What the Mel?! - Emerald City Comic Con Edition

While I'm no noob to PAX, I've never been to any other convention.  Friends have tried to drag me to others, but often it sounds like they go to these conventions to meet strangers, get drunk, and check out potential pieces of ass.  I don't like strangers much, I'd rather get drunk at home, and I can get laid at home. 
A few months back, though, when a friend sent me a Facebook message saying that the brothers from The Boondock Saints were going to be there, I knew I had to go, even as I denied that I would go. 
I didn't make the decision to go for sure until Friday, the first day of Comicon.  Of course, I was working, so I wasn't going to be able to actually go.  So I figured I'd go on Saturday.  I printed up all the info I'd need - map, schedules for photos, schedules for signings.  And of course, I couldn't go by myself.  So I told my daughter she'd get to go with me.  She was quite excited.  Actually, that's understating it.  When I called her from work and told her we were going to meet Felicia Day and Walter Bishop from Fringe, my phone emitted this high-pitched sound that, for a moment, I thought it was broken. 
So on Saturday I dropped my husband off for work, took some cash out of an ATM, and headed to downtown Seattle (about half-hour drive).  After parking and whatnot, we got into the convention at about 2pm.  We went straight to the photo op registration line.  The line moved kinda slow, and some douche tried cutting in front of me and my kid.  Luckily though, my kid is still quite small.  She knew what was up, and edged her way back in front of this guy that cut in front of us.  I realize it was just one guy, but it was the principle of the matter.  I wasn't gonna let douche just cut in front of me.  So we finally get to the front of that line and register for our photo ops.   Then it was time to get in line for the photo ops. 

Me and the brothers from Boondock Saints

Sean Patrick Flannery & Norman Reedus (Connor and Murphy McManus from The Boondock Saints)

 The photo op for Sean Patrick Flannery and Norman Reedus was at 3:00pm.  We probably got in line for it about 2:40pm after going through the registration line.  My daughter already said she wasn't interested in this photo op.  She's never watched the movie, so I'm not surprised.  As I'm watching the last few people in front of me get their picture taken, I noticed that they have different poses they do.  The last guy before me was put down on his knees, and the guys put their guns to the back of his head.  As I go to stand with them, Norm starts fucking off, twirling his gun, and nearly dropping it.  He says to me, "Oh man, I almost killed you."  And we joke around until the photographer is ready.  Both the guys were incredibly cool. 
Me, my daughter, and cast members of The Guild

Felicia Day, Amy Okuda, & Wil Wheaton (Codex, Tink, and Fawkes from The Guild)

 We get out of that line and immediately get into the next line, which is for The Guild.  Their photo op started at 3:30.  Luckily these photo op lines moved really quick once they got going.  We finally get our turn, and Felicia just starts adoring my daughter, which is pretty funny.  Amy was okay but you could kinda see bitch mode hanging back.  I know that Wil was looking to leave the convention right after the photo op, so he was quieter than I've seen him before.  So Felicia definitely made this one cool, although Amy was alright too.

Me, my daughter, and cast members from Fringe

John Noble & Jasika Nicole (Walter Bishop & Astrid Farnsworth from Fringe)

 Our last photo op of the day was at 4pm with a couple cast members from Fringe.  They were both very  cool.  I'm sure that it was Walter and not Walternate, simply because of how personable he was.  No, but seriously, they were both very nice people, and he was kinda like Walter, personality-wise.  Just a sweet old guy.  Astrid was sweet too.  And this photo came out the best of the three.  Kinda scary - it almost looks like a family photo.  Unfortunately, this was all we got to see of them and speak to them, as we didn't have time to hit their autograph line.  Perhaps another convention. 

