Friday, February 29, 2008

Today's the day

During lunch today we were discussing the situations that could occur from being born on February 29th, like when would you celebrate your birthday? On March 1st, because you were born the day after February 28th? Or on February 28th because you were born the day before March 1st?

We also discussed people having twins, with one born on Feb. 29th, and one on March 1st. The consolation prize there is that the Feb. 29th twin gets to say he or she is the oldest (apparently that's important to twins).

What would really suck would be being born on the 29th, and your older twin being born on the 28th. Not only do you only get to celebrate your true birthday once every four years, but you're also the younger twin! I bet your older twin wouldn't let you forget that one.

What about twins being born on the cusp of a star sign. Imagine one twin being born on June 21st, and thus being a Gemini (rather appropriate for a twin), with their younger sibling being born a few minute later...on June 22nd, and being a Leo.

Or one twin being born on December 31st of one year, and the second twin born on January 1st of the next year.

The plus for these twins is at least they get their own birthday, right?

Or how about twins being born on each side of the cut-off date for school enrollment. So one twin starts school a year earlier. How fucked up would that be? You're twins, but you're in different grades at school. You're in grade 1 and your brother is in grade 2...but...but...but...you're twins?

What other bizarre situations could there be with twins being born on different days?

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Sometimes I surprise (& scare) myself.

While driving home tonight (in separate cars), Liz and I entered the freeway and began merging with the traffic. There being a lot of traffic I figured I'd just get off at the next off-ramp so I pulled back out into what looked like the exit lane and drove down it for a bit. However the exit lane ended long before the off-ramp so I was forced to merged back into the lane I'd just left. I saw Liz's SUV a couple of cars in front of me, and right behind her was a Honda Accord, or some kind of low profile, Japanese wannabe-sports cars favored by street racing Ricers who think they know how to drive.

As I got set to once again merge with the traffic the guy in the Accord (or whatever it was) threw down the gauntlet, and in the way of arsehole drivers the world over (and I am definitely not excluding myself from this group) practically kissed my wife's rear bumper. I kid you not, the guy got his car so close to my wife's car that if they'd been parked, you'd have had a tough time walking between them. My wife would be the first person to tell you that normally I'm a fairly laid-back, easy going guy, and that too often I let people take advantage of me...but I also have a malicious streak and in the case of arsehole drivers, who are very much a weakness of mine, I sometime give in to my urges and just can't help pissing them off.

In the case of our Rice Burner friend I accepted his challenge, and I pulled up alongside his car in a manner that definitely said "Let me IN!!!" To his credit RB did not back down. Then again, why would he? I drive a Ford Focus, hardly an intimidating GET THE FUCK OUTTA MY WAY!!! kind of vehicle, and RB obviously fancied himself as a Topgun driver or he wouldn't have been an arsehole about not wanting to let me in in the first place.

Now if he hadn't been a prick and tried to shut the gate on me in such a glaringly obvious way I might have just pulled in behind him...I might not, but I might have too. It's a moot point now, anyway :D

For several seconds the traffic edged forward and stopped, forward and stopped, forward and stopped, and RB and I sat side-by-side, neither of us refusing to back down. But what RB didn't know was that we were right behind my wife...and she's even more evil than I am >:)

My wife braked and came to a complete stop for a couple of seconds, then she quickly accelerated, opening up a large gap between her and RB. My reactions were a lot quicker and despite having a pitiful 4-cylinder engine (no, it's not the Z-Tec) my Focus leaped forward and into the gap and despite his best (worst?) intentions and aggressive driving, RB found himself behind me, and BOY! Was he mad! His highbeams went on and he started tooting his horn. Not beep-beep-beep, but one, looooong continuous
toooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo
oooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooot.

Now I've put a t on both the start and the finish of that toot, and that's not correct because RB never let off his horn. All the way down the freeway to the next exit lane he sat behind me with his high beams on and his horn blaring. It didn't bother me. I just flipped that tab on my rearview mirror, the one that changes the angle of your mirror and negates drivers behind you with really bright lights, then I turned my radio up. And I tapped my brakes a bit, even when it wasn't necessary, and I used my handbrake to come to an almost complete stop, which is really nasty because your handbrake doesn't engage your brake lights. I deliberately made RB's life hell. When a car in the lane next to me put on his indicator, I slowed down and let that guy in. Why wouldn't I? The guy was polite and used his indicator, and it's not like I needed to be behind my wife. I just wanted to get in front of RB because he didn't want me there.

Don't go getting on my case. RB deliberately tried to shut me out, then had a temper tantrum when I still got in. I agree, I deliberately escalated a case of Road Rage. You've got a problem with that? This is my Blog and the Internet's a big place; go find someone who cares.

Finally we got to the exit lane and I pulled into it and RB pulled out behind me. He probably thought I was going to do the same thing again, and he either wanted to get in behind me and flash me and tooooooooooooooot me some more, or he wanted to try and cut me off. But I just exited the Freeway like I'd planned to do all along and RB merged back into the traffic. While in the exit lane he passed the car that I'd let in before, which meant he cut in right behind my wife who'd been watching the whole thing in her rearview mirror.

My wife told me that as soon as RB got in behind her she promptly hit her brakes and RB, who'd been driving far too fast and aggressively, apparently almost ran up her arse.

