Engineering

Jun. 2nd, 2011 04:27 pm
thessalian: (Default)
So I finally got around to calling the people at BT about the fact that my internet connection keeps dropping. After a protracted conversation with someone who was clearly not even in England, let alone from England (or indeed any English-speaking country) in which I had to explain the same thing three or four times in increasingly simple language, the man agreed to do a line test. This proved conclusively that it is not my router. It is, in fact, simply that my line is faulty. This is apparently going to be fixed. Sometime in the next two weeks. But they 'value customers like me'. Uh-huh. To be fair, 'two weeks' is the absolute outside, but ... dude, seriously, come on. Anyway, it basically means that as much as I might want to faff about on Warcrack and RP and stuff over the rest of my week off, it's going to be very bloody hard to do so because odds are high that my connection will simply drop for two or three hours at a time. Or it might just intermittently hiccup. Which is almost as annoying, if not more so. Seriously. Sheesh.

To be fair, my week off's been pretty glorious so far. Not that I've done much with it, but that was kind of the point.

I had a bit of an issue with Warcrack the other day. I tripped over my first instance. However, I did not realise that it was an instance. So I stumbled into Ragefire Chasm, smacked an elemental upside the head ... and to be fair, lasted a good five minutes before I died a horrible, screaming death. There's only so far Healing Wave will take you. So I need to figure out how to form groups. But who's gonna want to, damnit? I'm a level 17 moocow. Orgrimmar is full of high-level people. This, I suppose, is why one needs a Guild. I hardly ever see anybody in starting-level areas these days. I feel like I'm so behind. This is why I wonder why I bother with MMOs, y'know. Still, it's fun to noodle around with and at least I'm making progress with the soloing.

I could go back to bed and nap now, if I wanted to. I might do, but I require food that isn't sugary cereal with marshmallows. (The soya milk thing is a godsend. Not really what I'd call 'drinkable' but fine for cereal.) Also coffee, which might preclude my need for napping.
thessalian: (Default)
Dear Blizzard,

Your thing where all the data can download as people are playing is great and wonderful. Really it is. However, I have one tiny, tiny bone to pick about the whole thing. See, I just got done with a whole metric buttload of questing in and around Thunder Bluff, and got sent to Orgrimmar. The issue?

Well, Orgrimmar doesn't actually seem to be there, right now.

Do you have any idea how disconcerting it is to hop a manticore only to find that half of what you're flying over is empty space dotted with occasional monsters that appear to be floating in mid-air? Never mind the city, once you get there... I mean, shit. I'm standing in empty space that does contain some NPCs but I wasn't sure there how the hell I was supposed to do anything until the damn city had loaded and got so freaked out I logged out. Or rather, tried to.

It wouldn't let me. I had to Vulcan-nerve-pinch the fucker just to get it off the damn 'people floating in a nowhere-land' picture. If it's a choice between standing there staring at my character floating in mid-air, probably getting cat-called by some of the fucktards that proliferate in all MMOs and generally feeling like an idiot, and staring at a loading screen for half an hour until it decides to recognise that Orgrimmar actually exists and I am in it ... I'll vote for the loading screen, kthnx.

So in short ... is there any way that your lovely software could figure out where the character in question was likely to go and then ... y'know, load that next? That'd be awesome, thanks.

Regards,
A very confused Tauren Shaman on Bloodhoof.

That said, I've been having no end of fun with this for the past two hours. I finally figured out fishing! I was kind of blanking on where the 'Professions' tab was. I eventually found it and now I can actually craft. Which is kind of awesome, thanks. Now I just need to save up enough silver to actually get past Journeyman in Skinning. And probably upgrade my gear. On the other hand ... fishing and skinning and cooking and whee! (Yes, I have more fun levelling crafts in these things than I do some of the actual killing bits. I'm very, very weird.)

...What lives in Orgrimmar, anyway? I'm ... guessing ogres?
thessalian: (Default)
So I finally levelled up a WoW character past level 10. And once again, I surprise myself unutterably.

Did I level up past level 10 with the Mage!Gnome? No.
Did I level up past level 10 with the Human!Hunter, despite her being at level 10 and it being no effort whatsoever? No.
Did I, in fact, level up any Alliance character past level 10, for all my talk about not wanting to play Horde? ...No.

What did I level up past level 10?
The shiny new Tauren!Shaman.

Yeah, I actually deleted my original Tauren!Shaman (because I forgot to customise that character), started all over again and whaddya know? Level 12. And have just hoofed it (no pun intended) over to Thunder Bluff to run around the place like someone set my tail on fire, doing various diddy-quests and generally having a fine old time. No, it's not a time-sink to the level of FFXI, which is good because ... well, I like having something that approximates a life, thanks ... but it is fun to have around.

So it's Sunday, and currently I am enjoying the hell out of just vegging out, thanks. There's a chunk of brisket marinading in the fridge, and I'm going to get started on cooking that as soon as I've gone out to get some butter for the veg. I knew there was some reason I had to leave the house today (and something I forgot on my massive shopping excursion yesterday). Boo. Ah well. Brisket, baked potato and veg, and side salad. With mango chunks and strawberries for dessert. This is gonna be awesome.

The question is: what shall I watch while I am eating dinner of awesome? I have new DVDs from last week, y'see (there was a sale on). I could watch Strictly Ballroom. Or possibly Pirates of the Caribbean. Probably not Ring or Let the Right One In, as they're not strictly speaking meal-friendly movies. Or I could just go back to one of my old standbys. I dunno. I'll think of something.

I know that I wouldn't have had to go into work tomorrow anyway, given as how there's that whole thing with the bank holiday and all. But knowing that there's a whole week of this kind of vegging out for me? It's just so satisfying, somehow. But it says something about my job that I can be this relieved at not having to go in for a week, doesn't it? Ah well.
thessalian: (facepalm)
Having ergonomic woes. The main problem with hot-desking, as it were, is that everyone has a different way of sorting out their office chairs and none of them seems to suit me much at all. Currently I am borrowing the desk of one of the secretaries in Movement Disorders who's on jury service for the next two weeks, and there is no way of rearranging this stupid chair in a way that doesn't end in screaming back pain for me. The worst of it seems to involve a knot in my left shoulder, but that does tend to knot up on me anyway, and I'm not sure whether this is because consistent bad ergonomics has screwed me up or because I'm just prone to that. Either way, there is pain. I don't like pain. This is the kind of thing that drives me out of the office early. I just wish there were decent chairs. Hell, I just wish I had my own desk. That'd be nice.

