February 17 was the fifth anniversary of my joining Apple.
My previous record for duration of service at any company was three and a half years, at Claritech. Before that, my longest durations were in school--four years at Stanford, another four at CMU. So not only is this a personal record for a job, it's also a personal record for time of work at any institution.
The service awards are being revised, which means that although I have gotten a very nice plaque, I have not gotten the shoddy pen that my boss got along with his plaque. I strive to bear up under the disappointment.
I did get an office party, though, which did more to warm my heart than a pen would have. I'm pretty happy.
Friday was our first foray into Gruul's Lair. We made some progress on the High King Maulgar fight, but not a lot; our major victory for the night was just getting 25 people into an instance together.
I had spent most of the previous week obsessively reading guides to the fight and creating strategies tailored for our guild. It did not help much; those strategies got largely ignored in favor of the advice of some more experienced folks with us. I did get grouchy about this.
I think I was sort of doomed to grouchiness--I had set my expectations too high, and started counting chickens far before any of them were hatched. Oh well.
However, we did record the evening with WoW Web Stats, and sorting through the logs to see what went wrong has restored my enthusiasm. I have *new* plans! What could possibly go wrong?
Saturday afternoon, Lori and I recruited a guildmate for a 3-man foray into Blackfathom Deeps. Unfortunately, we had to cancel it midway.
Sunday night, I joined a guildmates pick-up group for non-heroic Mechanar. We were overgeared that we had a lot of room to be sloppy. This was a real relief after being unable to handle the technical challenges of Gruul's Lair.
A particular contributor of sloppiness was the group's hunter. One particular highlight of sloppiness: he pulled Gatekeeper Gyro-kill when the healer was still returning from the graveyard. Fortunately, we handled it.
Monday night, the Karazhan raid ended up being canceled, so Lori and I did another three-man run to Blackfathom Deeps. Again we were a bit overlevel, but we completed the whole thing with no trouble.
Tuesday night, we managed to get a 5-man group together to go through Razorfen Kraul. We had two wipes in the whole instance; though Lori was not at fault in either case, she felt horribly guilty about both wipes. (I suspect that Lori may not realize how smooth our runs have been, even with the wipes.)
Razorfen Kraul has been tightened up in level considerably--it's no longer the case that creatures in the trench are too low-level to give XP when you're able to kill the last boss. However, the quest to kill the last boss hasn't been adjusted... so at level 29, that quest is only just available, and it's colored red to indicate it's very difficult--but the boss you're killing is level 27.
I had not realized that there is now a graveyard near Razorfen Kraul. This makes wipes vastly less painful than they once were.
Unfortunately, these two instances make it seem that it's very hard for us to go through a pre-BC instance and get Lori into bed at a good time. Fortunately, we are getting close to level 30, and so we'll be able to spend 10 levels or so with the Scarlet Monastery set of shorter instances.
Wednesday night, I found myself with the job of putting together a Karazhan team when several scheduled people were unavailable. I wasn't thinking about all the issues of crowd control, and I ended up with a somewhat odd group: no priests, only one hunter providing all of our crowd control, but four shamans.
But we had the best opening night for Karazhan we've had yet, killing all the bosses up through Curator with no wipes. This means that I can euphemize my group selection as "creative" instead of "harebrained".