Cyrodil Bound

Prouds, I has them


Yesterday was the second day in a row I managed to hit the default goal of 10,000 steps since I got my fitbit.  While I normally clock in at the 8,000 steps range I have actually hit 10,000 four times so far.  As I wrote when I got my fitbit, it makes interesting tweaks in the way you look at the world.  These last two days I mostly performed a simple tweak to my routine.  I spend most of my life pushing as many things as possible to autopilot, and as such… unless it is super important I try and make things absolute routine.  As a result I prefer to park in exactly the same place every day, so I don’t have to think about where I parked.  The only place that is reliably open is the roof of the parking garage, and while I do try and find a covered place when there is bad weather… it works for me.

Normally speaking I have been going up and down the stairs from the roof for a while now, but I opted to make a slight tweak in this routine.  Instead of walking the stairs, I decided to walk the long winding ramp between the 6th and 4th floor.  This is a large number of new steps to add to my routine, and I think is really the difference between consistently having 8,000 days and 10,000 days.  My other friends that are also using the fitbit tend to skew the results by walking in place at night or pacing the halls to try and finish off their steps.  I however wanted to try and tweak my routine to a point at which it was sustainable and repeatable, and slowly over time I am getting there.

A new thing my wife and I have been doing in the evenings is attempting to walk to dinner.  Granted we live in the suburbs and it is not exactly designed for walkability… but we are making it function.  There are a number of restaurants that are within a mile of the house and Wednesday night we walked a grand total of 4200 steps to RibCrib and back.  Last night she got home super late so we didn’t do this, but instead walked around the corner to the grocery store to buy a ream of paper and some advil.  It seems that if we are walking someplace with a purpose in mind, it is easier.  This is still very new to us, but so far we both seem to be adjusting well.  The only negative is that I seem to have developed shin splints which hurt like hell, but hopefully they will lessen over time.

Cyrodil Bound

Screenshot_20140410_210456 If you remember some weeks back there was a question as to which campaign to choose.  After much discussion we ended up picking Wabbajack, and apparently this was a very good choice.  It seems as though the Daggerfall Covenant is doing extremely well there, and when I logged in last night we had the faction wide buff indicating that we had crowned an Emperor.  In addition we managed to hold all of the elder scrolls, but as my friend Kodra reported it looked like we were about to lose one of the keeps holding a scroll.  I feel a little bad that as cool as Cyrodil seems, last night was the first night since the mandatory pvp testing weekends that I had set foot in it.  I completely skipped the tutorial quests, which are apparently really good, and worth a lot of skill points… and jumped straight into combat.  I had more fun than I have really had in PVP ever… or at least since Dark Age of Camelot.

We successfully defended the keep, and took several objectives around the keep.  What was nice about defending the keep is that we were able to consistently push Ebonheart Pact away from the siege weapons and destroy them, giving our keep time to repair.  I died a ton, but also managed to get in my fair share of killing blows thanks to being able to shield charge into targets.  I pvp’d as sword and shield and overall I was pretty pleased with the results.  I might tweak things up a bit, to add a bit more annoyance to my toolbar.  I managed to get three skill points and at the end of the night was halfway through realm rank two.  All in all it was a fun little outing and something I could see doing again in the near future.

Podcast In the Air

For some time I have been streaming in the evenings from time to time, and in doing so I hop on mumble and join a channel called “Bel is Streaming”.  Folks pop into the channel and we end up chatting about damned near everything but the thing we happen to be playing.  When I went back and listened to some of the videos…  they almost sounded like impromptu podcasts.  This started a discussion among a few of my friends and is slowly working its way towards a real podcast.  There is a group of friends that I have been hanging out on mumble with on an almost nightly basis.  Over this time we have developed a really good chemistry, and the goal is to take that same chemistry to a podcast.

So sometime in the very near future we will be recording our inaugural episode.  I will be joined by my good friends Rae, Kodra and Ashgar.  Between us we each have just enough overlap of tastes to make it work, and just enough divergence to hopefully make for differing points of view.  Rae is currently working on some really amazing Chibis of us to eventually become a logo.  Special thanks to Sypster to answering some questions and helping me pick a libsyn package.  We don’t really know what we are doing…  but that is okay, we all have to start out not knowing what we are doing.  Right now the gameplay is to keep a google doc going with potential topics, and then just see what happens on air.  Hopefully it will be something worth listening to.

Faffing the Steppes

Fitbit Logic

So this is the point where I am supposed to come up with something interesting to talk about for a blog post.  I kinda over did it a bit yesterday with the double posting, but that family drama piece really needed out of my head.  Once I finished posting it, we both dressed and went out into the world to run the errands that needed running.  The fit bit does funny things to you.  I find myself parking way the hell out in the middle of nowhere just to be able to get some extra steps in.  This also permeated our grocery store trip.  I am normally one of those people who goes exactly to the areas of the store for the items I need and then zips straight out.  I used to be able to do the weekly shopping trip in about fifteen minutes.

