Achievements

Celebrating Mediocrity

Whoopty DooThis is one of those things I just could never get my head around.  Why celebrate or award those who just do what they are supposed to do?  The things we give way too much attention, just to say great job on doing what your told or should have been expected to do all along.  Are people so weak now they need a cheering section for every little thing?  I would have to say so, as it happens so frequently.  Personally, I find it absolutely nauseating.

I see it everywhere.  In the news, in life, watching others and having dealt with it for other people.  Though I’ll just speak from my own experiences this time.

I understand when someone goes above and beyond their call in life or exceeds the expectations of many, that they should be recognized.  Maybe not every hero in our world does, but there are those who have been awarded for their deeds.  That is great.  I hope that continues and I pray that anyone who does something worthy, is given the praise they deserve.  Just not for mundane things like doing your job satisfactorily or coming to work on time always.  I haven’t taken a sick day in over a year.  While it may be noticed I did so with heart disease, I certainly don’t want to make it a big deal.  So I lived another year without incident.  I suppose that’s not bad for a man who had 3 heart attacks back to back.  Yay me.  That’s all the recognition I need for that.

Now let’s talk about the things I have been given completely unnecessary awards for.  As well as the recognition I believe I should’ve never received.

Most recently, my pharmacy has started to grade their customers on their performance.  I received a score of 100%.  I basically never failed to fill or pickup a prescription for an entire year.  Wow, that’s pretty good for a guy who has only been working part time for the past several months and still manages to come up with the over $1300 for the co-pays in the past tax year.  Yes you read that right.  Still…  Whoopty Fucking Doo folks.  If my pharmacy really wanted to recognize my achievement, how about no co-pays for a month?  Yeah… Not likely.

I have several memories of mediocrity being recognized was while I was in the Navy.  I received two awards and four letters of commendation during my four years on board the USS Enterprise.  I even received the Naval Achievement Medal (which brought me much hatred) and a boost in rank without going through the normal channels (also much hate).

In the Navy I ended up in a position because of my math skills.  So that got me a fairly nice desk job overseeing the ships budget.  I was essentially the accountant.  Anyone who spent money, reported to me.  Certainly beat what I was trained for, Aviation Supply.  That would’ve had me spending my time kicking boxes about the store rooms.  Instead, I got an air conditioned office and a comfy chair.  At the time, in the early 90’s, email was restricted to Officers only.  Yet, this lowly enlisted man (only an E-2 when I took the job), got to have one.  They had to give me clearance and all sorts of paperwork because at the time it was almost unheard of.  OK, so some recognition but nothing crazy.  That is until they did some major inspection and quizzed me on my job.  I aced it.  Still it was my job to keep tight track of the money.  So the letter of commendation and being pressed and dressed so the Captain could say something useless and shake my hand was a bit much.

I was also known for my skills with a sponge, wax and a buffer.  I could make floors shine.  Mainly I only did the ones near the Supply Officer where I worked.  He spoke up one day and I was put in charge of a four man team to wax the floor for the Officer’s Mess where President Clinton was going to dine while visiting our ship at sea.  OK whatever.  Officer says, enlisted does.  Simple as that.  While the president was on board, I was back at work in my office.  Clinton said to our Captain, “I can see my reflection in this floor.”.  Next thing you know I’m in the hangar bay, pressed and dressed again for another commendation letter.  I waxed a floor as the Officer ordered.  It was my job to do it right.  I don’t see the need to be awarded.  A simple email from someone saying “Good job!” or “Clinton liked your floor.” would’ve been just fine.

Another job I did was requisitioning and filing of orders for supplies.  Paperwork rather than carrying heavy things about.  It was a job normally assigned for a First Class Petty Officer (E-6).  Just shy of wearing the Khaki’s of a Chief Petty Officer.  Why I don’t really know.  It’s not hard except when you have to chase lost cargo down by phone.  I was trained as an Airman Apprentice (E-2) to do the job.  The First Class went on leave and I (then an Airman E-3) got hit with one of those nifty inspections.  Again, try as they might to trick me or hit me for something wrong.  I did everything right.  This was when I got the double header of the Naval Achievement Medal and the boost in rank to Third Class Petty Officer (E-4).  Just for doing my job.  Again, pressed and dressed.  This time with a ship wide announcement from the Captain congratulating me for passing the inspection flawlessly.  A pat on the back would’ve been fine.  Certainly would’ve been better than the weeks of hate I received.

I also received a letter of commendation for my extra activities with firefighting and duties on the mooring team.  Though never did I save anyone’s life or do something spectacular.  I simply did my job and they went nuts for it.  I don’t know why.  Actually, I really resented it at times.

