Mar 29, 2007

The Darkness that lies within....

I woke up feeling crappy this morning, mentally and physically. I was telling at myself not to cop out and go to sleep, but with PC problems limiting what I can do on here, I didn't have many other options. I ate a pop-tart to quell my twittering stomach, waited to see if it'd help, and then laid down when it didn't.

I know sugar always makes my dreams weird, but mood played more impact on this one (or something). I've lost the part of the dream prior to being in a certain place. A group of friends was already at this location, and I showed up in wait for another one, which arrivced shortly.

Then he showed up. This evil has been a part of my dreams before, because I recognized him right away. (Shooting one of my friends in the face and threatening to shoot naother kinda gave away the hint he was evil too, but I knew it even prior, thanks to the fun omniscient 3rd-person view.)

I could feel the raw hatred for this guy, and I'd had enough in my dream. Nobody else noticed what had gone on until I decided to take action. This guy has always had a smug smile on his face as I take out my hatred on him, and this time was no exception. I'm talking real hatred, too- seeing red, and wanting to destroy him; I felt the pleasure of feeling my fingernails gouge into his eyes, forcing his mouth open and biting off chunks of his cheek (and then spitting in the blood pile), and generally destroying him. He sat there with a smug grin the entire time and nothing phased him, and that pissed me off even more.

As punishment for screwing with him, I was sent into a labyrinth where I could see my friends held hostage, but couldn't get to them. Other things came into play here (Aardwolf- dumping mobprogram code to see what the enemy I was fighting was gonna do), etc. I woke up shortly after, with no resolution, but the images of what'd happened still haunting me.

What inner demons am I fighting off here? The rage reminds me of the feeligns I had in middle school towards a bully that was picking on me. I showed him I didn't care by kicking him (poorly- I was a twig back then) and then letting him kick my ass (literally) to show I didn't are what he did. He stopped after that, but I know I've felt animosity towards him now, 15+ years later. It' s not him in the dreams, but the two look familiar.

Maybe there's something worse going on somewhere down there... but whateer it is, I'd like to know and get rid of it. At least the reasons for the nap in the first place (depression, physically quirky) are gone....

Mar 23, 2007

Ankh if you're Timmy!

Went to Mayfair Mall yesterday, cuz I had a doctor's appointment. I managed to keep my eye open long enough for him to look at my retina, got a pressure reading, and generally went well (far better than the last few times).

(Also got a laugh... the two receptionists were talking about something, and one showed her excitement by saying 'Woot!' in response to another's comment... was funny to hear from someone that falls out of the range of geekdom.)

Afterwards, we wandered around the mall some; I had an urge to splurge on something after getting my financial aid excess funds check (after cutting down some bills). Checked out Gamestop, nothing of real interest; checked out a few other stores, and then stopped by the Egyptian jewelry store.

I'd worn chains a few times before, and was thinking of wearing one again. Not many will see it, since I'm not out in public or visiting people that often, but it's still something nice to have.

Looked around some, tried on a few different chains, and eventually ended up with a byzantine chain and an ankh for it. Brings back the good old days- the whole Group had worn ankhs at one point; we'd gone to Gurnee Mills and all picked out our own necklaces and style of ankhs and wore them for a while. Some of us got a little crap for it (the relation to Egyptian gods vs devout Xian family), but overall, it was a nice symbol of life/love to wear together.

Plus, it was normally something like $220 for chain + $50 for ankh, and we got it for $190. The guy was very helpful, told us stories about the ankh, drew out heiroglyphs for our names and showed us a few different things we could pu them on (rings, charms, etc.) Overall, a really cool guy, really fun time. I still smell like the perfume oil/whatever he put on me tho... *snicker*

Off to get ready for Knosha... going down overnight to shop at Woodman's and stock up on groceries. Got a new freezer, and cheap grociers down there- might as well put the combo to use!

Mar 19, 2007

Why I never go out...

Kacy, Steve, and I went out for food here in Milwaukee on Saturday night. We were expecting a few more friends to show, but they never did, so it was just us three.

