Thursday, July 30, 2009

an update on the last update and a bit new

Just some corrections/additions on our last update.

Besides all the "cleaning up" of stuff we have been doing, we recently gave our 1993 Saturn to an old work mate of mine who just had 2 of his family's cars fail. Since the car was not worth more than $750. blue book and the annual insurance cost was more than that for a car we have not driven in 9 months, it was a win-win donation.

My dental is now almost done. I had my periodontal check up on Monday along with a little cleaning. On Tuesday I had my lower gums cut back in places and a graft onto my lower front gum. This really has kicked my ass energy and headache wise, but I am glad that it is all done now. All that is left to do is to pull the stitches, check the rest of the gums healing, maybe a better cleaning, and have my regular dentist do his checking.

Yesterday after getting the old laptop all updated for the Guild Wars LAN party we will be at Saturday evening, I decided to do full backups of all 4 of our computers. Except for this taking a long time and 2 problems, everything went OK and I finished all 4 this morning. One of the problems was when I kicked the cord of the external backup drive while it was backing up Cindy's new laptop. Even though the backup failed with write errors, I was able to restart it and a full disk check this morning found no problem with the backup drive. The other problem could have been more serious in that I had problems with my new desktop RAID0 drives and I could not get the Vista disk image past that point. Luckily a check disk seems to have fixed the problem (free space on the drive showing as allocated) and the image worked this morning.

In more "fun" news:
- Cindy is now farming for blood moss in Wizard101. Even after she persevered through 75 diamonds and 105 black pearls, she says farming for blood moss is going "not well"!
- Not doing much different in Guild Wars than when I last updated. I did get a very nice fire staff from the Zaisen Chest. That will complete my 2 elementalist's weapons until I can get them 40/40 weapon sets. I also got some more prizes from Nicholas the Traveler and one of those prizes help me...
- Finish Rrager's Menagerie dungeon. I came to a point I could not get through with my -60%DP. Using all the honeycombs I got from Nicholas allowed me to decrease the DP and get past that point rather easily.
- I also was a little confused about the item I mentioned in the last post that the Ooze Pit collector had. The item stats I mentioned were for an item received from the end boss there. The collector actually has an item that will remove up to -15%DP.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

an update on us!

It has been a busy couple of months, so haven't had much time to read / post on this blog, Facebook, or Twitter. The next few months may be busy as well, so time to give everybody an update.

Since I have been retired for 4 months now and have the time we decided to get a lot of things done that should have been done before. Little things like correcting addresses on a few of Cindy's old accounts, updating beneficiaries on insurance and bank accounts, and getting some of Cindy's small value IRAs that are losing money just because the fees are greater than the interest closed.

I retired in mid-March, but for a number of reasons never got my COBRA notice till the end of May. So with only 15 1/2 months of COBRA left we got moving on our vision / medical / dental appointments.
--Vision has now been complete. This worked out well, since we will be able to fit in another visit under the COBRA. It also was very nice that our vision changed so little that Cindy got a spare pair of glasses and I got prescription sunglasses for driving.
--Dental is a little slower, but progressing nicely. Cindy has now seen the dentist who just took a quick check and referred her to a periodontist. The periodontist cleaned a bit and will be doing a couple of scaling/planing sessions. They both seemed to think that she had little bone loss, so the only gum work needed will be getting them healthy again. After they get the scaling/planing done then they will decide what other dental work is needed (there will be at least 1 crown needed). My dental work was up to date until last November when the periodontist canceled a cleaning session with me and my yearly insurance allotment had run out for gum work. So I will be going in tomorrow, so the periodontist can do a check and then will schedule the cutting back of my lower gums ASAP.
--Medical is also on the way, but there is still a lot to do there. I will be making an appointment for a checkup soon. The only problem I currently have is a constant tingling in my right fingers and not being able to fully close my fingers on that hand (carpel tunnel/arthritis ?). Cindy went to a primary care provider and had a good checkup. Cholesterol and triglycerides were a little high, but nothing diet modification can not handle. She also got an immediate referral to a rheumatologist for her gout, but the doctor's office is working with the insurance for a proper "insurance referral". A not-so-immediate cardiologist referral was also given her for a slight arrhythmia.