I have to agree with Mr. Incredible.  Things like moving from the 4th grade to the 5th grade, is NOT a graduation.  It’s merely changing schools in most cases.  You still have to survive eight more years and getting your diploma.  Now that’s something worth celebrating.  Changing buildings is not.

Start at 52 seconds.

Then again, we do the opposite too.  We celebrate those we love way too much sometimes.  Simply speaking we throw ridiculous amounts of cash at sports personalities, while our veterans have to struggle to feed their families sometimes.  Our priorities as a whole are astonishingly out of whack.

Toon Evolution

Don’t really have a topic to write about that’s been on my mind like I normally do.  Life is pretty much the same for me.  I suppose that’s not bad.  I’m still working part time.  I’m still looking for a good job.  I can’t wait for spring.  That way I won’t mind so much if I have to drive to a job in another town.  Plus, I should have new tires on my car soon thanks to paying the government too much last year.  That will help.

Outside of that, I go hang out with Allen and Adam as much as I can.  When I’m not doing that, I’m playing good old World of Warcraft.  Still enjoying the new Warlords of Draenor expansion.  I play more than I’d like too.  I’d still rather get out and walk more.  If only Mother Nature would cooperate.  I’d really love to hang out with friends more as well.  You know, maybe just chill for a couple of hours watching TV or something and having some laughs.

So I’ve made a wallpaper of all my WoW characters.  I don’t have the raw drawing skills that Adam does, but I can use a computer like no one else I know 😉  You may notice some extreme changes from when I last posted a group shot of the characters I play.  They are the same “toons”, just… evolved 🙂

The GroupClick Image for Full Size Wallpaper (1920 x 1080)

I am a Contender

Contender of Malatina's GameActually I’m more of a Survivor.  As a Contender is defined as “a person who has a good chance of winning“.  Unfortunately, “Life ain’t like the Game.“.  (Watch the video below to get that reference.)  Sometimes I think I couldn’t win in a losing contest.  But that’s only when I’m feeling freshly defeated at something.  Life isn’t all bad, but there are days like the past few.  Where I’ve inadvertently upset someone close to me, while trying like mad to figure out why my finances are off by $40 and listening to screaming women at high volume on the TV in the next room thanks to the inconsiderate person I am temporarily living with.  (I so hate having roommates.)

Then to make matters more frustrating, the tools I use for my job aren’t working as they should.  It’s turning out to be a long ass day so far.

But wait, there’s more…

Just after singing praises for my employer and the job I’ve had for nearly 11 years…  I find out that overtime is being cut and they are dropping the company healthcare plan.  One that I actually liked.  I mean how many people can say they “like” their healthcare plan?  Sadly, the alternatives I have found will likely cost me a lot more just to have and more to use.  Not thrilled at all about that.

There is a lot going on that is not of the happy kind these past few days.  But I’ve been in these situations before.  Sometimes worse.  So I’ve got to take a deep breath, make some changes to my plans, adjust and move on.  Of course, to anyone thinking “Get over it.”, I’m gonna punch.  Let me let off some steam before you come at me with that.  Everyone needs to vent when they are frustrated before they can move on.  If they didn’t, they’d go insane.  Plus having little irritations going on at the same time doesn’t help.  (Like, right now I am trying to blow the TV up with my mind.  It’s not working if you were wondering.  Turns out Evil Genius does not mean having telekinetic powers…)

But, I have family and friends who love me, a girl I’m dating who isn’t just adorable, but sweet and she likes me.  Plus I’ve achieved the title in Runes of Magic, Contender of Malatina’s Game (see image of clown).  Yeah OK that last one was a bit of a stretch.  I’m sure God will see me through.  As they say, “God gives us only what we can handle.  Apparently God thinks I’m a Badass!“.  Looking back at all the things in my past, I would have to agree with that statement.

What a year…

Time PassingIn a few days, I’ll have been back in Michigan a whole year since I left in 1994 to join the Navy.  There was a brief year from 1998 to 1999 where I came back after my four year Navy tour, and then left again for a job at Gateway Computers.  A  year in which I’ve written 65 blog posts.  Meager entertainment for my 5 readers out there.  I don’t regret my joining the Navy, but I do regret leaving in the first place.  Although in some ways it’s like I never left Michigan.

I’m not going to dwell on the many wrong choices I’ve made any more.  It’s time to focus on the choices I make now.

It may not look like it from the outside, but this past year has actually been a success for me.  Just not as much as I had hoped.  I had hoped to accomplish more and I also managed to accomplish one thing I didn’t expect to do so quickly.  I’ll talk more about that one thing at another time.

