Monday, September 21, 2009

Too Many Irons...

I somehow managed to get way too many irons in the fire the past couple of weeks. I'm not sure how long it will take to get them done, but here's a run-down of what I'm working on.

Dynamis Pulling Maps

Last week I got the hair-brained idea to try to make my own map for Obsidian utilizing my thoughts and observations on pulling the various zones. The main idea behind this was to give the new sackholders something they can physically look at w/o having to work too much to decipher. Training new sackholders is always a difficult task due to pulling and I'm trying to take a bit of a different approach.

As I was looking around at the maps I use for references, I thought I should probably take the best of each map and try to apply it to a map we use internally. I approached Lect about it since he's a photoshop master (and I'm not...). If the initial draft he sent me is any indication, these are going to turn out a lot better than I thought they would.

The problem that I have with a lot of the current maps is that they're all missing something or another. DynamisLounge maps are by far the best ones out there I've seen, but in the case of their Dynamis-Windurst map, I had an issue with their numbering scheme. They do the zone differently than how we do it. I'm not knocking their method if it works for them and I'm not saying their method won't work for us, but it's just not the method we developed over the 5 or so years we've been doing Dynamis and there isn't a map out there that really illustrates how we do Windurst.

Another popular series of maps are the ones created by Whoever did this series of maps did an outstanding job of dotting all of the HP/MP statues as well as original spawn locations and extensions. Their maps are just the location of the original statues with a secondary map showing trigger statue spawns. The problem with these maps is that they do not show what triggers what.

The last example are the maps created by "F&M". Another JP linkshell. Their maps simply show pathing, dot out the extensions, NMs and what not, but nothing else.

I wanted documentation of what spawns where. I wanted to create a map that had a key to it where a puller could see they were about to come up on statue 34, look at the key, know it spawns some BSTs and 2 other statues and be able to give a heads up to the crowd (specifically tanks and sleepers).

With all that in mind, I set out to combine this:

- Similar use of numbered pulls like DynamisLounge maps illustrating what statues pop where, only in a more sensible manner to how we do Dynamis.

- Visually friendly like the maps.

- Pathing routes illustrated like the F&M maps.

- A key to the numbered statues detailing what spawns.

As Dynamis-Windurst started yesterday, I set Gawayne to the task of documenting what pops from what statue. We used the numbers that were used on the DynamisLounge map as our references for the time being until I can transpose them to the numbers we're going to use. We managed to document everything but 12 statues (not counting triggers). If you look at the two DynamisLounge maps, we didn't pull statue 80 (and it's subsequent triggered statues obviously) on map 1 and we didn't have time to pull statues 140-150 on map 2.

I have a draft of the Windurst map already, but I don't want to publish it yet until color schemes become a little more concrete. Like I said earlier, if the initial draft is any indication, these things are going to be easy enough to read and decipher that even a guy who hasn't ever been in Dynamis before can probably pull.

Sackholder Training Manual

This was something else that had been missing from the Obsidian leader forums for a while. Usually when we promote Sackholders, it's one or two at a time. Since we promoted 4 this time, getting them all together in one spot at the same time is tough. So I took it upon myself to write up a very long-winded 7-post guide in the leader forum explaining the various administrative tasks Sackholders are responsible for.

Generally speaking, you can divide the administrative tasks up into the following categories:

Bidding/Attendance - These are done as one group due to how a run is "finished" on the website. Finishing a run puts the drops and attendance in. Separating these two out just makes things complicated.

Glass Pickup - Nothing real time consuming about this. Just need to know the pattern we use to pick up the glasses. For you naysayers out there that believe where you pick the glass up from has no bearing on the zone itself, I won't argue with you, but the pattern is simply more of a "Why not?" thing.

Parties - Probably the most frustrating aspect of being a sackholder. When you make parties for 48 people or something and you end up with 7 no-shows and 4 more who show up that weren't signed up, it can wreck your job changes and set ups.

Pulling - Most time consuming and arguably the most critical facet of being a sack. Don't have to be super smart to realize that whoever is filling this role for the run dictates the pace and is generally the figurehead for that run.

Scheduling - Simple enough. Try to get one of each city run, a couple CoP runs double with Tav, a couple Xarcs and a Glacier run in each month and try to fit it in with what's already scheduled on the Dynamis Calendar.

