Wooo, I’m in limbo!

April 30, 2008 at 9:17 pm (Job)

Got word back from the publishing folks. I mean, 3 weeks is a long time to wait for word, but here it is!

“Dear Brian,

Thanks for following up; right now, we’re holding on filling a few Associate spots – you’re on the waiting list.”

That’s right, I’m in limbo with a high probability of job.

Suppose I should find a good book to read…

-Brian

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Go Steelers?

April 28, 2008 at 4:19 pm (Uncategorized)

In lieu of Doom’s post on his hockey fanaticism, I’m bringing up my love of football, which is not nearly as deep or as emotionally involved as anything Doom does in regards to hockey.

(Although I do have to say, nerf guns as a means of psychic goal deterrant is a hell of an idea.)

I am a Steelers fan.

Yes, I live in New Jersey. North Jersey, near NYC.

By all means, I should be a Giants or Jets fan, but hear me out.

It’s a long, fun story, and I figure, post-draft, it’s time to talk about it.

This all hearkens back to the days of my youth.

See, my dad was never a conventional sports guy.

He was into cars.

Really, REALLY into cars.

We watched the Super Bowl for the car commercials, y’dig?

So, although I could appreciate the tackles, and saw some good catches, I didn’t really begin to start watching football until my Senior year at college.

That year, 2006-2007 was a full season after the Steelers won the Super Bowl. Yes, I was aware they won it, but past that, bupkis.

So I start watching, first game of the season. Steelers vs. Dolphins. My roommates have already been giving me shit about me not watching football, and when we tossed on some games, I was all about players with crazy hair, like Troy Palomalu. Heavy metal and smashmouth football go well together, so I think guys like that are awesome.

So I figure, hey, if the Steelers win the first game, that’s who I’m rooting for.

Lo and behold, on that night, I became a Steelers fan after a few hours of awesome football.

I watch them

Anyway, this past season, I missed out. Due to working at Apple, I missed all but two Sunday games – a later game for the Steelers, and the Super Bowl.

I kept up on scores, sure, but I didn’t get my favorite part – watching the game.

So, naturally, that, more than anything, was a driving reason behind not wanting to work at Apple. (Among several other reasons)

I’m not a total stat junkie (yet – that takes some time to set in), but I love watching them play. I also haven’t played a ton of football, so I’m a little off on my analysis in comparison to people who grew up with it.

I’d make comments about what I liked from the Draft, but I’m not really aware of their needs, other than things need to improve. They can’t score as easily as some teams *coughCOLTScough* can, and I think this is more due to good wide receiver-age (not to bash Ward, but the Steelers need more than just one good Wide Receiver). They also need a decent running back – when their receivers got covered and they opted for rushes, it worked well, but again, they need multiple good players, not just one or two solid options.

And Defense… hoo boy, they need it. Whatever Tomlin’s got up his sleeve, I hope they go balls-out with it.

-Brian

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Argh.

April 26, 2008 at 7:37 pm (Planning for the Future)

I’d like some honest opinions.

Here’s the thing. When I put in my applications for grad school, my old boss neglected to fill out one of the forms, which was a check-list. I got wind of this through the applications office at Villanova, and took care of it. She had already written the recommendation (took her weeks, though – I asked her in late february, she finished it by March 26th), but I let her know that my app was incomplete, and all I needed her to do was to finish the paperwork. It was the same stuff that she wrote about in her recommendation.

She got a stick up her butt, and asked me how she could, in good mind, fill that out, because it asked for an academic evaluation, and that she was not a teacher.

I convinced her to do it. I get it back; and even though her written recommendation was absolutely glowing, she made it seem as though I barely registered as an employee. In categories ranging from “N/A”, “Bottom 50%”, “Top 50%”, “Top 25%”, “Top 10%” “Top 5%”, she put me in the “top 50%”.

And she was irritated about having to do it.