I’m actually proud of what I’ve managed to do this past year despite everything that has gone wrong over the past 4-5 years.  Financially I’ve managed to hold my own without assistance from family or friends.  Not even the government.  And I’ve managed to do it all on my one job.  Which props must go out to my boss who allowed me to keep my job and set me up so that no one would really know of my health conditions.  He’s kept the good health insurance he has had rather than forcing me into Obamacare and I’m incredibly thankful for that.  I’m thankful for the others in the office who handle people bringing in their equipment and connecting it to a special computer for me and then giving it back to them when I’m done programming or reprogramming it.

While my apartment isn’t anything great and frankly is over priced for being so small.  I’m proud that I’ve managed to keep myself fed despite I couldn’t get the healthier foods I should be eating.  Get in regular doctor visits.  Pay for my medications, afford my entertainment of Netflix and have a REALLY NICE internet connection (FiOS can suck it!) 😀

I’ve also managed to pay off some of my medical bills.  Created a new one 🙁 and even start to pay back a personal debt.  Well, I was.  New bills kind of put a dent in that.

I’m also still thankful for the folks that helped me get setup here.  From helping me secure this place to furnishing it some.  It’s made living in this tiny place more comfortable.

While I was here, I made a new friend.  I’ve even started dating again finally after spending years alone.  After several date failures, this one is looking up 🙂

Now it’s time to move forward and find a new place.  It seems for a mere $50 more a month I could’ve had a place with 2 full bedrooms (vice this partial bedroom with no closet or room for my dresser), and an actual living room.  What I live in now is just left over space.  A hallway with 3 very small rooms for the bath, bed and kitchen.   Time to spend time with my sons and daughters in East Jordan.  Time to start going to church more regularly.  Time to get involved.

Always Follow Your Dreams

Always Follow Your DreamsSometimes the people that hurt us the most, are the ones we are most closely related too.  I don’t know why some people are determined to bring others down.  Especially when those same people who constantly deter you from your own dreams, praise others immensely when they achieve theirs.  It’s such a kick in the teeth when you’re the one they deter from achieving your goals.

If my children, friends or family have something they want to achieve, I would do everything in my power to help them along.  Even if all I could do is cheer them on.  My knowledge and skills are at their disposal.  Whether it’s building or fixing their computers.  Designing them a website.  As in the case of my youngest daughter and her writings.  Giving them advice from my own experiences.  And more.  Even if I may not think that what they want to do is wise, I would still try to be supportive and only give them constructive criticism.

I have my goals and dreams that I hope to someday achieve.  They aren’t about fortune and fame, they never have been.  But I’d really like to make a mark on this world, in so much as that the people who knew me will remember me to be more than, “the funny but bitter man”.  I know I’m bitter sometimes, and I try so hard not to be.  It’s just very hard when people hurt me in various ways as has happened most of my life.

I remember being told by different people that I would never make it in the Navy.  Not only did I do my four year tour, but I came out with several awards and commendations for my performances while stationed on the USS Enterprise.  From a mirror shined floor for President Clinton, to a perfect inspection of my department.  Which got me an immediate increase in rank by the Captain of the ship.  I also learned the majority of my skills with computers while serving my country.

However, yesterday only one person came to see me.  She gave me a present and immediately followed with the words:

When I have extra money, I think of others first.

This was a direct jab at my decision to not celebrate Christmas this year.   I should have given her gift back and told her to get out of my house and my life.  But I have this lingering respect for her which may eventually be my undoing.  When she first found out that I wasn’t doing Christmas, she tried to give me money (thus adding to the people I’d have to pay back) to buy gifts with saying:

You only have four people to buy for.

Which knowing that she meant my two sons, Adam and Allen.  And their significant others Laura and Misti.  Completely ignoring the two step daughters, Amber and Bethany who live in Virginia still.  There’s negativity from her toward the two of them.  That pissed me off, as despite everything that has happened, I still consider them my daughters and still love them both dearly.  Plus it made me very angry that she just supposed that I was to change my plan just because she wanted me too.

I am hoping the rest of my family and friends understand why I didn’t do Christmas and gifts this year.  As it is, it will take me most of 2014 to pay off my medical bills.  I do without things I need to do like see a dentist as it’s been a few years.  I need to see a chiropractor, but I don’t unless it’s absolutely necessary.  I canceled my stress test for my heart because I didn’t want to add another several hundred dollars to my debts.  Then I need to pay off someone else I owe.  On top of that, still somehow try to achieve my goals and dreams.  While they aren’t expensive dreams, they still require some money to get off the ground.  I don’t expect them to help me monetarily, but I would hope they support me and help me just as I would them.

