Happy Holidays

Well I haven’t been playing SWTOR at all. The early access has finished and my copy hasn’t turned up yet, so stuck until it does. Even then, I am pretty certain I will skip it and sell my CE. Just not interested.

Equally I haven’t really been playing WoW either. Miss 4 has, she’s even figured out how to accept, then sometimes with help, complete the quest and figured out how to hand it in all by herself. It started with when she figured the Horde Ballon quest out by herself (so now all of my toons have the balloon!). I’ve only helped her a little with the actual getting the quest done. Amazing.

So I have been playing is Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare. Yes I know MW3 has just been released, but OSX, MW1 is the latest native version. Been fun so far running through the single player campaign. Death is a bit of a non event though. Saves are frequent so you just respawn without much loss. Subsequently after only a week or so, I’ve finished the SP missions.

My problems getting to play SWTOR, my wish to continue some old school games that have been gathering dust, and my normal tinkering means that over the past day or say I’ve Bootcamped my iMac. Which is a tricky Apple way of saying it now dual boots OSX and Windows 7. As its a Apple supported setup they provide all the correct drivers for all of the internals especially the odd stuff like the bluetooth and the IR receiver (for the remote control).

Now the challenge was that because this Mac is nearly a year old the drive was a bit messy and it couldn’t make 100GB of contiguous space to create the Windows partition.

So yesterday I bit the bullet and decided to see how well Time Machine really works. The only way to resolve the impasse and get this box dual booting was to wipe it, reinstall the OS and restore from Time Machine.

And as you can see, by the fact that 24hours later I’ve got time to blog rather than trying to reinstall everything, that it worked. It took time (about 4hours to restore) but its all here. Now I am very very impressed with Time Machine (I was already very impressed).

And Windows 7 has its own little portion of the disk. So now what to play……. Hmmm Steam sales are on???

Star Wars: The Old Republic

SWTOR has been, well almost, released with early access already started. I’ve rolled a toon on a random server at the moment, mostly so I can just stuff about. The main server that most people I know are headed to is already jam packed.

It’s been a pretty spotless launch as far as I can tell. No one at work is really complaining and I certainly haven’t had any troubles that weren’t caused by my PC.

But I’m kinda not really enjoying myself. Not really sure why, but I’m starting to think that after the early access I might quit. I can sell my CE (or return it) when it arrives. I have about 3 days to play before I decide.

Getting Started in 4.3

I’ve finally started hitting up these 4.3 runs. Mab is only geared for heroics so I’ve done something I’ve never really done before…. studied the instances before running them. Has proved very helpful and I’ve been managing them better than some of my other PUG colleagues.

About two months ago I joined into some guild Alt raids, but it became clear that I wasn’t up to speed for those sorts of things, both in understanding of the fights and my gear. I’ve since spent time reforging and gemming etc, which I was pretty lax on when all I was doing was random PUGs.

Things have changed for the better. Since that work and into 4.3 I am starting to top dps or close on most runs. Now these are PUGs so I have no idea what level the others are at to be certain, but when I can now break 10k dps on the training dummies with only totem buffs, whereas I was lucky to break 9k in a fully buffed raid I am pretty happy that things are on track.

This morning I completed the second new Heroic, Well of Eternity, and even scored a weapon (these are currently my lowest ilvl items) so my gear has come up nearly 10points in the last week. I’m aiming to come close to the magic 378ish level.

I have a standing invite to trial with a serious raiding guild on the server. I’m not geared to the level they are interested in yet, but my main three things holding me back are:

  • leaving Frosties – well I guess, not really leaving, just raiding with the other mob, I’d only take Mab and all the rest of the time I’d be in Frosties too
  • Can I commit to raiding. I got interested in their raids as they start at more like 9pm (frosties is still 8pm I think) which suits my personal circumstances better. But generally, little miss 4 goes to bed about 9 and I sometimes can take until 9.30 to get her settled… so missed raid.
  • oh and don’t forget Star Wars is released in a fortnight or so and I’m supposed to be playing that!!!

So I’ll probably keep pugging Mab, I should work on Das as she’s not even into Heroics yet. And Mabango is up to 43 I think. So fast now.

Canberra, the Ban Hammer and iPhone (again)

I did ride to Canberra. Had a great ride down, mostly on the old Hume Hwy and the Highland Way. Dropped in on an old friend for dinner. Came back almost the same way. I really enjoy these rides, and I especially enjoy them solo. I think I’m about ready to give up on “social rides” I just don’t get as much out of them and I often feel pushed to go beyond my capabilities. That leads to accidents.

I got banned from a discussion forum today. It’s a Mac forum that is very snobbish about iDevices (iPhones, iPads, iPods) such that they abused people (including the moderators) until the subject was banned. I mistakenly posted shortly after that and the forum was shutdown. It was reopened and I was warned not to post on the subject again. I still think it’s ridiculous, but was being very careful.

Last night I struck this weird problem where iCal (on my Mac) wouldn’t let me make any appointments on 07 Oct 12. Any other appointments were ok, but not that day. So I posted a request for any help on the work forum. In the ideas for a solution I mentioned iPhone.

And got a warning, but seeing I was on a warning I was struck by the Ban-Hammer. So now I can’t use that forum at all. Pretty petty, but I reread the rules and it does say “any mention” so I broke the rules, no matter how snobby I think they are. My main wish is to stage a coup and take over moderationship of the forum, but that’s tricky when he doesn’t want to give it up and I’m banned!

Now for a laugh. I have described my silly iPhone saga. Well while I was away we got a parcel, but missed it and it was returned to the post office. Because we didn’t collect it (didn’t find the note for a while) it was returned to sender. I found this out at the post office today. They also told me that it was sent by Vodafone.