Flash forward a couple of weeks. I’ve put in the apps, I’ve been applying for other jobs as well. I have her listed as a reference. I know for a fact that the HarperCollins folk have checked my references; it’s going on three weeks since I had the interview. I also applied for a job at a local Apple store that wasn’t the one I worked at. I had talked with them about switching there, and moving away from Palisades. They said they’d call me two days ago; haven’t heard back from them since.

While I was working there, I thought i got along with her. I was always nice, tried to do exactly what she wanted almost before she could think of it, and was basically a good employee. I wanted to leave on good terms.

Could it be possible that she torpedoed me, or am I just thinking about this too much?

Once again, honest opinions.

-Brian

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Hope.

April 24, 2008 at 4:22 pm (Uncategorized)

After the last month or so of feeling blah, I guess I’ll have to own up to Mirsh’s description of me as incredibly upbeat and enthusiastic. I’m back to my old self, I guess. 😀

In a twist of irony, it’s death that’s making me feel this way. My grandma’s been in the hospital since last week; her emphysema is in its last stages. The doctors say she’s maybe got a month left, tops; sorry Grandma, guess you won’t see me get married after all. I feel sad that this is going to happen, but we knew it was coming for years; the smoking finally caught up to her, way after she quit.

So why am I still so happy? Because she’s a reminder of life being worth enjoying. She does nothing but complain, harp about how miserable her life is, et cetera; but she still loves to see her grandkids. She even gave me a present the last time I saw her – a jaw harp that was her grandfather’s. It’s a pretty nifty thing.

My point is, even when you’re dying, you don’t want people to stop living. You want them to keep living, and to have something of you in their memory.

Touching on the passing of a fellow WoW-er this week, I think that’s the kind of legacy they’d leave behind for their kindred in Aetherial Circle. I know BRK’s doing a 500 Moo Salute for it, but I think just keeping DrMooPhd would be good enough.

Like Nikki Sixx wrote in “Life is Beautiful”, There’s nothing like a funeral to make you feel alive.

On that note, take that appreciation you have for life, and send kind thoughts, prayers, good mojo, and most excellent vibes to the collective gaming clan of Xaren and Khella, from Project X. Their sons and daughters-in-law, who all play with the guild, gave birth to two wonderful new babies a few days ago – one of the babies, however, is in critical condition.

The little girl’s since stabilized, but she’s barely had a chance to live yet. Send some of that love you’ve got in your hearts their way – not just for her, but for the whole gang.

Please. It’d mean a lot to me, and I know it’d mean even more to them.

-Brian

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From Bellz – What Do You Remember

April 24, 2008 at 4:57 am (WoW)

Lovingly stolen from Ms. Bellwether :

I remember the time my baby Orc Warrior tanked Verdan the Everliving in Wailing Caverns, and how I was overcome with awe in how big it was, while it stomped my green ass.
Now, I want to see Brutallus go ass-over-teakettle.

I remember healing an instance for the first time.
Now, I wouldn’t dream of going back to it.

I remember my friend’s boyfriend sending me a gold in the mail after I had accidentally sold my green sword of ownage at level 15, and thought I’d be boned because I couldn’t replace it without killing tons of mobs with a skinning knife, and how grateful I was.
Now, I realize how little it was to him, but still appreciate how much it meant to me.

I remember being drafted by Defiance as a level 9 priest.
I remember leaving Defiance as a level 64 priest, and giving up on healing shortly thereafter.

I remember meeting up with a new friend in that guild, and RPing as twin priests. I was the bad one. 😄
I remember losing touch, because she was loyal to a guild leader that was a douche and a jackass.

I remember running Scarlet Cathedral 15 times and losing two Need rolls on these: http://www.wowhead.com/?item=7724.
I remember running Shadow Labs once and nailing the Need roll on this. http://thottbot.com/i27903

I remember how cool the first time I saw Orgrimmar was.
I still remember how cool it is to go through the front gates.

