January 31, 2005

Better Late Than Never

EDIT: Meant to post this last night but decided on spending the evening computer-free...

Well, it's been a week off work this week and it comes to an end tonight.

What have I accomplished this week? Not much but there is one bright ray of sunshine in this feeling of melancholy that I have - I feel rested and at peace with myself, I've started a new diet and I continue to be positive with the world that I'm in. I've had lots of time with the missus (though she would say I've spent a much bigger proportion on World of Warcraft rather than being with her) and we're feeling much more relaxed. She's even made the monumentous and incredibly difficult task of quitting smoking!

We have plenty of goals to reach though. Next on the list are our finances. Like all people living in London, we're hit by financial constraints, especially just now after Christmas. Thus we are in the process of sorting out a budget that will be stuck to dilengently.

A good website is here - there's something there for everyone so go check it out.

Watched a good (and thought provoking) movie on Friday afternoon - The Butterfly Effect. The movie's premise is "what if you could go back in time and change a moment of your life - possibly for the better - what would happen as a result?"

The answer would, of course, be complete disaster. I used to imagine myself getting good A-Level grades and going on to the University of my choice - East Anglia University. I liked the feel of the town, the vibes of the university and the layout of the courses.

But if I had gotten good grades, well then I would never have cemented my relationship with The Old Ealonians whom I only really met when I took my re-takes. I would never have gotten that job at Cyberia Ealing Internet Cafe which means I most likely would never have met Susan online.Freaky!

Finally finished The Crossroads of Twilight. Was it a good book? Ummm... Strictly 5 out of 10.

I enjoyed the conversation pieces between the main characters but the rest of it was tiresome. It very much felt as if Robert Jordan wanted to string out the whole story so he could make more money out of the series. Though I am a bit perturbed by TheNumNum's (and others) criticism that they can't understand the wordings and terms in The Wheel of Time, and that it isn't like The Lord of The Rings.

Maybe it's because there is so much of LotR in the media these days. I mean, they've turned the books into films, into cartoons. You can't not know who Frodo is now so surely the understanding of the books becomes a little easier. If they turned WoT into a cartoon series, would that make it easier to understand? Possibly, quite possibly.

In World of Warcraft, finally managed to get Ladonna to level 20. Whoa. Everything has changed. Previous to this level, everything was racial-based. You wander the Night Elf cities doing Night Elf quests. But now, you get to visit the Human cities, the Dwarven cities, etc. Right now, I'm in West Fall, in the Human lands, finishing off a quest for a gnome who lives in the Dwarven city of Ironforge. Weird...!

Not looking forward to going back to work. Why? I've heard rumours that things have been very busy at work and that tomorrow I shall be ensconced with all the shite that people have left to one side whilst I have been away with the intention of giving them to me when I return tomorrow.

Ah well. I will get up tomorrow nice and early. Have a coffee, shower, maybe have breakfast, get to work on time (early if I can manage it), draw up a list of things to do and see how many of them I can do before the end of the day.

January 23, 2005

On Holiday


I've been meaning to post again in the last couple of days (honestly I have) but things have been very busy, both at work and at home and I simply haven't been able to keep up with it all.

It's Susan's birthday this week so she and I have managed to scrape together 5 days holiday from last year so we can take this coming week off. No, we're not going anywhere in particular but it's nice with the beginning of a new year to be able to sit down, have a cup of coffee and let the worries slip away.

A friend who's just bought an LCD screen has kindly offered me his old 17" screen. That will most likely go to Susan as part of her birthday prezzies and if she doesn't like it, I'll nab it for myself.

I've also finally bought a 4 port ADSL modem router so that we can stop being dependant on the shitty program we use for Internet Connection sharing called
Wingate. Recently, all sorts of things have been going wrong and it's very frustrating for the person who's "piggybacking". This means I can play World of Warcraft and when things go wrong and I'm forced to restart, Susan can happily carry on with her surfing.

I'm now 300 pages into Crossroads of Twilight and I'm forced to reconsider my words in my third post. Yes, Robert Jordan does go on and on and on with his writing but you can't help but be drawn into his world. I'll probably change my mind once again later and just throw the book away but for now it's a good read and a gripping storyline.

Talking of books, I went to the library earlier this week and got some books out.

2 x Transformer Graphic Novels
Ill Met In Lankhmar & Farewell To Lankhmar by Fritz Lieber
Nobody True by James Herbert
Life of Pi by Yann Martell

I've already read the graphic novels. Hey, what can I say. I'm a fan of
Transformers. I'm not particularly into the notion of the cars and jets (I actually liked the Dinobots more) but I loved the idea of robots talking and able to transform into various shapes, etc. I've noticed the Transformers movie is at £3.99 in HMV so I'll most likely spend a little and grab it for myself. The movie is very well done and stars the voices of Leonard Nimoy (Galvatron) and Orson Welles (Unicron).