Applications - We've been weak processing these lately due to how we have them filtered. The applications get sent to Sacks based on what job the applicant applied as. Since we're undergoing some rather major turnover, it's been a little difficult keeping up.

Communication - Broad connecting facet of being a Sackholder. I emphasized this point due to the fact that without it, the rest of the facets of being a Sackholder are moot.

The good thing about this guide that I've written is that the other veteran Sackholders can add to it or modify it based on their own experiences. I'm hoping this evolves into the central location for information that Sacks can go to if they have a question about how to handle a certain situation.

Critical Break 60-100

I've mentioned this before. It's about halfway done currently with Alchemy, Cooking, Smithing and Goldsmithing left to do.

I've been writing so many guides lately that this took a bit of a back seat. That and the fact that I'm not up against a deadline until mid-November. Celestria and Ninjafox both have copies of the Woodworking and Leathercraft guides respectively for their input, but having written so much the past month, I'm getting a little burned out on writing.

(Yet here I am updating my own blog...the irony...)


This would be my current video game crack. When Girlfriend was here a couple weeks ago, she used some of her free Gamestop gift cards to help me pick one of these up. I ended up going to buy Crisis Core ($9.99 from Toys R Us) and Dissidia ($39.99...) for it. Along the way, I discovered that the PSP store had FF7 for download for $9.99.

Can I just mention that the PSP store is probably going to be bad for me financially?

So I've been playing these three games off and on between writings and FFXI events. Needless to say, I'm in a bit of an Final Fantasy food coma.

Crisis Core is a fun game. I had forgotten most of the little details that were present in FF7 as I was playing through the start of this. Playing FF7 in conjunction with Crisis Core has definitely brought back a lot of memories. It's also brought back a different perspective on the game itself since a lot of own perceptions about life have changed. I've always been a sucker for prequels though. I always find it neat when a decent writing team can connect a prequel to all the little details in the money-making juggernaut that created the demand for said prequel in the first place.

Dissidia I'm mixed on. It might be because I haven't played any games in the street fighting genre in probably 10-12 years. Visually, the game is great. It's definitely awesome to revisit old characters from the previous FF games and have them developed a little more. My main issue with Dissidia would be the controls just seem so loose. Button combinations rarely fire the way they're laid out and this is either due to poor command recognition in the game itself or I'm just getting old and rusty at games that require fast reaction speeds. My other not-so-major gripe is that the left out Kain.

In more specific FFXI-related information:

- Fishing is now 84
- I'm 0/8 currently on the Cursed Cap -1 quest.
- I need to rebuffer my Dragoon.
- Going to attempt our first Odin after the minimal number of runs (3) on Saturday. If things go well, I may start alternating days every 2 Odins instead of every 1 just to squeeze in a couple more Odins over time.

Back to work I go. :)

Monday, September 14, 2009

Productive Weekend

Hooboy what a productive weekend. Weekends don't normally start on Thursdays for most people, but for the purposes of today's post, it does.

For starters, I picked this up:

This was something I had been working off and on to get since June. I basically turned in guild items whenever I'd remember. After a batch of reraise hairpins that saw me bust an entire stack over the course of 96 hairpins early last month, I completely refocused on getting this done. The only guild point item I have left to get from Bonecrafting is Bone Ensorcellment. There are other higher priorities at the moment though given that this is only used for a select few items that look like they have no demand whatsoever.

They didn't put a whole lot of detail into the sign. Here's a wooden signboard with the bonecraft logo stamped onto it. I'm guessing most people don't spend 200k guild points on something of this nature for it's looks though. I had mentioned in a previous post that the general consensus of players out there believe the signboards simply reduce material loss. There are some that believe it adds +1 to your skill. I've yet to see any statistical proof regarding this issue either way though. Mostly it's players saying "I did 10 synths of this and didn't break HQ tier." Ten synths aren't enough of a testing pool unfortunately. Fortunately, Bonecrafting affords me a cheap synth right at 96 that I can spam the piss out of to find out for sure what this sign does and over the course of the next month or so, I plan on doing just that.

Y'see, the trumpet ring synth gives me the ability to NPC my results for break even as long as I buy the stacks of shells at 21k or less. With the current items that do give skill and adv. synthesis support, that puts me at 106 bonecrafting skill. As most people know, tier 1 HQ is 11 levels above the skillcap, so if this signboard truly does give +1 skill, I should HQ around 10% of attempts with this furnishing active.