We figured we'd give Pizza Shuttle a go. Ordered from there plenty of times, but never ate there, so we fig'd we'd give it a try.

We figured it'd be a sit-down restaurant type place; they'd even advertised having more room (expanding) and free WiFi and stuff., Instead, it was like Omega's or any number of other places- big counter to order, window where they yell out numbers to pick up your food when it's ready. No big deal in and of itself.

We were lucky enough to find no booths open, so sat in chairs against the front window.. Got to watch the idiocy going on outside (holiday weekend + college town = idiots galore!)... and immediately remembered Milwaukee doesn't have the same no-smoking-in-common-areas laws as Kenowhere does. Some kids (probably not even old enough to smoke) were smoking cheap-shit cigars a few chairs down from us... and the smell was making me sick on top of being hungry.

Kacy got a burger and Steve and I shared a pizza. Kacy's was up first, and her and Steve went up and got it since we thought it'd be the whole order. I guess while they were up there, Kacy was approached by some drunk guy on crutches, screaming something about geting him kicked out after being a punk and sayhing Kacy and some friends accused him of stealing their pizza (or something along those lines). Kinda tough since this was our first time ever in that restaurant.

We joked about it for a while, then got our pizza when it was ready, and had a generally uneventful dinner (amidst the crappy cigar smoke and Steve and I saying 'You stole our pizza!' to Kacy).

When the guy decided he was done, he had to get in another round. He stumbled over to us (well, as close as he could get, considering there was a table with another family on it in the way), and started bitchinga bout Kacy again. Insert drunken ramblings about having a police report, getting his buddy of 50 years on the policeforce to find him (Kacy, near-shaved head, wide shoulders, and coat to hide the tits, makes quite a tough-looking guy), and other shit.

Things probably coulda gotten bad, the guy was yelling, and Kacy couldn't get a word in edgewise. Most of the people there were watching, but that was no big deal. The ugy was starting to cus at Kacy, and the father at the table he was leaning over had enough and told him to shut up, cuz he had kids there. He added something about not havng to, he'd been in the service and honorably discharged twice (or something), and finally gave up and wandered outside.

Half the restaurant watched as he drunkenly hobbled away, and laughed when we thought he was going into the George Webb across the street... but he disappointed us and hobbled away elsewhere. We finished our food, dodged the various stares, and headed home.

Watched an episode or two of Mythubsters, and called it a night. In the future, we'll order out.

Mar 15, 2007

Le sigh....

We'll see how this works, given I can't read much of it for correctness. Eyes are junked over n stuff, it's late, and I'm finally getting tired.. but thought this might help settle my mind a bit.

(Edit- it did, though I still slept for shit. I'm cleaning up typos on the post and then gonna go back to bed I think. 3am til 6am isn't enough sleep for me to last a whole day any more.)

I've been going to UoP for a while now... after a second attempt at Parkside, after a half-assed first attempt, after hardly an attempt at Waukesha Technical College. So, it's been over 12 years to finish a 4-year degree, and I've still got over half a year left.

My taste for UoP has never been 'great'. I've lived through it, but made some mistakes even here. The class material is finally starting to prove interesting and I'm finally learning something. It's nice to be doing that. But, I'm at tthe point where I'm ready to quit. Not drop out completely, but transfer. Probably to UWN.

First, UoP class structure. 5 weeks. Week 1 = intro. Weks 2-5 = real work. You usually have one personal assignment and one group assignment per week 2-5.

That's all fine and dandy. However, it means you've got 4ish personal assignments and 2-4 group ones. Miss one, you're not getting an A. Not to mention most profs grade on 10 points. Weekly participation s 2-3 points per week, some other filler for 5 points, and then 10 points per assignment. Generally, these total 100.

Now, some teachers decide to do 1000 total pts (or some other number) instead of 100. Fine and dandy. Except for one problem. If you get -3 on a 100-pt paper, ou've got a 97. Same thing on a 10-pt paper, you've got a C. What're the rules regarding this? None.