World of Warcraft-wise, I've created a new character called Ladonna who is a 10th level Night Elf Hunter. Hunters are better than rogues because they can "call" pets whom they can quest with. It's a great class for soloing and since Scythe and Kitten (two online friends of mine) currently don't have internet access it's something I can get on with whilst they're away.

By the way, Ladonna was one of the wizards of the Order of Black Robes in the
Dragonlance Chronicles. And if you haven't read them, do so now. These books are one of the cornerstones of Fantasy and especially Roleplaying.

That's all the trivia I can think of for now, expect another more serious post soon.

January 18, 2005


Got to work on Monday at 9:20am (10 minutes early).

Got to work today at 9.15am (15 minutes early, but actually 15 minutes behind schedule because two fellow co-workers hadn't made an appearance and all hell was breaking loose on arguably the most busy day of the year for the company).

People always say to me "Oh you're early today. How come?" to which I reply "Oh no reason" but which I always think "Because I'm paid to start work at 9.30am and it takes me at least 10 minutes to get ready for work." The people that ask me that question, I've noticed, always arrive on their start time but then take about 15 minutes to get a coffee, go to the toilet and chat to their mates before actually starting work. And even then, they're not really paying attention to work.

When explaining this point to people, it seems they suddenly don't remember they signed a contract to do these hours (from start point to finish point). Me? I'd rather spend 10 minutes having a quick coffee, checking my personal emails, do some websurfing and then - Bang! Work starts...

On the way to work, I overheard a loud conversation on the bus between two A-Level students about the choice of their University courses. Mr Y said he was not going to pursue the English Lit course he originally dreamed of because there were no career prospects whilst Miss X said she was going to carry on with her chosen course in Biochemistry because, at the end of the day, this was her final chance to live a little before being enslaved to the system and ending up in a dead end job.

That's not what was said, obviously, but that's what it boiled down to in my opinion. Great to know that we're continuing in the destruction of teenage dreams.

Bookwise, I'm 200 pages into
Crossroads of Twilight and I wonder if Robert Jordan actually has anywhere to go with this book. I could do this myself - create a story that has a start point and an end point but then make sure the rest of the story is forever unfolding - kind of like A Thousand and One Arabian Nights.

Hmm... I've sworn to persevere now, if only to find out first hand what happens next.

Some New Year Resolutions

1) Be more positive - it's easy to whine about things. Smile more and mean it.
2) More exercise and balanced meals - no more snacking.
3) Less drinking alcohol - I turn into a prat when I get drunk.
4) Write more - if I have a knack for writing, I want to discover this now, not when I retire.

Actually, these aren't New Year Resolutions because I was doing all these things well before the New Year but I like to keep reminding myself of them. I do have one point to add:

5) Always reply to an email straight away. I got an important email recently, thought about it, had a conversation with the missus, then forgot about the original email.

Bad, bad, bad.

Finally, I've decided to stop playing
City of Heroes in favour of World of Warcraft. CoH is a great game but there are a few problems - the chat system is antiquated and buggy, and the quests get very boring very quickly.

World of Warcraft, on the other hand, just blows you away on practically every level - graphics, the chat system, the AI, hell even the scenary is spectacular. At the end of the day, if I'm going to spend my time in a virtual world, there is a pre-requisite for it to look cool.

January 16, 2005

Post #2

Before I go any further into my second post, I need to make an apology. In my first post, I said that my encountering The Old Ealonians was "the most soul-saving act that has happened so far in my life". While it was definitely soul-saving, another event in my life trumps it. This is, of course, meeting the woman who became my fiance and will [soon] become my wife.

I met Susan eight years ago in February on the Internet, in a charming little chatroom called #Britzone. She was living in Perth, Australia, I was living in London, England. We got chatting, and when she came over here on holiday we met up and had a great time. So great in fact that I went to Australia for 10 months and stayed with her. We've been living in the UK now for six years now but have plans to move back to Australia.

That apology said, back to the ranting and raving.

Just saw a movie last night - The Majestic, starring Jim Carrey and Martin Landau. It's set in the 50's I guess, and is about a movie writer who's ordered to appear before Congress on the charge of being of being a Communist (back when the Americans were scared of Reds). Carrey decides to take a drive whilst drunk and ends up in an accident and loses his memory.

He wakes up on the beach the next morning not knowing who he is and wanders into a town. There he gets mistaken for the son of one of the townsfolk whom he appears to resemble. After a series of encounters he begins to settle down. You do begin to wonder whether or not he actually is the son who disappeared in wartime 9 and a half years ago.

I won't say anymore in case you haven't seen it. All I will say is that it is a Frank Darabont movie. If the name is unfamiliar, shame on you. He's the director of the Shawshank Redemption, another movie that's absolutely amazing, and one that I would recommend you watch as well.