The plan at the moment is for me to do 100 synths without the signboard and then 100 synths with the signboard then post the results. I realize luck can be a factor, but it shouldn't skew the results too badly either way. Another part of this plan is for me to do it when the moon is around 50%. This leads me to another series of tests I'd like to do at some point in regards to what days are best to synth on for HQs as well. Artisan's Advantage needs to go away too for these tests.

At any rate, the signboard is done and that's one huge monkey off my back. For those of you that don't have one of these, here's a couple pictures showing the sheer size of this thing too.


Sloppy Odin run this past Saturday, but after 13 months of perfect attendance, I finally picked this up:

Lots of people know I've been after this for a while and it was really the last major piece I needed to finish completely pimping out my dragoon. This makes me 5/5 on the Neptunal set. I attempted to HQ some cursed caps over the weekend only to bust an angel skin and NQ 3 caps. So 0-4 on the HQ Cursed Cap quest thusfar. At least the caps sell far more frequently than the cursed subligar. I'm still sitting on 3 of those damn things.

The one thing I've noticed about Odin is...

The more people we have, the sloppier it is to beat. A win is a win and whatnot, but it'd be nice to have a full house where hate doesn't end up all over the place sometime. :)


I've bemoaned on here before about the lack of people in dynamis lately. Yesterday wasn't bad. We had 45 or so people show up for a DL beatdown that ultimately saw long time member, Xanatos, pick up a Shadow Ring. During the near 5 years that we've been doing dynamis, we've killed the Dynamis Lord 34 times (I think...) and that ring was only the 4th one we've ever seen. Oddly enough, the last two rings we've picked up have come as the only shadow item that dropped.

The other good news about Obsidian is that I managed to rebuild the sackholders over the weekend. As a group the past few months, we've pretty much been the walking wounded. It looked like this:

Kaylea - Currently standing at 413 runs. Wrap your head around that number for a minute and consider that she's missed maybe...4 months worth of runs spread out over the near five years we've been doing dynamis. Burn out anyone?

Geddoe - Currently standing at 353 runs. Being in the UK doesn't help the burn out factor much when you consider our Wednesday runs start around midnight for him. Also dealing with some real life issues.

Kimille - Just had a baby a month and a half ago. Had a complication during child birth that she's currently recovering from while also learning about her son. Out indefinitely.

Gawayne - 80 hour work weeks, EU time zone and a number of family-related events causes his time to be sparse in regards to dynamis. The past couple of years, he's been mostly resigned to taking care of the website, which he does a fantastic job of, but due to the previously mentioned things, it makes it hard for him to do the administrative stuff for the runs.

Kreoss - Work schedule is kind of goofy, so it's never a certainty when he'll be around to do some of the admin stuff.

Yoteo - Lots of real life projects going on at the moment. His announcement to me the other day about having to go on hiatus for a while was pretty much the final straw that pushed me into action regarding the sackholders.

This was going to leave me as the only sackholder that was going to be around with any degree of reliability. It's not that I mind doing it, I just know what my limitations are. I've learned over the years that if I try to do everything by myself, I burn out a lot faster and become rather irritable. This is also complicated by the fact that I never really know when I'll have mountains of work I need to do and unable to block off a 3-4 hour window of time for events.

We've known for a while that we needed sackholders. We made a post on the forums asking to see if anyone wanted to step up and a couple people mentioned that they did. I knew that most qualified people likely wouldn't respond to that thread at all as well, so if we were going to fill out the sacks again, I knew I was going to have to go knocking on doors.

And so knocking I went...

After Odin on Saturday, I knocked on the doors of the following:

Tikki - A month or so ago when the sacks weren't all around to handle a Tavnazia day, Tikki stepped up to take charge. He was also one of the people that had posted in our sackholder thread a couple months ago too. We all felt he was very qualified to do the job, but the one drawback was one of his own admission. He was currently looking for work and until he found a job, he was going to be unsure of how much time he could commit and when he could commit it. Same thing still applied when I talked to him yesterday. He's willing to do the job, just a matter of getting his real life sorted a bit, so he's someone I'll check back on in a couple weeks.

