Wednesday, January 31, 2007

A Change of Surroundings?

A good friend of mine in California recently encountered a startup that was looking for people to do data analysis and some SQL/Java work. This seemed right up my alley so I am submitting a resume and hoping for the best. I have always loved the West coast and so this may be my chance to finally move back there. Hopefully it all works out.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

I think I'll name it...Pony

Thanks to the charitable donations of a few Oomites, I was able to purchase my epic flying mount in WoW. It's worth every penny imho as it speeds up travelling significantly. It also makes mundane tasks such as mining/herbalism incredibly easy. Blizzard really should allow players to name their mounts (maybe just the epic ones since it's such a big investment).

Thursday, January 25, 2007

The Force is definitely strong with this one

Wish I could find the full length of this video. Notice the awesome special effects and the severe decapitations...

Monday, January 22, 2007

The Grind

So, WoW expansion is already out and the first level 70 occurred a mere 28 hours after the release. Some helpful tips I found for questing/grinding:

1. Get an epic mount. Yes, it's expensive, but it's also fast! I would say, at least 40% of the time it takes to complete a quest is simply travelling back and forth between destinations. Even if it takes every last penny, getting an epic mount should be a #1 priority. Gold is really easy to make in the expansion; since tuesday, I have already made over 850 gold (not selling any greens/blues/playing AH) which is more than enough to get epic mount/training.

2. Get as many quests as possible (ideally all of them) from a specific quest hub. Take a general look at all the quests, and plan a route that knocks out as many of them as possible in an efficient manner so that you can...

3. Go to town as little as possible. This reduces travelling time significantly (increases exp/hr) but runs into one very small problem...

4. Get at least all 16 slot bags. Bank all things that can possibly be banked. Not going to town very often will lead to a vast collection of vendor trash/crafting materials/etc being accumulated. This point sucks for a hunter since I have to give up 1 whole bag space for the quiver.

5a. Use crowd control as a method of queuing up mobs. As a hunter, when I have to kill X number of a specific mob, I usually put pet on one, then pull another one into a freeze trap. As soon as first one is dead, put pet on trapped one, then go trap another. Basically leads to constant stream of mobs. Disadvantage is when unlucky spawns occur which leads to way too many mobs to handle. If your class doesn't have a way of reliable crowd control, or is very mana intensive and requires frequent breaks....

5b. Kill every yellow mob while questing. This helps reduce the significant downtime when searching for mobs to kill for a quest. It also ensures that when actually killing the quest mobs, no other mobs get in the way (since they are dead already). It also leads to a good amount of income from the extra vendor trash.

6a. Quests that go by better in a group:
i. Kill X quests: pretty obvious since all group members get credit
ii. Kill X to get Z item: Group only if it's a SURE drop and everyone gets credit (usually the case if only 1 item is needed)
iii. Kill exceptionally difficult mob: These are usually the end of a chain and leads to good rewards.
6b. Quests that go better solo:
i. Kill X to get Z number of items: These suck, since every other player adds more mob kills
ii. Gather X number of items: same reason as above
Of course, all quests go by better in a group if team members are good friends/family/Class with special skill that speeds up travelling.

Friday, January 19, 2007

No internet makes Velius something something.....

Internet down....thanks to the bad weather here in Houston. Windstream says that 134k of their customers are without internet and that they are working around the clock. Woke up this morning....still no internet.... Urge to kill rising.....risinnnnngggg

Thursday, January 18, 2007

TBC Hunter

I believe hunters got a pretty big buff in TBC. The beastmastery tree has often been the laughing stock tree for endgame hunters. Despite this, I always liked the beastmastery tree and I just thought that a hunter should always have a good pet at his side. Well, thanks to the expansion, Beastmastery is weak no more.

With the improvements in the tree, I now gain health/armor/attack speed/frenzy along with my pet. My pet also does more damage and everytime it crits, everyone in the party gains a damage increase. My attack speed now hovers around 2.2 seconds thanks to serpent's quickness. This is perfect with the newly implemented steady shot.

With steady shot, I can weave a shot between each autoshot which gives me an effective attack speed of ~1 second. The old 9 second cycle has been replaced with my own customized 5 second cycle.

Monday, January 15, 2007

I don't wanna be...

Before going to China, my mom charged me with a very important task. I had to swipe a discover card twice each month. Apparently, as a stipend for taking out a large no-interest loan, Discover required them to use the card at least twice a month or else the interest rate would skyrocket to something like 27%. The card itself also had a very high 19% interest on items purchased. Luckily, I usually circumvent this by buying 2 packs of gum at 20 cents each.

