The Gray Place


Posted in Uncategorized by mrfenris on February 14, 2011

One year later and it’s my 100th and last post.  That worked out perfectly.

I can’t post at work anymore.  Well I could but I’d be in violation of the newly revised and enforced City policy and I tend to need my job.  In addition to that I also feel a certain responsibility not to spend government time on my personal interests.  Yes the fact that I was one of the handful of people who got a direct promotion helped in that.

Lead by example and all that.

I could post from home of course but that would require setting aside my precious time and some effort on my part.  Any extra time I get to myself I tend to use washing dishes, making tomorrows lunches, and if I’m lucky playing some video games.  (and if I’m really lucky, I get to give my wife the best two minutes of her day.)

So lets actually use this last post to accomplish something.  (Originally I was going to write Lesbian porn dialogue for my 100th post.)  Skip ahead as interest allows.

“Sometimes I think it’s a shame
When I get feelin’ better when I’m feelin’ no pain”  – Gordon Lightfoot

World of Warcraft-
Is a great game.  I am not a jaded WoW vet (are you Vanilla pricks giving us TBC babies vet status yet?).  I think many people’s issues with WoW is how they approach the game.  I do not have time for all the theory-crafting, strategy, class study, and number crunching I used to.  This is a “me” problem.  Instead I’ve got enough time to log in, maybe run a Heroic dungeon or two, plink away on my Goblin Protection Warrior alt, and BS with some friends over Mumble.  Maybe next month I can start raiding again and see some of the new end game content months after other people have finished it.

I am okay with that.  I don’t pretend to be a pro player on a pro server.  I want to be a good player, who has fun playing the game.  I don’t mind paying my dues and putting the time in to down an encounter with 9/24 other people.  I will never be the kind of player that “demands” Blizzard nerfs the content to make it more accessible to me, however I will use any welfare gear and “Elemental Radiance” buff they give me.

I plan on continuing on with my healing Priest and my Warrior tank all through Cataclysm and maybe into whatever comes next.

“It’s not so much the things you say, love
It’s what you don’t say I’m afraid of…..” -Neil Diamond

It is naturally a weird thing because it’s done by people and when you get down to it people are weird little creatures.  I am happy that I started tittying and I’m equally happy that I am stopping it.  All things do end.  The titty evolved from a strange little journal towards a more focused and strategy centered site.  It had some great potential.

The main thing I always wanted to be is honest.  My good parts, my bad parts, my smart parts, and my stupid-ass parts.  I just wanted to be honest.  I think by and large I did that (unless I’m lying right now).

In my opinion there’s a lot of bullshit floating around in (ugh I hate this word…) Blogosphere.  It’s filled with ego, insecurity, and disingenuous.  There are some titties that when I read them I just shake my head because it’s so obvious the author is just playing to their readers trying to provoke a response or being willfully ignorant for the sake of attention.  I never wanted to do that.  I was once told to “never write down to your readers”.  I know it’s a fairly common quote, but I always tried to just talk to people like I would in real life.

One of my favorite things I started doing with this titty is adding the song lyrics.  It’s based off my secret desire to be a Disc Jockey.  I would love to have my own evening show where I can BS for 2-4 minutes and spin some tunes.  Its odd sometimes the songs I’d pick wouldn’t seem to fit what I was talking about at all, but if you read into their lyrics you could apply them perfectly to what I was talking about.

And that’s my underlying philosophy about the EVERYTHING.  Even the “broken” bits are perfect when held in context to their opposites.  It is that which cannot be explained only felt.

“Oh, yeah, you wreck me, baby
You break me in two
But you move me, honey
Yes, you do” – Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers

The Real Life-
This info dump is just for my friends and the people who would be friends if our paths crossed in the real world.  Most of you know I disappear from sight every few years and won’t be seen for a year or two.  That’s my thing.  I exist in “bursts”.  I still think it’s habitually from all the time we spent moving as a kid.

So since I feel a hibernation coming on, here’s a State of the Real Life address for you select few.

The kids are great.  They teach me all sorts of wonderful and horrible things about myself.  Son #1 is learning such life lessons as flanking, assaulting fixed objectives, and the difference between controlled burst and covering fire.  Hey I’m not kidding, these things have a direct application when applied to real world social or work situations.  He is a very kind, but quiet boy, who at times is disturbingly able to turn off his emotions like his old man.  When he turns them back on it threatens to overwhelm him and I feel sad for him because I understand completely.

