Jan 292008
 

Despite my rugged good looks and generally man-whoreish behavior, there are many things that my fellow brothers do that I have never really understood. Sports is one of them. I enjoy the occasional football game, and have even been known to have head explodey moments when watching my home team play, but I’ve never been one of those statistic-rattling, season ticket holding, paint yourself team colors, get drunk, and go stand out in the snow with no shirt on types. It’s just not my thing.

I’ve also never been big on watching porn with other guys.

It happens on occasion. Bachelor parties, that kind of thing. A bunch of guys will get together, get drunk, and watch titty flicks. This makes no sense to me. See, cuz when I watch porn it’s generally for one reason, and I think it’s fairly safe to assume you all know what that reason is. It’s pretty much why any of us watch porn, isn’t it? I mean, it’s certainly not for the artistic value or any crap like that (thus why the plotless DVD’s with back to back sex scenes are becoming so popular). So if I’m sitting in a room watching porn with a bunch of guys, it’s fairly safe to say we’d ALL be doing that if not for the fact that we were in the same room with each other.

And there’s just some levels of intimacy I don’t wanna share with my bros, yanno?

How, might you ask, does this tie in with the title of my post? Well, ya see, I hear quite often that guys play female characters in MMORPG’s because of the fact that they find male characters “ugly.” They often say things like “If I’m going to stare at an ass for 6 hours straight, it might as well be one I like.” Well, ok. I can get that. I certainly can’t cast any stones about getting turned on by animated characters – I’m a pretty big hentai fan myself. Here’s the problem, though. See, if I’m playing a character and attempting to maximize how hot “she” is for my own benefit, it goes without saying that other men who are like me will also find her hot.

So…theoretically….if character is all super hot and sexy, especially when I stand around in common areas and jiggle my cyber boobies, there’s a chance that SOME GUY IS JERKING OFF TO MY CHARACTER.

What’s worse is that if you actually let yourself get roped into the whole “City of Warcraft characters are the sexxy” thing, it means that you’ve looked and gotten turned on by characters who are played by GUYS. If you’re one of those types who has actually crossed the threshold into self-pleasure while playing these games, it means that you’ve likely diddled yourself to a pixelated version of some overweight, sweaty guy with a bag of fritos in one hand and his dwarven hand cannon in the other.

See? Not so much with the sexy now, is it?

So, yeah – Not so much my thing. I’m not beyond flirting with the opposite sex when I’m playing an MMO, but when I do it’s because I know for a fact that the person on the receiving end is a woman. Generally, one that I know because I’ve met her in real life. Beyond that? As far as I’m concerned all the dancing night elves and mini-skirt wearing schoolgirl superheroes out there are played by dudes…and as such, my “I’m not going to participate in wank activity around you” boundary applies.

In the realm of internet discourse, it is now appropriate for me to say “Your Mileage May Vary.”(1)

(1) This is internet-speak for, “I’m right, and you’re a dumbass if you don’t agree with me but I’m pretending to be reasonable.” This is in the same realm as the infamous “In My Humble Opinion,” which is generally far from humble, and has the same implication – “You’re an asshole if you don’t believe every word I say”

Jan 262008
 

In order to have the most support available to him, Alex got the news from his Mother and Step-Father here with all of us present.

You ever watch a 12 year old just crumble before? Just literally sink into his own chest and start to moan? That kind of gut-wrenching cry that is nothing but hurt and pain and loss?

I have. And it was my son.

Not a fun night.

I think we managed to cheer him up. Got him some retail therapy in the form of a wireless adapter for his XBox 360. But..yeah…it was rough there for a little while.

I think I’m gonna get a small drink, have a smoke, and call it a night.

Jan 252008
 

Yeah, ok.  So it’s not.  This post may not be, either.  Just another of my “well, shit.  I haven’t posted in a long time and I suppose maybe I should do that so people know I’m still alive.”

Because I live under the likely false illusion that you all are so concerned with my daily activities that you’d think I was dead if I stopped posting.

Anyway…

I suppose one of the reasons I haven’t been posting as much is because I generally post while I’m at work.  Now, before you start thinking “gee, what a horrible slacker” allow me to explain.  When I’m at home I have a lot to distract me.  Music.  Conversation.  Games on my home computer.  You  name it.  If I need a few minutes of “down time” away from code I have plenty of ways to get it.  Not so much when I’m here at work.  As such, I tend to work on LJ posts when I need a few moments to collect myself.

Unfortunately I’ve been suffering from some extreme discomfort at work recently.  My workstation is about as far from ergonomic as you can get.  My keyboard is too high, my monitor is too low, and my chair is damned near a torture device.  Couple that with the fact that it is always cold here in the office and I have a hard time typing enough to get any work done, much less make a Live Journal post.  Even as I write this I’m making a large number of errors because my hands aren’t working as well as they should.   Our department is supposed to be moving to our Main Headquarters some time this year, though, and when we do I’m actually getting my own office.  At that time I’m really hoping I get a comfy managers chair and a keyboard tray or something similar.

