Tuesday, August 31, 2010

You Just Have to Shake Your Head

Nebz has spoken. I thought he was dead I haven't heard from him in so long. It looks like he is riding off into the sunset like a SpaceCowboy :) He may be back for Cataclysm but I think he may require a cooling off period. Always so angry.

I am glad he took the time to write his article though, because just yesterday something happened to me that I thought would be wonderful to blog about but it tied into his hacking incident. You may have heard the phrase, "You can't fix stupid." If you haven't - remember I coined the phrase :p

Nebz regaled you with his account hack drama. Isn't that insane, what hacker actually improves your account when they have it under their control? Additionally, something Nebz forgot to mention - they actually were adding stuff to our guild bank - not taking it away. This must have been the worst hacker ever, at least in his ability to leech the life's blood from a toon and it's guild bank and then return it with only the virtual skin he/she is wearing with no possessions.

To expand from there - I think this same hacker broke into my car over the weekend. You know the second you get into your car that it has happened. This is my 4th time this year. I will explain how my car looked in the mornings when I got into it to go to work. Oldest to most recent.

  1. Door left open, crap thrown around the car, glove compartment open and contents on the floor, all change taken from the console/ash tray. It actually takes you an hour to figure out if anything has been taken.

  2. Door left ajar, glove compartment open, all change taken from the console/ash tray, jacket taken but hung on front banister once it was found to not contain anything valuable.

  3. Door closed, glove compartment left closed (but looked through), all change taken from the console/ash tray.

  4. Door closed, all coins taken from console/ash tray, car detailed to be cleaner than when you parked it the night before. Glove compartment not even opened.
So this weekend I decided to take all the silver coins out of the car - my daughter has been hitting me pretty hard for Slurpees lately so I was dangerously low on coinage. When I counted my change, I left $1.50 in pennies in my console. THAT'S RIGHT - THE CLOWN BROKE IN FOR 150 PENNIES. Not only that but he left my $125 Bluetooth/charger and my $85.00 power converter plugged into my console - he/she even tidied so the cords were not all over the place. They didn't even go into my glove compartment, which is really disconcerting, they didn't take my Beach Boys CD. What is wrong with the Beach Boys? Is there something wrong with me?

Sorry if I am not being politically correct but - What a retard!!!

I am so sure now that the same hacker that got into Nebz' account was the person responsible for getting rid of all that annoying penny change and tidying my car. I am stunned by the magnitude of their stupidity. I want to say - why would you put your freedom in jeopardy by stealing $1.50? Although that question was answered when I called to file a police report - they are not in jeopardy of loosing anything.

But that story is for another day.

Well, I feel shame

I have been neglecting you the faithful reader for months. After all those emails pleading me to please write again and then there's the facebook page that you made trying to persuade me to come back. To you my fans I say "Thank you."

Many of you have been wondering just what I've been up to. What could have been so damn important? To you I say, "What the hell.  Are you my mother? Stop nagging me already!"


So what have I been up to… well let's see. I've been working, actually working. Not like the last job I had where I would show up in the morning, set up my laptop in general seclusion under the guise of needing the privacy to make "sales calls" and then play WOW all day (why did I get fired? Oh yeah, FUCK YOU SHAWN). I am actually working, and you know as hokey as it sounds, I have a much better feeling of worth. I enjoy what I do and it's carrying over into my family life. I don't want to hide behind a laptop when I get home anymore. I like being accountable for my hours (if that makes sense), what I mean by that is by the time I go to bed at the end of a day I can look back and remember what I did. There were times when I played WOW, as some of you can attest to, I would start playing with a coffee in the morning and by the time I turned the computer off it was the NEXT FREAKEN' DAY. That's not cool.

After reading my past few posts I can see that my interest in WOW had been waning anyways. I wasn't playing the game anymore, I was logging into another job. (I feel like I should add something here. I just deleted an entire paragraph ranting about WOW and my obsession. In the end it wasn't going anywhere, so in the interest of comprehensive journalism I had to sacrifice it.)

Although I have not being smoking the Warcrack for the past few months doesn't mean that I don't have any WOW news. My account was hacked, and before you ask, yes I have an authenticator. I know, I was baffled to. It goes down like this;

I get an email form Alts one morning giving me right shit that I didn't say "hi" to him last night. Apparently I logged in and was soloing some dungeon from the Burning Crusades expansion all night.

