November 29, 2006

Mi Familee

For a time Tina and I were abandoned by our parents.

My family started an Exodus starting with my brother and no. 3 sister. My folks followed sometime later leaving me stranded in OC. Long before I met Tina, her elder sister had moved north. Her folks moved up to British Columbia, being Canadian it made sense.

So Tina and I spent some time in LA and OC before pulling up the tent stakes and moving north. We found a life in the pacific north west in a little city. Its about an hour from my nearest relative, so family get togethers with my side of the gene pool is frequent and annual.

Thanksgiving is our biggest get together. We have had over 40 relatives and friends at any given time. It's always great to see people and great to catch up or just have a laugh and good food together. It's important for me to know where my family has been and were its going. There are tid bits of information gleened from these outtings that make for a much better relationship with myself and the world. I deeper understanding, because like it or not something about the way we are assembled and the way our family members are built echo's why we are what we are.

I love my family quite a lot. We get along quite well and even the few moments of tension or just sibling rivalry always give way to laughter and genuine affection.

All in all my Folks did good. Great Parents, Amazing people. They raised five kids who are all upstanding adults with great families of thier own.

Going to family gatherings or just visiting with with them is the definition of a Great Time!

November 22, 2006

Meetings (a series)

Ronn of the Ronn show and I met sometime in Junior High School... I think... Or early in High school. The problem with my remembery is someone is insinuated early on and then they grow into recognician. So I knew Ronn in perifery and later it defined itself into a friendship.

In high school Ronn and I were in Swimming and Water Polo. Between classes and during lunch we would hang out. We mutually enjoyed the morning radio jocks Lhoman and Barkley. and the Marx brothers.

Ronn, like most of the guys I knew, would talk about the various hobbies he had and I held a goodly amount of belief I was being taken for a ride. I later found out that like the Eagle scout he was\is honesty was his virtue.

He raced moterbikes and was constantly rebuilding his. He taught himself rock guitar even gave lessons. Later he decided to become a chef, and he did. At one point he fancied himself a stand up comic and headed up to the LA clubs. I guess describing him as a 'do-er' is accurate.

Most of my HS life was based in and around Chior and 'hanging out' with the tech crew for the plays. My post HS life was based in and around my Church Youth group. Ronn was in and around for all of that.

At some point Ronn vanished off my radar. Only to be reconnected via Shoo and the blogs. I missed out on him joining the military and flying Helicopters. Thats Ronn for you. Seeing an oppertunity and going for it.

I do have a defining moment in my life that Ronn was directly involved in. I had a perchant to take myself way to seriously. I had a fear of being laughed at or doing something foolish infront of others. I would respond in anger.

One day we were hanging out at the high school near the Chior room and Ron was goofing around on a bike. He tried a move that ended up with him on his back. Some of the folks around me started laughing at him and immediatly I got mad that they would respond like that.

Before I could say or do anything I noticed that Ronn was laying there laughing at himself. In joining in the situation had filp flopped and the group was now 'laughing with him'. This diffused my anger and caused an epiphany. If I could just loosen up and see the difference between my being a fool and acting foolish, it would cause a lot less angst.

Ronn and I actually had quite a few adventures. I learned to Ski with Ronn. We were the cooks for a snow outting for the Youth Group. We had to figure out how to quickly defrost Turkeys. (I still have to find those pictures...

If anything I wish I would have adopted his follow through more then I did. Taken a few more chances.

Nice to be in contact again.

November 21, 2006

WoWing and Tanking

**MMORPG Geek Zone ahead (you have been warned)

So my gang has transitioned to World of Warcraft and its been quite a hoot. Very different environment from City of Heroes. We have a goodly variety of characters and we are all adapting to the learning curve.

The nice thing about all MMORPG's is the similarity. Once you are familier with the basics the new stuff tends to fall in line quickly.

As the teams Tank I am working from a very different mindset then my previous soloing warrior. As such reaching level 10 and getting defense stance and attacking for agro over damage requires a paradigm shift. Last night, for instance, I had logged into teamspeak and found out that Rob of the California Georges and his son were online levelling Robs mage to 10.

I hear this:
[Rob]>-- Here comes another one.

[Son]>-- Run!

