December 31st

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December 2nd

December 1st

It was a quiet day at work, which was nice.

I got the electrickery bill, and even with the solar panels we used 462KWh. Still, that's almost 100KWh less than last year, so I'm not too upset.

My new graphics card arrived, and obviously won't fit despite the eBay seller specifically mentioning my PC :o( So, it looks like that needs to go back, and I need to start looking for maybe an 8600GT. Bummer, dude.

I played a fair bit of World of Warcraft, finishing up some Outlands quests and heading to Northrend with my warrior. I managed to get to level 71, despite needing over 1,500,000 XP to do so, so maybe this won't suck too hard.

It was quiet at work again, so when Vince and Larry called for lunch, I took the DRZ out for a spin. We sat and watched the fog roll back in so it could bugger up a quiet evening.

After a quiet day at work, I played a little World of Warcraft, trying to get some of the older quests out of the way with my warrior. I managed to get almost 200,000 XP doing the Sunstrider dailies, so that's nice to know.

We waited until the evening to dose Tilly with some Benadryl, "in case she falls asleep - we don't want her waking up at 9pm". Right. She bounced around like a mad thing until we went to bed, then bounced around like a mad thing until we were going to sleep anyway. And then fixed us with a beady eye whenever we moved or anything. I don't think that's going to help get her nails cut :o)

We did more or less nothing today - Vic went out to get some art supplies, so I watched some TV, played a little World of Warcraft, taking my druid into Northrend for a looksee, and getting my warrior respecced. I also rolled a death kniggit, and we'll see if I play her much. They start at level 55, so they're not too much work to get going :o)

I helped Fred share his printer on his network since we replaced one of his PCs, and Jim get sound out of his new Blu-Ray player. In the evening, we got to eat dinner at Fred and Marsha's, and watch the DVD of their cruise that I'd run off 3 copies of for them :o)

Tilly had her yearly checkup, so they gave her a bunch of shots and stamped her for another year. We talked about cutting her claws (she hates it), and they suggested Benadryl - funnily enough, Vic and I had been talking and figured we should ask the vet about using Benadryl to calm her down so we can cut her claws. It's on the shopping list.

Other than watching some TV, I spent most of the day on and off in World of Warcraft on a mission and finally getting my druid to level 70 :o) I'll probably take my warrior or warlock to Northrend first, as they have a full rested bonus, unlike my druid.

I got to work today, and spent a lot of time twiddling my thumbs or going through the forums dealing with the freetards. Freetards can be annoying, as they'll often complain about the free support for the software they haven't paid for being too slow. It's pretty hard not to become abusive at times, and I'm always tempted to use an anonymising proxy to post what I really feel to some of the miserable human beings.

There was a storm outside, and I woke up at about midnight because of it. After trying unsuccessfully to get back to sleep, I finally got up at about 1am, and ended up playing World of Warcraft for a couple of hours, getting my druid up to level 69. And finishing the worst part of the Nesingwary quests in Nagrand, now I just need to find a decent pick up group to finish up the group quests there.

I did, however, discover that the anemometer on the weather station isn't updating. I'm thinking that the back up batteries need replacing, still, they've lasted a couple of years. I'll look into doing that when the roof isn't wet and slippery.

I left the computer installing Wrath of the Lich King and downloading the associated 400Mb of patches, but I haven't bothered going to Northrend yet.

I cooked a couple of big chunks of turkey for dinner, without setting the kitchen on fire. I don't know, it's hardly Xmas without the smoke alarms going off :o) Vince came over and ate dinner with us, and then we sat up chatting until we ran out of beer.

Wrath of the Lich King finally arrived, and I broke down and ordered a new graphics card, a 9500GT with just 256Mb of memory, but it's the ultra-fast GDDR3, so it should get me a lot more fps in World of Warcraft and Vista.

Also, our Xmas package arrived from the parents. Tilly got a Santa bandana / collar doohickey, which she doesn't like.

I played a little World of Warcraft, and having found a decent pick up group, got my druid up to level 68. Flight Form is especially cool.

John left reasonably early for San Rafael, and I got on with the messy business of working. At least Tilly didn't bark at him this morning :o)

Happy winter solstice. Today's the first day of official winter here, and it was raining all day. John and I kicked around the house for a while, played World of Warcraft and Snoopy vs. the Red Baron before heading over to the airfield so he could see the Rans. We also stopped in at Rocklin Harley Davidson so he could look at the Fat Bob. Whatever. The thing weighs twice what the DRZ weighs, so they're not kidding when they say Fat, are they?