However yesterday we purposefully meandered up and down every possible isle, not because we didn’t know exactly what we needed… but we were trying to milk the trip for as much walking as humanly possible.  So we wandered up and down the isles, saving the frozen foods for last.  Not unexpectedly we probably bought a lot more groceries than normal but we got our maximum amount of walking from the trip.  It feels like cheating, since I am going out of my way to try and put in as many steps as possible into everything I do.  However… I guess that was really the point of gamifying exercise.  Funny thing is, last night at one point I got up to get a drink while watching the walking dead.  When I got back I ended up pacing around for a bit while watching the television before sitting back down.

Faffing the Steppes

Watch live video from Belghast on TwitchTV
Most of yesterday was spent faffing about in World of Warcraft.  With the impending launch of Reaper of Souls tomorrow, and the headstart for Elder Scrolls Online soon… I really want to get my mage to 60 so I can boost it.  My gameplan in general has been to work on quests while not in a dungeon.  But I am pretty much habitually queuing at every chance I get.  This has been interesting to say the least.  Normally speaking I can stomach pugs if I am not tanking, and for the most part this has been the same with playing a mage.  The only problem I run into is when I have a tank that simply doesn’t know what they are doing.  To make it worse, many of these tanks in question are not speaking English.  I really question the logic behind blizzard lumping non-english and english speaking servers together.

Granted this happens with European servers in pretty much every single game.  However speaking more than one language is a much more common occurrence there.  While I can pick out a few words here and there of Spanish, I am by no means fluent enough to get my point across.  At one point last night the tank in question skipped half of the zone.  Since we were all leveling, and killing things means more experience… I didn’t really get the point.  Since the tank was only speaking Portuguese I had no real way of conveying my questions.  Maybe blizzard needs to look into embedding Google translate into their API, or maybe that is an add-on idea waiting to happen.  There have been many games that have bridged the language gap very well with some auto translation.  I think maybe it is time for Blizzard to look into doing the same.

Veronica Mars

I finally got around to watching the Veronica Mars movie this weekend, and I have to say I liked it quite a bit.  I started watching the series on a random whim, and thought my wife might also enjoy it.  So together we worked our way through the entirety of the series when it was on Netflix.  It is one of those rare instances where a TV show appeals equally to both of us.  Mostly for me…  I like the title character.  I love the random quirky smartassery that comes out of her mouth, and the creative solutions to awkward situations.  I find it odd just how this show, much like Firefly has found such an active “life after death”.  If nothing else this proves to me that Hollywood knows exactly jack shit about what people want.  Kickstarter and similar community backing seems to be a way for the huddled masses that don’t fit into the neat bubble of “pop culture” to finally get the things they have always wanted.

I did not back the show, mostly because I was feeling more than a little bit of Kickstarter fatigue when it happened.  Thankfully not everyone was me.  When it came out I bought the $20 digital copy from Amazon, because I wanted to put my money where my mouth.  The only problem with the digital offerings here is they are all pretty much heinous, and none of them are really compatible with my chosen method of watching television and movies.  Namely I prefer to stream things to my television using Chromecast and Plex.  Granted I could do the crappy tabcasting thing, which is fine for say a twitch stream, but ends up annoying me when trying to watch something more “long form”.  As a result I went out an acquired a downloaded copy of the movie to back up the one I paid for.  Dear Hollywood…  your DRM is dumb for making me pirate the movie after paying legally for it.  You are doing it wrong.

As far as the movie itself goes…  I liked it a lot.  I am not sure exactly how I can give it a proper review without absolutely giving everything away.  The characters I liked from the television show that I cared about, all made cameo appearances even if they didn’t always factor heavily into the plot of the movie.  The quality of acting and cinematography was great, especially considering this did not go through the traditional channels.  That said however… the movie felt a bit off at times, or more so it just felt like I was watching an hour and a half long episode of the television show.  The movie ends in a perfect place for them to pick up a sequel or even another television show.  So here is hoping this is not the last we see of Veronica Mars.

Booster Gold

King of Mondays

As I said yesterday, I struggled with the time change like I normally do.  As a result this tends to be the worst Monday of the year.  Of course that would be the Monday my wife’s sister decides we need to go out to eat.  By the time we finished work both of us simply wanted to go home and crash.  However we felt obligated to go act normal and attempt to enjoy dinner.  Thing is we don’t get to see my wife’s sister that often.  She works this really odd job where she cleans nuclear power plants when they go into shutdown periodically.  So as a result she and her husband drag their RV all around the country, and it can literally be years before we see them again.