I remember spending thirty minutes running a friend through Deadmines, and spending an hour and a half just goofing around outside the instance, and having a barbecue.
I think about that every time I have a shitty instance group, and how it’s the people you’re with more so than what you’re doing.

I remember raiding for the first time. Zul’Gurub was nice at first, but then got rough, and kind of awkward when I realized nobody knew what they were doing. (wow, why does that sound like another kind of first time?)

I remember grinding on blue dragons in Azshara at 2 in the morning, listening to Jennifer Batten playing Giant Steps by Coltrane. I don’t know why, I can’t stand Jazz or Fusion, but I really wanted to hear that song.

I remember freaking out when I didn’t know how to give my pet new abilities.
I remember smiling when I helped a newbie realize he had to finish his class quests in order to learn the first rank of Growl.

I remember that cougars are the Murlocs of Mulgore, and much like regular cats, our eternal conflict carries over into the virtual realm.
I remember triggering the Cage o’ Murlocs quest in Zangarmarsh, and laughing for a good solid minute.

I remember spending two days trying to tame Echeyakee – one to level up to where he was, and another to finagle the taming.
I remember getting rid of him, and feeling more attached to the bear I tamed named “Snuggles”, that I tamed on a whim.

I remember not knowing what people meant when they said “tank” or “DPS”.
Now, I know to ask if we have heals or CC.

I remember when I thought Night Elves were awesome.
…and secretly, I still think they’re cool, but they’ve lost their coolness due to everybody and their mother rolling Night Elves. By that virtue, Trolls are the coolest race ever.

I remember my first encounter with Stitches.
And subsequent “OH HI *facemelting*” encounters.

I remember hearing about Survival for the first time.
Now, I wish I had been with it from the start.

I remember thinking I was never going to reach 70.

I remember when Wyvern flights were cool.

I remember stepping through the Outland gates for the first time, and getting stomped by a Fel Reaver about thirty minutes later.

I remember taking down two Hordies at once on my Priest for the first time.

I remember realizing that most of the stuff BRK talked about at will, I had figured out on my own.
(well, except for the kiting thing.)
Then I started SHA.

Thanks, Bell. There’s more, but it’s been a nice trip down memory lane.

-Brian

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Twenty-Three.

April 23, 2008 at 4:33 am (Uncategorized)

That’s how old I am now.

But I gave myself a nice kick-ass b’day present; went to go see Gigantour in NYC. Was gonna go with a friend, but they backed out (politely). Whatev, I go anyway.

I miss Job for A Cowboy and High On Fire because of traffic / late departure; no big. Seen the latter before, will check out the former at another time. Got there halfway through Children of Bodom’s set – which was pretty badass, but I think I missed at least one of my favorite songs off Follow the Reaper.

Then… IN FLAMES. HO-leee crap, I love this band. They break in with a song off the new album, and follow up with “Leeches”. Then, Clayman. Then, another new song. Then, a song off Jester Race that I couldn’t recognize. Then… “Come Clarity”, followed by “Take This Life”, followed by something off Colony. Good times.

And lastly. The man. The myth. The object of my mandulation – Dave fucking Mustaine and Megadeth. To say that they played every song I hoped they would is an understatement. Every song was a high point. Only down point was that I couldn’t hear the new guitar guy… mostly ’cause I was getting squashed up near the front. (But I was about 10 feet from Dave, it’s forgivable). Holy crap, that was an awesome show.

It’s funny, when you hit a milestone in terms of years, people expect wisdom of you. A friend asked me if I had learned anything in the past year; I’ve learned that I don’t know shit in the grand scheme of things, and that there’s always more to know.

Oh, and I started a Warlock. Shibby.

-Brian

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Ergh.

April 16, 2008 at 2:47 pm (Uncategorized)

I hate not making good impressions.

In the past two days, I’ve had to welch on instance runs with Project X, more or less at the beginning of a Steamvaults run last night, and a Mana Tombs run the night prior, which was halfway done.

