Dragons, Death Knights and Diversions

I am, as I suspected, running behind in posting a lot of things on here that I wish I would think to post but due to my constant busyness, I have not posted on here. So here are a few fun updates about what is keeping me busy as of late.

As usual, work has been keeping me occupied as well it should. With each project I find steering to completion, four more are placed on my plate. I am rarely bored at work, that’s for sure. My work with ADFS and Office365 is still hovering about and is being tested. I also have learned a great deal about Tomcat, Notepad++, and RSA technologies as I have been working on Multi-Factor Authentication. I am quickly becoming a regular genius in Active Directory as my work has required it. Rarely does my senior AD person have to hold my hand as he once did. He may give me a small kernel of info but the rest I have either found through research or through my own experimentation. I have also started examining some other things including corporate social networks and Microsoft Security Configuration Manager as it plays with MS SCCM. If you don’t know what those words have in common, Google it my good man!

On the personal front, I have been hooked in to George R. R. Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire Series. My eyes would burn at reading all the pages in the books of the series but thanks to Roy Dotrice, I simply listen to the reading when I am driving around in my SUV or working out at the gym. I learned that once you have ‘learned’ a basic task such as driving, your brain can usually process those activities in the lower part of your brain so listening to audiobooks works well because my brain can still comprehend the things being said while keeping me from wrecking into other motorists. I have now completed ‘reading’ the first book Game of Thrones and am well over halfway through the second book Clash of Kings. The series appeals to my RPG spirit with all the knights and sword fighting while still sprinkling in some mythical creatures such as wraiths and dragons. Yet it also appeals to my adult interest as there is a considerable amount of political intrigue, conspirators, and the like and yes… they aren’t shy about having some intimate encounters in it either…not that the scenes are particularly explicit. I have taken quite a liking to Tyrion Lannister, the “Imp” as he is easily the smartest person in the HUGE entourage of characters (and isn’t afraid to slap his whiny little nephew in the face) yet he still has a good heart and strives for what is more ethically right than most of the other main characters.

I also purchased the first season of the Game of Thrones HBO series on 1080p Blu-Ray as I am not wealthy enough to have HBO on my normal channels and thusly have no access to their coveted ‘HBO-Go’ service. I am only four episodes in to the 10 total of the first season but I find my opinions are a little mixed. The visuals of the Westeros world are STUNNING to say the least and 1080p only serves to enhance that. The storyline follows close enough to the book to keep me from disowning it but I don’t like some of the changes made.

First of all, they seem to try and squeeze more sex into a single episode than any other show I have seen. HBO or not, it almost seems to lose some creative value with all the boob shots thrown in for no reason and some of the sex scenes are far cries from the book – most decidedly the first sex between Dany and Khal Drogo. And why the heck did they even given Viscerys Targaryen a sex scene with Jiqui? That NEVER happened in the book and it doesn’t really fit the movie’s plot either. Go figure.

Second of all, they did not use the Starks’ dire wolves as strongly in the movie as they did in the book. I have seen Bran and Summer, I have also seen Sansa and Lady, and I have seen Greywolf with Robb but they appear only rarely unlike the book where they are the constant companions of the children. In fact, they showed Jon Snow’s Ghost ONCE when he was a pup and now Jon is on the wall, they still don’t show Ghost. He is so vital to the personality of Jon Snow that it seems wrong to leave it out. There is a brief scene with Arya and Nymeria but since you never see the wolf until that scene, you don’t care about her as much as the book makes you care about her. Also, I have not even seen Shaggydog and Rickon not that I really care about those two as much right now.

The third complaint I have is in regards to the ages of the characters in the book versus the show. They appear to have added 2 years on to all the children in the book to make the movie ‘more acceptable’. Why? Because Arya is 8 when the book starts and has a scene where she kills someone and therefore a 10 year old is slightly less scary for the public to consider. If you feel that way then why are you even watching this? It’s dramatic, it’s SUPPOSED to offend you sometimes. Sansa is 14 in the movie, presumably because the thought of offering a child as a wife to a young prince (aged 12 in the book, 13 in the movie) when she’s only 12 years old was a bit too much for the average public to deal with. The fact that Robb and Jon are more like 17 or so doesn’t really bother me that much because they act older in the book than their ages. However, I still just don’t like the fact that they felt it was necessary to make all the kids older. What does that really offer anyone else? Just a way to soothe any ruffled feathers I suppose.

Outside of watching and reading Game of Thrones, I have also been on a long break from my college. There was a mix up with my financial aid when the summer semester rolled around caused in part by my inability to dig through the website and partly because my college launched a completely different way to handle financial aid but didn’t give much notice to students about those changes. Either way, I have had some amount of free time when not working or trying to maintain house and have devoted that time to playing my old friend, World of Warcraft. I have finally gotten a character all the way through 3/4 of Outland and am only a level or two away from reaching 80 and heading to Northrend (yes I know that Cataclysm goes to 85 and Panderia 90 but I am not there yet). In the past two or three years since Wrath of the Lich King came out, I have never even made it all the way through the Burning Crusade expansion. I had tried but I always got sidetracked somehow. Now things are different and I expect to play up until at least Northrend (gotta get through Netherstorm first) before my Fall semester starts back at school on September 1st. Another thing I have done is I finally played a Death Knight! I had seen death knights everywhere since WOTLK came out but had never played one of my own, not because I couldn’t get a level 55, I have several of those, but because I simply didn’t have any real desire to try one. I first made my own version of Eddard Stark, aptly making him a human, frost-spec Death Knight. He was fun to play and I got all the way past the “Intro” storyline and was released to Stormwind but once there I found that I missed the fact that the mount I had was not a flying mount (something I had gotten very used to with my high level night elf hunter) and that the frost spec was not the best spec to play solo (I rarely play in groups). After some heartache, I found that I should have chosen Unholy spec and couldn’t afford to unlearn my talents. So, I started a new death knight, this time back to my old friends… the Horde… and made a Blood Elf Unholy DK. I have a LOT of fun with this character but also do not have enough for her to have a flying mount yet and that was truly what kept me alive in Outland so I am temporarily pausing that character. Since then, I started a Troll Warlock. Why? Because I have played every other race but troll and because I wanted to experiment with another solo playable character.

Beyond that, I have simply been too occupied with life in general to do much else fun. I have been doing my best to stay occupied with different activities that will ease the stress of having an 1800 sq ft. house with 8 people living in it. Granted, half of these people are less than 10 years old (and half of them less than 2) but they are still there, still take up space, and still have issues that often come home. I love being a father but it is tiring business and without opportunities to relieve some stress here and there, it becomes hard to be the kind of father I want and need to be. So, I find ways to escape the intensity on occasion so that I am somewhat rested when I must deal with it again. Thankfully, my wife is amazing and understands the challenges. I hope to update more on my blog as time goes by.

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