That's the issue I'm facing in current class. (Well, one of them.) Again. I've had an instance where a teacher was 3 weeks behind in grading feedback... not a big deal cuz the class was a cakewalk. I've had profs that take 2 outta 10 pts if you don't put the heading the right way, or use exact APA format. Whatever.

The last ... 5-6 classes have all been problematic, save for one (well, even that was indirectly a problem). In one was a religion professor that was so obviously biased, it was offensive. ("If we don't have monotheism, what'd stop us from acting like the Nazis did?"). In my last class, we had to work on a database we were supposed to have made the class before; since the prev prof didn't have us make it, half the class was stuck 5 weeks behind the other half. Counselor's response to my complaint- "It's the teacher's prerogative to teach that way."

I was enjoying and hating this class at same time. The syllabus said we're req'd to do a discussion question from lecture, article summary, weekly summary, and SQL programming exercises each week. Order freak; he has a thread for each thing. Except there's no thread for weekly or article summaries, or the lecture DQ (plenty of other DQs). Even asking up through week 3, never got a response as to what to do.

Whatever, I do as much as he says to for it, have been doing okay. Except my summaries are only 150-200 words instead of 250+; I just can't write bullshit fluff (and last I knew, workplaces were concerned with details, not if the report is at least 6 pages or 10 minutes to present). 1.5 outta 3 points, for each of 4 weeks = bye-bye A. Oh, and B is probably gone because even though I posted all the stuff to the main newsgroup on time, since he wants it both places, I didn't post it to assignments on Monday and got 0 of 8 for a week.

Last week's team assignment is to submit a prototype database for a presentation of full SQL code due end of this week. We submit the tables, and 15-20 records for each table (customer names, inventory, suppliers, tax amounts, etc.). We include a few sample reports... and we get 6 outta 10, because we didn't have enough queries or records for 2 tables. WHAT THE FUCK IS A PROTOTYPE? I didn't see "finished product", nor did I see "a minimum of 10 queries".

Oh yeah, and my personal assignment post fubar'ed, so he said to send him a copy of it again. SSo I emailed it to him. His response was that I needed to post it to school newsgroup, he doesn't accept assignments to email. DON'T FUCKING TELL ME TO SEND A COPY TO YOU THEN!

There's a lot more shit going on, and this is all so fricking petty anyway. You'd think I'd get a little better treatment with $1500 per course being plopped down for it. (This is after a tuition increase because I couldn't take more than 2 weeks between classes to move without an increase in tuition.)

so now I sit in a quandry. I've got about ... 10 courses left til graduation. Do I suffer through it and hope the rest aren't as full of shit as the last 5-7 have been, or do I drop a year's worth when my financial aid runs out in June and transfer back to a real school... and be forced to deal with textbooks I probably can't see?

*sigh* Cheery bimbo... err, my academic counselor... will be giving me a call tomorrow after the email I sent her, so we'll see what she has to say. I've got a headache... but at least I'm not fuming mad and tired enough to get some sleep. Sorry again for any typos (not that many read this or would respond anyway).

Mar 13, 2007

"I Read!"

The last book I remember reading is the second or third book in Terry Goodkind's Sword of Truth series. I started doing more online and devoting less time to reading, and then sorta lost the option as my vision got worse. I 'read' (listened to) Sun Tzu's Ancient Art of War a year or so ago, but it'd been ages since I read a book.

So, how'd I spend this nice, warm, sunny day (judging by the number of idiot screams and various music filling the air... and the fact the heater hasn't kicked on 5 times an hour)?

I'd gotten bored, and ended up grabbing some e-books. I fiddled with MS' e-book reader, wasn't impressed and couldn't change colors... grabbed some voices to try to listen to it being read, but again, no dice. Eventually came across a converter thatt turned it into html so I could read it in Firefox.

It was Robert Asprin's Myth series that really got me to want to read again, so I started with the first book, Another Fine Myth. Light reading- I forgot how much was dialogue. I started reading, and kept reading... and finished the book up the same day I started it.

