Real Life

Turns out that making up lost ground on an exercise program is a pretty terrible situation. On the plus side, you’ve already built the mental toughness for the weight you’re aiming at. On the downside, when you fail – and it takes surprisingly little time for your lifts to backslide, so don’t dismiss the possibility – the internal recriminations and disappointment can be catastrophic. Fail a lower weight on the first day back? That doubt carries through for every workout until you’re back at your PR.

This time, I actually started C25K when I got back – first, because I figured it’d be some nice mild exercise to lead in with, and second, because my aerobic capacity is genuinely atrocious and I’d kind of like for that not to be the case. But there’s still that doubt that perhaps I would have been ready to take on a lifting program that first week, maybe it was just cowardice keeping me on the treadmill.

In any case, soon I will be invincible capable of actually running a handful of kilos without gasping like a landed fish. Broscience insists that as long as I’m spending time on the ‘mill, my mass gain is going to be troublesome. Coming up short in the oxygen department has cost me more gains than failing muscles, though, so I see it as a necessary foundation for further work regardless. I can afford to invest 2 months in my lungs.

Just wish it didn’t feel like I was running away.


The Borg were a perfect foe for Captain Picard; defeating them was never a matter of brute force, but always relied on imagination and intellect. The reason behind this, and indeed their most famous attribute, was of course their ability to adapt to any new attack. An initial foray might be devastating, but subsequent attempts would be brushed aside.

It’s a funny thing, the metaphors that’ll pop into your mind while you’re limping to the car the day after trying some new exercise technique.

When I started going to gym last year, I was pretty much tabula rasa. I hadn’t engaged in anything more than some treadmilling and elliptical wanderings before. Given that initial success is generally a function of preparation, I engaged the services of a trainer so that I might learn how to… everything.

The results were catastrophic. Every new routine ruined my flesh in new and alarming ways. I’d spend a few days hobbling about unable to swing my legs over the seat of my motorcycle, only for the next session to destroy my ability to turn the steering wheel of my car. And so on.

With perseverance, though, I discovered something intriguing; one’s body, it seems, is an outpost of the Borg. Every exercise that had wrecked me before was easier the next time that I did it, and the dreaded muscle pains and stiffness were diminished such that they were barely even the same manner of beast. They were still there – it’d hardly be exercise if they weren’t – but it was no longer a debilitating assault on my confidence and mobility.

As I pass through another patch of personal torture training, it’s comforting to know that the aphorism is correct: “If you’re going through hell, keep going”. The biological and technological distinctiveness of these techniques will inevitably become my own, and their assimilation will aid my journey toward perfection.

By your powers combined...

By your powers combined…

It’s sadly ironic that the achievement image for Celestial Family is the least interesting of the pets, and the one that I got last. Almost like they knew she’d be the unfavourite.

And now, dear friends, we can look back upon the celestial tournament with the benevolent glow that comes of having received the rewards, and we may in good cheer conclude…

No, bugger that. It was an RNG-ridden slogfest, with opponents specifically designed to ratchet up the RNG factor. Hell, miss chance in general seems to have gone for a ball of spit this past week or two. No, in the end I’m glad that I did it, but I’d recommend some serious self-examination before trying this, lest super-cheap virtual squirrels cost thee a 24-inch screen.

Peace out.

Given that updates on this blog have been somewhat sparse, one might be inclined to believe that I had given up playing WoW for the moment. Perish the thought! No, I’ve merely been retrenched.

Well, that actually sounds worse than it is. What’s actually happened is that I’ve applied for and received a voluntary retrenchment package. This arrangement is slightly better than being retrenched in that I get more severance pay. Either way, with this being the second round of retrenchments at this company in the last 6 months, I decided to escape the suffocatingly negative environment that was my workplace. Well, still is, for the next week or so.

The major issue now is that over the past couple of years I’ve become the sole person responsible for eight systems. Not projects – entire systems. None of them were properly handed over to me, but since I’m effectively that guy left holding the potato when the music stopped, I’m now responsible for documenting these systems and their business rules. All of them. While closing out my current projects. This has left me with somewhat less free time than usual at work. Also a burning desire to acid-etch the flesh of whoever implemented list formatting in MS Word.

In the meantime my ‘net connection has actually returned to a semblance of reasonable service, though having placed that sentence in writing has no doubt begun an eldritch process whereby my line is once more conspiring to betray me. I’ve levelled my death knight to 90 and crafted the magnificent PvP set for her. There isn’t a lot of raiding going on, so it’s been casual play for the most part, which is perfectly adequate at the moment.

I’ve run out of Dresden Files books, though I have yet to find a retailer stocking Cold Days near me. Meanwhile yon wifelet has acquired for me a tome called Ghost Spin, which looks to be a rousing tale. There is, then, no lack of entertainment forthcoming.

Meanwhile, back to work.

Back at work, which means blog posts again. Over the holiday my wife and I have:

  • Removed nails and fixed holes in the walls
  • Repainted the house
  • Hung pictures
  • Replaced toilet seats
  • Redecorated rooms
  • Discovered that local home-stores don’t sell blue lampshades. At all.
  • Taken a break from WoW during the painting, on account of moving furniture around to plug in the router seemed like too much effort
  • Sat in a 4 hour LFR queue, seriously wtf
  • Levelled a bunch of pets to 25, but not hit the 75 mark yet because I prefer actually levelling the pets rather than using the lvl 25 xp sharing method

If that last one doesn’t seem to make sense, here’s the down-low: if you put a pet in a group with two lvl 25 pets, that pet will get full xp from anythng the group beats provided it spends at least one turn in front. This means you can actually take a lvl 5ish pet, start combat with it in front, and level it to 10 in two combats by taking on the Eternal Striders in Vale of Eternal Blossoms. 25 takes no time at all. I admit that I did use this method to powerlevel my Terrible Turnip, but that’s mostly because the Turnip is truly godawful to play.

I’m going to start posting more stuff on pet battles, largely because I don’t find the rest of the game actually fun anymore, and no-one wants to read the same old gripes about loot failing to drop in LFR and dailies being a grind. The pet battle material is likely going to be heavily tainted by personal opinion, but it’ll also be informed by a good deal of personal experience.

Oh, one last thing… all the best for the year ahead.

It’s that time of year again, where everyone is living a couple of weeks in the future. Where they’ve got worries, thoughts about the new year, expectations of holidays, and no small amount of frustration building up on the way to the final stretch.

This is not a WoW post.

Actual image of a freeway in December.

Artist’s impression of a freeway in December.

If you’re on two wheels, like I am… stay focussed. That intro up there applies to everyone on the road with you. Sharpen your reflexes, adjust your pattern recognition, fine-tune your cagecognition*, tap into your latent psychic powers if you have them. Freeways eat men and women like you and I every year, and part of that is simple complacency from having made it for another year.

The bigger part, as always, is the increasingly distracted 2-ton-hammer wielders around us.

Even if you’re unfortunate enough to be confined to a four-wheeled coffin, keep the same in mind. Be aware of your distraction level and that of the people around you. I firmly believe that accidents in the holiday season aren’t caused by more vehicles on the road, they’re caused by people who are of a mindset that they’re somehow outside of real life while on holiday, and thus shouldn’t have to operate at full capacity.

Keep those feet above the ground and your head in the game.


* A special ability developed by veteran bikers where part of the brain is downclocked all the way back to “amphibious lizard” in order to figure out what that box pilot ahead of you is about to do next.