We hooked my laptop up to the TV and played a little Warcraft in the evening before heading out to dinner.

John was due in today, and it wasn't raining, so I cleared the leaves out of the flower beds in the front garden. I also spent a time tweaking the graphics settings in World of Warcraft, so I could play at around 15fps. I got my druid up to level 67, despite getting my arse handed to me several times.

John's flight was delayed, meaning he didn't get in until almost 11pm. When he did, Tilly barked at him for a while. Stupid dog.

Since advertising junk on Craigslist, I managed to sell some old speakers, and my old printer. Great, less junk, and more money. Well, not much more, but I didn't have to throw it into a landfill, which makes me happy :o)

I've been trying to get World of Warcraft to play decently on my PC since the upgrade to Vista, and stumbled on the Windows Experience Index. The numbers for the gaming graphics seem very low to me, and a looksee at the other systems in the house agrees with me:

Look at the gaming graphics scores - I was under the impression that the 7300 and 8400 were in the same league, and that the 8400M would be slower due to being a mobile card, and having less memory. I was also under the impression that the integrated graphics cards sucked out loud. Well, it just goes to show what I know, doesn't it?

"Aha" I hear you say, "You run that monster monitor, that must be it". Nope, I set that to 1280x800 (the same as Vic's laptop, and lower than my work laptop running 2x 1280x1024) and it didn't change.

Looking around on the internets, it seems that this is the expected score for the 7300GS - Nvidia's Vista drivers suck. Maybe I'll revert to the integrated card. More likely, I'll take the money from my recent junk sales and put it towards a new graphics card in the hopes that that'll help out. I have to do something, as I can't play Warcraft at 7fps when I'm getting almost 30fps on my work laptop :o( Still, I had been thinking about getting faster memory and maybe even a faster percollator, but I don't seem to need it.

I've decided to try and get rid of some of the junk that's been cluttering up my office cupboard, so to this end I've advertised a bunch of stuff on Craigslist. I was going out to swap my old PDA (that Vista doesn't support) for some ca$h when Vince and Larry called to go to lunch. Despite it being windy and in the 40s, I took the DRZ and got everything done. I was happy to get home though :o)

Well, when the green waste truck picked up our bin, only half the leaves fell out. So I poked around to free the remainders up, threw in some more leaves and dragged it over the road to Fred and Marsha's. They're out of town, so the bin got emptied again, and this time was pretty much empty. Outstanding.

I spent a little time in World of Warcraft, and got my druid up to level 66. I'm heading into Blade's Edge, rather than Nagrand and Shadowmoon, so hopefully I'll get a bunch of new quests. Here's hoping there'll be less grinding involved.

I received a new memory card reader I'd ordered, and pulled my PC apart to fit it. The old one doesn't support SDHC, which I've started getting for the cameras. This means I've had to pull stuff over the network from my laptop from the video camera and suchlike. I could use the reader on the printer, but that would be at best 100Mb/s, rather than the 480Mb/s that USB 2.0 supports. Of course, the cards can't support anything like that, but it makes me feel like it's faster, so leave me alone, OK?

As it's the green waste pickup tomorrow, I went out at lunch and jammed as many leaves as I can from the recent windy weather into the bin. I think the neighbours who were around found it funny to see me jumping in the bin, but hey, the leaves all fit, right?

In the evening we went to Vic's SPCA Xmas do - dinner followed by a round of bowling. I think I scored about 50 - that's good, right?

Gwen and Vic went shopping, and came back with a new toy for Tilly - basically a rubber tube with ropes running through it. It was marked as "for energetic chewers", but Tilly soon chewed the knots off the ropes, pulled them out and destroyed them, then reduced the rubber tube to a pile of rubber fragments. All in under an hour. If only I could get her to use her powers for good, we could solve global warming, cure cancer or maybe even fix the economy. Oh well.

I broke down and ordered Wrath of the Lich King, if I still don't like World of Warcraft, I can look at selling off my account :o)

After work, we watched The Constant Gardener, which Tilly found incredibly boring, as there weren't any animals.

After getting paged at 5am, I spent the day tinkering around with stuff, but not actually getting much done. I picked up some stuff I need for various projects, so I'll have to make a start on some of those at some point, eh?

