Sunday, November 2, 2008

But for the grace of God go I ...

Had a visit from my mom this weekend which is always a good time. Anybody else out there ever go through TWO seasons in your life where you think your parents are wrong about a lot of things? Okay maybe it's just me :) Anyway I digress ... we had a good visit. Talked a lot about the "old days" around home. Which I guess as you get older, those old days come up more and more often. I'm not sure since I'm not old ... ahem :)

As I do get "more mature" though, I'm finding out many things about my family that I'm glad I didn't know while growing up actually. Perhaps this blog isn't a good place to share some things. Perhaps though I will anyway and you can just stop screaming at me to not write it ok? Sheesh. Pushy.

Well back to why we were talking about the "old days". Basically it was Halloween over the weekend in case you missed it. I started talking to mom about how I actually didn't miss grandma and grandpa's house (or mamaw and papaw's house actually). I was saying to her that I didn't miss it because of all the strange things that went on in that place. I have some tales which would curl your toes out there (and you know who you are). I mean you'd be so scared you'd end up perched on someone's head like a cat! :D

Pretty much, just growing up in that house was a mini-scary movie in itself each time I'd wake up from a terrible nightmare to see/hear things in the house that weren't mamaw/papaw/mom. Let's leave it at that shall we?

In talking about that house, mom opens up to be about some things that went on in her childhood at her house. Honestly I'd never heard those things from her before and won't repeat here. If mom wants to blog about that she can. She did tell me that my grandpa was diagnosed as a manic-depressive schitzophrenic, at one time. Well, that was news to me. I knew his mom, my great grandma, had mistreated him badly and HER mom had killed her husband way, way WAY back in the day. And the story just gets better as we get closer to me. Read on true believers.

See, my dad left before I was ever born. Not an uncommon tale nowadays which saddens me to say. But when I was growing up in the 70's, it was a bid deal to not have a dad around. Nobody to be that male role model; nobody to play catch with; nobody to teach you to use tools; nobody to give you those father/son talks; never feeling dad's arm on your shoulder. Just trying to bring all that home for those of you who grew up with dads. It IS a big deal to not have one. Sons need their fathers.

When I was around 10, my mom got married to my step-dad and for the first time I left "home". This guy had never taken any interest in me and I was a super-shy kid; needing someone to pull me out of my shell. After that I'd be fine but I wasn't one to come out and make new friends; much less new fathers. Sheesh does this sound like "As the World Turns" or what, right? Well the dad I'd hoped for ended up being a jerk and abusive to her, me and my half-brother. Don't worry; it wasn't physical abuse. It was mental, so that's much better right? Dark humor there kids. It was during all this bad stuff happening I developed my now deeply rooted sense of humor both dark and defensive; the cutting type of humor that can be silly as you please but for those that need an "adjustment", it can also be really hurtful. I used to revel in the hurtful type of insulting humor. And man I was good at it; I thought about it all the time. Planned my comebacks based on several different conversations I'd script out in my head. But that road leads to nowhere pretty quick. So when I was around 15, I gave that dark/mean humor up (even though its still a temptation now and then) and stuck with just silly humor. This was mainly because it was at that age, I found faith and started attending church. But don't worry I'm not one of those preachy types :) I've stayed fairly normal, lol

So. Why did I share all this. Well for one, I need to get this out. I've never really totally shared it all before. Have certainly never seen it in print and I wanted to see what it looked like. Certainly I've skipped many details. Another reason to share this is that I also have friends on here through the magic of the internet that even though I've never met them in person, they've still become very dear to me. So I wanted them to know about it. Its what good friends do. They talk about their stuff that's happened. Sure hope they still hang around me after this though.

So having been through all this shhhhtuff, seen all these things, and primarily from not having a Dad; it has instilled in me a super-strong desire to be a good father/husband/family kinda guy. Do I make mistakes? Oh yeah. Have I messed it all up at times. Probably no worse than you though so don't get cocky :) But the title of my article is true. For some reason, whatever that is, I'm different than most in my family. Now don't read that as "better", it's not what I meant.