The saga of that yutz who's supposed to be doing all the admin stuff to leave me alone with the typing has ended in a very anticlimactic way, by the way. I haven't heard anything from him and the bits and pieces that I send him to do on the admin side only get email replies of 'thanks'. I am taking this to mean that my office manager had her word with him, but I never entirely heard how that went. So long as he's not trying to stick me with admin work that I am not in any position to do, I guess I should be happy.

Yesterday's World of Warcraft experiment was Worgen Warrior. I might try with a different class, but at the moment ... not just no, but hell no. I thought the gnome thing was bad for being thrown into plot: turning up in the middle of a war zone? Seriously? There's this one quest where you have to survive for two minutes while being dog-piled (no pun intended) by rampaging Worgen and ... just ... no. Not with a greatsword with hideous delay, thanks. And thus far, as far as I can tell, character is still just human anyway. How far along do you have to go before you end up werewolf? It might have been a lot more interesting had I started with a different class. As it is ... again, not just no but hell no.

I just hope my internet connection works when I get home. I think the little switch box whatever burned out again because it was hiccuppy for about an hour last night before I went to bed and then this morning it just wouldn't connect at all until I changed the switch box whatever (the thing that you attach to the phone jack to plug the broadband cable and the phone cable into both at once). Then it seemed to be fine. Do these things burn out regularly? If so, I might have to pick up a few extras if I'm going to have to change them once a month or whatever. At least I know where my nearest Maplin's is...
thessalian: (Rant)
There are things I will simply never get. I mean, last night, there was me - virtuously eschewing coffee after 9pm in favour of fruit juice, heading to bed at half-past midnight ... and then tossed and turned and could not get to sleep at all except in snippets. I sleep better when I'm hopped up on caffeine, seriously. Insomnia blows dead rats. Then again, I figure at least some of it was stress over having to go back to work. Which is actually fair enough because with Mr I-Don't-Want-To-Do-My-Job who was giving me so much shit on Friday away for the day, I'm having to sit in the actual department office with MsMoo. The actual department office is a nightmare, make no mistake. There are no windows, as the consultants' offices get the windows and we get their office doors (so if their office doors aren't open, we're screwed for little things like fresh air and natural light). My current chair is more or less right in front of one of the consultant's office doors, which is fun when people heading into and out of said office have to slalom around me. The room is tiny, so between the two desks, the piles of notes that everyone refuses to send back to medical records, and various bits of unnecessary furniture ... well, there is no such thing as 'personal space' in this office. I hate it in here. At least I won't have to be in here for the rest of the week because Mr I-Don't-Want-To-Do-My-Job will be back. And then there's MsMoo, the other admin in this department. I haven't seen her in awhile (thank the gods for small mercies), but I am not a fan of this one, any more than the other one. She, too, ducks her duties on a regular basis but is also unpleasant to people on the phone the few times she doesn't ignore it ringing, cannot follow simple instructions and essentially is the kind of admin who ... well, isn't. Apparently she was in radiology but could not hack the workload so, rather than sacking her, they shopped her off to another department to make their lives a misery. I don't even know. All I do know is that on top of all that, she's one of those people who will pat your arm while talking to you, heedless of whether you might not like invasions of your personal space by people you don't know in an overly familiar way. Getting bumped into on the Tube or scrunched past on the train? That's one thing. That's unavoidable. However, I do not appreciate people patting my arm when I don't know them well, I have not invited contact and I don't actually like them all that much.

Still, despite being weary and more or less fed up, I do have some bright shining light at the end of the tunnel that this week has begun to resemble. Not only is Monday a bank holiday, but I have the rest of the week off as well! Woo! I booked it a little last-minute, and was careful to tell my office manager that I could rearrange if it was inconvenient, but as it turns out, it's really not - in fact, is better than convenient given the bank holiday being there anyway. So I can have an entire week off that doesn't involve me being flat on my back with gastric flu ... which is good because that week is supposed to involve a roleplay date with someone who absolutely cannot manage getting online before 2am my time. Usually I get around this by early evening naps instead of good nights' sleep but this is a much better way of going about it.

Meanwhile, out in Azeroth, the gamut of test characters continues. Yeah, I'm not getting heavily invested in any of these until I've decided exactly what I want to have as main and alts and everything. Which is at least part of why I'm naming them all after medical terminology of some sort or other, thinking about it - at least I won't run out of those for awhile. The list is as follows:

Porphyria: You've heard about her - my Forsaken Warlock. Currently on level 6, I think. Like the class, not sure about the race. And I hate the starting zones. It's grey and rainy and emo as unholy fuck. I think I'm going to ditch her soon and roll up some other Warlock.
SisterQ: Mage Gnome. Named in honour of my Cultist of Ecstasy on Chicago. Level 5 at last look. This one I intend to stick with as there has to be a Mage Gnome.
Ellowyne: Human Hunter. You've heard about her too. Level 10 and climbing. I like her ... though I might possibly ditch her and make a Hunter of another race. I like the class way better than the race.
Glioma: Blood Elf Rogue. I think I stopped at level 5 with her. Like the race, not sure about the class. Maybe if I ditch Ellowyne, I can roll up a Blood Elf Hunter or something. That might work.
Keppra: Tauren Shaman. Another surprise there: I did not remotely expect to enjoy playing a moocow. Or a Shaman. And yet I'm currently really enjoying this character and the area in general.

I think it helps that I'm working out how to do stuff with little in the way of ... y'know, investment. Look, when I started Satomi, I had paid for one character. If I screwed things up in the starter levels, I was living with that mistake. Here, I can have multiple characters without having to pay extra, which means that I can noodle around with it all until I settle on a few I actually like, and in the meantime learn how to do the little things like ... professions, for example. I am currently having a serious problem with fishing. I found a fishing rod. I settled near a fishing trainer. I followed the instructions on WoWwiki. And ... I keep getting that I need a target. THERE'S A FUCKING LAKE RIGHT THERE! HOW ARE YOU NOT FINDING A TARGET?!? I need serious help. It was fairly simple on FFXI; I just typed /fish. Or selected the bit on the menu bar that said 'Fish'. Over. And over. And over. And over. And over. And over. And over again. (I could be very patient about my fishing.) What I did get the hang of is skinning. At least, once I finally found a NPC that could sell me a skinning knife. Thunder Bluff is pretty but a bitch to navigate, kthnx. Now if I could just get hold of some flour so I could contemplate levelling cooking? That'd be awesome.