Drakus - Drakus was the other one that replied in the thread we created. When we see someone say they want to be a sack, the current sacks discuss them. The general consensus on Drakus was that he lacked experience. From where I was standing at the time, we all lacked experience to some degree and if any of you have read posts of mine in the past about leadership, experience helps, but initiative is what gets noticed and what accomplishes things. After he had replied in that thread, I kept my eye on him. What I noticed was a guy willing to do the little shit during a run and not complain about it at all. That's something that goes a long way with me. At this point, it was a no-brainer for me to go and ask him and he accepted.

Rudithina - I was actually surprised when Kimille told me to go ask Rudi. I had never pegged Rudi as someone who was willing to step up. I knew she had opinions and I knew she had a lot of skill and flexibility, but I had never seen her as someone willing to stand up in front of the masses and direct traffic. So on Kimi's recommendation, I knocked on the 2'5" door belonging to Rudithina and she accepted. After a long conversation with her, I found I was wrong about that whole willingness thing.

Ceri - Ceri is one of the original members of Obsidian. From a sheer experience standpoint, it doesn't get much higher than her. She's certainly opinionated (remember...opinionated is good as long as the main goal is the betterment of the group) and, like Rudi, having a ton of jobs leveled makes her extremely flexible. Unfortunately, she's similar to Tikki in the sense that she's unsure what her schedule will be like until classes start, so she couldn't commit to it. I've seen her speak up several times during the course of the runs (not on the forums so much) when someone does or says something stupid and that was the primary reason I went to ask her. She had some concerns about actually directing traffic and about her legendary ability to get lost in her mog house even with a map, but I felt like if she's willing to give it a shot, things like that can be fixed. She's a "to be continued..." like Tikki.

Rifuburade - Rifu and Milie are married. This makes it only natural that I should ask both of them. They were both certainly qualified, but I held off asking Milie for the simple reason she's due to give birth in a month or two. Combined with classes, it was safe for me to assume she wasn't going to be able to commit that much time in the very near future. Rifu has shown a lot of initiative as of late about making himself a lot better (which was a bit of a difference compared to my experiences with him in linkshells outside of Obsidian) and has been more than active. Out of all the sackholders that I promoted, I know Rifu is probably going to be the one I have to work with the most (unless Ceri accepts and starts eating up my time having me find her somewhere she got lost in Whitegate...) since he's probably the least experienced of the bunch in regards to dynamis, but from an Einherjar standpoint, he should be able to just take right over if I'm not around for a run. He accepted the position and if it comes to a point where Milie feels like she can commit time too, then she's a no-brainer as well.

Mav - Last, and certainly not least, is this guy. We had asked him before and he had declined due to his commitments outside of the linkshell I believe (I don't remember exactly). I had actually forgotten that we had asked him before when I went to ask him. The guy's credential list is a mile long. He's got a ton of experience leading organized events outside of Obsidian, a ton of skill and a long tenure within Obsidian itself in both Dynamis and Einherjar. Aside from pulling, there probably won't be much in the way of training we have to do with him. He accepted as well.

So for those of you keeping score at home, this is the tally sheet from my work on Saturday:

New Sackholders: Drakus, Mav, Rifuburade, and Rudithina
Not sure yet: Ceri and Tikki

This doesn't mean the guys that are currently sacks are being demoted just yet and this is also an open invitation for any former sackholders still with the shell to step back up if their real lives allow it, but bottom line was we needed some help and I've apparently scored it in a big way. This tickles me to no end. :)


I managed to make all 3 salvage runs this weekend for the first time in a while. Nothing real noteworthy happened during the runs aside from a Zhaylom Remnants rapefest that occurred and a Bhaflau Remants boss we destroyed in under 6 minutes. Salvage is as Salvage does.


- Picked up an Ass.Jerkin for Lectrikelion this weekend. Ose isn't anywhere near as difficult as I remember him being. Could be I got my Ass.Jerkin when I was a piddly little 68ish LOLDRG, but a Savage Blade - Drakesbane light chain knocked off about 2/3 of Ose's life. Sad thing is, Lect had been trying to get it for a few days and I went out there for about 15 minutes with Girlfriend, killed a few goblins and Torama, then Ose and (to paraphrase Jess) !~BAM~!, Lect now looks like the great pumpkin.

