March 25, 2010

One For All...

Back in January, Elsha and I fulfilled a small dream of ours of owning a pet. We have both been smitten for a long time in getting a Cavalier King Charles Spaniels. Cavaliers are a Toy Dog breed as they are quite small (average weight about 6kg), and are well-known for being lapdogs. In case you miss the reference, they love to sit on your lap and keep it nice and warm on cold days.

Cavaliers are very affectionate dogs seeking human or animal companionship at all times, although they do love to sleep - they have been known to sleep for as much as 18 hours during the day, wanting only a stroke or pet in between, a frolic in the garden and to stop to eat and drink before going back to bed.

They are very good around children and not at all a danger to others; indeed, sometimes it has been known that a parent or adult step in to stop a child for being too rough. As they are very affectionate animals, they will never make a good guard dog as they love to wag their tail at strangers, especially if the stranger makes a fuss.

Also, they can never be allowed off the leash as, although they are a small dog, they do derive from the Spaniel, and therefore have a strong hunting instrict that gets them chasing after butterflies, birds or other small animals; as such they tend to easily run across the road without due regard for their surroundings.

Why am I telling you all these things?

Because this is our Cavalier!

Though we had wanted a puppy, we decided to adopt a slightly older dog. And after meeting him, we realised that we had to give D'Artganan a home.

Yes, that is his name.
D'Artagnan - from The Three Muskateers (although the three in the title of the book are Porthos, Athos and Aramis; D'Artagnan joins them by the end of the book).

We were wanting to name the dog differently, but decided that the name was quite fitting, considering that The Muskateers were of a contemporary time period for the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. So D'Artagnan keeps his name, though we and others, children especially, have truncated his name to simply Tanyen for short.

He is an adorable, very affectionate dog but incredibly timid. We introduced him to our nieces and nephews and other young children and though they were initially scared of him, he was behind our legs the whole time. As we slowly introduced them to each other, Tanyen slowly allowed them to pet him and to make a fuss over him.

He's been with us now for over 6 weeks and, as time goes on, he's very quickly become part of the family.

March 09, 2010

The Great Experiment

In case you haven't been following things in the World of Warcraft Blogosphere, Tamarind of Righteous Orbs made a proposal last week that sounds very interesting: All bloggers unite on one Server, and play in the same guild.

The reaction has been not unsurprisingly tremendous. The original idea of setting up the guild on the European servers has now even spawned a sister chapter house in the US set up by Miss Medicina, and I am a member.

The name of the guild is [Single Abstract Noun] and is available as Horde on Argent Dawn-EU or Alliance on Argent Dawn-US, and its a great guild so far. Plenty of chats in peak US time, plenty of insight and discussion in late Singaporean time.

Unfortunately, Crucifer was taken. I had briefly thought of playing as Icara or Keltash, but I decided to go with *wait for it* a male toon with the name of Istarian *yes, I know shocking!*.

Then it was the choice of class. So far I have played:

Hunter - Al'Akir
Druid - Eonar
Warrior - Eonar
Paladin - Caelestrasz
Mage - Caelestrasz
Warlock - Caelestrasz
Shaman - Caelestrasz
Death Knight - Caelestrasz

There are two classes missing there.

I once played the Rogue back in the US beta and I hated it. I remember getting as far as Westfall and then being ganked over and over by mobs. I dropped the class and went Druid. It was much less painful.

Priest, I'm reserving for Cataclysm. I hope I can play a Goblin Priest. From a character concept its an interesting one. The reject Goblin, kicked out of the Guild because he wanted to *help* people.

So, I have a Hunter by the name of Istarian. I decided Hunter because they're incredibly fast to level up and given that I have huge timesinks in my real life, not including raiding on a different server on set days, a hunter was the logical choice. So far, I have got him to level 18 and I'm having real fun. One thing I have noticed is as an Alliance Hunter, I've not yet run into anything that has the potential to kill me. Ah well, I'm sure that will change.

The only problem - the only issue - I have noticed is that people are racing to get up to the end game as fast as possible. Guys, its not a race. Explore the game, do stuff you wouldn't normally do. Revel in the moment, chat with people, offer help wherever possible.

This is a great experiment but it is not proof against the same fate that every other guild had that started sociably and eventually went hardcore.

February 19, 2010

Nostalgic Gaming

Back before World of Warcraft, before Asheron's Call 2, there was a game I was obsessed about. In fact, obsessed is probably too weak a description of just how fanatically interested I was.

I was first introduced to it by a friend of mine - Greevesie, we'll call him - who was also fanatically interested in it. The game was called Phantasy Star Online and it was available on the Dreamcast console [Ed. this was circa 2001]. He had been eulogizing its many merits, how insanely fun it was and, most amazingly for a console, you could play it online.