The thing is, we have all done things we're not proud of; and learned lessons both publicly and privately that we wish we could have learned without the pain that problems bring. But the primary factor between those of us that "make it" and those that wallow in their problems, waiting for someone else to bail them out is this; a willingness to get back up when we mess up and a willingness to change when we realize we're wrong.

Mamaw and papaw used to tell me to "stick to your guns kid" and so often in these past few years, their words have rung in my heart. I hope if they are watching me somewhere, that they are proud of me and I hope someday to get to see them again. There are much different questions I'd ask them now if I could. Much different conversations I'd have with them. I miss them. But the things that I saw in their lives, no matter the mistakes that they made, I tried to take the best from them, ignore the worst and make a better life than those before me, for those ahead of me.

I think, for all intents and purposes, that is the purpose for all of us here. I could be wrong though. I have been before :)

Monday, October 27, 2008

Seasons Change

Ah don't you just loooove both days of the fall season that we now have here in the Midwest? J Gosh I love it when its 90 degrees one day and then a week later it's cold and raining. What happened to my very favorite season of all? I sure do miss autumn, fall, whatever you like to call it.

(old person voice) Back when I was a kid, fall lasted from about the first of October until the end of November. (end old person voice) Sure you occasionally got a good snow right around Thanksgiving. But that was okay (and still would be by me). Actually when I was a young'un, it started getting into "jacket weather" around mid-September.

Fast forward 25-30 years.

NOW we get near 100 degree weather all the way THROUGH September and the 80's through the second week of October. Sheesh! What's a guy to do? You know what I think? I think it's not fall that I miss so much but rather the youth that I remember with it. Now stay with me here ... I enjoy my life, yes siree Bob, I do. But like most of us, those willing to be honest with ourselves, I think life hasn't turned out like I expected or perhaps I wasn't told what to expect and so the expectations I drew for myself were from, as it turns out, an empty well.

I'll try and bring this around I promise so as not to be depressing :)

I think what I miss most about fall is the brisk, fresh feel of energy in the air. The friskiness that you'd see in the animals as they sensed the approach of winter and burned off the last of summer's energy as they prepared to rest and wait for Spring's warm return. Often as a child, I'd spend my whole day outside playing in the leaves or just walking in the woods. My cousin and I would pack our backpacks with a lunch and take our bb-gun out, spending the whole day riding our bikes along trails in the woods and back near the "old mines" not far from our houses.

We didn't worry about falling into those mines, didn't worry about breaking our legs and not being able to get home, and didn’t worry about the woods being riddled with copperheads. Nah. We were just in it to have fun. The troubles didn't matter because we were focused on the goal. And the goal was adventure.

So to wrap it up, and self-analyze what I've written before me in pixels and print, I guess I'd have to say that I think I've been focused too much and for far too long on the problems and maybe I've missed some adventures along the way. Speaking from a dad's perspective and in no way demeaning that of a mom, sometimes, you feel like you're trying to get this whole "plane" of having a family depending on you, into the air. If you can just get it off the runway and into flight ... now if you can just get it to a certain altitude ... now there is this destination you need to reach ... well then after all that is done, well then you won't feel bad about having a hobby, or heading out to a movie with friends, etc.

The bad part about waiting for all that “fun stuff”to for yourself while you sacrifice all this time to others is that you (or in this case me) end up missing a lot of fun stuff along the way. You kind of wake up one day and realize/remember some things you missed or could have done differently. That life really isn’t all as serious as you make it out to be. I mean you realize this if you take the time to go back through things like I have/did. (I used to wear this t-shirt all the time that said “Don’t be so serious, it’s only life”. Man, it’s been a long time since I thought of that.)

Also, you realize you could have done the things you wanted to AND the things you needed to if you’d just opened up to your family and not been an idiot J And I mean that in the nicest way, lol! And then you realize like I have, that you’re starving for good friends, for good talk, for some genuine innocent fall-like fun again and that you’ve been missing it for so long.

So the lesson is this, Dads. Don't lose site of the adventure going on around you while you focus on your flight plan. But most importantly don’t forget to include the people on the “plane” with you as to how the flight is going and whether you need to make any detours along the way. They boarded the plane because they wanted to go with you wherever you wanted. They won’t mind a pit-stop here and there :)

That's it from me for today true believers; tune in next time for more Oddly Oakensledge Orations!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Wanna meet the puppy?