- Got Fishing to 80. Skillups are so damn streaky with this thing that it's infuriating at times. After avoiding fishing for a few days due to other commitments, I came back early Sunday morning to pick up 1.5 levels of fishing in about a 30-40 minute period of time. Compare this to days on end barely getting any skillups at all and you can see why this is so infuriating at times. Twenty more levels, then the great Ebisu quest begins.

- I got the first guide written for my 60-100 series in the form of Bonecraft. I'm in the process of talking to various crafters I know who have crafts around 100 that I can tap for commentary on this series to give it another unique perspective. The general run down of people I have in mind are:

Cooking - Kaelis
Leathercraft - Ninjafox
Woodworking - Celestria
Goldsmithing - Gawayne
Alchemy - Still Open to suggestions
Smithing - Likely Blaize unless I find someone else with it at 100. These aren't easy to come by.
Clothcraft - Still open to suggestions

I'm hoping to get these done within the next couple weeks. With what amounts to 8 more weeks of guides on top of what I've already written, it's pretty safe to say I won't have to worry about Critical Break columns until 2010 once this is finished. :D

Friday, September 11, 2009

Funny Video

Mentioned this in an earlier post, but this was the bug that we saw in Dynamis Jeuno from Wednesday night.

In the video, you see Mav casting Dia on the avatar (BAD MAV under normal circumstances), but this pretty much gave our mages a free aspir that had no consequences. We have seen glitches before where monsters that die don't despawn, but never one where the dead monster keeps summoning avatars over and over again.

Thanks to Gawayne for recording this and posting it on the Obsidian home page.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Labor Day Weekend Stories

As most of you know, I spent Sept 3rd-8th with Girlfriend here at home. This is the first time she's been down here since last Christmas. That sounds like an extremely long time, but considering she has a limited number of vacation days, she's unable to make it down here very much. She will be returning again for Thanksgiving though. In the past year, our visits have looked like this:

Thanksgiving '08 - Q @ Kay's.
Christmas '08 - Kay @ Q's.
Q's B-day '09 - Q @ Kay's.
Kay's B-day '09 - Q @ Kay's
Summer Cookout '09 - Q @ Kay's
Labor Day weekend '09 - Kay @ Q's.

Long distance relationships can be brutal for some in terms of visitation. Even though she lives 16 hours away by car, I'm fortunate enough to know people (Mr. and Mrs Pun) along the way that I can visit as well. Flying up there is rather easy and cheap too. It actually costs a little more to fly up there when you consider taxi fares in the equation, but it's obviously a lot less time depending on the flight. Usually for me to fly up there and nab a cab ride to her place takes a total of around 8 hours. Breaks down like this:

1 hour drive to Nashville
Arrive 2 hours before flight (fkn Southwest seating plans...)
2-6 hours in the air/changing flights/in layover (usually in Baltimore...)
1 hour wait for disembark/luggage retrieval/cab arrival
1 hour drive to Kay's place by cabbie.

So am I saying driving is better than flying? Sometimes, even though it takes twice as long. I'm not having to deal with crowds of stupidity and I'm not being packed into a seat between people that probably didn't bother to shower before they got on the flight. The only other advantage to flying is the fact that most of that time (as long as I'm not being bumped around by passengers with no concept of personal space) is that I can play my DS or PSP.

Anyway, I digressed...

Kay came down to visit for Labor Day weekend. This was a rather unique visit cause her friend (we'll call her "Bean") had come down too. This particular weekend was the 15th anniversary of the National Corvette Museum and every year, they host the Corvette Homecoming weekend where basically anyone who's ever purchased a Corvette brings the thing back to the factory/museum to show it off. Bean's Dad owned a couple of said 'vettes and since it was a milestone anniversary, decided to make the drive from Boston to Bowling Green for the festivities in a corvette caravan. Some of you out there might have seen said caravans across the nation along the highways or at various restaurants. Bean couldn't take the time off work to actually drive down with her family, so she and her brother flew down to Nashville, rented a car and drove up here with Girlfriend in tow.

Sept. 3rd - The Arrival

Nothing super exceptional here today except for me working most of the day while Kay napped after I picked her up at the hotel. We stopped off at my sister's house so that Kay could get a chance to see my niece before they went out of town for the weekend for a family reunion on the other side of their family. Upon entering the house, my niece looked a little wary of Kay as she hadn't seen her for a long time. So I pointed to Kay and I asked "Who's that?"