As far as good things that are happening:
--Cindy has been somewhat obsessed lately with crafting in Wizard101. It took her 5 VERY full days farming for 75 diamonds for the Dragonspyre crafting quest, but she finally got them. The black pearls for the crafting quests after that seem to be coming easier for her.
--I on the other hand have been spending some time in Guild Wars. Been running the training arena with both of our characters almost daily to get Zaisen Keys. Nothing much has come from this yet, except in-town sweets and alcohol. I also have been doing the Zaisen Missions/Bounties (getting copper coins and sometime Eye of the North [EotN] points) and finding Nicholas the Traveler (mostly alcohol and sweets) for both of our characters. I just recently began doing some of the EotN dungeons I had not done to get the end boss chests, collector items, EotN points, and completion credits. The Ooze Pit dungeon I did on Friday was all oozes in the first part and the collector there gave you an item which removes all death penalty and gives a 10% bonus to boot. I will be farming there for a while!!!

Many may not know about our apartment's little patio-farm. Besides lots of plants (including herbs and recently a bumper crop of cherry tomatoes) we keep a bird feeder out there. After we first started putting the bird seed out we got a pair of Sandhill Cranes that would visit us almost daily. Last year they took a month break around this time, but after that showed up regularly. This year the break lasted about 3 months, but that may have been caused by the apartment construction behind us and the redesign of the retention pond. About 3 days ago Cindy saw them walk by outside and yesterday they came back twice to feed. The starlings, doves, squirrels, and one mouse that also come by to eat the seeds will be very happy now that they are back out.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Guild Wars Winterday in July events

Besides the Guild Wars specials (Snowball Arena and special drops) for the Wintersday in July event (3pm July 17th - 2:59am July 20 ET) there are also 2 other groups giving away free stuff.

General Freebies will be giving away stuff in the Snowball Arena International District 1 on July 19 at 2-3pm ET.

Blade Radio's DJ Bacon has 6 days of giveaways, but there are no times listed.
July 17-19 Snowball Arena International District 1
July 20 Lion's Arch American District 1
July 21 Kamaden (NightFall) American District 2
July 22 Balthazar American District 1

The Snowball Arenas and Balthazar should be accessible to anybody that plays Guild Wars. Hope to see you there. Oh and if you don't know I am Outs Ranger or may be playing Lady Coriander in Guild Wars

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

suggestion for next Guild Wars LAN party

I have a suggested task(s) for our next LAN party. It would be to complete the Villany of Galrath quest (found under Kryta Quests) given by Firstwatch Sergio in Lion's Arch. Since this ends in Kessex Peak the best point to start this quest is Temple of the Ages in Cursed Lands. There are other places we could start this from but if we use the Temple we get a party of 8 (2 hero healers, so we could just concentrate on killing - lol).

I just got Lady Coriander from Bergen Hot Springs to the Temple in about 30 minutes using heroes and henchies, so we could also do that if everybody has not been to the Temple yet. If you want to go this route it is mostly all undead, so fire and interrupts are the best spell/weapon types. Below is a map with the route.

If everyone has not got to Bergen Hot Springs yet that would take about 45 minutes from D'Alessio Seaboard.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Guild Wars Nicholas the traveler sighted

Nicholas the Traveler is directly south of Piken Square in Ascalon at the wall. He is fairly easy to get to and if you are above level 10 all you should have is a healer in your party. Levels 15 and above could do this solo. He is requesting 1 charr hide (maximum of 5 per week) for his gift and these can be obtained from drops in the area. The gift could be anything from a green (highest level) item to alcohol or sweets. This is a lot better deal than the recent festivals because charr hides are pretty easy to get and even the sweet items can be used in explorable areas for various boosts. He will be in this area through noon PDT on Monday July 20th.