Plus I would hope that the ones I love know that Christmas isn’t about gifts, as much as it is family and the birth of Christ.  I would’ve loved to spent Christmas with my children, but situations being what they are, it would’ve been awkward for everyone.  So I will be happy for any other time I get to spend with them.  And I hope that I can spend time with all of them, no matter where they are at some point.

Phenomenal Cosmic Power!

“Itty bitty living space.” ~ Genie

Some days you just feel powerful when you play video games.  Yesterday it was like I was just “in the zone” and “no power in the verse can stop me”.  Nothing like starting a post with several cultural and movie references.  That’s how I felt yesterday.  Didn’t matter what creature I targeted, I made short work of it.  Even got myself a couple of new rides out of the deal.  Well one came from a monster anyway.  I call him Kitty.   Everyone else calls him Huolon.  He’s got a one percent chance of dropping the Reins of the Thundering Onyx Cloud Serpent.  You should check out the 3D views from the links but if not, here’s what this pretty kitty looks like:

Thundering Onxy Cloud Serpent

Click for Larger Image

Sexy; isn’t it?  Even sexier when you see all the cool lightening flashing about him.

The thing about this Timeless Isle, is that it seems to be a playground for Warlocks.  I haven’t yet taken my Death Knight there, but in general, all my other “OP” (Over Powered) characters struggle with creatures on this island.  Not horribly but they do tend to spend more time in the “Walk of Shame” than my Warlock does.  Kyllia isn’t even fully geared yet.  She’s got almost half her items needing serious upgrades.  Yet she walks about just smashing the shit out of anything she touches.  Almost like she owns the place.  Granted, she has yet to meet Ordos and likely never will as you need some cloak that I just don’t care to get involved with.

It seems that yesterday, I guess everyone was all over the Thanksgiving event.  The island was rather quiet.  So when I went about announcing the different “rares” or “bosses” as some call them, I found I was alone.  So first I solo killed Huolon, which shocked me as normally someone always dies when “petting the kitty”.  Even Kyllia on occasion.  Then Leafmender (though to be fair he’s fairly easy for everyone to solo).  Then shocked myself by taking down all three Champions of the Black Flame.  I couldn’t believe my luck.  I didn’t die at all.  So next I wandered up to Cinderfall and called out for help.  He’s rough as his Molten Inferno will generally one hit any player.  Though I’ve got the cure for that.  Turns out you can stand absolutely as far as possible back for your casting abilities.  Send your Blue Berry (Voidlord) in and whittle his grayscale ass to ashes.  His attacks may singe your face a bit but no actual damage comes from it.  Though it’s obvious many have yet to figure this out.  When there are others helping, it’s a mass pandemic of dying animations and sounds.  Just to prove to myself it wasn’t just luck, I solo killed him a second time later on when I found myself alone with him.  It’s sounds selfish I know, but damn it, I gave them a good 10 minutes to carry themselves up to help me.  So eff em’!

Patience is a virgin.  Pft good luck finding one of those these days…

Quintessential Quintet and More!

Five Level 90 ToonsGetting from Level 30 to Level 80 in just over two weeks was pretty spiffy.  Sure you can level a toon in like 3 days from 1 to 90, but even I’m not that big of a loser.  So it took me another two weeks to get from 80 to 90.  Still it’s pretty cool, though I don’t think I’ll ever level another character.  Having five maximum level characters is a lot to keep up with.  Debating on deleting the Huntard and Pally.  I just don’t see me doing the whole level up thing again.  It will be more than enough to keep up with all the high ones when the cap is raised.

Theona is also damn near max on all her skills.  Not sure when they made Archeology so easy to level.  It now helps you level no matter how high your skill is.  I’m fairly sure that’s new as I hated bothering with it before.  The only reason I even tried with the priest is she’s also has the skill AlchemyTransmutation Master.  As an Archeologist, I’m seeking a Recipe: Vial of the Sands.  A Vial of the Sands will turn a player into a cool dragon.  (see 3D image from the link)

This makes Theodas, Theodes, TheodazTheona and Kyllia all my max level toons.