Niece: /silence
Q: That's Kaylea! (Not using Kay's real name in the blog)
Niece: /silence
Q: Can you say hi to Kaylea?
Niece: That's not Kaylea, that's Kayleapooh!
Kaylea: ...

That actually amazed me more than cracked me up. As a joke well over a year ago, I was trying to get my niece to call her Kayleapooh through the use of a phrase that Kay really dislikes. Since that time, I hadn't said anything to my niece about "Kayleapooh", yet she remembered. So after that, my sister spent some time trying to correct her daughter, but with no luck. When asked a few days later who Kaylea was, we got "Kayleapooh" more and more.

This filled me up with more pride than the transformers bit, much to Kay's chagrin.

Rest of the day/evening was spent mostly loafing around with some FFXI mixed in.

Sept. 4th - Getting Reacquainted

This was another day I had to spend working a good portion of it. Which was fine for Kay as she got to sleep in a bit and generally goof off most of the day. The only plans that were made were for she and I to have dinner with Bean and her family. I had met Bean's family before at an italian restaurant in Boston on my way back from Maine during the Kay's B-day trip. This was where the idea of meeting up in Bowling Green for this was hatched. They already knew they would be coming down, but I'm not sure they knew that this was actually where I lived. Small world eh?

Anyway, we went to a new restaurant here called Griff's. It's basically this Sandwich and Salad shop that offers a rather wide variety of food. I had never been there before, but you can't go wrong if they're actually capable of serving a good greek salad and they were.

We spent over an hour and a half there just chatting away. They were telling me about their trip earlier in the day to visit Abraham Lincoln's boyhood home in Hodgenville, KY and their visit to the Maker's Mark distillery where they had a barrel named after them. They can come back in 7 years to get some of the bourbon from said barrel since Maker's Mark lets it sit for 7 years before selling it.

One of the oddest parts of the conversation had to be listening to their perceptions of my hometown. Obviously having lived here (and having seen a lot of the US), I'm a little biased, so it's always odd for me to listen to what someone who is actually just visiting here has to say about the city. They liked it and remarked about how busy Scottsville Road was. This was the main thing I found odd. These are people from Boston commenting about how busy a particular street here was. I didn't find that street to be any worse than most of the streets I've been on up in the northeast, but if they're saying it's super busy, they certainly have the experience to compare. :)

Played more FFXI after dinner. Was time mostly spent fishing while Kay leveled her DRG. I do have to say it's rather comical to be sitting next to Kay while she's playing FFXI. She rarely touches her keyboard, so I get to type out a bunch of random stuff while she's tied up fighting or in the middle of a cast. She'll be wrestling a fish in only for everyone around her to see:

"Kaylea rips an ass-flapping big-one as she reels in the Giant Catfish."


"Kaylea sharts."


"Kaylea teabags herself."

Sept 5th - Nashville, Bayou River Brewery, and The Hermitage

Saturday rolls around and it's time for Einherjar. The night before, during dinner, we had made plans to meet up with Bean and Family in Nashville. They were trying to see as much of the region as they could and well...there's only so much to do here in Bowling Green and I'm sure there's not as much to do during the Corvette events.

Einherjar raped us. This was further exasperated by the fact that Kay loves to try and irritate me while I'm trying to organize Einherjar or Dynamis while she's around me. Most of you think that the irritation thing is completely one-sided, but what you don't see is that Kay dishes out every bit the amount that she takes. My approach to aggravation is carpet bombing and hers is simply precision strikes.

Anyway yeah...Einherjar coughed up 12 clots + 12 clusters and a whole lot of sore rectums. We were due for a room like that though. It had been a long while since we had an impossible room and I had suspected that we were going to run into it given that we just needed one T2 to finish up 2 Odin sets. Murphy's Law and all yeah.

Onto Nashville we go with Einherjar in the rearview mirror. We met up at a place called Big River Brewery for lunch. Again, this was a place I had never eaten. Wasn't any place too spectacular, but was a good place to hang out with friends as they served a very wide variety of food. I also tried their beer sampler - mostly so I could take pictures and tease Canuck with it.

The images are a little fuzzy due to my phone camera being a piece of shit, but there's the sampler. There were 7 different samples there with the only one not pictured being their seasonal one...

Banana Beer.