So the iPhone that I tried to order and subsequently cancelled was delivered about 2 weeks afterwards. Vodafone are really hopeless! Happy still to be with 3 (yes who are still vodafone) with no contracts. So when I eventually find a better deal, I can jump ship.

Meeting Adjourned

In Touring mode again

In Touring mode again

Work insisted that I attend a meeting in Canberra. The nation’s Capital, about 2.5 hours away on the Hume Highway (or Doom Boreway). Unfortunately as I was attending a different meeting away from work for the two days before that it was going to be really awkward to organise a car from work, the normal way to head to Canberra. With a grin, I decided that the most convenient solution was to ride down.

Watching the forecasts from about a week prior, they steadily improved from predicting solid rain for the whole two days to the forecast the day before described some light morning showers. That I could easily deal with and would still be able to enjoy the ride.

So, Thursday morning, 5am, just before the sun is peeking over the horizon I did a last check of the various weather radars online and geared up. There had been a little bit of rain overnight, but the roads were already dry. I did wonder about the roads further out, less traffic and more tree cover, but I would see. The alternative was to split off the back roads, back to the Hume and continue that way if I decided it was too wet or the weather really turned nasty.

My planned route took me past Bowral from my last post before continuing to parallel the Hume through Moss Vale to Bundanoon and rejoin the Hume just before Goulburn. Here, depending upon time I could turn off again towards Bungendore and eventually approach Canberra from the west (actually closer to where I had to go in Canberra for the meeting) or follow the Hume and rush in from the north.

So after getting quickly out of my area I was on the road towards Picton and followed the route I had taken the other week. The roads were dry, there was some cloud, but it wasn’t even 7am by this stage. I had miscalculated the temperature though. The day before at 7.30am it was 23C. Today it was more like 10C so the summer jacket with a very light t-shirt (actually designed to wick away sweat) just wasn’t cutting it.

At a stop I dove into my top box and dug out the other t-shirt and light fleece that I had packed. Though still drafty through the summer jacket it did improve things a little. None too soon as the temperature continued to drop as I rose up into the Southern Tablelands.

Highland Way, NSW

Highland Way, NSW

Eventually I was past Bowral and Moss Vale. I turned away from the main road here as it leads back to the Hume and I headed for Bundadoon, Tallong and several other funny Aussie named places. The stretch we had covered the other week, that I had just finished was lots of small busy towns, with 50kmh speed limits and very little “open road”. This all changed from this point on.

I had a good hour or more of 100kmh roads with sweeping turns and no traffic. Even now it was still early (9am) but while cool, it was fine and I really enjoyed it. I determined to investigate if I can cut out the previous parts of the route by staying on the Hume in order to get to this new part much quicker next time I come this way.

My head!

My head!

Eventually it had to end and I was on the Hume. I decided I should actually get to my meeting seeing as I was already late (they had been warned not to expect me before lunch) so I followed the Hume down around Lake George to Canberra, eventually arriving at my meeting just before 10am. Cracking open my top box I was happy that my tricky packing meant that my uniform looked no more crumpled than if I had been wearing it in a car and had just driven down from Sydney.

Lake George is funny thing. A massive lake with very little water for many years. Occasionally it fills up (originally they didn’t know where the water came from as there are no rivers flowing into it, I’m not sure if they’ve explained it yet) and before they built the dual carriageway, could even cut the main road out of Canberra. Most of the time, probably 3/4 of the lake is used to graze animals.

Lake George

Lake George

I spent the night at a nearby base and again reviewed weather and routes. I decided that I would head though Queenbeyan then Goulburn to hit the nice part of yesterday’s ride. Then after that  part, I’d hit up the Hume to get home to family. Again, weather looked okay, though during the evening there was a lot of dark clouds and a little bit of rain about.

About 5.30am I left the base and started out. Another great road was the stretch all the way from Queenbeyan to Goulburn. About 90mins of 100kmh, open roads with nice curves to cruise along at a steady, quick pace.

It started to get pretty wet, so a stop and I was off again in my wet weather clothes. I use goretx jacket and over pants that I bought at camping stores as I find it much more effective than most “wet weather” gear that is available in Australia. It stopped raining about 15mins later and when I stopped for breakfast in Goulburn about 7am, I put the gear back in the top box. It didn’t come out again for the rest of the trip, but it had done its job :)

Breakfast at Goulburn was a hot pie, but I was having the same trouble with temperatures that I had yesterday. Note for next time, check the rain AND the temperature forecasts.

Goulburn, NSW

Goulburn, NSW

That beautiful leg from Goulburn to Moss Vale awaited and it didn’t let me down.

I missed a turn somewhere and ended up on the annoying stretch from Moss Vale, past Bowral etc that I had planned to avoid. I checked the map eventually and decided to carry on as the next on ramp to the Hume was at the end of the Mittagong stretch. No point in doubling back, too far.

I did have one bad moment. I had been following a school bus looking for somewhere to pass. I called it and pulled out and was about even with the bus when I decided that there wasn’t enough road left to get in front, pull in, slow down and make the turn that was a lot closer and tighter than it had first appeared. I braked to let the bus come past and turned back behind him. Safe, but there was several seconds there where I was on the wrong side of the road on the facing any traffic that decided to come around the corner. That could have ended very badly. A poor decision, that thankfully didn’t end badly.

I got home about 10am, so both rides took about 5 hours. I had a great time, found some fun roads and put some proper miles on the bike again. Harking back to an older post, I definitely enjoy solo touring/riding much more than group ride. I enjoy the social part of those rides, but maybe I could just meet them at every stop rather than riding with them or something like that. Something to consider for the future.

Now it’s time to put up the Christmas tree, fix up the lights on the house, and I have a lamb roast to cook :) Yum.