Remember this was on the Dreamcast Console back in 2001 - in the UK, it was before most people had Broadband access, meaning it was a dial up MMO.

Phantasy Star Online was basically about a ship of full of people that was sent out into space to colonize a new planet. An earlier ship had been despatched to get the planet mostly ready for living on, on board which were scientists, doctors and engineers. As the second ship arrives in orbit, they witness a massive explosion on the planet and then nothing. No communication is available down to the planet. Its your job to go down there, find out what happened to the people, and on a side quest, find out what happened to the Mayor's daughter.

I played this game on the Dreamcast, on the Gamecube... and now I'm playing a version of it, called Phantasy Star Zero, on my Nintendo DS.

Amazingly the gameplay is almost the same as I remembered it on the other consoles - what a brilliant nod to a game than to have it on a hand-held console.

I've already been playing enough of it to get to Level 10 as a Human Ranger and looking forward to exploring other sections of the game whilst on the train, waiting for Elsha, at the shops - in fact, because its a hand-held - everywhere!

The only downside is that whilst the Nintendo DS console does allow for limited online play, it does so using WEP security.

And since our home router has WPA2, should I really drop security settings on our router so that I can go online with my DS?


February 17, 2010


Something that confused me for a long time about Australians is their ability shorten long words down by using -o.

So for example:

"Hey Damian, don't forget to write up that documentation this afternoon so we can send it to Fremantle."


"Hey Damo, don't forget to write up that doco this arvo so we can send it to Freo."

Of course, the chances of so many abbreviated words in the same sentence is pretty unlikely, but still it freaked me out when I first heard a co-worker asking me if I had read the "doco".

Me: Sorry, what's a doco?

Co-worker: You know, doco. Guides. Manuals, Doco...

Me: Oh, you mean documentation?

Co-worker: Well if you want to get all lardy dah about it...

At first I thought it might just be me, but oh no, its something that other non-Australians have picked up on as well and was equally confusing to them too.

Is there some rule that applies to how and when you can use the -o abbreviation, I wonder?

February 10, 2010

Return to Writing

So. Months have passed and no blogging. What have I been doing all this time?

Well, for a start, I've been enjoying my free time. I have had heaps of ideas for blogs - for example, why is it still snowing in England! - but absolutely no time alloted to spend on actually writing about it.

I know, I know, make time for the important things. But, last year I had plenty of other things that needed to be done and took up all my time.

Aside from that, I did continue to read posts in the blogosphere. There have been plenty of things going on that caught my attention and kept me interested.

But for now, consider me returned to house and hearth, and posts will continue once more to flow.

June 12, 2009

Food For Thought

So, what's been going on over the past month?

Well... Firstly I took a week off work, specifically because the house needed some painting and renovating, and Elsha and I were long overdue for a break. The house was sold with just bare walls with cream colour or what we later discovered was a very close approximation to Antique White USA (we discovered this at random). In order to bring some life to the house, we decided on painting a lounge room wall, a kitchen wall and the master bedroom wall in Davinci Red with Suede effect. The Suede effect just makes it easier for first time painters like ourselves to stick the paint on without worrying about brushstrokes.

Next, it afforded us some time to spend with some very special new neighbours. Several years ago I lamented about the resignation of Scythe, who was moving to a different company. Well, very recently, Scythe decided to uproot from England and move to Australia. And he now lives about 10 minutes away from us. How amazing is that. I just can't quite put into words how I feel about having such a close connection to my life in London just around the corner.

No post would be complete without a World of Warcraft update. Well, Scythe is playing too but destined to the lower levels. And learning quickly that the game has changed from its first incarnation into something smaller, at least at the lower levels. I'm currently running dungeons over and over for him in order to garner large amounts of experience points in a short amount of time.

Health-wise, I find myself struggling to overcome the usual winter cold. At the moment, the media screams daily about the on-going swine flu and with people constantly coughing and failing to cover their open mouths with their hands, I wonder if this outbreak is because of the breakdown of general healthcare that people take on a day to day basis.

One fact continues to surprise me. When I was growing up, people would often wash their hands before eating. Now it seems that eating with a knife and fork and not washing hands is perfectly fine for the majority. Even worse, how many people do not wash their hands before preparing food?

May 11, 2009

Goings on in the homeland

I've spent most of the afternoon reading up about how MPs in the UK have essentially fleeced the taxpayers - that is, the public they've sworn to represent - of their money and lined their own pockets with our money.

This is at the same time as introducing more and more 'stealth' taxes, presumably to aid in their above aims of fleecing as much as they can.

I'm just gobsmacked at the sheer arrogance of these people. What is it that happens when criminals steal money and then get caught?

Oh yes, they're made to pay it all back.