Autographs & the Rest

 After that, we immediately went to hit the 4pm autograph line for The Guild.  And stood in that line for an hour, maybe a little more, before we finally got to the front.  Apparently a lot of people wanted to see Felicia Day.  As we got near the front, I was close enough to hear/see Amy Okuda rant to Felicia about something or other.  And then turn off the rant and turn on the big bright smile the second someone asked for their picture.  I got the feeling more and more that Amy is kinda like her character attitude-wise.  Felicia remembered my daughter, which was kind of funny, and she was again a sweetheart.  We started talking about the picture that I brought in to get autographed, and it occurred to her that perhaps she should bring in copies of that picture (since she has the original artwork) for people who might want it autographed. 
After that, we swung by the photo table to pick up the first couple that were ready.  I also came to realize that I was down to $40.  I tried to hit an ATM, but realized that I already took out my daily cash withdrawal limit.  Curses!  I still had Boondock Saints autographs to get!  I had brought both movies with me, but after about a 20 minute line, was only able to get my metal-cased special edition of the first movie autographed ($20 per signature, can you believe that?!).  Once again though, the guys were still totally cool.  Not cool enough to do autographs for free, but... eh what the hell.  I wanted to stay and try to chat, but my daughter was getting antsy, we were both already hungry, it was about 6:30 by this time, and we still had to go pick up our last picture.  We very nearly didn't even get it.  Not all the pics were ready.  Some guy had a final batch in his hands and told us ours wasn't in there.  So we had filled out some info to get our final pic mailed.  Then we go double check to make sure our pic wasn't in there, and sure enough, it was there.  Finally!  We grabbed the pic, headed for the parking garage, and made our way back down south. 
It was a long day of standing in lines, but we got to meet some cool celebs, see awesome costumes, and have some pics that will make for great memories.  My daughter, that evening, said to me, "This was one of the most epic days ever!"  Way to make a parent proud.  :) 
I'm just glad that PAX isn't nearly this bad for lines.  Or nearly expensive either.  Wil Wheaton didn't charge a dime last year for autographs or to take a pic with him.  Ah well, Guess I'll just have to be ready in case that changes.

What the Mel?! 02/28/11 Update

America's Got Talent, or apparently, Pacific Northwest's Got Weirdness 

 As I blogged last week, AGT made it clear they were looking for Weirdness in the Pacific Northwest.  So I wasn't surprised that I didn't receive a callback last week.  I'm okay with that.  And what's funny is, I saw this article on Yahoo News today all about people who had been rejected by American Idol, only to go on and be big, like one chick who won five grammies this year, but was turned down for AI twice. 

Late Valentine's Celebration 

So, we finally did our Valentine's Celebration this weekend.  On Saturday, my husband, my girlfriend, and I all piled into the car for a long day/night of fun-filled activities.  First, we went roller skating.  It was the first time in 15 years or more than any of us had been roller skating.  I still ache.  But none of us fell!  And we actually had fun.  Luckily, immediately afterwards, we had scheduled the hot tubs.  There is a local place that has private hot tub/sauna rooms that you can rent for an hour (or more).  This was a great follow-up to something that made our legs ache.  So we lounged around in the hot tubs for about an hour or so, totally enjoying that, before we went back home to change for dinner.  While my husband shaved and showered, us girls got ready and then had a couple "bitch shots" as we call them.  They're shots of Malibu, which is fairly week compared to normal shooting liquor.  But we hadn't had anything to eat all day.  And thank goodness we were going to eat because I was getting irritable from lack of food.   Our first stop though, before we left for dinner was at the grocery store so that we would have mixers for drinking later.  My husband offered to run in, which is unusual, but I figured it was because us girls were dressed up and in heels.  Little did we know it was because he was also going to pick up flowers for "each of the ladies in his life." 
We went to a place called the Pacific Grill.  The place looked fairly fancy.  The food was good, though my husband was fairly miffed about his wallet-sized fillet mignon and potatoes au gratin.  I had fried oysters and lobster tail w/spaghetti.  But, I will say that the dinner was a learning experience if nothing else.  We learned never to go there again for dinner probably.  A dinner for 3 ended up running us $177 dollars (before tip).  Craziness. 
The next destination was supposed to be the most entertaining, but unfortunately our guest was complaining of a headache and just wanted to go back to our place.  But the next destination was supposed to be Deja Vu Showgirls.  My husband and I have on several occasions throughout our relationship, gone to this gentlemen's club for part of our Valentine's celebration.  Might sound awful, but it's actually a lot of fun.  I end up getting most of the dances (and female dancers are more apt to allow female customers more freedom), and by the time we leave, I'm totally ready to go home and have a great time with the hubby.  He got a 45 minute blowjob once after we went.  So it's in both our interests :)   But, we didn't get to go this year.  Or at least, not for Valentines,' since our guest bitched out (she's been with us once and had a blast). 
So we went back home and played some Rock Band, had some drinks, that sorta thing.

