My Purple Dress

02 September 2007

I don’t generally obsess over virtual clothing in video games. I’ve scoffed at role players who sacrific 10 stamina in favor of wearing a matching blue shirt with just the right collar. But as an undead mage in World of Warcraft, even I am frustrated with the wardrobe choices. Let’s take a look at the “outfits” available to a high level mage.

Magister Dress Arcanist Dress Sorcerer Dress

Hmmm. A red and purple dress, a purple dress, or … another purple dress. Not exactly going to strike fear in the heart of my enemies wearing a frilly tutu. I’m undead for crying out loud! I should be wearing gnome bones and human skulls. Subdued, dark, dank colors, not fluorescent reds and purples!

Those first three outfits are just the beginning though. If I work really hard at it, spending hours every week raiding with a guild, I could get even more powerful outfits:

Netherwind Dress Frostfire Dress

Ouch. From purple to glowing, baby blue. Are those ice crystals on his shoulders? Consider that a big hint about the role of mages in raiding…

So I went out of my way to avoid wearing dresses. Instead of dungeon loot, I spent weeks learning how to sew my own clothes, opening up a few spare upper-50s shirt patterns:

Mooncloth Vest Mooncloth Robe

Sure enough, most shirt patterns are still robes and dresses. Even though the stats are better on the mooncloth robe, I made myself the vest. -5 Intellect to wear a vest instead of dress? No longer was I scoffing at the idea.

Pretty soon I completed a difficult quest with much-improved pants as the reward. In fact, these were the best pants available before end-game raids:

No joke – it’s a “kilt”. Even after sacrificing 5 intellect to avoid wearing a robe, they still managed to force me into a skirt. Maybe I’m not really undead – I may just be dead, and this is hell.


When I hit level 60, I couldn’t wait to get my epic mount. As a mage, I spend a lot of time running away, so having the fastest mount is important. I spent a full week in Alterac Valley to receive a 10% discount – a full 100g – off my epic mount. Despite being stuck in low-end gear (including a kilt) I think I did pretty well:

Bizzle in AV

It’s pretty easy to get killing blows when you hide in the back spamming 41-yard fireballs, and using instant casts to steal kills from teammates. Or maybe I was at the top of the ranks because I spent 3 hours at a stand-still defending Frostwolf Keep from the Alliance, and had simply been in game racking up kills twice as long as anyone else. Nahhhh – it was l33t skillz and playing an OP class that got me to the top. AP POM PYRO KAPOW FTW! MI RIGHT?


Whatever it was, it worked! The tuesday after I hit lvl 60, I reached PVP rank 3, and had just over 800g – enough to buy my epic mount. The only colors available were purple and green. Obviously I picked green, doing my darnedest to avoid looking fruity despite the games’ best efforts. (purple mount shown below)

Purple Horse

I couldn’t wait to show off my new mount. I had even gotten the mount speed glove enchant, mithril spurs, and equipped my carrot on a stick. Totally badass. Not even death itself could catch this mage. But when my wife got home from work, she was less than impressed:

Me: “I got my epic mount! He’s so fast that his feet caught on fire!! Come look!”

Wife: “*groan* What color did you pick?”

Me: “Green…”

Wife: “I thought you would get Purple.”

Me: “…”

Wife: “You know . . . to match your dress.”

Me: :((

Wife: “Ooh look! Even your horse is wearing a dress!”

Green Horse


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A Brief Guide to Persistent Irssi Under Screen

02 September 2007

For years I ran IRC under Linux and Windows using XChat. My desktop was on and online 24/7, making it a practical means of lurking in my favorite channels. Eventually I bought a laptop and moved into a small apartment with my computer droning loudly inches from my bed. Keeping my desktop on overnight was no longer practical. I found myself wanting to connect to IRC from my laptop while at home, at work, in the living room, and everywhere in between. For a laptop thats frequently asleep and traveling, lurking in IRC channels is impossible. I needed to run IRC from the one computer that was still always on – my Linux server.

Irssi is a Linux command line IRC client. Command line may sound antiquated, but IRC is a text-based protocol, making a GUI relatively pointless. Screen is a nifty app for managing and persisting bash login shells. Combining these programs lets you lurk in IRC and connect to that IRC instance from anywhere. This combination does for IRC what Webmail did for e-mail. The only catch is that you need SSH access to a Linux server. Here are the basics to get you started:

1. Install Screen and Irssi – This is going to depend on your distribution, but chances are both are available in the default repository.

2. Run Irssi – Run Irssi by typing `irssi` at the command line. Next type `/connect irc.freenode.net` to connect to a server. On Gate.com the default IRC ports are blocked, so try `/connect irc.freenode.net:8000`.

Join a few channels – `/join #linux`, `/join #gaim`. To get around you can hit ctrl+p and ctrl+n to go to the previous and next window. Window #1 is always the server messages. There are several other ways to get around in Irssi – if you’d rather jump straight to a window for instance, alt+0 through alt+9 should work.

To close a window you can type `/q` or `/wc`. `wc` is short for “window close”, `/q` is short for “query”, and closes a window when no message is entered.

3. Configure Irssi – Now setup Irssi to automatically connect to your favorite network and channels. These example commands will automatically connect to Freenode on Irssi startup, identify yourself to nickserv, join #gaim, and enable logging:

/SET nick mynickname
/SET alternate_nick mynickname_
/SERVER ADD -auto -network freenode irc.freenode.net 8000
/NETWORK ADD -autosendcmd “/^msg nickserv ident pass;wait -freenode 2000”
/CHANNEL ADD -auto #gaim freenode

Here are a few more commands to change the timestamp and enable logging. This adds seconds to the timestamps, changes the logging directory to be hidden (by adding a dot in front of it), and turns logging on.

/SET timestamp_format %H:%M:%S
/SET autolog_path ~/irclogs/$tag/$0.log
/SET autolog ON

Now one last command to save all the changes. Then exit, and re-run Irssi and see if it connects to your network and channels as expected, and creates the logs where you expect it to:

/save
/exit

4. Run Irssi Within a Screen – Now that you have Irssi working, let’s add Screen into the mix:

# screen
# irssi

You can “disconnect” from the screen by typing ctrl+a, then ‘d’. Reconnect to your screen by typing `screen -r` at the command line.

Normally irssi would close when your ssh window closes, or your laptop falls asleep and the ssh connection times out. With screen, programs continue running in the background no matter what. Exit your SSH session, then connect back to the server, and you’ll find `screen -r` will bring your IRC window back to the foreground. Because it was running the whole time, the history of chatting while you were disconnected is right there.

Here’s a small tip – if you intend to keep track of all goings-on in a channel, you can hit ‘pageup’ in that channel before disconnecting from Screen. Now instead of having to scroll up when you reconnect to your screen to see what happened while you were gone, your window is still sitting where you left it. You can scroll down through the chatlog until you catch up.

5. Documentation – Both Screen and Irssi are complex programs with much more extensive capabilities beyond what I covered here. Screen and Irssi both have their own methods of splitting windows within one terminal, for instance. Much like Irssi can go back and forth between channel windows, Screen also allows you to go back and forth between running screens. If you can imagine it, it’s probably already included in the programs. Here are some links to get started learning more about Screen and Irssi:

An Extensive Screen Tutorial at Gentoo
An Irssi+Screen Tutorial
The Official Irssi Startup Guide
Further Irssi Documentation