It sounds like I spend way more time on this game than I do, doesn't it? Really, I don't spend that much time on the game, or at least not dedicated time. It doesn't take a lot to power through the early levels even for a total noob like me. And there are things I still want to try. I figure on at least trying out every race and class in game before I make up my mind on which I want to stick with. And ... y'know, various permutations and combinations. That's another thing where WoW has it over FFXI; you may not get to change your character's class at will, but there's a lot of variety in races that's lacking in FFXI and the ability to have multiple characters means you get to try things out more easily. Anyway, my next thing is to do another DA:O playthrough to import to DA2, as sometimes the savegen mucks up some of the flag. Or maybe it's the game that does, I dunno. Egh.

And finally, a bit of amusement from the brief trip out to the shops I made yesterday: unfortunate if accurate translation issues on food packaging. Polish manufacturer. Soups and tinned goods aisle. Little packet of instant soup mix. Label bears a picture of a chicken and a bowl of broth. Label reads: 'Cock Soup'.

...Yeah, so not going there.
thessalian: (writing)
So ... today kind of sucked and then there was less of the suckage. Which is always a bonus because day of entire suck is never fun.

Okay, so the situation is this: my hospital now finds itself not as much in need of a float secretary as it was. However, they have no desire to lose me as an employee - something about how "there is dead weight here but you are so very much not it" - so they found me a department that needs my help. It's predominantly a typing position, which is fine with me; it's what I'm good at, after all. However, there are two admins in that department and they are both ... well ... 'blindingly incompetent and wilfully negligent' seems to be putting it mildly. Office manager turned around to the one of them that was actually in this week and said, "Look; she'll do the typing, you'll do the admin". Which makes sense because the only available desk in the hospital is in a completely different building across the bloody square again. But that was the message - I do the typing, they do every other bit of admin crap, because they're the ones with the access to the doctors.

So today, I'm merrily typing away and it comes up that there's a few patients who did not attend their appointments and need to have new ones booked. There's only three or four of them, so no problem, right? I take the patients' names and hospital numbers and email them to this guy, figuring that he can probably talk to the consultants and get these patients slotted in somewhere. So he emails me back saying, "What, don't you have access to the patient bookings?" My response: "Yes, but ... you're the one with the access to the doctors and they're the ones who can tell you if there needs to be a clinic overbooking. That's a thing I can't do, seeing as I'm the one sitting in a desk in an entirely different building." His response: "You have all the information you need; call patient bookings if it needs overbooking and sort it out." Except ... no, because I don't know which clinic should be overbooked to fit these people, how urgent it is, how soon the consultants want them seen ... and besides, I am the one doing the typing, for fuck's sake! Plus his attitude stinks about the whole thing, like I'm dumping excess work on him when I'm the one actually freeing him up to do the admin stuff he's shirking. Besides, I know for a solid fact that he spends most of his time on any given day reading kickboxing chat forums online. I admit to going online when I'm at work but it's not continuously and I get the work done.

It didn't help that there was a situation that started yesterday that presisposed me to being pissed off with this guy. See, I got saddled with typing up a couple of discharge summaries. The consultant changes registrars on a far-too-regular basis to keep up with, and they're all crap at putting their full names anywhere on the tapes, in the notes, anywhere that would help me edit the signatory on the letter template. So since it was coming up to the end of the day and I had no idea who this registrar was who had dictated these discharge summaries, I emailed the admin guy and said, "Okay; I've typed these up but I don't know the name of the registrar, since he only put an abbreviation of his first name on the envelope in which he stashed the tape. Since you're the one in the same building as the doctors, could you make some inquiries as to who actually dictated these discharge summaries and edit the signatory line accordingly, please?" Then I went home for the day.

So this morning, I got an email from the consultant bitching me out for not changing the signatory on the discharge summaries. It seems that the admin guy, either at a loss himself or (more likely) not being bothered to make anything like an inquiry about it, just sent the hospital numbers of the patients on to the consultant with no comment about the email I'd sent and the fact that I knew full well that the signatory line was wrong and needed to get someone who could ask the fucking doctors to sort it out. So I got into shit from the consultant because he couldn't so much as ask a fucking question. And then this bullshit about the patient bookings. The boy is lazy as unholy fuck. And don't even get me started about his on-again, off-again colleague in that department. The entire place is chaos because those two can't be bothered to keep things even remotely orderly, and then they expect me to sort it out when I'm not even in the fucking building.

So, since I had no intention of doing their jobs for them as well as their own and had some serious issues with this guy's attitude, I spoke to my office manager, who calls me 'a godsend' on a weekly basis. I explained the situation as calmly as I was able and told her point-blank that I was not in any way satisfied with this guy's performance or ... well, any of it. She's terrified of losing me so she's going to sort it out as soon as humanly possible. So ... score. Still, it made for a stressful day.

Which might be why I decided to burn off some energy by doing that furniture-moving I was talking about earlier today. Yes, I said it was going to be a thing I did over the weekend but I just wanted to make something more efficient and orderly and tidy today, I guess. So I pushed the bed right up against the wall on one side and shifted my desk around and reorganised my books and tidied up the laundry pile (I need a hamper so badly you have no idea) and cleaned out the fridge and now there is so much more floor space and it's wonderful. I might get a rug or something. The carpet in here is kind of blah and a little atrocious. 'Neutral decorating scheme' my arse. One thing I did have to ask myself, in the course of reorganising my books, how many Stephen King books I actually have. They just kept appearing, like they're breeding or something. It also occurs that a couple of those books were 'borrowed' from my mother (she was the original King fan in the family and then started telling me off for reading 'trash' when I was a kid/teenager until I pointed out that the book in my hands came from her bookshelf, so I got some of hers so she could have room for whatever the hell swords-n-sorcery fantasy stuff she's reading these days) and are actually older than I am. I own paperbacks that have been on this earth longer than I have. That's ... just a really weird concept, somehow.