Snow, Rain, and the Weekend 

Other than that... we've had snow on and off since last Wednesday.  Nothing more than a few inches total though.  It was all melted by yesterday, and the snow today was too wet to stick.  I felt like suuuuuch crap yesterday that I laid down on the couch most of the day, until some friends called us up to take us out to dinner at the Outback (which was nice).  I'm honestly not sure if it was the alcohol from Saturday, or something I ate on Saturday night... I'm not used to shellfish, so that's possible.  I played a lot of Fable 3 over the weekend and that was practically all I did.
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My Xbox 360 can blog


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Melcene's Xbox - Feb 28 2011

Like a queen on her throne, Melcene said 'awaken' and for her I did comply. 10,570 points represents the size of our growing kingdom. Ok, enough of this Monarchy stuff. That is an improvement of 50 points over last time! She opened up Fable III winning 1 achievement, and after that powered me down without even saying good night. I mean what the heck? BTW, that makes 20 days in a row! I think we can all agree that high-fives are in order. I think that qualifies us for a badge or something... whatever.. 

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The Road to Mel is Paved with Games - 2/22/11 Updated

2.22.11.  It's like binary.  But not. 
So, over the extended weekend I got to mess with a few things.

Dragon Age: Legends

I posted a thread on this earlier today.  Mostly on the disbelief that I'm playing such a thing.  That I want to continue playing such a thing.  Dragon Age: Legends is a Facebook app put out by EA/Bioware.  Now, I don't normally do these app things.  But from what I understand, in its general concept its pretty similar to many other Facebook games.  You play the game, spending energy as you do stuff in the game.  Energy recharges over real time.  Inviting other Facebook friends not only probably restores energy, but gives you other people to embark upon your journeys with.  All in all, the game looks lame, and plays fairly lame.  Except that when you're at work, it's better than nothing at all.  On the upside, there will be some ingame items opened up in Dragon Age 2 for people who play and complete specific tasks in DA:L.  It's something I'll mess with when i have nothing else peaking my interest, or I'm bored at work, but not something to sink a whole lot of time into, I don't think.

Rift:  Planes of Telara 

I had first seen something about this game at PAX Prime last year.  It sounded kinda interesting.  Although I had invites to the closed betas along the way, I hadn't had the time to sit down with the game until the open beta this weekend.  The game is certainly intriguing.   WoW killer?  Probably not.  Contender?  Possibly.
Female Dwarf Character Customization 

Character Creation

You begin, of course, with the character creation.  First, you choose your faction.    After choosing your faction, you next choose your base class.   On the side of There are the four base classes most people are familiar with:  Warrior, Cleric, Mage, and Rogue.  From there you customize your character's appearance.   The options for customizing your face and hair kind of reminded me of Rock Band.  The different faces had names to them, for example, there were "cute" and "oval" (I was making females, of course).  The colors for eyes and hair were done in a palette format, which does allow for a wider variety.  Overall, I was pleased with the character creation.  I wasn't wowed by it, but I wasn't really disappointed either.
Guardian Race/Gender Selection  

Factions and Races

Much like WoW, this isn't so much a good vs. evil, but both sides view the other as the bad guys.  While it isn't good vs. evil, one side is definitely more a lighter side, and the other definitely darker.  You can see this much in the characters themselves.  On the side of the Guardians (the light side) the races are Dwarf, High Elf, and Mathosian (human).  On the side of the Defiant, the races are Bahmi (humans), Eth (barbarians) and Kelari (dark elves).    
Class System

 We'll use Clerics as an example since that's mostly what I played around with.  Clerics are the healers of RPGs.  But in this game, my cleric may be completely different from your cleric.  While I may choose a cleric off the bat, what kind of cleric I become is molded along the way, as I choose my souls that I am attuned to.  As a cleric, I have the option to become attuned to the souls of the following subclasses:  Cabalist, Druid, Inquisitor, Justicar, Purifier, Sentinel, Shaman, Warden (I may be forgetting one or two).  Each soul, or subclass, has its own soul tree, or talent tree, and its own spells available to that soul.  By the time I was done with open beta (and I didn't get to spend much time with it) I had acquired the souls of the Justicar, Purifier, and Sentinel.  I would be the ultimate healer and smiter.  At least that was the plan.

User Interface

The initial UI will remind users very much of the base WoW UI, though the initial scale seems a little too large.  Something of note, is that this game allows for more UI customization without the use of a MOD than WoW ever has.  Its UI customization is much more like that of Warhammers, where you enter a mode that allows you to play with each element of the UI, even ones you may not see often.  You can move them, resize them, do whatever you like.  You may then save that profile and import it to other characters if you like. 