Speaking of comfy managers chairs – This whole “ergonomic task chair” phenomenon is a crock of shit.  I sit in a cheap assed managers chair at home, sometimes for 12 hours a day or more, and I NEVER have the back problems there that I do while I’m sitting in this “ergonomically” designed torture device.  This has always been the case.  Not once, in my entire professional career, have I been given a “task” chair that was in any way comfortable. 

I suppose it’s some kind of secret way to keep your workers productive.  If they aren’t comfortable, they can’t fall asleep at their desks!  Muwahahah!

Speaking of management related stuff, I should be getting my first review as a member of management today or Wednesday, with any pay increase retroactive to January 1st.  If I get the full monty increase I should be looking at another 80-100 bucks or so every paycheck, which I’m really going to try to devote entirely to reducing credit card debt.  I was doing pretty good there near the end of last year and was right around 10k in debt.  Christmas and a few other annoying factors caused me to dip in way more than I wanted to, though, and that’s up quite a bit from that point.  I’m hoping that between my tax return, the upcoming stimulus check, and my annual performance bonus I’m able to get back down around that 10K mark again and start focusing more on reducing it to 0. 

Part of that recent debt came from the overly extravagant purchase of a 40″ Sony HD television and a Panasonic Home Theater system.  Our television in the living room started to die a few weeks ago, and much of the equipment out there was very old and only half worked.  Most of you who know me know that I don’t like doing anything half assed.  I’ll use something until it falls apart because I hate making big purchases, but when I’ve decided that it’s time for something new I try to get the best that I can afford.  Such was the case with the new AV equipment in the living room.  As reluctant as I was to take on the additional debt, I’m incredibly happy with the purchase.  The picture really is amazing, and not having so much unnecessary crap in the living room is a big relief.  I got a new entertainment stand for the living room, too, but it’s really just a stopgap until we can afford to get something nicer in its place.

One of the ways I’ve been able to enjoy the new equipment is playing Bioshock, which Krystalle got for me recently as a late Christmas present.  This game is amazing.  The graphics, the story…everything.  I don’t like first person shooters.  At all.  I’ve never been a big fan of the RPG console game genre.  This game is both, and I’m completely hooked.  I’d be playing it more, but it’s got some VERY adult content in it and I’m not entirely sure I want to expose Alex to it.  I’m really on a fence in that regard.  On the one hand, I think the game really could be valuable as a way to introduce him to Objectivisim and the writings of Ayn Rand (more specifically, what happens when you go too far with it).  It would also be a great way to go over some moral issues with him.  On the other hand, the game is disturbingly realistic at times.  It’s given both Krystalle and I some totally messed up dreams.   Is it really something I should allow him to be exposed to?

Things like this are very difficult for me, personally, because I look at my own personal history.  We got cable very early on in the whole cable game (I think my Mom had some ins with the cable company through her clients and got us a good deal), and Mom worked nights.  I had pretty  much unfettered access to late night cable programming around Alex’s age.  By the time I was 12, I’m pretty sure I hard already seen A Clockwork Orange and Young Lady Chatterley.  I also think that Alex is emotionally mature enough to handle seeing the kind of things that are in Bioshock without attempting to go out and replicate them.

But I also still want him to be my little boy for a while longer.  I realize I can’t fight the flow of time, but I’m really not ready for him to grow up yet.

Not that I have any choice in the matter.

So yeah, very much on the fence.  I think I may play the game all the way through before I make a FINAL FINAL decision.  I’ve already told him that I might sit down and play with him, but at this point that’s the only way I want him to see it.

Heh…it’s kind of funny.  Krystalle and I were both pretty much in the “we’re never going to buy an XBox 360” camp before Alex got his.  That was until we got a hold of one.  Now?  Krystalle has her own.  She got tired of wanting to play it when Alex took his with him to his Mom’s house.  Despite the hardware failures that it has become famous for, it really is an amazing system.  The best part?  It’s a tax write-off for her.

Having access to the XBox 360 has given me some much needed time away from World of Warcraft, too.  Not that I feel I need any kind of extended break, but I was definitely approaching the “I’m tired of doing everything I have available to me on my main character and I don’t feel like working on an alt” syndrome.  Kilawhar, my shaman, is damned close to being done – at least, in the realm of content that we have available to us as a guild.  We’re starting to make some progress in the 25 man content, but it’s going to be a while if we ever move on to the longer instances that take more than a night to clear.  I’m not saying it won’t ever happen, but it won’t be any time soon.  There at this point there are 3 items I’m trying to get, and two of them are pretty much guaranteed (they are purchased with items you get from running the raids and more difficult versions of the group content, so it’s only a matter of time before I hav
e enough of them to make the purchases).  I’ve kind of lost my passion for my shadow priest, Kilamon (part of this might be his current build – I changed it a bit to make him more raid-friendly, but he’s not nearly as much fun to solo with anymore), and doing the solo grind through Outland a third time on my warrior just isn’t looking as fun recently.  It wasn’t so bad getting there, because I hadn’t done it in a while and was totally jazzed on how fast it was going with the leveling changes, but now that I’m in Outland the whole thing has kind of lost its luster.   On top of all that, I’m really trying to get to bed earlier on the nights before I have to be in the office, and it’s much easier to sit down and play a few games of Catan than get involved in something with WoW.