My net connection's been a lot better today (I switched the little filter box thing and that seems to have improved matters, though there have been a couple of interrupts this evening), so I went on to play a little bit of Warcraft. First, I rerolled my gnome (gnooooooooome!) - this one's called SisterQ after my Chicago Cultist of Ecstasy - I figure that's what said Cultist would be playing, though way, waaaaaaay higher level. After about five levels of that, I realised that I'd forgotten that the first thing I rolled up just out of curiosity but never really played was a Human Hunter. So I thought I'd switch that on a bit, see what a non-magic-using class was like. It never ceases to surprise me when I find out I enjoy the hell out of a melee class. Normally I'm all about the magic-users, but ... well, in FFXI it was Dragoon, Dragon Age: Origins it was Rogue (still can't work up enthusiasm for it in DA2, though...) and now, in WoW ... Hunter all the way, baby. There's just something about being able to run around with a blunderbuss and have your pet do all your tanking for you. It beats the shit out of Beastmaster in FFXI, where you have to charm passing mobs as your pets and they eventually they turn on you and you have to kill them, sometimes in the middle of fighting another damn mob (and worse yet, you don't even get XP for the kill when it's your former pet). I will eventually stick with a character long enough to get out of single-digit levels, but for now I'm having fun just noodling around with it.

So, tired but triumphant with a side order of having-fun. I suppose it's not the worst way I could end the week.
thessalian: (Default)
My router is still hiccupping like I don't even know. It's frustrating and disheartening and I'd rather not have to call BT. I just wish I knew what was wrong with the bloody thing. If I dropped £45 on a router I don't even need, I am going to be so pissed off. But I'll have a play around with it this weekend. Possibly at around the same time as I try to move furniture around. Yes, I am considering moving the furniture, mostly because I'm bored with the current arrangement and it's a little bit clumsy anyway. I already moved the desk (hoping that taking the router off my PC tower would help matters, which ... no) but I think the bed needs shifting. Hell, I need a single bed. It's not like I use more than half of it anyway and it just takes up space. But I suppose that's one for the landlord.

In other news, today is a beautiful, bright sunshiny sort of day. So of course, I am miserable. The bright shiny sunshine is a fast-track to migraine, and my sinuses are screaming their displeasure at the pretty flowering things because the pollen is really not helping matters. At all. Of course, it also didn't help that walking to work from St Pancras this morning, there were people scrubbing the steps of the Brunswick complex (shopping, dining, cinema specialising in foreign films) with industrial bleach. Inflammation of the sinuses + bleach fumes = owwwwww. Just FYI.

So grateful it's the weekend. This week has been a bit of a slog, all things considered. Not that this weekend stands to be a whole lot better, if I'm going to turn it into a router-prodding, laundry-doing, furniture-moving, bookshelf-tidying, CLEAN-ALL-THE-THINGS-ing extravaganza, but at least I get to sleep in. I just don't like mornings very much, I guess.

For those of you who don't follow me on Twitter, I realised I never actually mentioned the name I gave my lonely Forsaken warlock lady wandering around Bloodhoof at the moment. In a stroke of questionable inspiration, knowing that people have been on this server for awhile and most of the 'generic fantasy' names have likely already been used, I gave my zombie chick the name Porphyria.

Sounds real classy until you click on the link, no? *g*

Anyway, I have decided that from now on, all of my MMO characters are getting medical terminology names. Might as well put my medical secretarial training to good use, no? So I'll see how that goes. I mean, this is always assuming I can get my stupid connection to stop kicking me offline every ten minutes or so. It's really annoying...
thessalian: (Default)
So okay. I got told how to change WoW servers today. But of course, characters don't carry over. Not that I'm overly fussed, because Gnome did not get very far on the random!server, but still. Anyway, instead of starting over on Bloodhoof as Mage!Gnome (though I'm going to, because, well, gnooooooome) I rolled up a Forsaken. Yeah, I know I said I didn't want to play Horde, but what the hell. If I was going to play a demon-summoning Warlock, I figured I may as well do it in an area where the demon-summoning types get some actual fucking respect. *g*

(Plus, it gets fun when the sentient humanoids you're throwing spells at get down to, like, 5%HP and then try to run away in abject terror. Eeeheehee.)

One minor problem, though: I'm having router issues. As in, the damn thing keeps resetting every few minutes.

Ever try to play a MMO when your connection keeps dropping every few minutes? Let's just say it's an ultimate pain in the arse. I'm glad I haven't been in groups or they'd have hated me. I don't know what's wrong with the damn thing, but it's got to be the connection because I bought a new router at the same time as I bought the stupid game that I'm having trouble playing because of the stupid connection issues. I have no. Fucking. Idea what the problem is at this point but I wish it'd fucking stop. I'm going to shut the router down overnight, I think; maybe it's just been running too hot lately. I dunno.

So therein lies the current frustration. How's y'all?
thessalian: (Default)
So, some of you may be wondering what I decided about the wonderful world of Warcrack. Some of you, on the other hand, already know, or have some idea.

One word: Gnoooooooome.

Well, also a Night Elf.

But mostly gnoooooome.

*ahem* So in case you hadn't worked it out, yes, I got World of Warcraft. There are things about it that I like better than FFXI. There are things about FFXI that I vastly preferred.

Ways In Which FFXI Is Vastly Superior to WoW
- City Maps. Or, more to the point, labelled fucking shops, okay? I do not see why I have to mouse over every single one of the chatty little fuckers just to find out where I can sell all the crap I've been collecting from beating toxic slime to death!
- Item Sales. To wit: the interface sucks arse. I ended up buying back a whole bunch of my crap by total accident at a premium and I am a little bit annoyed by this. FFXI at least had an intuitive interface.
- Aggro potential in mobs. Look, I get 'fast-paced game' or whatever the hell, but it's a little bit difficult to try to manage soloing when wherever you go, whatever you do, there's a whole pack of mobs who will gang up on you roaming around the place. I get that you're going to get attacked in these games. I do not see the fun potential in trying to complete a kill quest and getting dogpiled by a bunch of troggs or whatever the hell I was fighting.
- No acclimatisation time whatsoever. In FFXI, I spawned as little tiny Taru and got approached gently by some Mithra criminal and nudged. Gently. In a way that more or less said, "There's plot somewhere, if you want it, but it'll find you eventually; don't worry. Go out and nuke shit." In WoW? I find myself in the middle of a makeshift infirmary fighting ... well, members of my own race who had apparently gone nuts or something, I don't even know, but one thing was abundantly clear: "YOU HAVE SPAWNED DIRECTLY IN THE MIDDLE OF PLOT! ENJOY NOT HAVING A GODS-DAMNED CLUE!"
- The 'srs bzns' factor. For FFXI, it is easy to find free, comprehensive and very helpful guides to how to get started and similar. I went looking for those when I started WoW. Mostly I got adverts. Apparently, people want help with this game so badly that they're willing to pay for it. SRS BZNS. *headdesk* And the Brady guide is shit. So I feel like I'm floundering and I can't even turn to the internet for help without having to pay for it.