My 5 gifts were:
- 10 sparklers (used in "towns" only for Party Animal title track)
- 10 aged hunter's ales (used for Drunkard title track and to boost the Drunken Master spell)
- 10 honeycombs (used for Sweet Tooth title track and to give a 5% morale boost in explorable areas)
- 5 red rock candies (used for Sweet Tooth title track and for 30 minutes in explorable areas gives 33% boost to movement speeds, 33% boost to attack speeds, and 33% reduction in skill activation times)
- 5 mysterious summoning stones (for 30 minutes or until its death in explorable areas gives you a random ally of your level, only 1 can be used per hour)

Sunday, July 12, 2009

a few corrections on Guild Wars and some new stuff

In my July 8th post I mentioned hero professions that you could get in Eye of the North. While I was doing some research on another subject today I read that a hero from each of the 10 professions can be obtained there.

In my July 10th post I mentioned that the Wintersday in July festival had begun. I actually misread the date. The post has been corrected to show the new date of noon on Friday, July 17th till 11:59pm on July 19th (all times PT). I also mentioned a difficult quest to get the Eye of the North, Deldrimor spell named Drunken Master. It seems that this spell is given to you at the beginning of the quest and abandoning the quest (as I did) does not take it away.

The "new stuff" - I had been playing a bit this weekend (thinking it was Winterday and wondering why I was not getting the special drops) on both our characters......
Lady Coriander (Cindy's) got a bit further through Kryta in Prophecies and got new maxed armor with a dye job to match our guild's cape. It will be a while to get the gold to upgrade her runes and insignias though. While doing some research on PvXwiki Elementalist/Necromancer builds I realized it will be a while before we can get her the spells for any rated builds there......
I also played a bit on Outs Ranger (mine) doing some quests/lots of exploring in Nightfall and completed a couple of Zaisen challenges. Much more exciting to me is I am only 3 spells (4 days of Balthazar points) short of getting ALL my heroes the spells for PvXwiki "great" hero builds. However after that there are still a LOT of weapons, runes, and insignias to acquire.

Friday, July 10, 2009

more Guild Wars foolishness

The Guild Wars Wintersday in July festivities will start Friday, July 17th at noon PT and runs through the weekend. The snowball fights may be fun, but all the prizes and special drops are mostly ho-hum. Mostly sweets/alcohols that only can be used for Sweet/Drunken titles. The alcohol (and much later Drunken title) can help if you have the Drunken Master (Deldrimor-EN) spell. You can use the fruitcase to increase your speed, so might be able to use that next time we are playing with Brian to run from the trouble he usually gets us in (and then come back to rebirth him). LOL

Jill and Brian - The armor you can get in Boreal Station (first outpost in Eye of the North) may not be as fancy, but it is as powerful (stat-wise) as anything you can get in Droknar's Forge.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Lady Coriander reaches lvl20 in Guild Wars

I decided to get Cindy's old laptop updated and ready for our next LAN party. Had a little bit of a problem getting Norton updated, but finally got it and Windows all up to date (including Internet Explorer 8). It is having intermittent problems running Internet Explorer (both 7 previously and 8 now), but Guild Wars seems to run fine. It is still a little slow when loading new files in Guild Wars, but the area changes seem to be much faster.

Last evening I started to get Cindy's Guild Wars character a little bit further along. Started at level 16 in Lion's Arch and finished early this morning at level 19 3/4 with the Norn primary track pretty far along in Eye of the North (EN). Played for a bit this morning (on my computer while her laptop was updating) and got her level maxed, the Norn primary track done, and got her to the starting area for the Ebon Vanguard primary track. She still has most all of Phophecies from Lion's Arch on to finish and I probably will start working on that just to get her armor upgraded.