Baby girl is a spoiled, aggressive, sweetheart.  And it’s mostly my fault.  I relish in the fact that she throws better punches than her older brother, is 10x more stubborn, and will make some man’s life a living hell.  She also has a soft endearing side where she’ll do random things like pick up a photo of her grandfather that fell on the floor and kiss it before she puts it back.  I never wanted to treat her differently then my son, but I find myself doing it.  I never think she’s unable to do something because of her gender, but I am far softer on her then I am on him.  Where Son #1 can focus and adapt to overcome something she is a more-like a bull and she lowers her head and hits it head on leaving only two outcomes.  It’s a common sight at my house to see her dressed in her princess costumes, pig tails bouncing, as she holds a Halloween knife chasing her brother “Ma’well” through the house intent on killing him.  I don’t make any of this stuff up.

Son #2 is an enigma of sorts.  He slides around on us. I’m not one for drawing attention to problems but Jessie and I have done everything from staring over his NICU crib at each other, both knowing he may not live through the night, to laughing at him because we put one of Baby Girl’s blonde wigs on him.

I’ve always hesitated mentioning his health issues, because we don’t exactly know whats going on.  We think we have it narrowed down to 2-3 rare syndromes.  The leading being one the Mayo clinic has only recorded 200ish cases of.  I’m not getting into them not only because I don’t feel like you youtubing or googling them, it’s because we refuse to allow his condition to define him.

There are MILLIONS of kids worse off than him.  We lost his twin earlier on in the pregnancy and being down at Riley Children’s Hospital showed us how lucky we are compared to some.

Currently he had been improving although he still doesn’t have a firm diagnosis or concrete path towards treatment, and this last couple of weeks has started to developing breathing issues again.

We are a long ways away from the struggling, oxygen dependent, bruised, tube fed baby we came home with.  He smiles, giggles, “talks”, and has started rolling over on his own.  His current hobbies are talking to shower curtains, eating his hands (or yours if he can), aND being licked by Chocolate Labs.

We will always acknowledge his issues but we will never let him define himself by them.  Jessie and I are very proactive and aggressive when it comes to our kids (even to a flaw).  We’ve got lots of calender dates lines up months from now and we just take one day at a time.

Fucking handle it.

Jessie is still my best friend even when she and I could willfully stab each other to death with knives.  I don’t think you can ever truly understand something until you’ve started destroying it.  She’s still a med-surg nurse at the hospital.  She’s getting old.  She scrapbooks now, plays DS, cooks, cleans, says “mom” things, and basically does everything I threatened to leave her over.  She’s still my partner in crime and the closest I’ve ever come to believing in love.  I don’t try to understand what we have or why I feel the way I do towards her.  Such things are not meant to be understood only felt.

Or choked.

I’ve been working on some table top settings.  Maybe if anyone’s around in a year or two we’ll throw some dice again.  I gotta do something with all these stories in my head.

That’ll work for a year or two, yeah.



Posted in Uncategorized by mrfenris on February 2, 2011

I picked my seven-year-old son up from school the other day (his school has a working planetarium in it, how cool is that?) and we were driving to Grandma’s to pick up the other two DPS when a radio ad for Deja Vu came on.

Son: “Dad what’s Deja Vu?”
Me: “A strip club.”
Son: “What’s a strip club?”
Me: “Well it’s a place where you can go and watch people, mostly women, take off their clothes and dance for money.”
Son: “That’s stupid.”
Me: “Why?”
Son: “Why would I go there and pay money to take my clothes off and dance?”
Me: “/facepalm”

“There’s something good waitin’ down this road
I’m pickin’ up whatever’s mine” -Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers

The most important thing about healing isn’t your heals per second, heals per mana, combat regen, or cooldowns.  It isn’t about Grid vs Vudoh, aura tracking, or castbars.  It isn’t about absorbs vs directs vs hots vs smart heals.

It’s about knowing the encounter and understanding the incoming damage.  Everyone should be saying “duh” right now, but until you understand this simple fact, you’ll always be making the wrong spell selection, over-healing, and falling into “heal holes”.

Once you understand the pacing of the damage coming in then you can start doing positive actions such as pre-casting, staggering cooldowns, and you’ll have much faster reaction times with your dispels and instants.

We’ve all been there.  Running a new place for the first time.  Your healing the tank, when from out of nowhere the party takes a huge chunk of damage and the boss starts pulsing an AOE.  Now your juggling spamming the tank and AOEing the rest of the party and you feel yourself losing the incoming damage vs the outgoing heals battle.  Often we panic at these moments and waste mana on your emergency heals and blow all of our cooldowns to power through it.  Of course then, when it happens again during the next phase we’re all out of tricks and we wipe our party.

Been there.  Done that.

But the key to getting around those hard phases is understanding three simple things.  When it’s coming, when it stops, and what’s after it.