Oh, and one other brief XBox 360 note?  Viva PiƱata : Party Animals it totally cracked out fun.

I’m very much looking forward to next weekend.  I’m hopping on a plane Thursday afternoon and heading up to Cincinnati to spend the weekend with our friends John and Random for their “Anti-Superbowl Party.”  As I don’t care much for the outcome of the game this year it seemed like the ideal time to take them up on their offer.  They’ve come down to visit us a few times, so I figured it was only fair to return the favor.  Really wish Krys was coming along, but obligations here (and her dislike of flying) made that an impossibility.  Ah well.  I figure within a few weeks of getting back we’re going to take a family weekend trip up to Jacksonville and catch up with some folks there before I start in with rehearsals on Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead.  I already have my vacation time booked this year for Dragon*Con and (possibly) Gen Con as well, so that’s pretty much going to handle my vacation plans for the year.  Been talking with some folks about possibly doing a group cruise thing next summer since we’ve been missing out on the Goth Cruises, but that’s not something I need to really “worry” about for a while.  If it does happen, I’d like to get two rooms and take the boys.  I think they’d enjoy it.

Around the house, Krys and I have decided we’re going to start doing some major de-cluttering.  We have yet again amassed huge piles of crap that serve no purpose other than to catch dust or take up space that could be holding things we actually use.  For my part, this is probably going to involve yet another purging of books.  This is kind of hard for me to do, really.  I love having a big book collection.  I really do.  Maybe some day when we have a bigger house or less people in the current one I can go back to having huge bookshelves full of fiction, but the fact of the matter is that right now we just don’t have the space for it.  We also want to get back on the “fixing up the house” bandwagon, but a lot of that from my end is going to rely on my earlier mentioned desire to get my credit cards back under control.

In social news, we’ve gotten back into the habit of having folks over on Saturday for gaming and hanging out.  On that note, if any of you locals would like to join us just email Kyrs or I during the week to find out if we’re doing it or not.  It’s been a lot of fun, and adds in that much needed “human element” to our otherwise electronic social life.

Weight loss is still going well.  I’m not working hard to get past the next 10 pound mark and back into the 240’s.  I’m currently hovering around 254, 2 pounds away from where I was when Krys and I met.  I’m still 60 pounds away from goal according to Weight Watchers, and becoming more and more resigned to the fact that I may have to have surgery to get rid of the excess skin around my belly.  Outside of that annoying feature, I’m pretty damn pleased with how I’m looking these days.

I have muscle definition!  Who knew?!

Ok, I think I’ve “distracted” myself enough here at this point.  Going to attempt to actually get some work done.

Oh, wait…nevermind..it’s lunch time.

Heh.

Jan 182008
 

Some of you may recall I was pretty pissed off about the fact that Spider-Man was going to unmask himself in the “Civil War” storyline. 

Well, gee…what a shocker.  Despite their claims to the contrary, this was never intended to be a permanent situation

You might think I’m happy about this.

I’m not.

Why?  Because while the initial decision to do so was a monumental mistake and took the character in a direction that I thought was wrong, up to and including giving him all kinds of additional powers (organic web shooters being one of them), yet again it was all just a set up for them to press the magic reset button.  Instead of showing some kind of commitment and making the change permanent, it was all just a gimmick to drive sales.

Spidey and Mary Jane make a deal with the devil, and everything reverts back to the way it was 20 years ago.  No more crazy new powers.  No more Spidey and Mary Jane.  His identity is secret and he’s yet again struggling to balance his life as a superhero with paying the bills and taking care of his poor, sick Aunt May.

Sigh.

Here’s a thought, dickwads.  Don’t fuck with the characters in the first place!  Then you wouldn’t have to write these bullshit storylines to make up for the fact that you wrote stupid bullshit to begin with.

I understand Captain America (the original Steve Rogers) is coming back as well.

Whee.

Jan 082008
 

Hey gang – Blaise (Balthaz) from CoM is going to be in town this weekend, and I figured I’d open up the house on Saturday for hanging out and general socializing. Nothing terribly fancy. There will likely be fresh baked bread and perhaps some more fondue, and there is some drinky drink left in the cupboard from the parties over the holidays.

There will likely be Rock Band. Perhaps some Cranium. There will definitely be good conversation and good company.

Jan 032008
 

On Monday night, our guild will be attempting our first “all guild” 25 man raid into Gruul’s Lair.

I don’t know how well we’ll do, but I know that regardless of the outcome we’ll have gotten there by doing it our way.  That we’ve built ourselves up to this point, slowly and at times painfully.  If we succeed or fail, we will be doing so with friends and family.

I’m pretty damn proud of that.