Sometimes I surprise myself. I know I've got a mean streak but I didn't realize I could be such a complete bastard.

I've been in the other lane before. I've had people determined to muscle their way in front of me. Some people I let in, because I know they're coming in and there's no way I can stop them short of running them off the road. Other people think they're coming in but they're not aggressive enough and they back off and go behind. Other times people are very polite about wanting to come in. They make eye contact and use their indicators and I'm more than willing to let them in front of me.

It's like being a pedestrian in China. You make eye contact with the driver of the car and even though it's the norm in China for most pedestrians to yield to vehicles, yes, even in the crosswalk, many drivers would make eye contact with the big Kwai Lo and stop for me. But sometimes I'd make eye contact and it was me who stopped and let the car go through, because I could tell that this driver was quite willing to run me down if I crossed in front of him.

RB was a complete bastard. He saw my car coming down the merge lane and deliberately tried to shut me out. What he didn't realize was that this was one of those rare times where the other guy was not going to back down. RB threw down the gauntlet and I accepted the challenge, then he lost at his own game and had a temper tantrum. A classic case of Road Rage, yes, and a classic example of a sore loser, too.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Premades vs PUGs in the BGs

If you looked at that title and said "What???" you probably want to stop reading now :P

My Rogue is currently grinding Honor for two Gladiator swords and after two nights it's very obvious that by the time I have enough Honor to buy the Swords, I'm going to have Marks coming out of my ears. It seems to me it's a flaw in the system when I have enough Marks to make a purchase, but I'm still lacking in Honor. Part of the reason is the way Honor is awarded on the BGs, but it also comes down to the price of items being too high...or perhaps more correctly, the number of Marks needed is too low.

The Honor price of an item should be in proportion to the number of Marks required to buy it, which should be directly related to the Honor earned by the average losing player in a BG. Now before you fire up those Flamers, I am not advocating ZOMG! Welfare Epics! I'm prepared to work for my epic Blades, I just don't think I should have stacks of Marks by the time I have the Honor to buy my Epics, and I certainly shouldn't have stacks of them left over after buying my Epics, either.

Blizzard need to calculate the average amount of Honor earned by a player on the losing side of each battle, and use that to determine the Honor & Marks needed to purchase an item. So just for the sake of argument, let's say a player earns 100 Honor for losing one EOTS match, that means he has 100 Honor and 1 EOTS Mark. If he wants to buy a Sword that requires him to spend 10,000 Honor he should also be spending the equivalent in Marks, being 100, but that's never the case. In fact you rarely need more than 40 Marks to buy one item, and most can be bought for 20 Marks or less. Both of my desired swords cost 20 Marks each, but one requires 9,000 Honor and the other 18,000 Honor. I have 10 Marks but barely 2,000 Honor, so I have half the Marks but not even 1/4 of the Honor for the cheaper blade. A lot of that Honor came from doing several AVs in my 50s, so it's not like there's a slight discrepancy between Honor earned and Marks received; it's a huge difference.

As it currently stands it will probably take me close to a month of several BGs per night before I can buy one of my Blades, unless I get lucky and win a few BGs (and it happens, my PUG beat their PUG last night), or I join a Premade and increase my chances of winning. Considering how often our PUG loses to a Premade, I'm actually thinking of joining a Premade next time I see one being advertized. Then again, considering how geared up my Rogue is not, I might join a Premade only to get kicked out when someone better equipped comes along.

What I'll probably end up doing is running EOTS for the Marks and unless I get into a Premade, I'll then grind AV for both Honor and AV Marks, as I can turn AV Marks in for the quest and bonus Honor. And this is definitely a flaw in the system, when I have all the Marks I need but am forced to grind an unrelated BG to earn more Honor.

Part of the problem, as I said, is the price discrepancy between Honor & Marks, but part of the problem (despite my willingness to become part of the problem) is the Premades. Currently you enter a BG with several other people from various other servers and you inevitably face a Premade. Of course you don't know it's a Premade, at first, initially it's one or two players from the Premade who stick their heads in to determine if they're facing a PUG or another Premade. It's when they report back to their buddies and your opponents' roster suddenly fills up with players from the same realm that you know for sure it's a Premade...and there goes the neighborhood.

The simple solution to this, one which would be easy to implement and which would cause a lot of concern among the Premades, would be to change the way Premades enter the BG. If it's the Leader that Joins everyone as a Group, then when it's time for the Premade to enter the BG only the Leader should get the Enter prompt. Not one member of the Premade enters the BG until the Leader goes in, and then everyone enters all at once; no testing the waters before committing to the battle. This would not make a lot of people happy, because now they can't pick & choose their battles, but why should they be able to? This is PvP. This is WAR! You'll fight when you're told to, Soldier, and you'll fight whoever I tell you to! Now get out there and FIGHT!

Another solution, one that's already been implemented in the Arenas, is preventing players from seeing who their opponents are prior to the fight. If you bring up the Battle Chart it should show your own team mates and that's it. You should have no idea who's waiting for you on the other side of the battlefield...and doesn't everyone love surprises? This is supposed to be PvP! Why you should be able to pick and choose your battles?

The final solution would be to remove the Join as a Group option, but I don't hold with that. If a Guild wants to get together and do BGs as a team, they should be able to do that. What they shouldn't be able to do is handpick their opponents and the current BG system allows them to do just that, and that's a big problem.