Some of you have known for awhile that we have had a life-changing experience. A puppy.

Well here is our "delicate little flower" as I affectionately call her :D She's a tiny little thing at 80 lbs and 8 months old now ... in this photo she was only 7 months old though, and you guessed it, 70 lbs.

How nice it would be to be able to gain 10 lbs a month and look as slim as she does!

Next to her, is the real Oakensledge, who could probably stand to LOSE 10 lbs a month for a while :D But hey, as someone once told me, I'm loved for my wit and charm first ... and darn it, I'm working on this weight thing ok? :)

Well there you have it. Storm. And me, Oakensledge's assistant. Cheers!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Two New Chapters in Life's Book

Well lots to tell and where to begin with it all. Perhaps we'll just jump right in and see where it leads. Sound good? Here we go.

I got fired.

I look at those words and the fact that they apply to me somehow doesn't quite seem to fit. Men in America, at least when I was growing up here in the Midwest, were raised to be providers for their familes. "A man shouldn't lose his job" ... "you be a good provider for my daughter" ... "a man doesn't work, he doesn't eat" ... those were phrases I grew up with. Maybe you've heard them too.

So I'm struggling a bit with this to be honest. I know I'm not my families' ultimate provider, that is a job for God and Him alone. I get that. I do feel I have a responsibility to stay employed at all times though, thereby doing all I can to keep things running smooth. So I'm bummed that this happened and I do feel like I failed.

Probably more on this later. Right now I'm just still absorbing information/feelings about it. I'm sure it'll all come tumbling out someday.

And now back to the game.

Oak is nearly level 67. And I've moved servers, leaving behind the land of PVP for the glorious and unbidden rapture that is PVE. I even messed around and started a guild called appropriately, Quest In Peace.

There is an old saying .. Life's too short to dance with ugly women. Yes that doesn't apply here but it brings the opportunity for a nice segway to a new saying that I will coin in simlar fashion.

"WoW is too long of a game to spend your time being ganked in world pvp".

There is the long and short of how I feel about pvp servers. You may disagree. That's ok. I'm sure you're wrong about other things too. Most likely you also believe in evolution and aliens. I forgive you.

When you do read this and come to your senses though, there is a good guild waiting for you where the questing is easy, the leveling is unabated, and the only sounds you hear are the casting of your ranged attacks, the whistle of a blade through the air and the thud of another mob hitting the ground, all bringing you ever closer to the level cap.

That's my rambling for the day. I do apologize that it's been so long since my last writing. And too, I'm sorry for the fact this post is sorta "mean" sounding. I'm still a tad bummed.

May all your hits be crits!

Monday, April 21, 2008

Advent of High-Speed at Oak's Castle

Having once tasted the glory of high speed internet and then spending FOUR long years wandering in the darkness of dial-up, listening to the riddles of customer service promising that "coming soon it is, yes?" ... I'm elated to announce that on Thurs I will be rejoining the ranks of high-speed internet users.

The problems that have arisen over the years, from having only dial-up are really too painful to recall them all. Its not that I can't count them or anything. They aren't that numerous. Just too freaking painful to dredge back up.

The single most thing that I'm looking forward to the most is finally being on even terms (connection-wise) during pvp encounters. Dial up has SO much lag sometimes, and at the worst possible times, that its going to be so nice for things to be "smooth" again. I can't wait.

So bring on the horde ... no I don't care what your level is either or about your amazing leet gear. This little Oak just got his most important item back in his inventory ... response time. Yes I realize, I'll still die. But I'll die swinging ON-TIME and not standing there "waiting to swing", listening to the thunk thunk thunk of the WoW interface telling me it's waiting to process a command while it's in turn waiting for dial-up to download the data.

Heck I may re-roll another rogue just because so much of what they do is based on timing and I never got a chance to enjoy it.

It's been a long, long, looooooong dry spell but on Thurs it all comes to an end and the high-speed bliss of yester-years past begins anew.Can I get an Amen?

Friday, February 22, 2008

Puppy crits you for 10k, you die ...

Okay I'm not dead but man I'm tired. And RW has to be even more and much tired-er-er.

