Sunday, September 19, 2010

I See Hillbillies

It always takes a bit of time to re-acclimatize myself when I get home from a business trip. I was away for a few days about 5 hours north of where I live teaching at the university up there. The course being taught doesn't matter, the fact is, the time away messes up the family equilibrium. You read the signals and react but the outcome is wrong. I am starting to get things figured out. I decided to go outside and collect the dog crap that has accumulated. If anything it will keep me out of more trouble.

WOW seems to have changed for me as well. You see my notebook doesn't have the testicular fortitude to run WOW so for the time I am away all I can do is read the articles (Notice the URL change - even that was stressful for me). I will talk about that later. Most if not all articles are about the Cataclysm Beta, and as I read them I practically put myself into an anxiety attack. It's OMG, OMG, OMG this is changing, that is changing. I have 15 level 80's to figure out. New spec's to try and understand, more leveling to do. The list goes on.

Then there are the guild achievements. Please if anyone has an answer for this question, please let me know. There are cool guild mounts. I would imagine that these mounts become available once the guild achieves a certain status/level. A number of points or something. My burning question is, "Will all guild members be able to purchase these mounts?" or is it just the persons that participated in the particular instance or whatever that unlocked the guild mounts. You see, I had to drop out of my raid spot due to RL during the fall of 2009 and I have not been able to get it back. There have been openings but because of the time off, I am behind in gear and the knowledge of some of the fights. So the guild preferred to poach (I mean recruit) from outside instead of trying to get me (and a few others that had some other commitments) back up to speed. I would find it incredibly unfair if guild mounts were only available to the raiders of the guild.

As I mentioned above, is moving again. I can handle only so much change. Are you people trying to kill me? I now have to book mark new URL's on 4 computers and on my phone. Oh the pressure.

I read an article saying that there was patch stuff to download. They were saying that Cataclysm must be close. Can you imagine my horror when I got home Friday evening and the downloader kept giving me a "runtime++" error. Thank goodness I was able to find a fix for it on one of the World of Warcraft Community forums - "change the compatibility to Windows 98/ME". IS BLIZZARD SERIOUS? WinXP has been around for at least 5 years and they screwed up the downloader. This does not bode well for Cataclysm release night. On the bright side my patch info has been successfully downloaded.

Friday when I got home I didn't play much. I just re-applied my auctions (I love my Armory App but not enough to purchase the subscription to be able to do my auctions on my phone), and did a few fishing dailies. On Saturday I did do a little more before relinquishing the computer to my daughter. I did a few VOA's, even one where the raid leader insisted on a GearScore of 5500+ for a VOA10. At least somethings haven't changed, we will not be without the idiots come the expansion.

Finally, the Real Life highlight of my trip. I got to see a hillbilly couple out on a family excursion. As I drove north on the highway I looked off to the right to see a couple driving their his and her ATV's, both fully decked out in their finest camouflage. However; on the back of his ATV was a baby seat bolted to the cargo rack facing forward. Sort of like a navigator in a fighter jet. The kid was probably 6 months old or so, dressed in a little camouflaged outfit with a little camouflaged blanket. Now this couple thought of everything. I would have been concerned that this little guy or girl would get pelted with branches as mommy and daddy went plowing through the underbrush. Oh no - this baby seat was decked out with a plexi-glass shield. Did I lmao for the next couple of kilometers. I can see it now, half the USA is thinking, "What's so funny?" and the other half is thinking... I am not even sure what they would be thinking.

Anyway, that's it. My daughter went to a friends, so I have a couple of hours to work on my GearScore for the next VOA10.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Where Can I Find a Bonar?

Yup, that's my title for this article. Last week I was sitting in my cube, with a co-worker in the cube next to me, when one of the owners comes out of his office to ask us that very question. "Where can I find a Bonar? Google that for me please", he says. "I am afraid to Google that." I reply, "I am afraid of what I might see on my monitor".

Well you see, the environmental management business is full of interesting terms for "Packages". You almost have to shake your head there. Bonar, to the uninitiated is a plastic cubic yard container, although they can come in a variety of sizes and colours (I almost can't contain my chuckling on that line). Another container in the environmental management industry is the Gaylord. Not that there is anything wrong with that. Time to change the subject.

Anyway, other stuff to talk about. I find humor just staring out my front window. I am talking popcorn and a pop (soda for those south of the border) funny. The lady across the street from us is probably close to a million years old, and she just can't stop working on her yard. You would think that once you get that old you would have your son come over and do that work for you. Wait, her son's in his late forties and lives in her basement (I am suspecting a Tauren Warrior).