Ways In Which WoW is Vastly Superior To FFXI
- Windowed Play. In FFXI, it is against the Terms of Service to play a windowed mode, though there is a hack for it. Basically, if you try to swap between FFXI and something else (say, Firefox or AIM or something), your game will crash. Which means that if you happen to have forgotten to switch off Trillian and one of your friends who has a habit of 'talking' to your Away message to leave a comment for you to come back to later, AIM window pops up, and entire game crashes and burns. Cue the screaming, the flailing, and the coming back to find your entire party either pissed off beyond all recognition, or slain (and pissed off beyond all recognition).
- Background music. Seriously, the shit they play in FFXI is annoying.
- Griffons! Man, that beats the almighty shit out of chocobos.
- The whole 'walking back to your corpse' thing. Okay, this is a ... really weird thing, but provided you're not too far from a graveyard, it's useful to be able to amble back to your corpse and not have to start back up all the way from ... well, wherever your last save point was.
- Travel in general. There are towns and outposts and safe places. There are roads to them that are not crawling with evil. You can walk from point A to point B without having something big and ugly eat your face at lower levels! This is awesome!
- The new patch download system. I used to spend hours waiting for patches and updates and things to load and install before I could play the stupid game. Now, Warcrack has a system whereby this stuff can, beyond a certain point, be downloaded and installed while you're playing. I just ... that's just ten different shades of awesome.

Things I'm Not So Sure About Yet:
- Interface. It's a lot like DA, but without a pause button. I end up losing valuable beastie-killing time (not to mention HP) because I instinctively hit the space bar to pause and end up jumping instead. (Why is there a need to jump in this game anyway?) I also miss my macro keys.
- Character speech capability. I get a feeling that the catch-phrases when you click on a merchant or take your leave of one are going to get really old, really fast. And there's no Esc key fast-forward here.
- Graphics and layout. Some of it is phenomenally pretty. Some of it is as cheesy as anything. Some of it's both. I'm having a hard time deciding.

I don't think I'm going to get as invested in this game as I did in FFXI. Which is a good thing, because really my plans for Warcrack involve blundering around the place and beating on things when I'm in a mood, probably multi-tasking with chatting to people and possibly switching off the music entirely in favour of something a little more to my liking. But you never know; maybe I'll have more fun with it when I crawl out of the single-digit levels.

On the subject of levelling up, I've been working on a Seeking for my Cultist of Ecstasy over on Chicago. (Seeking, for those of you who don't know, is a process by which one's Mage gets the Boot To The Head of Enlightenment and is thus permitted to take a higher level of Arete, which means more raw magical ability.) For one reason or another, I've been working on said Seeking, from request to execution, since March. Now I'm at the crux of it, apparently, and have made my response to the ST and I can't find out whether I screwed it up or not until tomorrow. *whimper* Still, I guess this beats unholy hell out of waiting until June, or having to grab Jessiah at anywhere after 2am my time and not be able to think straight by the time we get to the crux of the matter. All the same, play-by-forums-private-message is always going to be a little agitating when something one is spending XP for actually rides on whether your answer makes sense and there's a (very understandable; poor sod must have been exhausted after the day he put in) delay in getting the response to that FPM. Apparently it'll likely be wrapped up by Saturday. Sometimes the Arete/Seeking/putting your character's power level and personal enlightenment into someone else's hands thing is really frustrating. (And has been since March. I admit it.)

I want a day off. Hell, I need a day off. Not 'I am too ill to be out of bed', not 'I have a doctor's appointment'; just ... I do not have to be anywhere and can sleep in guilt-free. Surely I can do that, right?
thessalian: (Default)
So ... I might actually be ever so slightly stupid.

Look, y'all remember a few years back when I got really heavily into FFXI Online and I'd yammer about yon deathgnome until people's brains threatened to dribble out their ears? Yeah, I kind of got disenchanted with the Deathgnome. This may have had something to do with having hit the approximate point in game where I could not particularly advance because I needed way more high-level help than I could ever actually manage to get hold of to advance anywhere, ever. I hate level capping. It makes me want to claw things.

Anyhow, FFXI was more or less the extent of my video gaming at one point or another, unless you count the Sims. (I do not count the Sims. I do not play the Sims. For me, it's a character creation/interior design tool that I will occasionally play and then either abandon the entire household or, if I am in a particularly vindictive mood, find some way to more or less kill every single one of the little Simlish-spewing bastards. Usually with mods. I don't have the patience to wait for a fire to start on its own; for Sims 2, I had a buyable fire mod. That was fun.)

Anyway, then I got into Dragon Age. Or rather, was dragged into Dragon Age and got into it more than [personal profile] mitchy did, seeing as I'm not entirely sure she's even done one full playthrough yet. :) Anyhow, the DA-love is spreading as a friend of mine off of Chicago got the game for a Mother's Day present and now it appears that I am partially to blame for said friend wandering off on hiatus. Which wouldn't be quite as big a deal if she wasn't the ST. Hoist by my own petard? (Seriously; I'm just glad she's having a good time, and I like being the DA Mage Tactics Guru. Given seven or eight playthroughs as Elven Mage alone? I think I should be preeeeeetty good at it by now.)

Anyway. None of this is why I might actually be ever so slightly stupid. The reason for that involves ... well, other games.

For a little bit of my video game history ... I've been an off-and-on video gamer since I was very, very small. One of my earliest memories involves playing Ms Pac-Man and Centipede and Space Invaders at a Montreal bowling alley when one of my parents or relatives or someone was playing in their amateur league. Or something - I was maybe four, so the fact that I remember at all is a thing. Our first 'computer' was actually a glorified audio cassette player that plugged into the TV, and upon that little bugger I played shit that looked kind of like Bubble Bobble but wasn't? Honestly, this is all bits and pieces of childhood memories of gaming. But after that and a brief infatuation with Lemmings when I was ten and my first 'boyfriend' (if you can call them that when you've only just hit double-digits) had an actual, honest to gods computer ... well, I kind of forgot video games even existed for a few years. Then the NES came out, and I wanted one desperately. And, in fact, got one. So I played Mario Brothers and the first Final Fantasy and Duck Hunt (that stupid fucking dog with the giggling) and all the rest of it. I lost interest, though my mother continued to play with it long after I gave up. More or less the same thing happened with my Game Boy, although that stopped when I went through my 'what is in these technological gadgets, anyway? Let's take it apart and see what it looks like inside!' phase in high school. Most of the things I could put back together (the stereo, for instance). The Game Boy ... I lost the screws.

