Sliding Down

A blog by Dan Bergren

Noticing Changes

Posted at 2:23 am on Nov 22, 2014

I've been thinking about getting a haircut this weekend.

Rather, a proper one. I can give myself a haircut and save a few bucks, but I want to make sure it actually looked good this time. And I'm going to shave my beard.

I was planning on doing this to get in the "spirit of job hunting" and because I'm seeing a lot of family next week for Thanksgiving. But it also occurred to me that I haven't really worried about what I've looked like since I was dating in college.

I mean, I've "worried". I've cared if my mohawk didn't stay up or if I had hat hair in the winter. But I haven't done it for the benefit of society, to fit into the white suburbia mold I was raised under. I've tried to drift away from that on purpose, to help find myself. I didn't want to spend my energy caring about those motivations for how I looked.

In high school I spent a good deal in front of the mirror, after all. You know: girls, hormones changing by body, girls, insecurities (probably also hormones). I cared more about the little things.

So I'm thinking about getting back into that this weekend. By getting a haircut and shaving my beard. It's a daunting thought, but I think it might do me some good. I think it does anyone a lot of good to "look put-together" regardless if they're having a good day or going through a rough patch.

One last thought: it occurred to me that even as a musician I cared how I looked while wearing my tuxedo and playing in front of people. Caring about looks was part of my DNA until I stopped playing bass regularly.

And I cared about how good I was. I had auditions regularly to keep the positions I held in my orchestras, and I was constantly re-hired for pit gigs. I always had feedback about how sharp my skills were and where I needed to improve.

Software hasn't worked like that for me… Until now. Grad school has provided the right environment to keep me improving. And if I start working again soon, maybe my next workplace will provide something cool like that as well. Fingers crossed.

Winter Cleaning

Posted at 1:42 am on Nov 21, 2014

Okay, so quick update. I made some changes.

That's all for now. Copy is atrocious, but it's late and I have to do grown-up things tomorrow. (You know, in addition to playing Super Smash Bros.)

Green Fire

Posted at 12:47 am on Nov 19, 2014

So I finally got my green fire today. I said to myself, "Level 94 is high enough!" and got to work and learned the fight. I know being a higher level and being more geared helped me a lot more than last time, but I also thought critically about the fight instead of banging my head against the wall over and over again.

So that was good. I also took screenshots of my adventures, but those are on my other computer. Also my fingers are cold and it's late, so I'll keep this short.

Tomorrow is my class final, and then I'm off of school until January. During that time, I hope to find a job, possibly working for a startup. I think I'm past the point where I want to be picky about where I work. If it's in finance, so what? That shouldn't be an indicator of whether or not it will be a good fit for you.

I also want to get some real work done, and make both this blog and heymrbass.com look really spiffy. And games. Why am I not making games? That's my strongest strength, I should be making games!

Time for sleep. With any luck I'll dream up a game and have something to design tomorrow.

Changing gears

Posted at 10:03 am on Nov 18, 2014

So I'd like to change gears here with the direction of this blog. v0.7 was supposed to be about cleaning up old data, but doing just that is going to take a long time. It's also 18 days past due, so I think it makes sense to sideline that release for later.

Instead, I'm going to focus on making the blog prettier, release v0.9. I think it's a better choice for a number of reasons.

I get to focus on the "Now"

I'll be tweaking my blog's design and layout for what I write now, not what I wrote nine years ago. This means I won't need to fuss with broken images or weird HTML out of the gate, and I can tweak my writing style if needed.

It lets me conquer burnout

Burnout sucks. I know it's a buzzword and all that, so let me describe it a bit more clearly: you spend your working life hating work, and your non-working life trying to not think about work. Burnout destroys you by building up bad habits for years if left unchecked, and those habits are incredibly difficult to undo. If you're like many adults, you just kinda roll with it until it becomes the de facto way of existing.

I've been recovering from burnout for the better part of a year now. I'm happy to say that the bad habits are really starting to disappear entirely, but now I must work on building up new ones. One of those new habits is focusing on what's the most important part of building software, and not trying to fight fires all the time. I think that a good design for this blog is wayyy more important than fixing all of the old blog post links from over the years.

So yeah, new design. Let's do it.

While I don't hate the current design – and I think it did a great job for v0.1 – it's ultimately not my best work, and very much in the same vain as previous blog layouts I made when I was in high school. I know I haven't had the opportunity to do any real design, so this is my chance. I need to show the rest of the world that one of the websites that is most important to me also reflects the best of my talents.

Being a Warlock

Posted at 2:19 am on Nov 14, 2014

So the new World of Warcraft expansion Warlords of Draenor just dropped yesterday. I would be playing the new content, except it insanely popular when I logged on last night. Most of the servers were locked, and even if you managed to get in, a lot of the instances weren't letting you connect.

So I spent my time working on non-WoD content – namely, green fire.

What's so special about green fire? Well nothing, really. Unless you're a warlock. Then green fire means everything to you. It's what makes demonic fel fire demonic and different than normal, burn-y red fire. It's what we've been asking for from Day 1 of WoW and they finally gave it to us in the form of an epic quest line.

So no problem, right? Warlocks are used to doing epic quest lines to get our mounts or summon each of our pets. Except… the item we need to get is the Sealed Tome of the Lost Legion, and it has an insanely low drop rate. From rare mobs. Which are constantly being killed by non-warlocks for non-warlock reasons.

Earlier this week I had hoped to get this item to drop before WoD launched, so maybe I could get an achievement for completing the quest. But I just couldn't. I even grouped with five other warlocks and we farmed the rare mobs we needed to and it still didn't drop for any of us. So it was looking bleak.

I gave it another shot today because I had nothing better to do, and then BAM! it friggin' dropped! Of course it dropped at two in the morning when few others were playing this zone and competing with me, but it still friggin' dropped. :)

So now I'm talking to my voidwalker Zhar'nak about this Codex of Xerrath I just created by binding my last healthstone to the tome. There's much more to do, but I wanted to write this first. I'm really proud of being a warlock in WoW, and doing this quest line is the most emotional I've gotten about WoW since that time I summoned the wrong demons.

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