Starting the game

 The game immediately plops you into what feels like the middle of a war.  And ultimately, it is.  It's a war against these rifts that have opened up and allowed undead and demons and the like to enter the world.  Both factions are trying to put an end to this.  Of course, you'll get "kill x quests" and "retrieve x quests."  And you can skip through reading everything until you get to your first rift.  This section played very much like a Public Quest from Warhammer, although when I went through no one else was doing it at the same time.  But if that is the case, if they have taken, and improved upon public quests in some way, that would be a boon to this game.   
Other wise, from my limited amount of time, the game feels very much like most other MMOs that have come out in the last 6 or 7 years.  That's both a good thing and a bad thing.  The class system may be what sets this game apart.  But in all likelihood, like other games, this one will retain a small following.  I may end up picking it up at some point for something to mess with. We'll see.
One of the biggest problems is that Trion doesn't have the advertising power to make this game widely-known.  They'll have to rely on word of mouth. 

Fable 3 

I realize I'm slow on this train.  Fable 3 came out at the same time as a host of other great games, and prior to this weekend, I'd probably only sat down with the game for about half an hour or so.  However, over the weekend I got to put in some good quality time with it.   I'll say, I'm not completely decided on this game.  I must like it, because it does leave me with that sense that I have to get back to it, and continue working on whatever it was I was doing.  For me, that's a big thing with my RPGs and MMOs.  Does it draw me back? Does it leave me waiting in anticipation until the next time I can sit on my ass in front of my tv and play the game?  So far, Fable 3 has done just that. 
This blog is already long, so I'll try to make this section a bit shorter. 

Things I like about the game 

  •  The old world is there... just different.  I've gone through zones that it took a little while, but I end up recognizing the zone from the previous game, just under a different name.  Millfield is one of those.  Maybe it did have the same name previously.  It certainly didn't have all those posh houses.
  • Being able to see things before you buy them.  I love this, especially for the clothing and furniture.  I'm a sucker for nice furniture.
  • Being able to see how your relationships and real estate properties are doing from the world map.  Oh, my wife is happy?  Sweet, I won't go visit her right now.
  • Being able to see a list of quests from the game map for each zone.  This helps me prioritize what I'm doing, where I want to go, what I want to do next.  I really do like it.
  • The sanctuary.  While I also dislike the sanctuary in some ways, I love how I can go see how an outfit or tattoos or hair or makeup will look before I put them on.  This was a total no-brainer for me.  I was the person who downloaded mannequin mods back in Morrowind just to put all my armor on mannequins to look at.

Things I don't like about the game

  •  No health bar.  I have to listen for a heartbeat to know when I'm low on health.  Yes, I realize that if my health potion shows up on my D-pad, that means I'm starting to get low.  But that doesn't necessarily mean I need to use a potion yet.  I truly don't like games that are hopping on this bandwagon of no health bar.  And this heartbeat thing just isn't good enough.  At least CoD has blood splatters on your screen.  I need something visual.
  • No easy inventory.  If I want to look through my inventory, I go to the sanctuary, go to the appropriate room, press the appropriate triggers and bumpers... ugh. I think I would prefer to have that AND an inventory I can just scroll through.  This is especially a headache when you go to sell something at a store.
  • Housing upkeep.  I don't remember that from Fable 2.  And if my property falls to 0%, what happens?  Will my renters move out?  Does housing continue to degrade while you're offline?  I'd imagine so since you continue to accrue income while you're offline.
And now the work day is coming to a close, my brain is close to mush, and I can't think of much more.  I may update this tomorrow.  We'll see.  Tonight, I have demos to download:  Dragon Age 2 and Shogun 2. 