So here I am, 34 years old and more prone to focus on and stick with a video game than I was at any point in my childhood or teenage years. A little fucked up, but there it is. But lately I've had issues. I can't make my USB controller work and I utterly suck at navigating via keyboard so most of my PC games ... I just can't play. This includes Mass Effect 1 and 2 (the latter of which keeps changing the key settings anyway), Assassin's Creed and even freakin' Worms World Party. Dragon Age 1 and 2 are okay because I can point-and-click to navigate, like I did with FFXI. If I can find a few more games like that, I'd be good.

And all of this is still beside the point, and still not why I might actually be ever so slightly stupid. It is a lead-in to some sort of rational explanation for the stupid, mind you - I like video games, I particularly like RPG-ish sorts of video games, I need to be able to navigate by mouse for the moment and overall, I am running out of games to play. And getting bored.

So the reason why I might actually be ever so slightly stupid is ... I'm considering picking up World of Warcraft. I could just reactivate the Deathgnome, but I hear Warcrack allows more for soloing than FFXI ever did. (And I can actually play a gnome.) I might actually be every so slightly stupid because I spend my day dealing with idiots and shouldn't really want to spend my evenings with them either. But if I stay off the PVP servers, I should be fine. Right?

...right?
thessalian: (Default)
In the ongoing series of FFXI how-tos and general information guides, I carry on with the starting cities and the levelling zones to which they come attached. This is generally important to know about because it's beneficial for a particular race to start in their 'home' city (though not strictly necessary) and there are benefits to each place depending on what crafting skill, if any, you might seek to begin with. Besides, beyond all reason and good sense, the starting level zones in each are rather different in terms of mob strength, and it's good to know if you're just starting out.

Cut for length and potential boredom. )

So in short, there's no 'right' city to start in, and thus it's probably easier to make your selection depending on what race you decide to play. They all have good and bad points, though I personally like Windurst because it's pretty, easy to navigate and the NPCs are polite.

Next up: the starting six basic job classes.
thessalian: (Default)
As [personal profile] courtcat is about to start the time-sink that is FFXI (or at least that can be FFXI), I thought that I would devote a little bit of time in journal to list my personal experiences with the game, starting from the ground up. I'll start very basic, with the various in-game races - I've had experience playing the lot of them, so I'm pretty well versed in the lot of them.

Yeah, this one I'm cutting for length. )

Next time: the starting cities of Windurst, San d'Oria and Bastok - what's awesome about them, what's not so awesome, things to see and do, and how this might relate to what character race you might enjoy.

(No, I dunno when 'next time' is. I owe a character interview first but that's a simple copy-paste job and can be done after lunch. This ... this may be a bloggy sort of day.)
thessalian: (Default)
In FFXI news, I have not as yet massacred enough bunnies to unlock Dark Knight as an advanced job yet. Also, I'm becoming convinced that the Beastmen's ability/likelihood to aggro has either:

a) been gimped beyond all recognition
b) become entirely arbitrary

Seriously, I recall beginning my FFXI-related life as a teeny tiny Deathgnome and crawling up the single-figure levels in Sarutabaruta. I remember being terrified of the goblins and Yagudo that ran around the place while I was busy being single-figure-level nothing. I recall the indescribable noise produced when some nasty beastie horror caught sight of you from some unfathomable distance and being obliged to either stand and fight (low MP, low HP, no hope in hell) or run like the wind and zone out (oh, but the nearest zone point is half the area away; how fast can these little springy Taru move?) or ... well, hope that someone spots you dying and leaps in to help. Your ears become very sharp very fast when it comes to that indescribable noise of being aggroed.

I don't expect to be levelling Warrior and crossing the path of a goblin at level five, only to have it not even notice until I shove a sword in its face. Some of them noticed me and aggroed. Some of them did not. I am ... bemused by this. However, not being aggroed by the goblin that I was going to attack anyway in no way alleviates my displeasure at being aggroed by an Orc hiding behind a faraway tree waiting to ambush me while I was taking my stupidly slow great sword Chaosbringer to a Forest Hare. I came very, very close to triumphing over both. However, I did not triumph over both. The mutant rabbit died. The Orc ... not so much. Bloody Warcry.

So anyway, yeah, I am going to have to go and kill more mutant rabbits to actually unlock this job. And you hear me talking about 'mutant rabbits' and wonder what on earth I mean?



That's a rabbit in the wonderful world of Vana'diel. Kind of looks like the mutant offspring of a rabbit, a gerbil and an owl, doesn't it? This is not the freakiest thing in FFXI, but it's one of the first you see if you start up anywhere but Bastok. Seriously, a look at any bestiary for the game is worth it just for the "OMGWTFBBQ?" factor. One day I'm going to make a list of all the BIG things I've fought, just to say I did.

Also, before I get too caught up in squishing the little mutant hoppers? Interview with Carl M Tanner, Hunter's Get and accountant extraordinaire. This particular interview is kind of special because it's the only one that hasn't entirely seen the light of day yet. See, I wrote this for email distribution and there were profanity filters to be considered and so the entirety of what I sent out was marked out with [expletive] where the swear words should be. But there are no profanity filters here, unless you the blog reader have put them there yourself, and so... Interview with a Demigod: Uncut )

Right. Food, then the mutant bunnies go SQUISH.
thessalian: (Default)
It's been pointed out to me that I have lived in the UK longer than I did in Canada. In fact, I've lived in the UK longer than I have in Canada and in the US combined.* Despite that, I have maintained a love for snow that harkens back to the little six-year-old in snowboots I used to be. I just have to be out in it. Weird, but true. I suppose it's a weird combination of novelty and nostalgia. The nostalgia is fairly obvious; the novelty is that it didn't snow much in New Jersey when I lived there and it's snowed more in the UK this last month than it has for the sixteen-odd years I've lived here, so it feels like such a new thing, yet such a comforting and homelike one at the same time.

Lo! A Snowbeast Is Me!