Have a giant selection to choose from, and others won't go quite as quickly- but it's a nice feeling to have revisited something from high school days, and pick up on all the old characters (Skeeve, Aahz, Tanda, Gleep, etc.) again. May not be the most exciting news, but it's nice to delve back into reading fiction on my own again... maybe it'll spark the imagination to write something after this class finishes next Monday. I guess we'll see....

(If you don't get the title, check out my Jay Johnson post/link... you'll understand.)

Mar 9, 2007

It's that time of year....

Where we celebrate Jesus' return with pretty colored eggs and bunnies! Or something.

Easter brings back some fond memories. My grandpa always made enough eggs for the entire local American Legion chapter for easter- enough to fill a Trojan Rabbit, it semed. Grandpa would have a huge pot where he'd boil a few dozen at a time. I can't remember how many eggs we'd dye each year, but I'd bet it was probably two gross, maybe even more.

It was a fun time... tons of sintky die pellets from those PAAS kits, the cheap coathanger egg dippers, and cartons of eggs in some stage of the coloring process scattered about the entire dining room table. I (and my sister when old enough) were the only ones that ever got to help. Grandma would too, obviously... but she never got to boil the eggs; she always turned the yolks green according to grandpa.

Rest of the holiday, meh, can pass on. Just remember proper rabbit-eating etiquette! Always cut the head off and lay it on the desk, so it can watch you eat the rest of it. When are they gonna come out with the chocolate Jesus'?

(I guess we skipped right past St. Patty's this year. Due to the good timing of the holiday and the planned trip to Kenowhere for a stop at Woodman's and stuff anyway, maybe I'll get a picture of Gerry's St. Patty's Day monster panties. Maybe have somethin' to drink for the Irish heritage... we'll see how the mood hits.)

Mar 8, 2007


When I am dreaming, I don't know if I'm truly asleep, or if I'm awake;
When I get up, I don't know if I'm truly awake, or if I'm still dreaming....
--Dream (Forest for the Trees)

I dunno what's been going on lately, but my dreams have been getting more and more vivid and emotional. I've always had very vivid dreams and (big surprise given my nature) a lot are sexual. Some I remember, and some I don't... depends on how I wake up, mostly.

I've woken up from them before, too. I remember being scared in a few. One in particular had me on a bus that was driving down a very steep, very tall road (a la the waterpark giant slide / drop)... and I woke up from the butterflies in my stomach That was shortly after moving in here.

These kinds of dreams are happening more often of late, though, and becoming more emotional. I had a dream w/ a fight involving my mom last week, and woke up almost shaking, heart racing, seeing red, etc. I knew it was just from the dream, but could still feel my body's reaction to it.

This morning, I had another one. I was letting my dog go out for a walk, and he ran ahead. He ended up being attacked and killed by two giant dogs, that also went after me. I felt the adrenaline rush, and felt myself crying. I didn't wake up crying, but felt the adrenaline and heart-wrenching pain I'd felt in the dream.

So, something's going on and leaving me in more turmoil than usual, I guess?

Mar 5, 2007

MMO's & me.

I've been around on the 'net a long time. MMOs, as they are today, weren't even around when I started. The closest were the few basic graphical MUDs on AOL, CServe, etc.

I don't even remember when my MUDding career began. (For the new-to-the-net folks, MUDs are like graphical MMORPGs, but in text instead.) It was some point in the early 90's. I started on Northern Ligts, an Aber. Aber-type MUDs are quest-oriented. Similar to an MMO, you have preprogrammed zones with certain quests. Kill a lich and demon to save a dying forest, etc. It was more puzzle/detail based; to get to the demon, for example, you had to find a diamond and put it in a certain pedestal with a diamond-shaped hole. Once you got past it, you'd have another clue that you'd have to drop it in order to get further on, etc.

My tastes didn't stop there. I liked Diku/Circle/Merc/etc. too- hack and slash, usually. All sorts of varieties... all text... and all free.

The first MMO I was a real part of was Earth & Beyond. I helped beta-test it, from the early beginnings (their first stress test had something like 1000-5000 players, who all got a t-shirt). I liked it, it was interesting... kinda like Wing Commander/Privateer but in MMO form.