Well, today, as I was doing my usual round of purchasing 2 packs of gum at a local store. There was quite a long line and this guy behind me was obviously growing inpatient. So as I proceeded to scan a pack of gum twice, he looked at me VERY suspiciously. The problem is this card is in my mom's name, so in essence, I am committing credit card fraud twice every month by forging my mom's signature (with her permission) on the receipts. This guy kept staring at me like I was a criminal until I finally finished, and kept staring at me as I walked briskly to the exit.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Oh where does the time go

A non-WoW related post? What is going on?? Yes yes, this post is actually going to be about work. We always complain about how some programs we use can be faster, how we can do a better job programming them. Well, it may not be as easy as it seems. After toiling away at this project for a month, I have managed to optimize a routine used in it. The total net benefit? I managed to shave 1.5 seconds (3.5s -> 2s) off the run time....whoopie... Of course, this is cummulative, so in regards to runs with huge amounts of data, this change could save hours in overall runtime.

Okay, gotta have SOMETHING WoW related sooo uhhh, Expansion in 7 days!!! Looking forward to powerlvling all my characters to 70! WSG tonight.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

3-man Onyxia

I have always advocated the idea that paladins are the most mana efficient healers in WoW. I would almost say better than priests. Here's the power of paladin healing as a group 3-mans Onyxia.

Patch Day

Today is patch day. All my mods will be gone....again......

Monday, January 08, 2007

Darwin Award winner....

Oh the Beemanity!!!!

Please don't eat me.

Recently found that my house was infested by termites! While I do enjoy watching what kinds of intricate patterns they can eat into my walls, I enjoy not having my roof collapse on me more. As such, I hired Orkin to come and eliminate them. Didn't start out too well as the first lady I talked to accidentally signed me up for "pest control" instead of "termite control" and so I wasted half a thursday waiting. After getting signed up correctly, the people did a overall fantastic job.

They came and drilled holes in my walls and foundation, then foamed the house up good! Then they replaced everything they cut and left it pretty much just as it was before. Overall, I rate their service as very professional.

On a completely different note: I was finally able to pick up my Grand Marshal's Dirk this morning. All I need is a +15 agility enchant and I am all set. Never realized how much fun Combat Daggers can be!

Friday, January 05, 2007

Passionate Love for lunch...mmmm

Had lunch with Papaya couple, BluPnutMM couple, and squash at this new place called Cafe 101. What is supposed to set this cafe apart, was that the waitresses all had to wear a flannel shirt and really short shorts. BluPnutMM advertised it as the "Asian Hooters". A look at the wonderful drinks menu gives you an idea of what kind of atmosphere they wanted. I felt really really awkward ordering.
Waitress: "What would you like"
Me: "I'll have have the pork chop with blackened bean sauce"
Waitress: "And would you like a drink"
Me: "Yes, I'll have Passionate Love".... or
Me: "Yes, I would like a Young Girl's Dream".. or
Me: "Yes, gimme a Little Lover"....
Besides the obvious gimmick drink names, the food really wasn't that good. It wasn't bad, but it wasn't good either. The service was pretty bad and it took them FOREVER to calculate the bill properly. So.. in conclusion, as much as I would like to have Intimate Love everyday, I will have to pass on Cafe 101.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

I suck at poker

The last day went by pretty fast. Dropped Catnipped off at her aunts house in the morning, then went to breakfast at IHOP with the rest of the crew. Kung displayed his awesome pancake eating ability by ordering the all-you-can-eat pancakes and devouring 4 plates. This was followed by another session of Guitar Hero.

After Guitar Hero, we tried to play table tennis at the local Chinese Civic Center, but didn't have any ping pong balls. We decided to go to the grassy field across the street to play some football, but the rain cut our game short. After getting back, we decided to play some Texas Hold'em poker (no actual betting of course). This was my first time playing the game and it obviously showed since I repeatedly lost my house/car/firstborn to Ender. Thinking back, I got cleaned out by Tochi twice and Ender 357569875478 times. Kung was the most experienced poker player out of all of us and he pretty much went conservative the whole time and let us enjoy screaming "All In" on hands where we had pocket 3s.

The day ended with dinner at Pappadeux's and a round of some PS2 card game that I cannot remember the name of. I do remember Ender owned the other team with his Vampire toll booth.