*ahem* In any case, much of this afternoon was spent playing FFXI - notably, back on the quest to unlock Dark Knight. Great swords are not good weapons. Well ... okay, if you've got some strength behind you, it does a fair bit of damage, but the delay between strikes is horrifying. Beasties tend to hit you at least twice between each of your hits and if you're fighting a Monk class beastie using hand-to-hand, that's two strikes per 'hit' and your only hope is very high Evasion. I have to massacre 100 beasties** with this stinking slow sword and then go to Home of Quadav Doom to get cutscene. Woo. I'm not even sure why I'm doing this beyond novelty value. Eh, it saves me having to worry about router bork while I'm in party.

And I promised another lot of interviews, so here we go with Annette M Dodd: The Resident Sparkly Spellcaster! )

Right. Now off to Home of Turtle-Based Evil to see if I killed my 100 mobs yet.

* - We are not counting the eight-odd months I spent bouncing around the East, West and Gulf coasts.
** - And the final blow, I find, cannot be a Weapon Skill. I think I may have lost a lot of mob kill count to that. ARSE.
thessalian: (Default)
Short break for food while I ... well ... complain and squee in equal measure about WTF ARE FFXI PLAYERS LEARNING?!?

My foaming at the mouth may be amusing to some... )

Right. I need to go level up DNC some more. Y'know, to the point where if I go and level up DRG some more, I won't have a gimped subjob. At least this'll be easier. Tele-Holla, ride to Selbina, change jobs ... ooh, I should check on armour first. Anyway, it'll kill the rest of the evening.
thessalian: (Default)
To start, FFXI ranting/squee. I promise it won't take long.

Of suck jobs and dragons. )

So that was my Boxing Day - watching Hamlet (David Tennant! Patrick Stewart! Awesome all around!) while pounding macro buttons and scoffing [personal profile] mitchy's lovely Boxing Day feast - cold cuts and chutneys and gorgeous roast parsnips and roast potatoes and some of the mash leftover from my Christmas dinner. Omnom. It was nice, and there was relaxing and all was well.

Today was dinner with Mum and Stepdad, for more gift exchange and general nommage. Mum made my favourite pasta dish (prawns, sun-dried tomato and peas) and we unwrapped the presents. David liked his new mouse mat and it immediately got pride of place in their study. Mum was very pleased with the DVDs I got her (The Great Escape and The Handmaid's Tale), so I did well and am happy. For myself, I got books (Stephen King's most recent collection of short stories and an Ursula K LeGuin book Mum thought I'd like), CDs (Metric, Shinedown and The Yeah Yeah Yeahs), new clothes (the tops work, but I'm not really sure about the dress and as to the bright purple jeans? Um...) and a new coat. They're trying to pry me out of my old, battered black leather jacket but while the suede-effect tan trenchcoat is nice and all, and very John Constantine? I like my leather jacket and I'm not binning it.

Last but certainly not least, there was the cute Christmas card with the Amazon 'gift tokens' stuck inside, one each from Mum and Stepdad. See, apparently my Amazon wish list was too extensive for them to decide what to get, even with the abbreviated 'All I Want for Christmas' default list. So instead, we went online after dinner and I picked out a couple of things from the list. Those 'couple of things' turned out to be Sims 3 and the World Adventures expansion pack, of course. Though I admit to being a little peeved at EA for not only charging for the only custom content we can really get at the moment, but for also putting out Stuff Packs on top of that. Yay for being the ever-milked cash cow? Still, I have uses for the game regardless (character and set design works even if I'm a little crippled without custom content) and I do think it's fun.

Of course, there were a couple of things that made me want to punt my mother through a waaaaall... But I'm not going to go into that overmuch. Just ... y'know, I'm 32, not 12.
thessalian: (cheeky)
*waves* I know I've been pretty crap at actually keeping this thing updated, but my excuse is that I have been busy. Unfortunately, being busy on so many projects has meant that all of them need some attention before I can actually get them to where they ought to be, so there's going to have to be a list. Behold my fearsome list!

- Shopping. This one's essential before I do anything else. I need more coffee, just for a start. Also burger buns and a tomato (there are burgers for dinner tonight - those and my lamb chops with gravy seem to be the hands-down favourites around here, though I've yet to do proper steak or anything roasted), some lunchfood and possibly cola.

- Articles. There are two in the works and they're so nearly done, so if I sit down nicely with each of them they can be done and sent by the end of the day, which is approximately when they're due. I've been really behind on those, but I guess that whole 'day job' thing eats my consciousness.

- Other Writing. So yesterday I sat down and wrote a bit of a flashback thing for [livejournal.com profile] the_blonde_one's birthday present. (I still need to post the card at minimum.) That and a whole mess of notes on the HIPPIEverse have got me to thinking that maybe Sir Realist isn't where I want to go yet after all. Or maybe I do but I want to make a different spin on it. It's winding together the two plot threads that's becoming a bit of an issue, but at least I've decided on how the action is going to kick off. Having thought about exactly what I want to do with the skinchangers helps a lot, mind, and the creatures of the various Ways are turning out interesting. Rewriting the various mythologies from first principles is actually no end of fun. Still, that's not getting any actual writing done, so I need to sit down and work on that. Still, it kicks off some interesting conversations as [livejournal.com profile] mitchy pleads for less rarity on the wolf skinchanger front because 'werewolfies are so cute and cuddly'. I haven't even entirely decided what I'm going to do about skinchanger battle forms (if any) yet, but I'll have to give it some thought. ...Anyway, at least Chapter 1 is pretty well sorted and I've got the general gist of Chapter 2. Finally got a handle on who/what I wanted the madam of the supernatural-burlesque club to be (hey, [livejournal.com profile] redstapler, remember that picture? How do you feel about that picture being used to depict one of Jack the Ripper's victims, resurrected and given dominion over said burlesque club after some serious deal-making with a Lord of the Dead Ways? Hopefully good because it's the best idea I've had so far), which has established the location of said club. So we're moving along but I need to give it some attention this weekend. I thought about Write or Die, but after testing it out, I like the principle but not being able to have so much as a carriage return bugs me.

- FFXI. Now, I know this isn't anywhere near as important as the other stuff, but I am blowing cash on that game and I'd like to actually be around to be of some help to my linkshell. I'm also thinking of maybe asking if people want to go and take on various of the avatars I need to make my SMN a little more interesting. I have the key item I need to go after Shiva, and I can collect the others easily enough, but actually killing the beastie I need to earn the summon ... well, that's gonna take some doing. Then there's going after Fenrir. Going after Fenrir is going to be murderous, but the rewards are good for going after the avatars so I don't think I'll have any problems finding people to go to the cloisters for five minutes. Then there's the stone monument quest to finish, AF gear to get, level cap to up to 65, I really want to get my rank up... Hopefully there's people on my LS who are bored enough to help me farm for some of the bits. Anyway, I'd like to actually do something for the game, given I'm pretty consistently paying for it.

