mechanics point of view) was very noticeable. []

    I’m back: feed me.


    2011 - 06.03

    Little shop of horrors: Om nom nom nom etc

    Hoo boy. Nearly five solid weeks of not playing — that feels like a long time. Hell, I’ve been back from my work trip for almost two weeks and I still haven’t submitted my expenses, let alone found time to play!

    So tonight I logged into the MB admin interface to upload an image I wanted to link to on our new guild website (more info soon). What was waiting for me when I logged in? Apart from WordPress updates, of course?

    This:

    XXX gnomes. Gnomes gone wild. Ick.

    XXX gnomes. Gnomes gone wild.

    I don’t know who you are but you should be ashamed of yourself.

    /flounce