[Rob]>-- okay.... shoot!

[Son]>-- Oh man, Dad, I am So Sorry

[Rob]>-- I'll start running back

[Son]>-- Whew, just made it

[Rob]>-- There were too many

[Son]>-- You have to stay back and not agro so much.

[Rob]>-- Okay, Im back.

[Son]>-- RUN DAD!

At this point I opted to help out and when I arrived I was able to keep most of the agro. I think it sped up things. Not being there before, I really cannot say. At least another player did add to the 'Kill X number' quest. And no one died. That is what a tank revels in.

To be a Tank you need alot of armor. So you need a shield.
You need to keep the Agro (or the Anger of the thing you are fighting so it stays focused on you)
Finally you need to protect the Healer and other Squishies.

I think I am going to need to get a ranged weapon to pull mobs. Probably a Gun, cuz Entrails can make me shot.

You know a game is well thought out when you can have two characters with the exact same class and still have a wide variety of play with that character.

No Wonder its the World of Warcrack...

November 20, 2006

OS recollections

One advantage about walking to work is your mind can wander about the wonders around. This AM my grey matter landed on the lauded Windows Vista release.

Microsoft (MS) rules the PC world. As such they charge a premium for thier product and they know it will be widely purchased and implimented. When your selling a bunch of ones and zeros you have to bring new things to market to sustain payroll and investments.

This lesson took awhile and many Operating systems (OS's) fell to the side of the road. Todays blog is about those pioneers.

CP\M (Control Program for Microcomputers). This OS was poised for greatness and in hindsite would have halted Microsoft from being the jaggernaut it is today. But, they freaked out about being linked to IBM and opened the door for MS-DOS.

Timex OS, Atari OS, Texas Instrament OS. <-> these probably ran CP/M or something. I just know that they were early computer systems (among many, many) that also fell to the wayside.

Commador and Amiga OS. These were innovative and lasted much longer then the others. Amiga really did some amazing things for the time and place.

IBM and MS worked together on OS/2 MS bailed later and IBM lost it touch when it went for the Microchannel and the industry went with EIDE (its hardware on the motherboards) The industry went on to not support either and went with PCI instead.

OS/2 became IBMs OS/2 warp.

CP/M became DR-DOS and was later bought by Novell in an attempt to be an alternative to MicroSoft. They may have succeeded if they had been more cut-throat and gotten pre-loaded contracts.

now we have Windows Vista which is really snazzy looking with lots of really cool funtions. Stable? lets hope, secure? lets hope.

You may note that I left Mac OS out. It and arguably Linux are the only other OS's out there offering an alternative. Even Mac has bowed to Windows, seeing as how thier current advertisements are showing you can buy a Mac and use windows on it...

Personally, I would like to see more alternatives out there. OS/2 Warp open source. If I was setting up a new office environment I would strongly look at getting Linux and Open Office over Microsoft. You could use a lower cost machine compared to Vista.

Its an interesting thought. Larry Ellison is making some rumblings in that direction as well.

November 16, 2006

WoW - The Undercity

**warning MMORPG geek zone ahead**

With my old gang I am playing a Warrior in WOW. Its a big hulking Man-Cow named Tuuk. My role will be that of a Tank. In otherwords, I will engage the enemy and keep their attention while the healer keeps me alive and the others dispatch the intended victim.

If done correctly a Tank is the only one needing healing as all the bad guys focus on him. Getting that kind of attention or aggro is done by a number of methods. Taunting or attacks that 'anger' the creatures AI.

This being the case Tuuk will need to use a shield and sword (Board and Stick in wow terms). Your average Tauren Warrior has two handed mace skills. So I needed to find someone to train him. After getting lost in Ogrimar (capital city of the Orcs) I finally Guided him to the weapon masters. None of which offered one handed weapon training. They did point me to the Undercity, which is the capital city of the Undead (who are allied with the Tauren).

As luck would have it there is a Zepplin that goes right to that location. Unfortunatly they do not provide railings and as the blimp emerged from the malstrom fog over the undead lands, I had Tuuk take an errant step and he did a faceplant from about 100 feet up.

..Dead splat..

In WoW when your Avatar dies he\she becomes a ghost and has to preambulate back to the location of the body. There are other options but they can have nasty results that I wished to avoid.