When it’s coming.  When it stops.-

Wowhead.  Plus Heal.  You tube.  Etc.  The number one reason these sites are your best friends is not because they show you how to do something.  It’s that their filled with people who wasted tons of attempts and died.  Use the time they spent learning the encounter and the time other people spent commenting on the encounter to lessen the time you spend dying on a boss.

Remember that’s a core component of my WoW philosophy.  Spend as little of your real life time as possible while learning to play as best as possible.  You aren’t in an uber guild.  You don’t need that extra .333% skill that hours upon hours of research will give you.  Know the basic mechanics, don’t stand in stuff, tank, heal, and dps.

You don’t have to remember that Lord Dinglepuss deals 85980545k AOE Hamster based damage.  You just need to know WHEN he does it so you can start to precast your longer cast timed spells.  This way while he’s casting his damage your casting your heals  to land right after the damage hits.  It’s almost like you get a free cast by doing this.  Instead of standing there waiting for the damage, then waiting 2.3 seconds while your casting your response heal, you’ll be able to fit almost two heals into that same window.

In addition you need to know how long that high level of damage is going to be heading your way.  Can you get away with spam healing through it?  Are you going to waste a cooldown you need later if you pop it?  Does the next phase’s mechanics negate any healing you’re doing now, ala Baron Ashberry?

What’s after it.-

So you’ve gotten through the first phase of the encounter.  But at what cost?  Your out of mana, your regen abilities are on CD, and you’ve got one little potion, and the boss still has 75% life.  You aren’t going to make it through the remainder of the encounter because you’ve shot your wad due to your not understanding of the first phase.

High Prophet Barim is a perfect example of this.  When I was first running him on Heroic, I was having to power heal through his Fifty Lashes and toss my Lightwell near the tank.  I could get through it, but due to mine and the DPS’s lower gear score we didn’t have the “umph” to make it through the Shadow phase without my mana being drained 100%.

Enter a quick peek at Wowhead.  It took about 50 seconds during a res, to figure out that we could Disarm him during his Fifty Lashes and make the tank’s incoming damage almost a joke.  We one shot him right afterwards.  If we hadn’t taken a peek to figure out how to get through that first phase I could have never made it through the rest of the encounter.

Rearmed with an understanding of how to ease my burden in the first phase I could now start to soften up the Shadow phase.  Instead of tossing my Lightwell by the boss to help with the Lashing, I could place it along the kiting path so tanks and deeps could take a puff on it as they passed it.  This let me get out of the Shadow phase with 35% mana, Divine Hymn, and a potion still up and ready for use instead of completely tapped out.

Know what’s coming.  How long it lasts.  Know what’s coming after it.  This is the best tool you have in your healing arsenal.

You know why running a Heroic is always 10x easier the second time?  It’s because you know that “this” trash mob deals spiky damage.  That “this” pack likes to AOE or that “they” like to deal burst damage on a random party member.

Don’t be content.  When you have trouble with an encounter figure out why.  I got my ass handed to me by Beauty the other night.  Fears totally screwed up my world.  (We could have done a little better with our CC too.)  There’s got to be a better way to do this encounter.  Instead of just blindly going in there and giving it the old college try the next time it pops on random, I’m going to hit Wowhead and spend 5 minutes figuring out what I can do to be successful in there.

Be proactive.  Take a couple of minutes to figure out what’s giving you a hard time and fix it.  The stat weight of being a “smarter” healer outweighs the stat weights of Int, Spellpower, and Spirit combined.

“But I live with what I’ve known
And then maybe we might share in something great
But won’t you look at where we’ve grown
Won’t you look at where we’ve gone -Candlebox

I always chuckle when I read Looking For More’s “Corporate Raider” dry erase cartoons.  I do not work in a corporate environment but I think I’m actually on a lower ring of hell.  City government.  I cannot tell you the sheer amount of stupidity I deal with on a daily basis.  In a given day you can have the meeting where the public is invited, the “big” meeting with the Mayor’s staff, the “other big” meeting with your Director, and the “real” meeting where you and your fellow supervisors talk about how to actually accomplish what everyone wants, given the resources you actually have.  This last meeting is usually had at a diner, bar, or couch whilst drinking coffee, booze, or coffee with booze and it always accomplishes more than all the previous meetings combined in 1/5 of the time.

Seriously.  I think these people do this shit just to feel important.

As of right now we are on Def Con:4 with what’s being dubbed “Operation: Snow Control” ready to be put in effect.  Meh.  You’d swear it was an “re-election” year.  Operation: Snow Control…  I’d much rather be running Operation: Boobie Gobbling.

It’s winter.  It snows.  Handle it.