I couldn't justify the $15/mo though, having spent several years paying nothing for enjoyment of MUDs for free. So, I played it until beta was done, and went on my way.

I swiped a copy of Dark Age of Camelot from work, tried it, and was thoroughly unimpressed. Didn't make it through the free trial.

I beta-tested a few other MMOs, but nothing much caught my eye until Auto Assault. It was a mix of the freedom of E&B, with automotive mayhem (like Twisted Metal, etc). Again, early(ish) beta tester. Took some deciding, but eventually convinced myself that $60 + $15/mo was worth it, and pre-ordered. Bought a 6-month subscription off the ba when it went live.

I justified the $15/mo as a cost I could handle, since I din't go to movies, didn't buy games, etc., that often. It was cheaper, like usual, with the multi-month plans (I think $12/mo?). I had a lot of fun- even took 2nd place in a tourney (1st won a trip to E3, but we got to fight the devs on the big-screens remotely), made some friends, etc.

As time went on, though, I realized why I'm not a MMO player. 'Casual' and 'MMO' don't belong next to each other. First, some more back-story:

It started with the E3 Tourney. When we placed in the E3 tourney, we didn't know it. We'd thought we'd lost, so we went to blow off steam by killin' stuff and leveling. After some confusion with placement, we found out we were able to paly at E3, but because the tourney was for level 30 chars only, we needed to get new characters up to that level. We had a week and a half or so to do it, and the trip wasn't the easiest. It became a chore, not fun as before. We did make it (with some effort, convincing words from one of the NCSoft devs, and a little bit of 'resource mismanagement'), and had fun in the tourney... but the four of us took a break afterwards. (And thus the path starts....)

When I returned to the game, as my mid-30s main char, I went back to my usual playing style. It was fun again... joined and was pretty involved in a clan, felt like I was getting somewhere, etc. Saw the end-game in sight after a few months, and eventually made it w/ help from friends.

That's where things started to turn even more. I was doing a good bit of PVM in the non-PVP section of Ground Zero (there's two instances, pick PVP or non-PVP instance). I'd get bored and hop on in the mornings and do some light PVP. I was a support class, so I'd suck in PVP on my own, but the realization became more nad more apparent. I'm at month 4 or so, and there've been people at 80 for 3 months... and living the game 24/7 for those 3 months. Even as the strongest of 3 factions, I wasn't much in the way of opposition. I didn't have the time invested to get the best items/stats; I didn't want to invest that kind of time.

As things went on, a few more updates came in. Therein lies the biggest problem. The game, like most MMOs, was full of min/max'ers, who were pretty vocal on the boards and the ones always sitting on the game 24/7. Changes went in that affected PVP, especially towards balancing these players; however, these same skills are the same things used in PVM... so, nerfs come in and new things get added for PVP/PVM challenges for the hardcore players. Casual gamers, like myself, are left in the dust.

I cancelled my sub after the 6-month stint. I resub'ed for a month now, but the few months I was away made the gap even bigger. I enjoyed myself again, as a distraction from the MUD I admin... but I don't foresee me going back to MMOs any time soon. Such a shame- great concepts, great interaction... but things get topheavy, and it hurts everyone else.

Mar 3, 2007

I am Geek, hear me ... type.

This past week, I installed SuSE on my PC. NWN crashed a few times last week, and it was more than a bit annoying, so I fig'd I'd give it a shot w/ the Unix client. Plus, I'd tried it a few times before and it worked decently, but had some compatibility issues with other hardware/software (I think last time I tried it was on my old Dell).

Have had it up and running a few days now. Got the most important things done; got a MUD client running (had to compile it myself to get it to cooperate), got sound/visual themes cooperating, and set up a shared drive so that I can have my Firefox/Thunderbird/etc. profiles shared between Windows and Unix. I also had some other smaller triumphs (getting sound to work in Gaim, for example), that overall made it a good day. Plus, I even got my homework done before Monday, so more time to fiddle with this thing.

It's amazing what these little triumphs can bring. Gods, I'm such a geek! (Ok, here's my sign....)