As I've thrown away a lot of wreckage recently, we picked up a couple of new toys for Tilly - a knotted rope that's already lost 1 of 4 knots, and another Xtreem Kong toy that'll probably last a month.

In the evening, we watched Prince Caspian. Tilly enjoyed this, too.

Vince brought over his uncommunicative laptop, and I removed all the crapware, including Norton and Symantec, then installed AVG, Ad-Aware and Spybot. A run of those while we went to lunch found and fixed a crapload of problems, and I deleted the proxy configuration that something had set up. Everything then worked fine, and we sent him on his way :o)

In the evening, we watched The Lion, Witch and the Wardrobe, which we all, especially Tilly, enjoyed.

I spent a little time in World of Warcraft, and got my druid up to level 65. It's still a lot of grinding, but that's Warcraft at the moment.

I met a guy in the car park of Fry's to sell him my telescope I never use. There's too much light pollution at home, and it's too big to take camping. I'll see about maybe getting a smaller telescope at some point in the future, but it's nice to have some more space in the house, and something else I don't have to dust occasionally.

I met Scott for lunch - it's a while since I've seen him, so this was nice.

I finally figured out my IIS problem - it was down to the screwy permissions setup that Vista uses - I gave up trying to get it to work under my user folder, and everything's just fine, thanks.

As my work laptop, and Vic's laptop both run Vista, I decided to update my old desktop machine. That went fairly well, but I'm having a crapload of fun trying to get IIS running with PHP, which I use to create the magical bounty you're reading right now. As I haven't got it working yet, I can't test anything, so I can't do anything exciting on the web site. Lucky I don't have to do anything exciting until the end of the month, when I need to roll it all over to 2009 :o)

In the evening, we set out to watch a differently scratched copy of I Am Legend, and despite a few jumps, managed to see it through to the end. Tilly enjoyed it, especially the parts with Sam the dog.

We started out watching a rented copy of I Am Legend until the picture or sound would disappear, and chapters started repeating themselves at random. So that went back.

It's still too foggy to do much, so we stayed in and sodded around in the house. I've decided to try and sell some old stuff on Craigslist, so I spent a little time getting pictures taken, and setting up the adverts. I doubt anybody wants my old scanner or printer, but hey, if they get out of the house without me having to throw them away, I'll be happy.

I spent a little time in World of Warcraft, and got my druid up to level 64. I'm not totally convinced that I'll get sucked into playing it for long periods again, but the reviews of Wrath of the Lich King make it sound like it's a lot less mindless grinding. Hmm... we'll see.

In the evening, we went out for pizza with Vince, then back to the house so Tilly could bark at him, and we could watch Hancock.

It started out cold and foggy here, so I decided to rake up the leaves in the front garden. Obviously a few hours later, they'd all been replaced, but that's life.

I've bought a 60 day World of Warcraft subscription card, so I plugged that in and downloaded the latest patch. Now I just need to figure out the talent setups I want, as that's all been reset since I last played.

I've also recently bought a little gas cartridge powered heater for the van, so I took out the battery and put in a couple of mounting screws to hold that in place behind the passenger seat when it's not being used. And maybe when it is being used - we'll see. I have a few other ideas that I'd like to work on so we can camp later in the year without having Tilly in bed with us, but she does seem to like the sleeping bag I got her.

While I was out there, I moved the parking sensor thingy so that it lines up with the new location of the Subaru. Of course, I lined it up with the driver's side, forgetting that the big problem is reversing in when we're all packed up to go hang gliding, so we'll see if I need to move it again.

Talking of the van, I shipped out my old lower grille to a guy on the van list who's smashed up the front of his van in an accident. That's something out of the garage, at the very least.

There was an open house at the SPCA, so I trucked on over there to show support. It's still foggy, which is starting to get depressing.

I got my electrickery bill, and mainly due to shorter days, and a fair amount of fog, we used 225KWh from the grid. Still, that's less than half of last year's usage, so I'm still happy to have the solar panels.

Having spoken to Rich, Vic's hang gliding instructor, I uploaded her video to Vimeo - they compress it less.

While Tilly could sleep all day to get over hang gliding yesterday, I had to get out of bed and go and earn a crust.

In the evening, I fiddled with the pictures I'd taken, and the videos that Vic had shot with the solid state camera and came up with this. It looks better as a 230Mb file that YouTube hasn't compressed, but for a first effort, I think it's pretty decent.