Nevertheless, she has a thing for leaves. Leaves are not allowed on her lawn. She stands out there all day and she picks up every leaf that falls onto her lawn by hand. No rake. I even saw her this morning trying to catch the leaves as they were still falling. Believe me, that was hysterical, my daughter and I were just killing ourselves. Additionally this morning she was being harassed by this pesky dove, it would keep landing on her sparkling driveway. You see she wipes it down on her hands and knees with a wet cloth pretty much everyday. The dove would land, she would run over (as fast as a million year old lady could), broom in hand and scare the bird away. Kneel down and wipe the spot where the birds dirty feet made contact with her driveway.

Oh the jocularity.

Garage Sales - Is it all the same in North America? I had one once, a few years ago. I put the ad in the newspaper on a Friday night. "Garage Sale - 9:00am Saturday. 123 Anywhere Road". The paper around here is delivered around 5:00pm maybe, by 6:00pm Friday night I had people cruising past my house and coming to my door asking me if they can "Preview my stuff". Get the hell out. The ad said 9:00am Saturday. What is wrong with some people? Then of course, people start knocking at my door at 6:00am, wondering how come I have not started the "sale". How can they not understand - 9:00am. I can't believe they were fighting over my shit. I had a hard time taking their money. Even when they tried to barter with me over the cost of an item I had priced at a $1.00 and they only wanted to pay 75 cents. Holy Crap! They could have had the whole yard for 5 bucks. I just wanted to get rid of this crap. Well fast forward to this past Saturday.

I rented a 6 cubic yard bin for this weekend. After my "garage sale" fiasco mentioned above I decided to just rent a bin every so often and purge. Well amazingly it only took a couple of hours to fill up. You see I was going to clean out a few storage rooms in our house, but I ended up filling the bin with the contents of my shed. Now I have to get a bin next month for the interior two rooms. "Where is the humor?" you ask. Well as I am filling the bin in the driveway a few people stopped to see if I was having a garage sale. "Yes", I exclaimed. "Everything must go. I conveniently compacted it all in this handy dandy 6 cubic yard carrying container." One person actually made an offer. I almost fell over. Some people shall I dare to say it, "are retarded". I can't even throw crap out into a garbage dumpster without someone coming over and wondering if I am having a garage sale. They were actually mad at me for not offering the crap to the public prior to my depositing of it to the bin.

That's it, I am spent. It was actually pretty tiring cleaning around the house this weekend. I am glad we are sort of in a lull waiting for Cataclysm. It gives me a chance to rest, do some of the vanilla and BC achievements and store up some gold (Have old world flying to purchase for a few toons. So happy it will only be 250G each.). I am going to be traveling this week. I should have a whole pile of stuff to write about next weekend.


Thursday, September 2, 2010

You Need to Know Your Toon

I think I read that title in one of the blogs. To summarize the article, there is either the GS argument or the skill argument. I totally believe in the skill conquers all argument. The "don't stand in the fires", "more dots", "phase two ranged only" blah blah blah. Just the other day I did a GDKP in TOC 25 with the raid leader sporting a 3800GS. We never wiped once and he never died during the whole raid, because he knew how to play his toon. Funny enough, he also came second on the healing charts. I consider myself to be somewhat competent with my toons. I also know my limitations and do not attempt instances/raids when I know for sure I neither have the gear and my skill is not quite there. For example, I duel spec'd healing tree on my druid and the first random instance I got into was HHoR. So here I am with mostly feral druid gear on, attempting to heal my first time on a druid. I politely told the group I was with that I was not ready for this instance and kicked myself. I am slowly getting my skill and gear up but I am still not ready to attempt that instance.

The above being said - "Know Your Toon" can apply to RL as well. Just yesterday, I was asked to go out on the road for work with a "temp" driver. As in, can you go with this temporary AZ (tractor trailer) driver and go service some of our customers. Although I didn't like the idea of going with a temp driver it was a day out of the office.

So here I am, sitting in the passenger seat of the tractor listening to the driver tell me that he didn't remember how to do a circle check (and the required paperwork to fill out) and what I thought was the best (although it was going to be a day of "bests"), he states he doesn't know how to back up a tractor trailer. I shuddered thinking that I had 3 loading docks to back into during the course of the day.