It has an excellent line near the end though, and one that I'll paraphrase here. Mainly because it sums up what i think of Politics:

"Democracy is essentially a contract - at the end of the day, it is a piece of paper with your signature at the bottom. But like all contracts, it is renegotiable."

A very nice way of putting it.

The other thing I've been watching recently is Sea of Souls on BBC1, about a group of parapscychologists investigating events in the paranamormal. The series presents its episodes back to back, with one episode showing on saturday and the other on sunday. This has the advantage of making sure that when you go back to work, you are able to talk about the whole thing at work.

Other events - I've been stuck for what to read next.

Susan asked me to read "River's Edge" by Nora Roberts. At first I said no, because I thought it was a romantic novel but it's actually more a murder mystery. It's actually well written but I sort of guessed the murderer right at the beginning and never quite changed my mind.

I've also just finished what I would consider passably the best book I've ever read - The Tawny Man trilogy by Robin Hobb. I don't know quite why it's the best book but it reaches me in ways that leave me gobsmacked. I had to actually force myself to not skim read and to read every single word and savour them.

So of course now I'm left with the notion of what to read next.


There is actually one book that I've been avoiding - Crossroads of Twilight, book Ten in the Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan.

Now that
The Num Num has begun reading the Wheel of Time, I find myself held responsible to read this tenth book, if for nothing else but because I've told him that he must continue reading the series.

It's a good set of books, but awfully long winded. The Num Num says the language of the books is very difficult, with odd names thrown in to puzzle the reader. I suppose it's because I'm a roleplayer that I happily assimilate the information. I do, after all, create my own roleplaying campaigns with strange names, religions, cities, etc., all from scratch so creating someone else's setting in my head isn't so hard.

The idea behind the series has been done before, that there was once an ancient civilisation that was much more powerful than the agrarian culture present today but that some huge catastrophe wiped them out leaving behind only traces of that civilisation, but never to such great effect as in the Wheel of Time.

Pick up The Eye of the World and have a read, but be warned that it is a hefty read and one that will leave you puzzled if you're not into Fantasy or Sci-Fi.

More events - I've been playing World of Warcraft and hopelessly losing myself in the virtual world of Azeroth. I'm playing a Human Rogue called Crucifer on Beta Server 2 (a few of my friends are playing there as well), and I have to say this is the most well-realised computer game I have ever played.

Just the other day I was running a delivery for the Rogue Trainer and I saw in front of me, a rabbit running from a wolf. The rabbit ran straight past me, the wolf gave me a look, ran past me as well and killed the rabbit. Then it ran off into the forest.

'Shit' I thought. That has to be AI controlled, but never before have I seen such an AI.

I now I'm going to lose myself more in this world. What can I say? Go and buy this game. Play it. Involve yourself in possibly the most realised virtual world currently on the computer game market.

January 13, 2005

My First Post


Well, finally here I am with my own blog.



I'll start with the usual questions - the what, who and why's.

A. What Is A Blog?

The term "Blog" is an abbreviation for the word Weblog. A more in-depth definition than anything I could offer can be found here.

B. Who am I?

Like many other people who blog, I would like to reserve a certain level of anonymity - not because I have something to hide, but because I may rant and rave about things that ordinarily would not reach polite conversation.

That said, there's plenty of other things I can tell you about myself.

1. I use the Internet handle "Crucifer" because my first Internet handle was becoming too well known. If you think you know it, try searching for it on Google - you'll come across pictures of me, forum posts and other sundry information.

(by the way, the name "Crucifer" comes from a UK comic called 2000ad - Crucifer is the name of one of the planets Durham Red visits after her millenia incarceration in a Suspended Animation pod.)

2. I am one of the Old Ealonians (I am actually the oldest of The Old Ealonians), a group of people who attended Ealing Green High School (now closed and taken over by a college). I wasn't in the same year as the other Old Ealonians but thanks to:

a) not being taught properly
b) being lazy

I flunked my exams and ended up in their year - probably the most soul-saving act that has happened so far in my life. I'm proud to call them my friends.

3. Among my many interests are:

Roleplaying Games - Dungeons & Dragons, Warhammer Fantasy, Call of Cthulhu and most games set in the White Wolf Universe.

Computer Games - including any Massive Multiplayer Online Roleplaying Games - Asheron's Call 2, World of Warcraft and City of Heroes

Practically anything in the Science Fiction and Fantasy mediums


C. Why the Blog?

The idea of creating a Blog originated as a New Year's Resolution to write more.

When I was younger, someone told me that I had a knack for writing but that to perfect it, I should take every opportunity to write as often as possible. Back then, the only thing I was ever interested in was Roleplaying so I wrote about that.


Nowadays, I'm enamoured by the Internet. It's a place where everyday individuals like you and I can put down our innermost thoughts, reflections and social commentary on "life, the universe and everything" in a medium populated by millions of computer users.


And so, here I am.