I read the email carefully, it didn't make any sense. I never used the handy Blizzard "give me your credit card number" payment scheme- plan. So when I stopped playing WOW those few months ago I didn't have any time on my account. It was then that my stomach dropped, I knew that my account had been hacked. It began to eat me up inside, I tried to pretend that it didn't really matter. 'I could call Blizz in the morning and explain the situation and I'm sure they could reverse the problem and restore my account.' The more I thought about it, the more I worried. 'Good 'ole Blizzard will fix everything, they'll verify who I am and then restore my account… oh crap… they need to verify who I am.'

Side note- I'm kind of a "tin hat" wearing guy. I don't think anyone has the right to know who I am or what I do unless I want them to know. So to cover my tracks I always use an alias when I register for things online, fake name and fake address. ALWAYS!

I'm screwed! I can't remember what address I used to register for my WOW account. I remember the name I used, but not the address.  'I'm doubled screwed! My email password for my email address is the same as my login password. The hacker can screw with my email account!'

I jumped out of bed and ran downstairs, logged into my gmail account and quickly requested a password change.  'Whew, done and without any damage to my account…. Picture rusty wheels turning…gerbil running in a wheel…faster…faster…hmmm, I wonder…the train's leaving the station….faster…do you think…the power is flowing to the light bulb….you don't think….'

I try to log into my Battle.net account, DENIED, so I request a password change. "Your request has been sent to your email address for verification."

I look in my email account and there it is, password change verification. SWEET, the dumb ass hacker didn't change my default email address. I change the password to my account, switch email address to an alternative one and add a new authenticator (courtesy of iTunes). Within minutes I am logged back into the game I loath. I quickly check all of my 14 toons and they all seem to be in good shape. Actually, they all seem to be in great shape.

This is going to be hard to admit… the hacker actually improved my gear score! I had more gold, better gear and even a couple of new achievements. The hacker played my account better than I did. Hand- Face- Shame!

So to recap my experience of having my account hacked:

  1. The hacker put a months worth of time on my account.
  2. My gear score drastically improved for most of my toons.
  3. I have enough good now to buy epic flying for a couple of my toons

What the hell is everyone whining about? Having your account hacked is freakin' awesome!

I am back in control of my account and I continue to ignore the game just as much as did before. My "free" month is almost up and I haven't played for more than ten minutes. The most I have done was, in the interest of cleansing, I deleted most of my low level toons. 

I get hacked and my account is improved. I get my account back and I destroy more than 75% of my toons and spend all the gold. I'm not sure, is that ironic or moronic? 

Sunday, August 29, 2010

The Power of the One Ring to Neuter them All

Summers winding down and back to school is right around the corner. This past Saturday my daughter had her soccer banquet. The league she is in is spectacular. I have been very impressed with the way it is run. At the end of the year they treat the kids to a carnival like day at the field where they play - tons of food and those bouncer things. Although I am not sure if a hot dog/bouncer combo is a good thing, the kids seem to have fun. I think my daughter is past the bouncers though, being a tween and all. It is tough to text when little Jimmy is bouncing around next to you spewing hot dog bits.

Anyway, today's blog will be the telling of the tale of us heading to the soccer field. It starts with us sleeping in, at least in my wife's mind. You see my daughter's team wasn't in the championship game which was to start at 9:30am, with the awards to be handed out after the game which would be around 10:30am. We got up and scrambled around the house. I decided that since it was going to be a hot day I would spray on a small amount of AXE to keep me smelling fresh (remember the antiperspirant article from last week). We left the the house about 9:15am and before getting to the park we had to stop at the local Starbucks to grab a couple of coffees. The wife and kid stayed in the car while I ran in.

At this point I need to throw a bit more detail into this AXE business. We have all seen the commercials, guy sprays this crap on and goes out, guy gets swarmed by chicks, makes for a happy guy. Now I was never one to actually believe the commercials. They were way too far fetched until now. Lets return to the Starbucks shall we.

In I walk, up to the counter and I place my order. The girl behind the counter was blond, visually pleasant and petite. She asked for my order - Venti Caramel Macchiato, Grande Caramel Macchiato extra hot. I always order mine extra hot. I hate it when the coffee gets to you and its already lukewarm. Damn you Stella Liebeck.

This is where it got weird, she started to talk to me. Nice hat, is it Michigan State? What you doing today? I know, customer service, stroke the customer's ego, get them coming back crap. This was different, this girl has never talked to me when I have come in before. Was it the AXE? OMG - the gay barista started to talk to me with that twinkle in his eye. Was the AXE jamming his gaydar? Not that there is anything wrong with that.

I knew I had to get out of there fast. I raised my left hand, the power of the wedding band would protect me. They cowered in terror (at least that was how I saw it) so I could make my escape. I returned to the sanctuary of the car. I was safe. From there it was an uneventful day at the soccer field.