On top of it, a few days ago, my one man Guild, CastleRain made it to Level 11.  Granted, it’s not the coveted Level 25, but it’s a pretty damned good achievement for being the only person with toons in it!  What is so special about Level 11?  Mobile Banking!  Now I can access the goods in the Guild Bank without having to travel to a major city just to spend five minutes putting stuff in, or taking it out.  If you are wondering about the achievement image for the guild reaching Level 11, yeah there is no such achievement.  I just got skillz!  😈

So… Neener! Neener! Neener! …and stuff…

I’m a World of Warcraft Soloist

World of Warcraft SoloistI never expected to be one honestly.  When you decide to play online, you assume you’ll make friends, group up and have a good time together.  Back in the day, it was exactly that, and it was a blast!  I couldn’t wait to get home, log on and do all sorts of crazy fun things with my friends in a fantasy world.  A world where we were rich, powerful and we could explore the world, meet strange new threats and obliterate them with high powered particle effects.  Or have a ball trying to figure it out while dying in hilarious mishaps.  Either way, it was fun as hell.

Then as they say, “All good things must come to an end.”.  That they did.  Of course in my frustration, I made a huge mistake by closing my original World of Warcraft account on the EU servers and starting a new one on the US servers.  It was a whole new world… of warcraft.  The world itself looked the same and the game play was the same.  I had no friends on the US servers to play with.  I tried different guilds, and I see the typical US bullshit in chat.  Gay bashing, politics and trolls galore.  The world was completely different when it came to the quality of the players.  I just can’t find anyone to get along with.  I even tried changing factions.   That didn’t help and the Horde are just straight up ugly fucks.

Then I started exercising more, getting away from the computer more.  Still, I love to log on and do things.  I just found ways to do things alone.  I craft, I solo lower level dungeons and a couple raids that don’t require anyone else to complete.  It’s not like I don’t want to make friends.  However, now I don’t feel the need to commit the time required to play in a group.  As a soloist, I have the prerogative to play when I want, for how long I want and I don’t feel obligated to stay on to help the collective whole.  Hell, I started my own guild again and it’s now level 9.  I did it all on my own.  The extra storage for goods is awesome.   If I ever find my dream geek girlfriend, perhaps she and I can turn it into a duo guild 🙂

I’ve been able to collect a bunch of mounts, achievements and rerun my favorite dungeons.  Granted, I can’t gear up as well without doing dungeons and raids with players of my own level.  I am pretty much restricted to Lich King dungeons and below.  Still I manage to have fun.

Though I sometimes wish I wasn’t so invested in the US account I have, or I’d go back to playing the EU servers.  I love the friendliness and miss my friends there.  Who knows, maybe I will if I get enough encouragement 😉

Flying High Over Skettis

Another reputation grind, 5 more mounts!  Talk about your boring ass rep grind… I’m so glad that’s over and I’m not doing it again (thank goodness for account-wide mounts now).  Finally became exalted with the Sha’tari Skyguard.  This gives me the opportunity to get all the mounts and the pet.  Yeah, like I need more right?

And so without further gilding the lily and with no more ado, I give to you, the seeker of serenity, the protector of Italian virginity, the enforcer of our Lord God, the one, the only, Sir Ulllrrrich von Lichtenstein!!

(love that movie 😉 )

Nether Ray Fry

Flying High Over Skettis

Rivendare’s Deathcharger!!

I got it!  I got it!  {dances enthusiastically but looks more like a spastic monkey on crack}  I got the coveted Rivendare’s Deathcharger!  I’ve been running the Stratholme (Service Entrance) dungeon, almost every day, for a couple of months on 4 different characters.  Beating up that miserable bastard Lord Aurius Rivendare.  Today, my Lucky-Lock Kyllia dropped the incredibly hard to obtain mount!

Rivendare's Deathcharger

Deathcharger's Reins

Just to give you an idea, here’s some of the info quoted by another player…

~ by Tyrsenus on WoWhead

Deathcharger is a black (as per its model skin description) skeletal warhorse mount, notorious for its incredibly low drop rate – perhaps the lowest drop rate of any epic item.

 

For one run of a given instance, the odds are higher that…

  • Swift White Hawkstrider drops (61x more likely)
  • Ashes of Al’ar drops (40x more likely)
  • Swift Razzashi Raptor drops (28x more likely)
  • Reins of the Raven Lord drops (23x more likely)
  • Fiery Warhorse’s Reins drops (18x more likely)
  • Swift Zulian Tiger drops (10x more likely)
  • Baron’s Runeblade drops (3x more likely)
  • You are audited by the IRS
  • You will catch a baseball at a MLB game
  • You die from slipping in a bathtub
  • You have a life

If you’re in a group, divide the chance by five 🙂

The drop rate is now 1.0% (up from 0.02%) (source).

Although, I think the hardest mount to get these days is the Reins of the Time-Lost Proto-Drake.  This is mostly due to cross server playing now.  There’s generally 5 – 7 players hunting that 24 hours a day.  I’m glad I managed to get that, not only once, but twice before the changes.

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