Day 4 brought about the unveiling of Ender's amazing archery abilities. The day started off with... Guitar Hero, much like the other days. After rescuing Catnipped, who was briefly kidnapped by her aunt to have lunch, we proceeded to Viking Archery. At this location, you could either shoot regular Recurve bows or the more powerful Composite bows. Being beginners, we all shot the recurves. The shooting range there was called Viking LANES.

We each had a paper target (the usual concentric circles with a red center) to shoot at, placed at about 30 yards away or so. We intimidated the targets all day long. Shooting many arrows in a circular pattern around the target, but not actually hitting it. I am sure they were quivering in fear at the end. The highlight of the day was a brilliant display of shooting by Ender.

About halfway through our session, Ender drew back his bow and let an arrow fly. What happened next left us all unable to draw our bows....because we were laughing so hard. Ender's arrow had managed to fly over the targetting board and pierced the "E" in Viking Lanes. The "E" then hovered there for a split moment, then split in two and crashed onto the ground, leaving the sign reading Viking Lans.
We took some hunting-pictures (Note: Picture is just a random example of what the pose in the actual picture was) of Ender posed with the mortally wounded "E". Here is the kill-shot. Ender didn't want his identity revealed so I altered the picture using my 1337 MS Paint skills to depict his Tomato roots. After Ender's spectacular kill, we went to Korean BBQ to finish the day.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Day 3

Ender and Tochi stayed up pretty late playing this Gundam fighting game. The game seems very fun and all, but the way the characters scream was a bit annoying. Nothing like going to bed to anime battle screams.

In the morning, we went to have dim sum at Kim Son (not Kim Sum). We were able to make it there JUST before morning rush. It was good for us because all the carts were filled and there weren't that many customers. The instant we sat down, the carts came to us like vultures circling prey. Our table was filled with various foods in a matter of seconds. The entire meal lasted no less than 20 minutes. Usually, Dim Sum lasts quite a while because people chat or read newpapers....we just ate.

The BBQ went just fine. Kung demonstrated his mastery of the grill by cooking up some very juicy burgers and hotdogs. He also added some grilled chicken breast. The BluPnutMM couple brought asparagus wrapped in bacon (Doug would be proud!!!) and some spinach/cream cheese triangle thingies. Potato provided the dessert and Squash/Plum brought some rolls. List of things we did:
1. Karaoke Revolution: My throat hurts......we separated into teams and did a sing-off. Team Awesome (Me, Ender, Tochi, BluPnutMM, and Papaya) won the first game 3-1 but Team Better Than Awesome (Kung, Catnipped, Papaya's wife, BluPnutMM's other half, and Potato) came back with a string of 5!!! perfect songs and took the next 2 games 3-0 and 3-1.
2. Super Monkey Ball: Lots and LOTS of button mashing, no real monkeys were hurt in the playing of this game.
3. Mafia: Nothing like a game of mistrust and deceit to finish off the night. Many villagers were slain, but the mafia for the most part didn't stand a chance until the very end when we altered the rules a bit to give the mafia a better chance. Catnipped and Ender make particularly deadly mafia.
4. Guitar Hero: Ongoing still, but I am pretty sure Ender is hooked =p

Day 2

Things went very smoothly today. Picked up Lemon/Tochi/Ender without a hitch. The nice thing was that all three of their flights were late, so the mutual lateness cancelled each other out. This was thanks to a perfectly executed Triangle offense. Lemon/Tochi flew into Houston from IAH but Ender decided to be cool and fly in via Hobby. This is truly awesome because I had to travel along a triangle in order to pick all of them up. However, the sheer amount of driving involved allowed me to give a very brief tour of Houston on the way back.

Had lunch at umm some Golden Cafe place that's VERY big (according to Blupnutmm). The food was good for the most part. After dropping off their belongings, we hit up the local Walmart to pick up the grillables and other necessities for the 1st. Picking up the grill though proved to be quite a bit more challenging.

Not only was this grill not at the original intended location, but it turned out there was no way I could pick it up in my Camry. Essentially, I had to borrow a truck just to get the BBQ pit from some random person whose daughter had borrowed the grill from the original owner. But, everything worked out again.

The rest of the night was filled with varied amounts of Gears of War, Guitar Hero, and Karaoke Revolution. I found out that, trying to imitate Whitney Houston can cause much pain... My throat is sooooo sore this morning. Went to sleep on bloodcurdling japanese battle cries. Grill is today, should be fun!