So I did my best to pretend to be normal and pleasant, when all I really wanted to do was go home… climb upstairs to my office and decompress.  Since the night was already pretty much shot we decided to run a few errands when we got back to town.  Dinner was at least relatively enjoyable, and by the time we arrived home I had gotten a bit of a second wind.  Over the years we have been to three different Ruby Tuesdays.  One in our town that just closed this past week, one in Joplin MO and another one in Upstate NY.  It seems like they were doing it wrong.  The one we ate at last night was really rather nice, and had free biscuits and salad bar.  Maybe the one in my town would have survived if they also had this.

Watching Me Sleep

fitbit_sleeppattern I’m a fat man, and I will likely always be fat.  I have reached a point of acceptance with that.  However my wife and I have been trying to be “less” fat.  Over the course of the last year I lost 70 lbs, and my wife has lost an amount that I have not kept up with as closely… but as much if not more than I did.  She looks absolutely great, and I pretty much still look like myself.  We have done pretty well with diet and while I have fallen off the wagon a bit in keeping track of my food intake…  I have managed to remain the same weight…  so the habits seem to have stuck.  One of the things we both struggle with is exercise.  So for awhile now we have kicked around the idea of getting a Fitbit.  Yesterday we picked up a couple and now I am under constant surveillance.

One of the interesting features is that it keeps track of your sleep patterns.  When it comes time to go to bed, you rapidly tap your bracelet until it buzzes and it knows you are going into sleep mode.  I have often wondered why I feel like shit after getting what seems to be an otherwise good nights sleep.  Apparently last night for example I woke up ten different times through the night.  Some of these I remember, but the majority I do not.  This also explains why the covers on my side of the bed are always fubar.  Granted last night it was a bit odd trying to sleep in what is essentially a watch band, but I will get used to it.

Booster Gold

warlords_preorder The big news yesterday that I have somehow neglected to talk about until just now… is that while I was off at lunch running errands, it seems that Warlords of Draenor preorders went live.  Granted this weekend there was a leak of a boost to 90 trailer video.  So we mostly assumed that at some point this week the preorders would go live, as well as the boost to 90.  The other thing that caused quite a bit of a ruckus was that a “release date” has been entered into the systems for 12/20/2014.  However minutes later Blizzard came out saying that this was not the final launch date, but that the game would be launching sometime during the Fall.  So that begs the question… what exactly does “Fall” mean.  Some are saying September, and at last years Blizzcon they stated that we would be playing Warlords by the time the next Blizzcon rolled around.

My friends have suggested that we are likely going to see a significantly truncated beta cycle, but even at that… it would be nice if that actually started.  I would feel significantly better about the projected launch if I knew that friends and family alpha was at least going on.  Not that I am expecting to be in it mind you, but just knowing it is happening is a good sign.  Now that I have a free boost to 90 that came with my preorder, I am not exactly in a huge rush to use it.  For some time now I had planned to use it to boost up a mage to 90.  I figured this was the one class that I was least likely to level on my own.  I had been playing my little Warlock, and even streamed the hell out of it on Sunday.  Demonology is essentially the “faff about while your demon kills things” spec, and I was perfectly okay with this.

However it is starting to seem like Frost is the “faff about while your elemental kills things” spec.  At one point last night I ended up having to afk in a cave to take care of something… and I fully expected to log back in dead and have to run back to my corpse.  Turns out my elemental killed everything that got anywhere near me.  I am sure this will not last for long, but it was entertaining to watch for a few minutes before I took back control of my character.  At this point my plan is to level the mage to 60 and then boost him to 90 with the doodad.  Essentially my logic is this… I would far rather level to 60 in the cataclysm old world content, which I enjoy…  than level three tradeskills all the way to 600.  If you boost a 60+ character you get your primary and secondary tradeskill to 600 as well as First Aid.  So last night I proceeded to strip my warlock of all of his heirlooms and am now in serious mage leveling mode.

Another Experiment

Yesterday I talked about my experiment over the weekend with streaming through FFSplit to my channel.  It seemed to work pretty well, and the overall video quality was acceptable.  Now it is time to take it to the next level…  the one where I actually unmute my microphone.  To go a step further, I have created a channel on our guilds mumble server called “Bel Is Streaming” and my hope is to coax my friends to join me in the channel and be entertaining… so I don’t have to.  I can’t say I will have the most exciting stream in the world, and I don’t even hope to do it as well as the Qelric…  but it might be fun.  I decided to name this endevour “Bel Faffs About!” in honor of the Godmother of Faff who raised the consciousness of all things faffing over the last year.  My plan is to post on twitter anytime I am streaming something, and just let the chips fall where they may.  I’ve heard rumor that this weekend is another big ESO beta event, and if that is the case I will stream it as much of the weekend as I can.  In the meantime, expect me leveling my mage to 60 and playing some Diablo 3.