For those of you who think having a puppy is as much work as having a kid. You're dead wrong. In some ways, it's much worse. In some ways much better. But the "better" is never funny so let's dwell on the negative shall we?

Puppies love to eat things they shouldn't. Like people. Firewood. Blankets. Walls. Unlike the game, I've not found anything to feed them that particularly influences their "happiness" or loyalty. They do come with the inate abilities: "mutilate", "claw", "swipe", and "rank 12 poo".

Training puppies is so much harder than in the game too. Wow. WTB puppy trainer IRL. For that I WOULD buy gold from a chinese farmer to pay for training. For that I'd slap a baby gnome.

So after that brief rant, suffice it to say I should be back very soon. Although I'm not a very integral part of well .... anything ... I do miss talking to everyone. And when the puppy is knawing on me or I get up at 2am for her potty break, I even miss being ganked by horde :P

See you all soon - just wanted to say .... Oakensledge lives still!

Monday, November 5, 2007

A foray into Theorycrafting

Let's do some math boys and girls!

As time ratchets forward, I'll adjust these numbers as I get to study Oak more, but this will get things started. Omg, he's gonna do some math for us, stand back folks!

So the debate here (for me) is: which is better for leveling a Ret Paladin, Sanctity Aura or Retribution Aura? Now just to be clear, the debate for me is NOT which is better for raiding or pvp. Since I'm not 70 yet, my primary concern is grinding/questing. So I'm not trying to address those aspects and I'm trying to keep this pretty basic.

And the last thing to try and determine from all this is; should a Ret Pally sometimes use one of these and at other times use the other aura? That is to say, is it situational and there is no "best" solution for grinding?

So here we go. Some of these numbers need to be tested more but here is what I have so far.

Let's start off and assume three scenarios.

Scenario 0: I'm fighting a non-caster, melee type that is attacking as fast as I am with my current weapon and doing similar damage. This is with Sanctity Aura and will be my baseline for comparison.

Scenario 1: Using Retribution Aura (Improved), I'm fighting a non-caster, melee type that is attacking as fast as I am with my two hander, and doing similar damage.

Scenario 2: Using Retribution Aura (Improved). I'm fighting a rogue-type mob that is attacking fast (some of the dark iron dwarves in Searing Gorge are like this).

(Remember I haven't attempted to factor in critting or other bonuses - I didn't want to do that quite yet since this is my very first attempt at this sort of thing)

I'm using a base weapon damage for Oak of 280/swing, a 30 second fight with Oak getting 9 melee swings in that fight. During that time he will get about 6 Holy attacks, Judgements/CS (5 second avg gaps), each of those doing a base damage of around 255.

And here are the Results:

Scenario 0 (This then becomes my standard to meet or beat.)
Base melee damage: 2211
Base holy damage: 1683
Retribution dmg: 0
Cumulative damage: 3894
Base damage per sec: 130

Scenario 1: Improved Retribution Aura vs. 2H slow (4 sec) weapon, non-caster
Base melee damage: 2211
Base holy damage: 1530
Retribution dmg: 300
Cumulative damage: 4041
Base damage per sec: 135

Scenario 2: Improved Retribution Aura vs. "rogue-type" (2 sec) melee
Base melee damage: 2211
Base holy damage: 1530
Retribution dmg: 900
Cumulative damage: 4641
Base damage per sec: 155

So from the little charts above it seems clear that for soloing, Retrib Aura would be the way to go "most times". Again, this didn't factor in crits, SoC or other bonuses which would only add to the damage listed above.

Judging Crusader instead of Judging Wisdom (and I usually use Wisdom) creates a HUGE swing in damage but results in a total mana burn pretty much every fight. Boo! Give us pallies better mana-management or a large pool, darnit! :D

The thing I didn't allow for because it simply didn't occur to me until right now, is to factor in "misses", "resists", etc. I tried to come at this from a simple point of view and basic math just to prove to myself, if nobody else, which one would be a better way to go with Ret.

More to come concerning this stuff later. I think it requires more research, its better than doing my job at work and it's good to get this outta my head :)

(Major disclaimer: I'm not "good" at this stuff. So if another pally reads this and is offended by my lack of knowledge, then I apologize in advance. I would like some constructive input if anybody cares to share.)