Off we go, heading to the biggest metropolitan centre in Ontario, on one of the busiest highway systems in Canada with a driver from a temp agency (that can't back up a tractor trailer). During the two hour drive I determined that my driver had two speeds:
  1. Complaining that the vehicle was governed at 100kph; or
  2. Locking up the brakes (because monitoring the flow of traffic and adjusting your speed accordingly wasn't in his skill set)
Well we got to our first stop. The business was a building sort of behind a strip plaza, so there was a need to back down a driveway. I got out of the truck because I knew a spotter was going to be needed. It took close to 1.5 hours for him to negotiate the backing up of the vehicle. I along with the owner of the plaza had to stand at the drivers door and relay wheel turning instructions to my temp driver as an additional 2 spotters at the back of the trailer relayed everything to us with respect to distances and location of the trailer to inanimate objects like gas meters and the like. Once positioned my temp driver stayed in the cab as I off loaded the 20 drums (it took me about 20 minutes). Did I mention it was 32 degrees C plus humidex. Tally - 2 curbs crushed, chunk of lawn flattened, section of interlocking brick pulverized and close to 4 dozen vehicles with their schedules impeded.

Our second stop afforded us with the "mistake" that when we pulled into the wrong driveway, it inadvertently positioned us to easily back into our assigned loading dock. I got out of the truck to find our contact and when I returned I found my temp driver now perpendicular to our assigned door. How the hell did he do that? No problem the facilities loading dock area was "L" shaped and he actually positioned himself in front of one of the other doors. The contact and I ran to the other loading dock and opened the door. Waving the temp driver to back into this dock instead. 5 minutes later, he was no where near the second option but he was in line with a third dock. We opened that door for him. Yes, he missed that door too. I finally yelled, "Pick a door, I want to get this job done." He got the truck parked and disappeared (ashamed of himself perhaps), I ended up loading this customers material by myself (about 10 skids and a dozen drums). This job took 4 hours for me to complete by myself because I had to actually pack the material onto the skids and shrink wrap them.

Off to our final stop. We pull in and I get out to find the contact. I walk with my contact to the loading dock and open the door. I go out to truck and tell the temp driver which dock he needs to get into. Sixty eight attempts later and the following items violated:

  1. One sea container bumped (no damage thank God)
  2. One landscape boulder ran over and pulverized (they don't make rocks like they used to)
  3. One abandoned skid crushed
  4. One building across the parking lot - scuffed (no one came out so I guess they didn't hear the noise of the vehicle crashing into it.)
As soon as he got it into the dock I noticed that he hadn't opened the back doors of his trailer before backing in. So he actually had to pull out in order to get them open. Once opened he took another 32 times to get back into the dock. He didn't come in to help me load, he stayed in the cab and I loaded 30 drums of sulfuric acid by hand, by myself.

By this time I was about 12 hours into my day (the whole day was expected to take about 8) we still had to drive back to our base. I get a call from our dispatch, "Drop the trailer at Plant 2 and bob tail back to Plant 1.", "Ugh" I say. "Don't worry about backing it into a spot, I will get one of our regular drivers to do it in the morning.", dispatch says. "That is assuming he knows how to drop a trailer.", I reply.

Well a two hour drive back to Plant 2 through the extended rush hour. As we are pulling in I tell him to just drop the trailer along the fence. I get out and gingerly walk around the yard gathering some wood in order to put under the landing gear, you see the asphalt is a little rough in that area. As I am returning to the truck/trailer I notice him tearing apart the cab. "What are you looking for I ask?" He states, "I am looking for the 'button' that disengages the fifth wheel." I am about to explode. "So you don't know how to drop the trailer." I query. "Not entirely sure, I haven't actually did it before, I haven't driven a tractor trailer in about 3 years.", he replies. I get a pair of gloves on and reach under the trailer and pull the fifth wheel release, "Get in the truck and drop the trailer, I want to get home."

Dropping trailer done, Plant 2's gate is closed and we head back to Plant 1 so I can get my car and go home. My 14 hour day complete. We pull into the driveway, he extends his hand and say's, "Thanks for the work today, and how did you think my driving was?" In my head I was screaming 'EPIC FAIL' but not wanting to totally crush him, I stated, "You showed improvement throughout the day, I would suggest a lot more practice in backing up. Try to visualize a situation and run through it in your head how you would do it." I am a nice guy. Had this been WOW there would have been a vote to kick about 10 minutes into our "instance". I couldn't trash him to his face, I will just do it in my blog. He was an example of not having a good gearscore, as well as, not knowing how to play his toon.

Not only did the landscape have a heavy toll taken on it, a pretty hefty toll was exacted on me:
  1. Two upper back muscles blown out
  2. One hernia irritated (I had a hernia operation about 3 years ago, I think I stressed it out)
  3. Two red and chaffed testicles - It was 32 degrees C all day and I had meatball soup happening
  4. Both knees messed up
I got home quaffed 3 beers, a monster energy drink, swallowed two Robaxocet, ate dinner, and Heath Ledger'd on the couch until my wife shook me awake this morning.

Have a nice day.