Some answers for questions that Marty asked me:
1) You can go to EN when you are under level 20 and with the huge amount of experience points you get for quests there I would recommend it. One restriction is that you can not add attitibute points you get for leveling there, but a map move to Lion's Arch does let you do that.
2) You get a Monk and an Elementalist hero at the first outpost in EN and after a short ways to the EN outpost you get a Mesmer hero. About 3/4 of the way through the Norn primary track you get a Warrior hero. If you do the Ebon Vanguard track after that you get a Ranger and Assassin hero before it ends. A Paragon hero is found in the Asura primary track and I think a Necromancer shows up there also. That just leaves Ritualist and Dervish and I am not sure when/if they show up.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Update on my Diagnosis

I got a call at the ungodly hour of 9 am. My "New Patient Supervisor" Patty, informed me that she had a problem with Aetna. She had tried to get my Sept 15 with the Rheumatology Associates group pushed to an earlier date. Aetna informed her that they would not accept my referral because it came from a "specialist."

Well, he was not acting as a specialist when I saw him at the urgent care clinic; just the doctor on duty at that time. But, of course Aetna does not give a flying fig!

So Bob got on the computer and tried to find us a Primary Caregiver. We found a few that were both taking new patients and practiced within a two hour drive. After phoning around (the first was a CPA, second and third numbers were disconnected, 4th was out of town for the week.) I finally found a woman who would take me as a new patient, accepted our insurance and could see me on July 22. Phew! Now I just have to find Patty on the stupid phone tree at the clinic to get back to her, lol.

Hopefully, she will give me a referral to the Rhematology group after she gets a look at my feet and hands.

In other news - we had a great dinner with Bob's brother and his wife last night and are planning to go down to his Mom's for her birthday the weekend of Aug 8. I always enjoy seeing her, she is such a wonderful person.

I am so sad about the poor kid that died on the Monorail. He seems to have been the most wonderful person. My heart goes out to his family and friends. Like his girlfriend said on Facebook - at least he died doing what he loved best. RIP you lovely boy.

Guild Wars' Dragon Festival

From last Thursday around noon till last Sunday at midnight (PT) Guild Wars had their annual Dragon Festival. This was my first and let's just say I was mostly very unimpressed.

The double experience points were nice for my heroes that were not yet already maxed out in level, but did nothing for me and the majority of my heroes that are. The plentiful victory tokens that you got from drops were nice, but the things you could get with them weren't all that great. I got a little over 350 tokens in about 10 hours of gaming. It took 250 tokens to get a dragon mask, which is only good for decoration purposes and this was done without your consent if you had the tokens on you when the "emperor" showed up on Sunday. The other prizes were all either 5 or 10 tokens and consisted of sweets/fireworks that only go toward sweet/celebration titles, alcohol for drunken title or buff for "Drunken Master" spell, and a cupcake that gives you temporary increased stats in the wild.

The part of the celebration that I was most looking forward to and was the most disappointed in were the battle reenactments that we got to participate in. There were 4 different ones where you had to take 8 areas from the enemy and 3 different ones where you had to hold the enemy off from taking an area. I may not be the best of gamers, but I thought my 3 heroes and I (all maxed in level and with PvXwiki "great" builds) might stand a chance. However in the 5 times I tried the capture area and the 1 time I tried to hold an area I never got past 1/4 of the way to finish. I would not be so disappointed with this if I at least got some decent purple/gold/green drops before I died, but that never happened either.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

more Guild Wars (can you say OCD)

Got back into playing Guild Wars the last 2 days. Mostly Nightfall campaign, Zaisen challenges, and Temple of Balthazar random arenas. Getting quite a bit of gold and drops to sell, even while doing as little fighting as possible to complete missions/quests.

I salvaged a Vampiric bowstring and a bowgrip of Fortitude from a couple of drops to finish my Ranger/Monk character's weapon. I think I have almost all the gold I need to buy the runes and new Tamer's Mask to finish his build.

I got a nice Gold weapon from a drop for my Monk hero, so his build is now complete. I also finally salvaged a hammer handle of Fortitude from another drop to complete my Warrior hero build. After I finish my Ranger character I will just need more gold to get my Ranger hero a couple more runes.

Other heroes are getting weapons/armors updated as items are dropped/salvaged and getting spells as I gain Balthazar faction points. I think in about 4 more days of random arena battles I will have all the points needed to get all the available spells needed for a complete set of heroes (1 from each profession). It however will be a long time to get the gold needed to buy the runes/insignias for all these heroes.