I have to say, that was one tasty beer. I'm not a beer drinker. I'll drink it to be a little social and to try new things, but usually I'm left with the same horrible aftertaste. This one didn't leave that though and I actually considered getting a mug of it, but then I remembered I was driving and didn't want to risk it.

During the course of lunch, we got to talking about the other things to do in Nashville. Again, I'm a horrible guy to have around as a tour guide, so I couldn't offer much in the way of suggestions. They mentioned that they had already visited the Parthenon and it made me remember that The Hermitage was in the vicinity. Given that Girlfriend and Bean are both history buffs, I thought that would be a good place to visit. Unfortunately, Bean's family was on a bit of a schedule, so they weren't going to have time to go visit. It ended up being Girlfriend, Bean and myself going to visit the home of our 7th President.

I didn't take any pictures, but I do have to say...that place was fantastic. It's showing it's age obviously, but you get to see so much history in that plot of land from that particular time period, it really makes you wonder just how we ever got to this point in our evolution. We spent a solid 2 hours touring the place.

Apparently you can also have weddings at this place too. A wedding was one of the last things I needed to see taking place as Kay has used the whole marriage thing as a point of irritation with me at times. "Can we invite X" where X = someone I dislike. "Can we go shopping for dresses?" "Can we go shopping for rings?" "My mother has already bought decorations" - (and we've not set a date yet...) and so on...

We got back home around 6 and spent the rest of the evening eating ice cream and fishing in FFXI.

Sept 6th - Q's Revenge

Bean and her family have gone back home today. We had initially planned on going up to Mammoth Cave today, but opted to just veg out instead. In yesterday's post, I mentioned that I got Kay to go see Transformers 2 and that she had almost managed to make it through the trip without going to see it until she turned on some reality TV garbage during dynamis.

The initial idea I had for the day was to go out driving somewhere and spend some time away from FFXI without being on a schedule or rushed to do things, but Kay wanted to go to Dynamis. Most of you guys know that Dynamis is a boring event. During the runs, Kay will usually be watching a movie or some smut-tastic television show that she missed during the course of the week like Hell's Kitchen, Jon and Kate, etc. Most of you guys also know where I stand on reality TV.

Crap that sells itself as realistic and is the furthest thing from realistic is just not worth the time spent watching it.

The foundation of Kay's argument against Transformers was that she didn't make me watch stuff I didn't like. She had maintained all along that if she ended up in the theater with Transformers tickets, she'd stay out in the lobby until the movie was over or go see something else. So the second I heard whatever reality smut she turned on at her laptop, I made up my mind to see if she actually followed through with it.

After dynamis was done and she had a brief nap, I had her get in the car under the notion that I was going to surprise her with something. The surprise ended up being Transformers 2. She wasn't happy, but she sat through it. She also spent the rest of the evening pissed off at me. Not "silent treatment" pissed off, but letting it be known in no uncertain terms that she was mad about it. She seemed to cool off when Mr. Pun, who doesn't like anything Michael Bay does, reaffirmed the fact that "Twilight", which Kay had tricked me into seeing, was worse than Transformers.

So now Q is even for being subjected to Twilight and reality TV garbage. :)

Sept 7th - Girlfriend's Revenge

After talking it all out, we decided to go see a movie again. We went to Red Lobster for dinner and destroyed some shrimp since it was their endless shrimp time of the year, then went to buy me a PSP from Gamestop. I had been trying to convince Kay to go halfsies with me on it and we'd just exchange it each time a visit happened. There were a couple games she wanted to play and a couple games I wanted to play on it. She insisted that I wait until Christmas so she could get it for me as a gift, but I would rather her spend that amount on other people.

While eating dinner, we got to talking about which movie to go see. She said she didn't know what she wanted to see, so we ran out a list of suggestions...

The Hangover
The Proposal
Julie and Julia
Funny People
Transfo----FUCK NO

It was her turn to pick and with Transformers 2 still fresh on her mind, you can probably guess which one of those movies I ended up having to go see if you didn't read yesterday's blog post.

Honestly, I thought the concept of the movie was neat. It was basically a movie about a blogger. I didn't like all the other mushy shit they put into it though. Overall, the movie was all right with a number of light-hearted, funny moments, but it's not anything I'd recommend for theater viewing. I've seen the real life Julie Powell's blog and some of the interviews she's done in the build up to the movie and the release of her new book and there's not much of anything in that movie aside from the concept that makes me think those two are actually similar.

