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I Quit World of Warcraft

Wednesday, August 30, 2006
Today, I canceled my subscription to World of Warcraft. You, my dear reader(s?) may remember that I was signed up to play last September. I've played, I've experienced.... and now I've quit.

My reasons for stopping are many, but the two main ones are:
  1. Now that I'm in grad school, I don't have time to play.
  2. I stopped having fun.
But there is more, for anyone who's interested.

First off, the most fun I had in the game was in the PvP battlegrounds (PvP, by the way, stands for "Player Versus Player"). I enjoyed it and wasn't actually that bad at it. It's a competition, though. You're competing against everyone else on your team to get the most points so hopefully you can gain another rank to get better gear. I didn't have the time to compete, so I wasn't ever going to get there. Then Blizzard went and released patch 1.12 which just messed it up further.

Secondly, there's not much to do at 60. I mean, sure, you can raid. That's where you get 20 or 40 of people together and go kill some stupidly impossible guy hidden in a boring cave. And then you get to do it 1,200,232,102 more times because there's a 1% chance he might drop the thing you're looking for (if and when you kill him) - and you'd better hope no one else wants it. Raiding also takes large blocks of time, since you have to coordinate the schedules of 20 or 40 people. So, since I had no blocks of time, I was (quite contentedly) doing PvP.

Third, the game is a time-sink. It's freely admitted that the whole idea is to lock you into spending more and more hours playing the game... and that means you're doing the same boring, monotonous tasks over and over and over and over again for some slight reward. Yes, there's a reward. No, it's never easy to get.

Then there's the server transfers. Kind of like a bunch of Californians getting rich and then moving to Oregon, it's the same deal.

The game stinks and the plans for the future only seem to centered around "pretty much the same, but more of it." With the imminent release of an expansion for the game, the developers have stopped fixing problems in the game with the (horrible) attitude of "we'll just fix it in the expansion." Well, this guy isn't going to subscribe to that anymore.

Yes, Blizzard, I played your game. And the game you set up has just lost one subscriber.

What will I do with myself now?

Art in private places

Sunday, August 27, 2006
In local news, apparently an enterprising, artful guy near near Newport, OR off Highway 20 has created a 40' x 60' replica of the Mona Lisa on the hillside of his property.

So, how do people respond to this "art in private places"? First, it seems that people are getting in accidents left and right when looking at this thing. So they send letters, complaining that someone has made the world a more beautiful place. kgw.com even runs a poll that simply says "Do you think Mona Lisa should be erased for safety reasons?" (of course, lacking any sort of context for the question.)

That's right, let's get rid of it. Someone hurt themselves! Oh my God! Let's covor this thing up right away. Let's ignore the fact that everyone who drives past it and sees it is bettered in one way or another, let's just get rid of it.

Pet Owner

Monday, August 21, 2006
For my 28th birthday my girlfriend gave me something I've not had in my adult life (don't go there!)... a pet! I am now the proud owner of a beautiful blue male betta fish named Gustav (after, incidentally, King Gustav V of Sweden whose name seems to be spelled either with a "v" or an "f"... I prefer the "v".)
Gustav will hopefully) keep me company here in Salem while I go to school and help me be a responsible pet owner. We'll see how that goes... historically "maintenance" is not my strongest attribute. But I'm already attached to my little fish and let's hope this goes well!

Fallout Shelter

Sunday, August 06, 2006
Move weekend is over. Thanks to some wonderful, helpful, friends and family (plus several more not linked to) I was able to move from my storage unit to my new apartment in Salem in under two and a half hours, a big change from my last moving experience.

So my new efficiency studio is... interesting. For the price, it can't be beat, but there's still some interesting quircks to it. The postives to the place vastly outwiegh the negatives, though. The rent is relatively inexpensive, I'm like 8 blocks from school, 9 blocks from downtown, 5 blocks from the grocery store, and I'm on the 6th floor with a bit of a northward view! However, the building is full of lonely octogenarians who like to chat, so that'll be a challenge. It's also a fallout shelter, I understand (being constructed of poured concrete) with a capacity for 710 people.

My new place is kinda tiny. I think it's all of about 360 square feet or so, with a "kitchenette" that hides nicely behind two doors, a bathroom, a walk-in closed, and the "big room", where my bed, desk, couch, bookshelves, and everything else go. It's small, but in some ways it feels very liberating to take up less space and have less stuff needing my attention.

And when the bombs fall, I guess I'll have a place to hide.

Gainfully Unemployed

Friday, August 04, 2006
So as of today I'm unemployed as I head back to school. It's kind of a mental shocker, considering where I so recently was. Suddenly my expenses are WAY up and my income is WAY down. Sigh.

As last days go it was a good one. My boss, my buddy, and I went out for sushi at lunch, a few people said goodbye, and I took off early. The bad news, though, is that apparently Beaverton traffic is worse at 3:30 on a Friday than it is at 5:00 PM. It took me over an hour to get home, which frustrated me a lot.

Tomorrow I move most of my stuff to my new apartment in Salem. It's going to be a bigger production than my last move but there will be less stuff, so I'm hoping to be less tired and sore. Am I anxious about changing my life so much? You bet. Am I excited? Yup. Am I scared? Darn right. But, like it or not... academia, here I come!

Here's to Phil Knight

Wednesday, August 02, 2006
So in the local news lately is Phil Knight's $105 million dollar contribution to Stanford University's graduate business program, believed to be one of the largest gifts ever and certainly a tidy sum - even for "Oregon's wealthiest resident". But what gets me is that every time I hear about this on the news or read about it they always mention the University of Oregon:
[T]he latest gift comes as the University of Oregon, his undergraduate alma mater, has been struggling to jump-start its $160 million basketball arena project.
Having graduated from the University of Oregon, I know that Phil Knight has given heavily to various sports programs. But I personally will remember the Knight Library and the Knight Law School (where I worked for a couple years.)

What I'm saying is that, as a student at a public univerisity, I was disgusted by the amount of attention paid to our sports programs - especially at the expense of all the academic and student programs. Brand new VIP box seats for the rich alumni? Check. Grade F prison-and-dorm-use-only meat for the students? Check. The amount of effort spent milking alumi of cash versus the attention given to academic students is embarassing, and one of the primary reasons I'll never give to the school. Do you think they'd spend $160 million dollars on an academic facility?

But Phil Knight can, and the more academic programs he supports the more I respect him. Here's to you, Phil!

The news from Cuba

Tuesday, August 01, 2006
As reported here and here, it seems that Fidel Castro (the last Communist hold-out from times past) is experiencing severe health issues and has actually ceded control of the country of Cuba to his brother, Raul. That's right, kids, our hostile neighbor ninety miles from Florida is temporarily not in control of the country anymore.

But what does this mean?

Well, to some (being the Cuban exiles in Miami) it's a time of celebration since they don't like him much. Others, such as the *brother* of el presidente, as surely in for a hard time as the heir to the throne office of president. Still others, such as us here on the left coast that haven't really been oppressed by Fidel's work so much are just wondering if we'll finally be able to get our hands on some of those fine cigars.

But that's the news, now. Fidel's in the hospital and no longer in charge, his brother's temporarily running the country, and times... they are a-changin'.

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