To think a visit to the Starbucks could have been a life or death experience. Now many of you that play WOW have done a cooking daily. Many of you, no doubt have opened your Small Spice Bags to find your Northern Spices and possibly some - Old Spices. You take these Old Spices and toss them at other player characters and they end up having a buff that says, "they smell great". Wouldn't it be awesome if and when you threw these old spices at a player character that all characters in their vicinity were temporarily mind controlled and were drawn to the toon that had the buff? It would be hysterical (in my mind), of course you would have to put a cooldown of a couple hours in there, or no one would be moving around Dalaran - other than to have no control of their toon as it chased down a guy that "smelled great".

Oh the rants on Ventrilo this would cause. I remember the Shattrath undead craziness after a patch (can't remember which one) and the Ventrilo rants it caused.

Have a great week.

Monday, August 23, 2010

It's a Monday

It's a Monday. You are asking yourself, "What is he doing blogging on a Monday?" Normally, I would be in a fetal position, rocking back and forth at work, but today... I should jump right into it, I want to get done before my lunch is over.

My son is going back to college in a week or two and he hasn't even registered yet. So that is a bit stressful. My x-wife calls me about his birthday coming up and she wants to get him a car. Not a new car, a hand-me-down from her mom. However; I can hear the chi-ching of money leaving my pocket when it comes to re-working the insurance etc. She asks me what I think and I tell her that I would prefer if she assists our son by giving him whatever she was going to spend on the car, so he can make his college payment. Then there is only the stress of figuring out how to pay for the next installment. She agrees and she proceeds to contact our son to make the money transfer arrangements. Done.

I called my son to say that I got word that the money was transferred and that he needs to get up to the college this afternoon to pay. He informs me that his grandparents (my parents) are not at home. You see he doesn't have a car - Chicken and the Egg story can be inserted here. Anyway, I told him I would call my parents and make arrangements for them to take him to the college tomorrow.

This is where the blog really starts. I dialed my parents cell number. Ring, ring, (insert 20 rings here)... You see my parents are almost in their 80's and my dad wears hearing aids. So it is either he can't hear the phone or he is looking for a place to pull over. You see, we can't use a cell phone while driving or we get a ticket, and he hasn't figured out the whole newfangled blue tooth thing yet. Even though it wouldn't work because his ears are full of hearing aids. Oh wait, he's answering (here's the conversation).

Dad: Hello

Alts37: Hi Dad, where are you, what you doing?

Dad: I am at a funeral (realize the sound in the background is the 3rd verse of Rock of Ages)

Alts37: HOLY CRAP Dad, I will call you back.

I hang up.

OMG - it rang at least 30 times, my dad wears hearing aids, I am sure it sounded like a 747 taking off in that funeral chapel. I feel SOOOOOO bad.

What is it with people with cell phones. When I go to the movies I think I have my cell phone off before I even finish purchasing my tickets. There is a time and place when you don't answer a cell phone (nor have it on) and that is at a funeral. UGH - Some peoples parents.

Advertising Claims

OK, I ran out of antiperspirant over the weekend so I went out to get more. Before I get into my issue I have a question.

Normally, you place the antiperspirant on your under arms. Not being a hairy guy I usually place said antiperspirant on the haired area of my arm pit. If you are a hairy guy where do you draw the line in antiperspirant application? I digress

Anyway, I am at the store and I am weighing my antiperspirant options. I settle on the "Degree Adventure Series" for 2 reasons. It is the "white stick" - not the blue, green or clear gel that feels like glue and usually causes me to smell like rotting fish within a couple of hours. The second reason - the package was the coolest IMO.

I got my purchase home. I opened the cap (I like to be surprised when smelling it for the first time), and it smelt (is that a word - other than a small silvery fish that my dad likes to eat) - Adventury (I know that isn't a word).

So I put it on. Not bad, good feel, not tacky. I thrust my arm pit into my daughters face as she was mid instance (Utgarde Pinnacle I think) for her reaction. The desired effect.

Then it happened with no provocation. My arm pits started to leak. Like Niagara Falls I might add. What the hell. It's suppose to be antiperspirant. It got to the point where I had to change my shirt and underwear (my boxer's waistband was taking the brunt of the sweat soaking up duties).

What is it with this antiperspirant? It's like PvP gear on a PvE server - apparently it improves your GearScore number, but it doesn't do anything for you. Like "Resilience" although the term could be twisted around to mean that the antiperspirant would actually work, but it doesn't.

Well that is the Monday Special Edition. Have a nice day.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Counseling Required?

