Archive for September, 2006

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Mommy’s Feeling Better!

September 30, 2006

This shows what it is like for us to have Nichelle feeling better.

For the record, this photo is what I said Nichelle should post to accompany her description of her health. I think the only reason she didn’t actually post the photo is that she wanted to play World of WarCraft.

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Doug said it was time for me to update everyone, so here it goes….

September 26, 2006

…feelin’ fine. 🙂

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Ahoy, Me Hearties! It Be International Talk Like a Pirate Day

September 19, 2006

(David be most excited about this one.)

From “How to Be Speakin’ Pirate-Like” (You’ll want to view the full page at their site; it includes vocabulary):

Startin’ Rules:

  1. Double up on all your adjectives and you’ll be bountifully bombastic with your phrasing. Pirates never speak of “a big ship”, they call it a “great, grand ship!” They never say never, they say “No nay ne’er!”
  2. Drop all your “g”‘s when you speak and you’ll get words like “rowin'”, “sailin'” and “fightin'”. Dropping all of your “v”‘s will get you words like “ne’er”, “e’er” and “o’er”.
  3. Instead of saying “I am”, sailors say, “I be”. Instead of saying “You are”, sailors say, “You be”. Instead of saying, “They are”, sailors say, “They be”. Ne’er speak in anythin’ but the present tense!
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The Wilcox Family’s New Look

September 8, 2006

Above (click to enlarge): The Wilcox Family has a new look.

  • Isaac is Hordhunter, a Night Elf druid. (He can polymorph into a bear at present.)
  • David is Stridar, a Dwarf paladin.
  • Nichelle plays sometimes. (She is actually afraid of becoming too addicted to the game.) She is Jassariss, a Night Elf warrior.
  • I chose to be a Gnome rogue, skilled at stealth and assassination (with trade specialties of mining and—of course—engineering. I can make bombs and dynamite now, and will progress to a host of interesting gadgets.)
  • Even Naomi has a character, Chritine, a Human rogue. (I’ll have to talk to her about that outfit, or buy her a nice dress the next time I’m in Stormwind or another big city.)

Our friend Phil Luchon convinced us to get a trial subscription to Blizzard’s World of WarCraft fantasy-based MMORPG (Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game). The kids had begged for months, having used his account to play when he visited and brought his computer, but it wasn’t until trying it for myself that I realized WoW (World of WarCraft) goes way beyond wandering the game world killing monsters. Approximately 7 million other subscribers (as of this September) worldwide seem to agree.

The game world itself is huge. There are two main continents at present, and an expansion is promised later this fall that I expect will make the game world even bigger, and introduce new races to play. There are eight races, each with six different class types, such as hunters, rogues, or priests. You can pick different occupational skills—I chose engineering (of course), and can now build things like dynamite and bombs. David in particular loves to design characters; I still have the first one I created, but will definitely add more later.

WoW has an excellent social aspect as well. Quite often I team up with my friend Phil, or other people who regularly game on the server I use at the time I use it, and go out adventuring. Besides teaming up for quests, there are ways to set up official guilds of similar-minded gamers within the game, including creating one’s own guild insignia.

I love exploring. The terrain is vast and wonderous, and varies as much as the terrain on Earth. There’s an underground tram that runs between two large cities, and you can rent a griffin to fly on to get between most other major locations. The game has e-mail, banking (including safety deposit boxes), an auction system much like eBay, and quite a bit of humor.

Last night I set up NaNi’s in-game button bar to include some of the commands we normally type, like “whistle,” “train,” “silly,” and “dance.” (“Silly” makes the avatar tell a joke. “Train” is one of our favorites, as it makes any of the characters pretend to be a locomotive, including appropriate gestures and whistles.) Anyway, when NaNi was away from the keyboard, David walked up and started clicking the icons I set up for NaNi. She noticed, and yelled, “Hey! That’s my character!”

I’d write more, but I’ve been itching to play, and the kids are finally in bed …

Update

After nearly a month playing World of WarCraft, our appearances have changed somewhat. On the left is Nichelle’s Night Elf character, with much improved clothing/armor, as she nears level 14. Nichelle is funny, she hates the idea of leaving Teldrassil, the island plateau on which the Night Elves live, because it’s so beautiful.

In the middle I’m wearing the goggles I made for my Gnome rogue character. (Engineering rules!) I have discovered that I really enjoy the real roll-playing aspect of the game, having been awed by a character named Sinisterlady’s excellent roll playing skills and imagination. My regret is that more players don’t stay in character or treat the game world as “real” and behave accordingly, even though the server we use is designated a roll-playing one. Our friend Phil Luchon and I often quest together, and we’re both developing consistent personalities for our characters. We do quite a bit of dialogue where we trade humorous insults—many involving size—back and forth, and that has been great fun.

On the right Naomi’s character is wearing a new dress that Nichelle purchased for her and mailed using WoW’s in-game e-mail system. I have sent her another one, but she has to get to level 13 before she can use it. The boys and I have helped level her character up to level 5, because NaNi loves to walk around the game world, and she kept getting killed nearly immediately once she stepped outside of her starting location.

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Vacation’s Over: Back to School

September 8, 2006

:: sigh :: No more carefree days filled with playing Halo 2 for Dash …

Well, summer’s over, and we’re all back to school, except for Nichelle.

All?

That’s right.

While Isaac and David are in school, Nichelle is taking time each day to work on letter recognition, shapes, and other skills with NaNi.

And, I’ve enrolled in a graduate certificate program in Software Engineering, offered by Boston University’s Metropolitan College, which should keep me busy enough to stay out of trouble. I’ll be taking two courses simultaneously for the next 14 weeks: Software Engineering, and Object-Oriented Object-Oriented Analysis and Design. In the spring I’ll grab another two. Best of all, the classes are taught on-site at Kronos, and the whole program falls under Kronos’ tuition reimbursement program.

In Software Engineering, I’m working on our class project with three co-workers I’ve worked closely with before: Stephan Arsenault, RaviShekar Gopalan, and Doug “JavaDoug” Ross. We’ve decided to build an online shared calendar program, tailored to families, and we’re building it in Ruby on Rails, probably with a MySQL backend. (I should get a BLOG up this weekend to chronicle that effort.) It’s going to be fun!

So far, Isaac and David are doing great at Tabernacle Christian School. Isaac’s attitude toward school and homework is much improved, and David is as eager and happy to be in school as ever.