Sunday, December 30, 2012


Fifty-two weeks, fifty-two blogs. I have never had a calendar year in which I have actually posted a blog every single Sunday, until now. This is blog number 52 for 2012 (unless I counted wrong, which is highly probable). Whether or not my count is correct, I have managed, for the first time ever in a single calendar year, to post something every week. Sometimes it’s been a rant, or something about nothing, or sometimes just a photo, but at least I can say I’ve posted something every week.

I’ve discovered a few things while engaging in this little project. First of all, I enjoy writing - or at least the act of writing; it’s cathartic. Secondly, how the fuck professional writers come up with material on a regular basis escapes me; there have been plenty of weeks where a topic worth writing about, or for which I had more than a sentence or two worth of commentary has alluded me.

I’ve also discovered, based on the analytics for the blog, that more people actually read this thing than just my friends who are kind enough to click on the links I post on Facebook, Twitter and Google+. Interestingly, some of my older posts comparing To Do list services seem to be my most popular (or at least most viewed) posts.

Going into 2013 I can’t say that I’ll make another run at 52 straight weeks of blogging. In fact, I’m pretty sure I’ll allow myself the occasional break from blogging. I’ve always called the blog “Chaotic Commentary” because I’ve never locked the blog into a single topic; that won’t change, although don’t be surprised if you see more World of Warcraft themed blogs in the near future.


Carlisle’s Chaotic Commentary 2012 Posts

First Blog of 2012January 1, 2012
Damn it Feels Good to Be a LannisterJanuary 8, 2012
Ben Was Right... MostlyJanuary 15, 2012
What Possesses People?January 22, 2012
Let The Hunt BeginJanuary 29, 2012
The Hunt is OverFebruary 5, 2012
Some Chaotic CommentaryFebruary 12, 2012
Nook Tablet – First ImpressionsFebruary 19, 2012
Boxes, Boxes EverywhereFebruary 26, 2012
Movin' On UpMarch 4, 2012
Channels, Channels EverywhereMarch 11, 2012
Hungry for the GamesMarch 18, 2012
The Great Furniture HuntMarch 25, 2012
Put It Together Your Damn SelfApril 1, 2012
Laptops, WiFi & FamilyApril 7, 2012
Sunday Evening Bloggin’April 15, 2012
U-verse vs Xfinity - Just My Humble OpinionApril 22, 2012
Tiptoeing Through ‘The Cloud’April 29, 2012
LG Tone Bluetooth ReviewMay 6, 2012
Shaking My HeadMay 13, 2012
The Sarah J ShowMay 20, 2012
Remember More Than Just Your GrillMay 27, 2012
Sorry Ben, But Beer Doesn’t Love MeJune 3, 2012
RIP Ray BradburyJune 10, 2012
Happy Dad’s DayJune 17, 2012
Can’t Stop The MusicJune 24, 2012
Burnt OfferingsJuly 1, 2012
The Game Is AfootJuly 8, 2012
The Great Book DebateJuly 15, 2012
Is This The Real Life?July 22, 2012
Making a SplashJuly 29, 2012
Rethinking My Tablet ChoiceAugust 5, 2012
Vacation 2012August 12, 2012
Round IS a Shape, Right?August 19, 2012
Lock It DownAugust 26, 2012
Sunday RamblingsSeptember 2, 2012
Bachelor PadSeptember 9, 2012
Time to Become a Little More AntisocialSeptember 16, 2012
I’d Rather Be WritingSeptember 23, 2012
Rethinking the LayoutSeptember 30, 2012
Save the TatasOctober 7, 2012
The Last (?) Temptation of UhnkOctober 14, 2012
What the Puck!?October 21, 2012
Return to AzerothOctober 28, 2012
Heads or Tails - Election 2012November 4, 2012
Salute to our VeteransNovember 11, 2012
WoW, It’s Been A Month AlreadyNovember 18, 2012
Tis The SeasonNovember 25, 2012
Raiding, Achievements, and Gold, WoWDecember 2, 2012
What IfsDecember 9, 2012
Fifty Down, Two To GoDecember 16, 2012
We’re Still HereDecember 23, 2012
52December 30, 2012

Sunday, December 23, 2012

We’re Still Here

Well, this apocolypse that was supposed to happen a couple of days ago didn’t. So, have a Merry/Happy Chrismahaunakwanzaka (or whatever it is you celebrate this time of year)!

~ JC

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Fifty Down, Two To Go

At the beginning of this calendar year I imposed upon myself a goal. That goal was to actually post a blog every Sunday through the end of the year. Writing, for me, has always been a cathartic undertaking. I don’t really care if anyone actually reads it or not. Sundays became the day of blogging from almost the start because it was always the one day of the week when I had time in the morning to post. A few years ago my friend Jimmy starting trying to do a daily blog, which inspired me to at least do a weekly one. Like most hobbies I undertake, I tend to go at it pretty hardcore at first then my interest starts to wane, so there are some pretty large gaps in the dates of my blog posts. Writing, though, is one of those enjoyments that I really like to do, so even though I didn’t write something every week, I still wrote fairly often. Strange as it sounds, it’s the act of typing that I enjoy - I’m not sure why. And yes, I’m the weirdo that will say that the thing I miss most about college is writing papers.

So far I’ve managed to post something every Sunday during 2012. Today’s post is number 50 with two more Sundays left in the calendar year. So, I’ll see you here next Sunday for another blog post (that is, of course, if the Mayan calendar was wrong).

~ JC

P.S. - I was going to write another World of Warcraft post this morning, but figured I’d take a break from that topic for a bit ;-)

Sunday, December 09, 2012

What Ifs

A month ago I turned 41. The older I get the more I tend to reflect on the past; “what if I had...?” types of thoughts. Life is a series of choices. Sometimes we make the right choice and a lot of times we make the wrong choice.