There was a family emergency on Monday night – it’s OK, my g’parents are fine, just a little scare, ’cause my grandmother started bleeding from her nose due to the oxygen tanks she’s on. Basically, just enough time to shut down the computer and get in the car.

Now, last night, i was fully expecting to have the time for Steamvaults. I needed the rep, it was about 8ish when we started, and just as we started getting through the Bog Lord pulls at the beginning, two things happen. 1) our healer gets rocked and is making a corpse run, and 2) my parents decide it’s the perfect time for a “state of the union” speech.

Y’see, it’s been almost two months since I left Apple. I’m still living at home, natch, so that doesn’t really do much for me in terms of personal freedom. All the computers in the house, including my laptop, are centrally located in a single room. If there was a desk in my room, I’d be in there with a really long Ethernet cord; unfortunately, there isn’t, so I have to play while getting nagged about it. (I’m almost 23 and I’m still getting Mom aggro.)

They want to know that I’ve got the grad school thing under control, and the job application thing as well. That normally takes all of five minutes, as I’ve gotten good at budgeting my time in terms of getting stuff done during the day, and I give them my itinerary.

But this one drags on for an additional fifty-five minutes. Because, at 23, I’m still playing computer games, they’ve absolutely convinced themselves that I’m not a responsible person. We go through the allergy medication I’m on. The people I need to contact this week. The chores that I do, without being asked. That they’re worried I don’t have the motivation to get out of here, and that I’ll be living at home for the next decade. They’re worried that all the temp agencies I’ve got my resume at aren’t helping me. They’re worried because they’re worried so much.

Meanwhile, I’ve been kicked from my group, the time I set aside for the run is officially kaput, and I have the distinct feeling I pissed off one of the officers because of the Real Life thing. I can explain one night, but having the same behavior happen twice, two nights in a row, is suspect.

If I get the publishing job, I don’t care about how much it costs. As soon as I get some kind of pay increase from the beginning salary, I’m out – I can’t move out on $30k around here, but if it bumps to 35-36, I can afford it.

If I get the job and get into Villanova, I’m thinking I’ll do the job for a couple months, put in my resignation, and go to Villanova for the Master’s.

If I don’t get the job, then I’ll keep up the effort and find something.

They’ve got good reason to be worried about that stuff. It’s important. But the degree to which they’re worried is unreasonable.

I’m fine, honestly. Just because I want to play a computer game instead of watching Dancing with The Stars doesn’t make me a lazy good-for-nothing.

I hate making bad impressions on people, but somehow, it ends up happening anyway.

-Brian

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And the decision is…

April 13, 2008 at 4:51 pm (Uncategorized)

I’m coming back to WoW.

I’ve put the character transfer in motion; in a matter of days, Trackhoof will be putting his hoof mark on Drenden.

As I’ve said, i’ve had a very positive experience with Project X. But if it were based on that alone, I would’ve done just as well to stay on Ravenholdt.

I wanted to switch because my playing is going to be casual – strictly for fun. If I raid, I raid. If I do dailies, I do dailies. If chain-trap everything from here to Kalamazoo in an instance…you get the idea.

I was hanging out with my friend Tom (a.k.a Questor) last night, and he made the point that clinched it for me. Our old guild is going places. But Tom won a roll on the shield from Gruul’s, and he’s effectively locked into a full-time tanking position for the guild. These guys are serious.

Project X, on the other hand, is deciding between naming their progress groups “Team Pie & Team Cake” or “Team Swedish Chefs & Team Pigs in Space”. They have in-game events, like Darts. Organized World PVP. And there are other Survival Hunters (good ones, at that), so I’m not in a position to be pressured to raid.

Will I miss playing with my friends? Sure. But I’ll still be able to talk about the game with them, and I’ll still see them in real life. This is more about what I wanted to get out of the game, and I’ll be able to get that with Project X.