So Tuuks non-corpreal self trucked it back to his corpse and revived. Now to figure out where the heck he was. The map uses a technique called 'the fog of war' in which only shows places you have been. This being Tuuks first excursion to this gloomy place the map was about as useful as a political promise. I found a road and picked a direction. Soon I came across a signpost and a town of undead called Brill. The undercity was just a bit further.


I made it to some castle ruins, I was a bit dissaponted... and premature.. turns out the Undercity is a true 'Undercity' it is massive creepy and oh so full of eye candy!

In the best tradition of horror films! Fun!!

November 15, 2006

Too fast!

I have experienced a rush of time passing as of late. My new sched is four, Ten hour days with a fifth day of four hours Overtime. The longer day at work hasnt phased me that much. This Friday will have me comming home around 11:00AM. Unless they cancel the OT.

The evening is now compressed much more. Lots to do and little time. Add to that the typical bussiness of life with two teens and Connor and I either seem to be missing things I shouldnt or I feel more of a passenger then the driver.

Its probably just a perception thing. I dunno. One of the casualties as of late has been date nite. After our meeting on Thursdays we were going to check out various eateries and just having a nice time the two of us.

I think we have been having Diana take over for Connor more then she should have to as well.

All in all I am looking towards Friday afternoon to decompress and get a handle on things.

November 13, 2006


I am a gamer. I like to game. What I enjoy most about games is the interaction with people. The Gamer group I enjoy interacting the most with is my wife Tina and boyhood buddies Shoo and Rob of the Family George (see links to the right) .

The games go back to Imaginary play with Tinkertoys, Lincoln Logs and Legos etc. Paper and Pencil games followed D&D, AD&D (yes there is a difference), Paranoia, Gurps, Star Wars, Traveller, Phoenix Command etc.

Nowadays due to time and distance (Shoo and Robert live miles from each other in West coast traffic), we play MMOPRGs online. Last night we started up World of Warcraft (WoW)

We opted for Hoard and added Robs son and Shoo's Brother into the mix. The first night was fun and mostly around getting everyone online and in the same area around the same level. next up is trying some quests. Hopefully some real bad ass stuff.

We played City of Heroes and the great thing is we tend to know and trust each others gameplay abilities. Its good to know someone has your back. Periodically we would have a straggler join our group only to be freaked out at the level of the bad guys we were fighting. Only to find out we were more then capable of kicking butt.

I expect this trend to continue in WoW. There is a place called WarSong Gulch that I really cannot wait to try out with this band.

So if your ever in Azeroth and find yourself in Warsong and getting your Alliance corpse pwnd. Betcha its us...

November 03, 2006


At work one of our motto's is 'live with ambiguity'. Sometimes its very irksome, othertimes sublime.

For along time I was on the 'Sales Outbound and Resolution team' (SOAR). This means I would call back potential sales and call back 'customer satisfaction' issues. I was a fixer, I fixed things. In this particular position I shined. Mostly because I was unafraid to break ouside of the box and look for solutions.

This particular program has just gone full circle and I got off the merry-go-round. It used to be that every sales team had a SOAR sitting with them. This became problematic because of misuse by managers and a general feeling of disassociation by the SOAR. A backup for sick days and being overwhelmed was also an issue.

They made some changes and pulled everyone into one Team with one manager. This worked out very well. One team on the floor was making 10% of the comissioned sales and dealing with customer issues that a typical salesperson would be lost doing.

Quantifying this was difficult, sales were put under the original sales reps name. They came up with a few different methods to track SOAR but all were pretty easy to fudge. They also worked to set up some kind of compensation based upon preformance. Then tweaked it every month since.

Due to head count changes the team got smaller and a 'new idea' sprung up that took the SOAR team down to about 1/4 of its original size. Still we did over 10% of the floors sales.

They put in a call back extension that people could call direct into our team and that really did work out nicely. Well as of tomarrow all that changes and each team is going to have a SOAR sitting with them. But, only the new teams. The 'seasoned' people are going to be calling back customers and handling satisfaction issues. With very little to no training on how to do this.

As for me I am going to be a Sales Retention Specialist trying to stop returns from happening. Wish me luck.