Dragon Age II Demo - PC

So I played the demo last night (yay!).  I didn't even finish it.  There were a LOT of cut scenes.  And I had Southland to watch. 
First, I have to say that often in games I am ready to skip right past the cut scene and get to the good stuff.  But like its predecessor, DA2 doesn't seem like it will let me down in making sure I have a reason to watch the cut scenes.  They're actually good.  They're not just some vague narration of good vs. evil.  The graphics look pretty good too, even though I was only able to put them to medium (high wasn't available?).   And we weren't able to mess with character creation... boo hiss. 
I was astounded right off the bat by the combat.  I went with a female mage (same as my original game).  I love that mages don't just point their staff and shoot it like a wand anymore.  The mage moves with the staff are just fricking awesome.  I am liking how the spells work too.  Cone effects seem to have larger cones now, which was needed.  I noticed that fireball and cone of cold no longer do friendly fire damage.  I wonder if this is just for demo purposes or if that will be a new thing in the game.  I also liked how my hotbar was very similar to before. 
I'm not sure if I like how the skill trees are done, or how dialogue is done.  Perhaps I would be better with dialogue if I knew what all the symbols meant. 
I did run across a big bug though.  I had paused my game last night, for a couple hours I admit, to go eat dinner and watch Southland.  When I came back to it, I unpaused and was able to pick up combat like I never left.  However, right after combat, the game completely froze up as Isabella began to talk about this damn relic.  Alt+tabbing didn't want to work well, and ending the task in the task manager even took a few minutes.  Not sure if there was some sort of mem leak while I had the game paused or what. 
Overall though, I like what I've seen so far and am definitely looking forward to the game.

What the Mel? - Audition Update

So Saturday was my audition for America's Got Talent.   
I've never auditioned for any of those shows before in my life.  I considered trying out for American Idol its first season, but was too pragmatic to consider taking a day off from work to stand in line for an opportunity that probably wouldn't present itself to me.  My husband convinced me to go for it with this one.  What do I have to lose? 
I performed "The World is Not Enough" by Garbage - the theme song to the Bond movie of the same name. 

 Everyone loves bank lines.  It's like playing a game of Snake.
I arrived at the audition place at about 7:15 am on Saturday, having been told that the doors wouldn't be opening till 8am.  The line outside was pretty short, which was surprising, and the door was also open.  I was inside within 10 minutes, after seeing dancers, a goth band, and lots of other singers.  Some dressed up, some were in jeans.  We were given our numbers at the door if we were auditioning.  I was number 60080287.  Once we got inside, we had to go through security, which was like going through security at a courthouse, or maybe an airport.  They checked like every compartment of my bag, and I got wanded down.  After that, we headed up to the second floor of the building, where I found out the "Holding Room" would be.  But before we could get into the holding room we had to turn in paperwork.  Of course there was a new line for that.  That line was very much like one of those bank lines that goes back and forth a few times.  Luckily the line was only down about halfway along the first row.  Later the first three rows of the line were full.
Based on the lines, I thought I was doing pretty good.  Until I went into the Holding Room.  It was a huge ballroom.  And it was already packed.  There were all types there.  Singers, dancers, variety acts, and instruments of every kind - some of which I couldn't even identify.  It was a cacophony of sounds.  But it was an interesting experience.  For most of my time, I ended up near a middle-aged black woman who was there to support (and sign for) her 15 year old son.  It was like watching a sitcom... she would beg her son to sit next to her, and he would say he wanted to sit with his friends and she should come join them.  She was a very nice lady though. 
The people from the show began calling out our numbers (by last three digits) in groups of about 50.  They started calling numbers about 8:30am.  My group was called just before 11:30am.  Then each group of 50 would get separated out - Singers were one huge group, and everyone else another.  From there, we headed to wait outside our audition rooms.   After a relatively short wait, we were called into the audition room 5 at a time.  Five of us, two producers.  I think I did okay.  I think I did sang well, sang strong.  The big question is, what it what they were looking for?  I'm starting to think that perhaps I'm not "wierd" enough.  Here was a quote I found in the paper from one of the shows producers: 

  Raff says the show's producers like to hold auditions in the Pacific Northwest because of the variety of talents here are a "good fit" for the show.   "We come back here because there just seems to be a great, diverse group of people," Raff said. "The Pacific Northwest, just in general, it's been great. People tend to embrace their weirdness a little bit."       Raff said he'd seen everything Saturday from jugglers, fire performers and a comedian with a robot to a bulldog that rides a rocking horse. "You just never know what you're going to find," he said. 

But we'll see what happens.  I'll find out by the end of the week.  Out of 2000 people, they're looking for about 100 to go on for next week's auditions in front of the actual show's judges. 

Updated 2/20/11

  All acts that are moving on in the competition will be notified by Friday February 25th. .  Only those acts that move on to the next round will be contacted.  We will update this blue box when all the calls have been made.

If you missed us in Seattle please  send in a video  of your act.