Finally, the question that some of you may have been waiting for. Will I open SHA back up, with the playing again and all that?

No.

I will update it as I see fit. Some people argue there’s so much more to write about. I could write a whole entry on shot rotations, but you could just as easily get that anywhere else. It wouldn’t have my panache, natch, but the information is out there.

If there’s one thing I’ve been trying to teach, Eric Cartminez style, it’s that any self-respecting hunter needs to do their homework. (or pull a Bill Belichick.)

Never should you take my words as gospel. They are to be appreciated, debated, challenged, et cetera, and that only comes when you do the work yourselves. I’ve said that Hunters should only go for 2v2 for fun. This is partially true; a good hunter can do well in a 2v2 bracket, but ONLY if they’re paired with a Druid. Sad truth.

If somebody goes into a 2v2 with the attitude that, because they don’t have a Druid for a partner, they’re going to lose, that ruins that aspect of the game for them.

But if they go in knowing they’re just there to get the thrills out of it and have fun, then they enjoy it that much more. That is why I neglected to mention the Druid thing.

If you did the work and figured it out on your own, you’d see why I emphasized the other brackets. You have more freedom as a Hunter to work with pairings that you may come across, and you can get an even greater satisfaction out of the game when you do well, instead of pitting you against partner when a mess-up occurs.

To date, there have been 7,000 views of Survival Hunters Anonymous. This isn’t anything big by other standards; but to me, it’s huge. Even assuming that it’s a couple people a day, if they were all new to it, then I’ve reached some people, and got them to think about going with Survival.

I got them to think about using what is, proportionally, the most un-popular tree in the game, and helped get them together with other great minds on the subject, when the forums scream that only a cat jockey can be successful. Mirsh and Rilgon have said that the game’s on the skids, and that Hunters are dying, but they will hold on.

Enjoy the time you have left; that’s really all you can do. That’s what I’m doing.

-Brian

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Bork Bork Bork.

April 12, 2008 at 4:40 pm (Uncategorized)

I have an unabashed weakness for slapstick comedy, and if there’s one Muppets character I love more than Statler and Waldorf, it’s the Swedish Chef.

(I love Animal, don’t get me wrong, but The Swedish Chef takes the cake. Animal gets the pie.)

Another reason why I think Project X might be a good home for me – the names in contention for their Raid Groups (instead of Group 1 and Group 2) are “Team Pie / Team Cake” and “The Pigs in Space / The Swedish Chefs”.

-Brian

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On the new WoW stuff.

April 11, 2008 at 4:45 pm (Uncategorized)

Dear Blizzard,

Good job. Seriously, guys. If I had to go back to the same ol’ ball and chain, my decision would’ve been a lot easier, and it wouldn’t have been a contest by any means.

The new content’s cool. The dailies are easy, and while I can hear the hardcore gamers whining about the lack of challenge and how easy it is to get cash now, and back in my day we had to climb uphill two miles in the snow just to get to Ironforge, and blah blah blah… They’re secretly thanking you. You make their raiding lives a little bit easier.

And Magister’s Terrace? Even on Normal, it’s fun. Vex, The Princess, and Kael have some nice, enjoyable twists to their fights, and I’d like to commend you on a job well done in that respect.

Also, I keep hearing about a Hunter mana regen issue, and the Boar charge+growl thing. The boar thing is unfortunate; it was a cool bug, if it ever was a bug. The mana regen thing, I have noticed. It’s down a little, and Viper really doesn’t bring in the bam-bam like it used to. This isn’t so bad in instances, where I can just focus on DPS and let Thrill of the Hunt + 26% crit take care of the job, but in the rest of the world, it can be a pain.

I think that’s why you’re pushing Hunter gear more towards Intellect. Just don’t forget the fact that some of us Survival Hunters do like our leather.

We’re kinky sons of bitches, we are.

-Brian

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