That's more or less it, really. I won't say it's in that order, but the first couple of items are. Shopping first, then put the finishing touches on those articles and get them out. Then I can contemplate the rest. It's good to be busy, even if I did end up with a minor flu bug the last couple of days, but sometimes I have to sit down and attempt organisation, just because the projects get on top of me.

Absolute top of the list, though? Finish my coffee.

Progress

Aug. 8th, 2009 08:00 pm
thessalian: (deathgnome)
So ... um ... Aht Urghan scares the crap outta me.

It's been a long time since I did one of these 'cuts for FFXI boredom'... )

In less boring news, I got Chaos Magic Chapter 23 up yesterday, and am now sitting down to write an article. Woo! I'm thinking I might even get the last chapter out tomorrow, time and energy permitting. After all, massive hiatus and everything; all it really needs is editing and putting together. Nooooooo problem. But that depends on how the article goes.

Waiting to hear whether I got the job I interviewed for on Thursday. I was told I'd hear by Monday - I had a little bit of wishful thinking wherein I hoped they'd decide straight away, but that was not to be and so now I wait 'til Monday and try not to think about it too much. I'm hopeful and reasonably confident, but even if it doesn't work out, I've got people falling all over themselves to give me interviews, so it's not like I lack for options.

Things aren't going so badly, all things considered.

Good News!

Aug. 4th, 2009 03:05 pm
thessalian: (Default)
So ... been a pretty interesting last few days.

All of a sudden, the phone has been ringing with job news. First of all, the agency I had the interview with last week got me a proper interview with a medicolegal firm in Oxford Street. Cue panic because I didn't really have anything to wear to an interview with anyone that swank. I mean, sure, I have the suit jacket and nice tops and black skirts, but the skirts are the major problem - most of them are several years old. My good linen one is starting to wear see-through thin in places, and most of them are too loose. However, Mum was kind enough to send shopping money and has taken a half-day tomorrow to take me to get more stuff and get my hair done. Which is good because while I finally found a couple of decent skirts after an hour of shopping (and this town is not that big), I couldn't find a decent bra for love nor money. Plus with any luck I'll be able to sneak in a trip to Lush and/or Body Shop for decent face scrub. I'll be so glad to be able to afford that sort of thing on my own...

In any case, immediately after the interview in London got arranged, I got a call from a local agency for a sign-in interview and chat. I went, explained that there was something big in the pipeline and was wished all the best of luck but told to please ring them if it didn't work out because they'd be able to find me something local with no problem at all. Things are starting to go really well, so I am keeping my fingers crossed that they stay going well.

Sunday, I went to see Waiting for Godot with Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellan, Simon Callow and Ronald Pickup (Vladimir, Estragon, Pozzo and Lucky respectively). I've always loved that play but ... I guess in a kind of a pretentious way. I knew it was supposed to be a dark comedy but I didn't know how bleakly funny it could be until I saw it performed. I think Beckett's one of those things you really need to see performed to get any kind of feel for it at all, kind of like Shakespeare - the bulk of language and even the incredibly detailed stage direction Beckett gives distracts from the characterisation and it takes an actor to really give it something. And yes, Callow was born to play Pozzo; I didn't realise who it was going to be until we got to the theatre, actually (I sometimes just don't pay attention) but given the types of characters I've seen him play in things like Amadeus and Four Weddings ... yes, that bit of casting was inspired. Most amusing tidbit of trivia I got from the programme was that Callow, the youngest of the bunch, worked ticket counters before he started acting professionally, and sold tickets to performances starring all three of his co-stars in this production before taking the stage himself. Anyway, I had a fabulous time.

In other news, potentially less interesting to most people ... I reactivated my FFXI account yesterday. The updates are loading now, and I probably won't be able to play tonight (the updates will take hours but it's an old disc so there's a lot to update) but I'm glad that, after some finangling, I was able to get my main character back. Satomi the Intrepid Deathgnome (and Lifegnome, and Chefgnome, and All-Singing, All Dancing Buffgnome, and Boogiegnome, and Beastgnome, and Kleptognome, and... I've unlocked a lot of jobs, haven't I?) is coming back! Woooooooooo!

And a note for [livejournal.com profile] tyrell, who asked about this via Twitter: A brief summary of why I like FFXI, and why I recommend it to all my friends )

Okay, that's enough whittering. I'm making myself unhappy just thinking about it; it's another four and a half hours before my updates come down the pipe.

In any case, suffice to say that it's nice to have good news for a change. There'll be more of it at some later point, but I don't know how much of it there'll be. Time will tell, but things are definitely looking up. I know I shouldn't say that for fear of jinxing my life, but ... c'mon, I have to be positive sometimes, no?

Pass It On

Apr. 22nd, 2009 12:17 am
thessalian: (deathgnome)
So ... yeah, I've been back on Final Fantasy again...

I know it bores you, and so... )

In other news, things are going well with the HIPPIEcast. I learn something new every week and [livejournal.com profile] the_blonde_one put me onto a neat track from a bunch called 'Sicko' (how it's pronounced, anyway, though I can't now remember all the l33t involved) that will serve perfectly for an intro track for the next HIPPIE novel when it goes to podcast. So I asked the band and they (he? I think it's a one-man electronica act) said it was fine, and then I got asked if I could provide further details of the project because the label want to include this in their newsletter. I'm gonna be in someone's newsletter! Go unexpected publicity!

Seriously, any publicity is good at this point. I want people to hear this, but there are only so many places that I can say things. I am not everywhere. I am not Kilroy 2.0. So it's down to people who've heard or read it, and who think it's worth passing around to spread the word. It's retweets (many and often) and blog mentions and nudges towards the site and ... you know, word of mouth. So if you like it, and think others might ... please pass it on.

Besides which, if enough people talk about it, and enough people hit the site because of it, I might actually get people to buy the book when it comes out, or even a little notice for the tip jar so I can maybe get the mic/pop shield set-up I so desperately need. Seriously, trying to edit out the breath noises of a chronic sinusitis sufferer? It's not easy. I'll get it eventually, but the sooner the better, and I can't afford it right now. I really should just label the thing "Get the Author Some Decent Equipment Fund".

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