* Those acts moving on in the competition will need to be able to perform again in Seattle on March 2nd or 3rd .*

Infomation about the free tickets to be in the Seattle audience   is here .
And here's a video clip from a local news station that shows some of what I got to see on Saturday. 
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The Road To Mel is Paved with Games

So it's not quite Friday, but I expect I'll be kinda busy tomorrow.  So here's this week rundown on the games. 

Dragon Age:  Awakening, Witch Hunt, and console vs. PC

So I finished Awakening last weekend.  Overall, I was pretty satisfied with the expansion.  I had enough party members, that I had to pick and choose who came with.  I put a fair amount of hours into the thing, and still missed a couple side quests.  And of course, there's the whole my-world-will-get-imported-into-DA2.  Which made the decision to kill The Father a bitch of a decision.  I was truly torn on what to do, since it could have far-reaching repercussions on my next game.  But in the end, I killed him because (a) there are going to be darkspawn to kill either way, and (b) I wanted his loot.  Although it occurred to me later that all this awesome loot that I have, and all the money that I've acquired, I can't do anything with.  I wish I could at least import my character back into a new playthrough of Origins. 
Witch Hunt... I was disappoint.  What a bunch of crap.  I think it took me about two hours, and that was my usual take-my-time style of playing.  The ending didn't answer any questions, except to tell us that Flemeth isn't really dead.  But I want to know what happened to Alistair's kid.  And what Morrigan plans to do with said kid.  I wanted answers, damnit!   
So since I had been playing DA:A a bunch recently, my daughter decided she wanted to start up a Dragon Age game too.  I relegated her to the console version.  And a few times she has needed my help on particular quests or with certain fights.  It's really only served to strengthen my opinion that the PC version is far superior, especially for any sort of tactics.

Monster Rancher DS 

 Monster Rancher DS - Draw your monster in

 Monster Rancher DS - Speak your monster in
I got this for my husband this last week, but of course I get to hear lots about it.  If anyone was a fan of the first couple/few Monster Rancher games, they would enjoy this one.  It goes back to a lot of the original concepts of the series.  Of course, there's still the whole thing with getting, raising, and breeding monsters.  Instead of getting monsters from CDs, you either draw a picture onto their "magic field" or speak a word, and voila!  A monster is created.  Many of our favorite old monsters are back, like the suezo, monolith, and gali.  As before, you train your monster, take them to battles, or take them out exploring.  And now you can even battle with other people from around the world over wifi! 
I realize that the Monster Rancher series is, in general, very much like Pokemon (though it's older than Pokemon damnit!) but they are totally not the same.  My understanding is that Pokemon is very much a monster collecting game, while Monster Rancher is a breeding/raising game.  I dunno, personally I've never touched Pokemon and have no inclination to do so.  But overall, if someone is into those types of games, Monster Rancher DS is probably worth a shot. 
And that's it for this week really.  No idea yet what I'll be playing next week, though I expect the DA2 demo will be in there.  Also, probably the Rift open beta.

What The Mel?! - On Parenting and Friends

So I already kinda blog weekly, though it's not always video games.  I think my new non-gaming blogs will be What The Mel?! blogs.  I'll have another one for the gaming blogs.

MUAHAHA Parenting can be rewarding 

So, got my kid's first middle school report card this week.  All A's and B's except a C in PE.  We're somewhat tough parents.  Not nearly as tough as our parents were, but a lot tougher than it seems most parents are these days.  We called the school to find out about this C.  As I told the teacher, this wasn't a "How dare you give my child a C" call, but a "what is she doing wrong, and how do we fix it" call.  Actually the teacher was very pleased to receive such a call.  Mine was the first she's gotten so far this year, and she said she was starting to get concerned that the parents simply don't care anymore.  So we talk about my child and how she's doing in class.  Then the teacher lets me in on this GREAT innovation the school district has.  I can now look at my child's gradebook for any class at any time.  I don't just mean what her current grade is in the class, but her grades on homework, quizzes, tests, what assignments may be missing, etc.  Hell, I could even have the program email or text me whenever there's a missing assignment or her grade falls below whatever grade I designate.  No more waiting for the report card to come in to find out your kid screwed up.  Now you can keep up on it yourself!  I really am appreciative for a tool like this.  We'll see how my kid feels about it when I chat with her tonight haha.

 Why are women so stupid sometimes? 