What a week. It has been pretty busy at work, my daughter got home from up north and threw the house into chaos and I realized when I was cutting the grass yesterday that it had been about 3 weeks since I did it last. Where is the time going? Cataclysm will be here in a few months and I am totally unprepared. Additionally, I had a couple of incidents this week that makes me ponder a trip to the "shrink". First the incidents:

Earlier in the week "The Wife" called me at work and asked me about the dinner situation. Considering what I had been eating prior to her returning home with our daughter, I had not really put much thought into it. I told her I would stop at the grocery store on the way home and pick something up. Let's just say I picked a bunch of stuff up, checked out and headed out to the car.

So here I am in the parking lot bent over putting the groceries in the car. Completing that I stood up and paused staring over the roof of my car at another couple walking through the parking lot. Not just an ordinary couple. These two were probably around when the dinosaurs walked the earth. Now I have seen old couples before but there was something weird (have you noticed that the "i" before "e" except after "c" rule totally doesn't work for the word "weird" - hmm weird) about them.

They were holding hands, smiles on their faces and they were almost skipping through the parking lot. It was almost as if you could hear the music from the Viagra commercials in the air. Then I noticed that the gentleman was carrying a produce bag. There was a SINGLE BANANA in that produce bag. WHO BUYS A SINGLE BANANA? OMG I thought. A wave of horror descended over me at the thought of what they were going to do with that banana. I had to get out of there.

So now I am at home. Still reeling from the vision of that banana, pressed to the side of the produce bag. Almost as if it was calling out to me, "save me", I shook my head and started to prepare dinner. A little bit of BBQ'ing later and I had dinner done. I started to plate it for the family. I like plating the meals, I think if I didn't get stuck in the career I have now I would have liked to be a chef. I noticed however; that the whole meal was round. I had:

  • Parisian roasted potatoes - ROUND
  • Kernel corn (as opposed to "on the cob" - OMG banana flashback) - ROUND
  • Brussel sprouts - ROUND - and hated by the whole family except me
  • and finally Sirloin medallions - ROUND
What is this? What is the meaning of the symbol of round? Does it mean I have to get on the phone with Robert again? For those of you that read my blog a couple of weeks ago, I just finished listening to the DaVinci Code audiobook.

When I look back at these situations I have to ask myself, "Do I need counseling?" Maybe I just need a bit of a lay down on the couch. I think maybe I just need to give my brain a rest. Sort of like an Al Bundy vacation. I don't go anywhere, I just set up my white picket fence around the couch and sit there for awhile.

It is going to get worse too. Cataclysm is coming out in a few months. I read WOW.com daily (not trying to dis any of the other blogs) and the amount of information regarding changes is rather overwhelming. Sure if you have a main toon you can focus on what is going on with them and it is pretty easy to track. But remember, I am Alt37 and by the time Cataclysm hits I will have no less than 15 level 80's. Many of which are duel spec'd. I am pretty sure I WILL go insane.

Well that's it, I am done. My coffee cup is empty and it's time for a refill. I got my daughter farming up stairs, so I don't want to disturb her. Maybe I will go and sit in the backyard under our new canopy and watch the rain. I can start my mental vacation now.

See you next week.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Black Coffee

This morning I am having black coffee.

The reason, well let me give you some background information. My daughter has been away for 3 weeks at my in-laws up north. She gets to fish, swim and drive their boat around. Lucky kid. The way it works is my wife takes her up (I go sometimes depending on my work schedule) and stays for a long weekend (This is what she classifies as a holiday from her work - you see, she likes her work and likes to take time off missing as little work as possible. I don't get it either.). During the time my daughter is away we can actually keep the house tidy, amongst other things because we don't have our tween running around giving us the "talk to the hand" attitude. Any way, as time advances forward my wife starts to miss the daughter, sure we text her all the time - "stay away from the boys" etc. but it isn't enough, so this weekend being the weekend she was to come home my wife took an extra day off work to go get her (and stay for the 4 day weekend instead of 3).

Well when this is normally scheduled, and I am to stay home, I usually prepare what I would like to call, "meatapalooza". Where the weekend BBQ'ing is just meat or meat by-products (aka hotdogs). This week I saw it coming, so I am not trying to get sympathy that my wife abandoned me. I was just so busy at work and all, I just didn't have time to plan out the menu. Thursday when I came home from work and I started to look around for food and noticed the pickings were pretty slim. I decided to try and get through the weekend without buying groceries (Except Friday night - I took my son to "The Expendables" movie and we ate at a pub. A critic here called the movie "Dumb as Mud - but extremely enjoyable". Imagine that, a critic actually understanding that a movie can be just entertainment and not something with a deep meaning attached to it.)