What has me in this train of thought right now is some recent training at work. I do technical support, and, like any other technology, our product advances through hotfixes, patches and newer versions.  Because we have to support both the older and newer versions of the software until the older version reaches “end of support”, and the newer version is quite different, the two days of training was very beneficial (note, the new version actually came out last year and we’ve already been supporting it, but subtle [and sometimes not so subtle] differences between it and what most of us are familiar with usually results in having to seek assistance when troubleshooting). As I sat there trying to absorb as much information as I could, I couldn’t help but think back to a time when I wanted to be a programmer. It got me to thinking about all the stupid mistakes I’ve made in my life, especially in my 20s and wondering where I’d be now if I had finished that degree in ‘Business Computer Programming’ back in the early 90s.

Would I still have ended up living in Atlanta? Would I have ever had met my fiancee? Or any of the people I now count as some of closest friends? Would I still have the job I have now, or I would I have been one of the folks who wrote the software for the product I now to support for?

It’s been said that hindsight is 20/20. For some things that may be true, but one thing's for sure - you can’t go backwards and you certainly can’t start regretting decisions made 20 years ago. I like my life, I love my fiancee and my friends. I like my job (usually). I like where I live. And I suppose that that’s really what matters now. I doesn’t matter what happened way back when; what’s important is where I’m at, and the opportunities to move forward.

~ JC

Sunday, December 02, 2012

Raiding, Achievements, and Gold, WoW

It’s a Raid!

As I’ve blogged recently, I started playing World of Warcraft again in October after an absence of a little over two years. My intention was not, necessarily, to become a full on raider again, but yet I now find myself in a guild that is working toward the goal of becoming a “Raiding Guild”. The difference is, we’re also a social guild, and with the Guild Advancement feature introduced in the Cataclysm expansion, or focus is more on leveling the Guild than anything else.

When I first started playing again, in some ways, I was glad I was no longer in an active guild. The pressure was off to have to be logged in so often to be a part of guild activities, like dungeons and raids. I have to admit, however, that I’m looking forward to helping build a new guild almost from the ground up. As of the time of this blog, Worlds End is level 6 (of 25) with last night’s efforts in Ulduar contributing greatly to that (in fact, the Guild hit level 6 while we were inside the instance). I’ve been made an officer already and asked to help with organizing and researching the boss fights for raids. And most of all, I had a lot of fun.

Right now we’re actually doing lower level raids. First, because it’s decent practice for when we get to raids that are appropriate to our toon levels. Second, none of us has hit level 90 yet and some are closer than others, so it gives us a chance to bond as a guild and still do things as a guild without having to use “pick up groups”. And thirdly, several members are interested in a new (to me anyway) thing called “transmog” for gear sets, which essentially lets you transfer gear stats from a piece of gear that you may not like the look of to a piece that actually matches the set your toon is wearing. Not really my thing, but helping with that also gets me missing Achievements that I missed out on from a few years back.

Achievement Unlocked

Speaking of Achievements, it seems like there are tons of them added in Mists of Pandaria, which is to be expected. It just seems that the achievement pop up occurs for things that I wouldn’t have expected in previous expansions (like completing a simple quest chain). What’s more important to me are the achievements for old dungeons and raids that I either never attempted or never completed for various reasons. Last night we cleared most of Ulduar (a 10-man raid for which the completion always eluded my old guild). I got to venture into parts of that (very large) instance that I had never seen before. Next weekend, we’re planning a run on Icecrown Citadel to down the Lich King (a raid that I completely missed out on because it didn’t exist yet when I quit playing back in January 2010).

Other recent achievements for my toon include several of the MoP quest chain achievements as well as reaching max level (600) for the skill First Aid.

Ooo, Shiny!

One of the things that inspired me to start playing WoW again was my friend Sam’s blog posts about Star Trek Online. Specifically, he was writing quite often about something called the “Dilithium Exchange”, which apparently is similar to the Auction House in World of Warcraft. One of the side things I did in WoW was to put items in the Auction House for sale to other players (for in game gold, not real money, obviously). This venture could turn out to be very profitable at times and a great way to augment the gold earned in game for quests and looting. What I’ve noticed, though, is that Blizzard seems to have become more generous with the quest rewards and the amounts that “vendor trash” loot sells for to the vendors. I have found at least three things so far that were “vendor trash grey” but that sold for 100g. Typically vendor trash nets you a few silver or maybe a gold or two. That, along with some decent luck with selling things in the Auction House took my main toon from 2500 gold in mid-October to just over 10,000 gold as of this past week. In fact, I was even able to help out a guildie with a loan of 2500 gold and not sweat being able to make that up pretty quick. If only I could make money in the real world that fast.

I have to wonder if, perhaps, the seeming acceleration of gold rewards in game is a way for Blizzard to help combat the gold farmers that sell in game gold for real money. These unscrupulous folks use exploits like bots or just plain hack/steal people’s accounts to strip them of gear and gold so they can sell it to other players. Blizzard has always said that buying gold like that is a violation of terms and conditions and that you could lose your account and be banned if caught. It seems, though like they’ve been doing a little bit better at combating that. One of the reason the gold farmers even existed to begin with was because of some of the ways Blizzard doled out gold rewards rather slowly while also having very high costs for in game purchases (I remember when the basic riding skill, for example, plus the mount itself cost around 40g - these days it only costs around 5g). There is even a Guild Perk within the new Guild Advancement system that generates gold for the entire guild based on a percentage of what its members loot when questing.

All in all, I’m enjoying the new changes to the game and the new friendships being formed with the new guild I’ve joined. I’m still managing, for the most part, to limit my playing time to a few hours a week with the occasional weekend of splurging.

~ JC