Yeah, I know, ironic me saying something like that.  God knows I've done some of the same stuff.  But some of the stuff I see other chicks put up with, it's just like... really? 
So this came to mind after reading someone else's blog, because I can see the situation heading that way.  The whole losing a good friend because they're too busy with the piece of shit they're dating.
I love my best friend.  We've been really close at times, nearly as close as me and my husband.  She's with a new guy.  I've mentioned it in another blog.  Not so new anymore I guess.  I think they've been together for half a year.  Of course, being on the outside I can see things in him that either she doesn't see, or refuses to admit.   
But, something funny about us chicks, this is something I'm going to let you guys in on.   
We don't want to hear someone else talk trash about our guy, even if we're doing it.  If we're doing it, we just need to vent.  We still love the guy, he just pisses us off sometimes.  We do not want to hear from our friends that the guy is lazy, or a slob, or an asshole, or whatever.  Because then we get defensive. 
I've learned this the hard way, as I've told friends what I thought of the guy they're with... and lost friends over it, even though I turned out to be totally right. 
So Guys:  Take this piece of advice.  If a female friend starts bitching about her boyfriend, don't jump in with everything you think is wrong too.  Just nod and listen. 
Anyway, back to where I was going with all this.  I can see that within a few months, I'll end up losing contact with my best friend.  She has a date set to move in with this guy.  This guy that she's been with for half a year or less.  This guy that has kids from a prior marriage.  This guy that STILL FUCKS OTHER WOMEN.  Yep.  Oh, she knows about it.  In fact, one of these women has a "night of the week" with him.  Then his ex-wife and he still do things about once a month or so.  Other girls come around every so often.  And he's got my best friend convinced that he loves her and she just might be the one for him.  She's certainly not allowed to be sleeping with other men, but she's supposed to be okay with him and other women.  She's not terribly keen on this, but he somehow manages to smooth it over.   Not to mention that during the time she's been with him, he's sent ME a sexually explicit text message.  Oh, sure, she was pissed when she found out, but like everything else that he does to piss her off, it's easily forgotten within a day (probably with the help of some makeup sex).
Of course there are other problems with the guy.  He drinks way too much, and she's following in those footsteps.  She's gone from the social gathering drinking on some (not all)  weekends to the practically every night thing.  He's a total show-off, and not in a good way.  Example, my New Years Party.  He tries to show off to all the girls how he can roundhouse kick over his girlfriends head... and instead kicks her IN the head.  Way to go buddy.  But none of this stuff seems to matter to her.  She's just thrilled because he's attractive, he's good in bed, and he's a lot more responsible than her ex-boyfriend (meaning he has a job and place of his own, that's it).
As it is, weekend Rock Band get-togethers at our place don't seem to happen anymore.  We haven't had one since New Years, even though the invites were out there.  Our weekly girls' coffee nights got fucked long ago.  Our weekly dinners are all based on whether and when he's fucking his other chick that week (cause that's when my friend will come over to have dinner).    Now with her moving in with him... I have little doubt she'll end up dropping off the planet.  And giving her shit over it will only exasperate the issue. 
And what sucks about these sorts of situations (and this isn't the first time I've been in this position)... even after they come to realize the guy is a scumbag, they won't usually come back, because they're afraid of hearing I told you so.  In fact, she didn't even tell me about the place they're getting together.  She told my husband.  And when I talked to her I had to bring it up.  Of course, I wasn't a bitch about it.  I congratulated her on the good news.  She didn't really want to talk to me about it though, I could tell.  My husband heard more about it than I did. 
I guess I just needed to rant about this.  Over the years I've been happy when friends have found a great guy, and I've learned to keep my mouth shut when they find a piece of work that they think is a great guy.    Guess I'll just enjoy the friendship while it lasts.
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February Warcraft Blahs?

It never fails. 

Every February since the game first started doing holiday events, I end up missing out on the February event.  I don't have a single achievement from this event.  Why not?  Because I always end up being on a break from the game around this time of year.  I was so glad that this year would be different! 
Except it's not. 