Getting back to my anti-meatapalooza, this is what I lived on this weekend.

  • Lots of Bruschetta - we have a garden and we grow the tomatoes, onions, basil, garlic. It was freaking yummy. However, the equivalent of 3 loaves of Bruschetta is bad.

  • Mr. Noodles - Many, I am thinking at least 8. For those of you that do not have the Mr. Noodles brand near you. Think of the instant Raman Noodles for like 25 cents a package. Yes extremely healthy eating there - please Jamie don't hate me, but if you want you can come over and start a revolution at my house.

  • Pirate Cookies - Mr. Christie, you make good cookies. mmm... peanut butter and oatmeal

  • Beer

  • and finally - black coffee. I normally have it with milk and sugar but we were out of milk and I didn't feel like going to the grocery store.

I think the whole purpose of this article is to show that you don't have to do what is considered normal when the wife goes away for the weekend - well OK the beer wouldn't ever go away. However, the same goes for WOW. This weekend I kind of did stuff that was out of the ordinary for me as well. My son started it last week when we were doing old content. I spent a lot of time working on fishing and cooking skills and farming materials for potions and stuff. If you are in a raiding guild it may be good for the crew to take a week off to do other stuff. Remember if it starts to feel like a second job, then it is time to take a break and do something else for a bit.

I know not as funny as last week. Yes and I did put a shameless plug in for the best diner on the planet. I drove 6 hours (one way) just to have lunch there once. Oh and to buy pickles too - the sweet hots rule.

Have a good week. I can't wait to see my daughter.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Retro Week

I am trying to adhere to my vow to write a post at least every two weeks. This week was tough. What should I write about? Would you believe that my son inspired me? For those of you that know my son, you probably dropped your coffee cups in your lap and are now trying to figure out how to sue me. You will have more of a chance getting money out of McDonald's again than me.

Anyway, enough said about frivolous litigation. My son has been trying to finish many achievements before the Cataclysm release. He has been working on the Dungeonmaster, Loremaster and a few others. He asked me last night if I could assist him, considering he doesn't have any of the keys for the heroic Burning Crusades instances. I must say doing those instances was a lot of fun. I even needed quite a few of the achievements. Apparently when Blizzard brought in the achievement system they didn't realize my priest had run Heroic Ramparts about 50 trillion times.

Tonight we are going to finish another 10 or so instances. I will be having a yard sale from the plundering at an Auction House near you.

Real Life Retro

This is my usual weekday morning.

My alarm goes off about 6:50am, I snooze it and begin rocking back and forth sobbing about how crappy my life is. This goes on about 4 times until I desperately need to get up so I can get to work on time. Sometimes however; I do drift back to sleep for those agonizing 9 minutes that some sleep study guy determined was just right. Those nine minutes toy with your emotions. Anyway, as I was saying, sometimes I do fall back to sleep. When this happens I usually have a dream. I can't seem to have dreams during the night when I have, well all night to enjoy them. I have them during those 9 minutes of hell.

This is the dream I had the other day.

I found myself on second base. It was an evening game, it felt like late July. The air was humid, the sounds of the cicadas calling out for their mates. I must have been dropped into a very important game, the crowd was large and loud (and by large - more than the 5 people that showed up to my little league games). The were undulating in that lame "wave" that people seem to want to do when they are a part of a large crowd. I was doing the dance, taunting both the pitcher and the catcher. "I'm going to steal third", I was saying in my head.

At that moment, there was a pitch to the batter. Strike! The catcher fell for the bait. He hurried his throw, it sailed over the baseman's head. I was off. Full speed in two strides. Like a North American Bison. I was barreling towards third, the coach waving and screaming me on towards home. I rounded third, I saw my prize, the pentagon, the home plate. Now I am not about to go on a Robert Langdon-esk rant about the shape of home plate. Needless to say I was almost there. I started to slide - not the wussy foot first slide, but the manly diving slide. It seemed like an eternity (remember I only have 9 minutes - maybe this was the same inspiration Madonna and Timberlake had for their song). Then I felt the rubber of home plate. I made it, the crowd erupted, I guess we won. My team mates rushed to me striking my back and congratulating me, it was one of these pats on the back that jarred me from my snooze time slumber.

I awoke, sweating, heart racing, out of breath, I felt as if I was about to experience a heart attack. It took a whole other snooze cycle to bring myself down from that dream. I then laughed and thought to myself, "what a looser." You know you are out of shape when you can't even handle "DREAM EXERCISE".

So yeah, what can I say, off to work in the yard. Apparently I need a lot of exercise.