I realized I haven't been on in about two weeks, and just don't really feel that drive to go play when I get home.  As it is I realize I'll have to get the drive just to log in and clean out my mailboxes so I don't lose anything.   
Why is it this happens EVERY year around this time?  Is there really something about the winter that gives me the Warcraft blahs?
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The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly

The Bad:  Yesterday I spent 7.5 hours working on my brother's computer.  It was shutting off on him and it sounded like a virus problem.  He tries to fix it, no luck.  He brings it over and I try all sorts of different fixes.  Ultimately I had to slave his hard drive to my computer to format it and I had to replace his power supply with an old one I had laying around.  The whole thing was such a mess though.  And took away from my Dragon Age-ing.   I told him he owes me big time.  He says he's broke and that I can have his first born child when he has one.  I think I'd rather have the cash :P 
The Ugly:  My brother-in-law calls shortly after I get home from work on Friday.  His babymomma has filed yet another restraining order against him and he has to appear in court Today to dispute it, which means he'll be coming across the state and possibly visiting with us.  Yay  (sarcasm).   Not in the mood to deal with in-laws. 

The Good:  Tell me.  Tell me everything.  I guess maybe this is good... More like sort of a dirty little secret.  Naughty secrets.  Years ago, nearly ten years ago, American Idol was in its first season.  Now I don't watch the show.  I watched maybe the first season or two.  But back then I was interested.  They were coming to Seattle for their first season.  And I had considered trying out.  I didn't, because the auditions were on a work day, and I couldn't justify to myself taking a day off work without pay just to go stand in line for something I didn't expect to really lead anywhere.  Ever since then my husband and others have sorta given me crap that I never tried.  I'll rip the secrets from your flesh.  Fast forward to Friday (that just passed).  I found out that America's Got Talent is going to be in my city.  Auditions will be less than 10 minutes from my house.... I think this time I gotta try for it.  All my friends and family (those that I have told anyway) are encouraging me.  So I'm gonna go for it.  I pre-registered for the auditions.  I'm still working on figuring out what song I'll sing.  Currently I'm considering the Unplugged version of Freak on a Leash feat. Amy Lee (doing Amy's part, of course).  I dunno.. we'll see.
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I spend too much time on GB.

First, I haven't even played WoW in days.  Since Saturday I think.  What does that have to do with my title?  I'm getting there. 
Secondly, my husband and my computers sit side by side like in this picture (this is an OOOOLD pic, but the desks are still the ones we use). 

So I had this dream last night that I was on my computer (I'm always on the left) playing WoW, and my husband was on his computer playing whatever he was playing.  And he looks over and asks who that was that just sent me a tell saying hey.  It was someone from GB who came and looked up my druid on my server.  I can't remember who at the moment, but... yeah that was just wierd. 
Definitely looks like I need some updated pics of our computer setup.  We moved everything to the basement a year or two ago, because it's much cooler there, and there's much more room than in the den.  We've also got some nice ambient lighting going.  It's pretty neat. 
So I finally started playing Dragon Age: Awakening last night.  I think I keep forgetting that it was an expansion, and not just DLC, because I keep expecting to fly through it, and wasn't really expecting a whole new party and everything.  I was definitely glad to see Oghren again, as he was one of my faves before, but I was even more happy to see Alistair.  Shut it.  I'll just stop right there.
Ahem.  But yeah I was saying.  Awakening.  I haven't gotten very far.  I cleared out the keep, the merchants have just set up shop, and I ran around taking everyone's quests.  I'm looking forward to playing through it though, and to playing through Witch Hunt.  I'm still not so sure I'm going to bother with Leliana's Song though.  She was okay for the possible girl/girl action but there's something about her that bugs me.  But I have a month to play through the content, and I look forward to DA2. 
One thing that bugged me about returning to Awakening is that I had forgotten that I'd downloaded some mods.  One of the mods was a respec mod.  Which was great... except that I kept forgetting that I had respec'd back when I last played, so I didn't have some of the spells I expected (like Stinging Swarm).  Also didn't help that I had respec'd based on what I was having all my other characters do in the other game.  Eh, maybe I"ll respec again. 
Anyone else know of some awesome mods?  I have the respec, storage chest, and Andraste's mage gear.  Think that's about it.
I'm not sure why I'm not so much in the mood for WoW anymore.  I think it's because I was pushing REAL hard on my druid there for a while.  That and the hubby has stopped playing.  I've been lucky to get him to play once with me in the last two weeks.  Ah well. 
Other than that, I am patiently (or not-so-patiently) awaiting the results of my application to law school.  And not-so-patiently waiting for my new glasses to come in so I can stop fucking with these contacts.  Taking a fricking half hour in the morning to put contacts on (and search for them when they magically hop off your finger) really is not a good way to start the day. 
Probably more to come as I recall my love for Dragon Age.