Once back home, more FFXI fishing as the fish ranking contest finishes up the next day.

Sept 8th - The Departure

We had some time in the morning to laze around. Kay spent it trying to farm up coffer keys for her DRG AF2 and I spent it fishing. Nothing really noteworthy happened. Around 11:30, we went to pick up some lunch and go over to my sister's house to eat it with the rest of my family. My niece was dancing all over the place and still calling Kay "Kayleapooh". Went back to the house after my niece had been put down for her nap to finish packing up and then it was off to Nashville for Kay to fly home.

Kay apparently had a ton of issues with the flight home and didn't get in until nearly 11PM her time despite leaving around 5. So naturally she was tuckered out. That was assuaged a bit by me taking her into Einherjar while she was flying home and completing her Odin set for Saturday. Not sure what we're going to do when Thanksgiving comes around as there won't be any horrible movies for us to drag the other one to see, so I imagine we'll be spending a lot of time playing FFXI and eating.

Hopefully Bean and Co. enjoyed their trip here to my little podunk corner of the world too. :)

Wednesday, September 9, 2009


Few quick blurbs today, then I have to start a rather large malware cleaning project.

- Girlfriend is back home now. Her next visit will be for Thanksgiving while I'll be going up to Maine for Christmas.

- For those of you curious, yes I did get Girlfriend to see Transformers 2. She hated it. She almost made it through the entire trip w/o seeing it though. I was going to pass on taking her to see it cause of how adamant she was about not wanting to see it. She made one big mistake though...

...she turned on reality TV while I was in the room.

She got to "suffer" through 2.5 hours of craptastic Michael Bay directing and awesome visual images. I let her pick the next movie we went to see as a bit of a make-up since she was pissed at me the rest of that night.

That movie?

Julie and Julia.

Q Rating: 18 Middle Fingers up.

- Einherjar gave us one of those rooms that don't use lube on Saturday. 12 Clots, 12 Clusters and Golem boss. Let's just say we didn't even get halfway through the clusters. It was very nice to us yesterday though giving us 12 leeches, 12 big bats and the corse boss. Two Odin sets completed. Also picked up our second abjuration from a non-odin room in there. Phantasmal Abjuration: Head. It's a piece of shit, but's something different and is entertaining.

- I got a PSP with Dissidia and Crisis Core. Found the latter on sale at Toys R Us for $10.

- Barring something extremely stupid for my guild point item today (Veteran pattern), I should pick up my Boneworker's Signboard.

- I've managed to pick up a few comments on my 0-60 Series on Ring's blog since it started. I'm happy people comment on those as there are a lot of different opinions to share and one person is not capable of writing a perfect guide. I seriously think the 3 guides that have been posted have picked up more comments than the rest of my articles combined. I've always viewed crafting as a bit of the elephant in the room. No one really wants to talk about it, but they don't mind reading about it.

- Fish Ranking stopped taking entries late last night. I spent a good chunk of time fishing with Kaelis, Erimentha, and Kaylea over the course of the past couple weeks trying to come up with fish that would win. They wanted the skinniest Giant Catfish. Wiki had smallest on record as 224pz. FinalFishing had smallest at 190. I was guessing it was somewhere in between.

The first night that Kay was here, we weren't having much luck getting anything below 300pz. The smallest I had fished up at that point was 222pz. I figured that would definitely be a winner if wiki was right. It was reported to me that Mav had fished up a 220pz one and had seen one in a bazaar that was 204pz. Knowing I still had work to do (goal was to get all of my friends some pelican rings), I kept plugging away. Between Kaelis, Eri, Kay, Suraph and myself, we probably yoinked up somewhere around 2000 fish. The final tally was:

Kaylea: 195pz
Suraph: 215pz
Kaelis: 220pz
Erimentha: 222pz
Lectrikelion: 222pz

All 5 of them won rings. 4 of the 5 up there were fish I had yanked up. I owed Suraph a ring for spending time fishing during the last ranking contest that got my ring. The smallest Kaelis had fished up was 224pz. Lect's 222pz one was an extra one that Kay had fished up. The cutoff ended up being 222pz. Congrats to all 5 of you (6 if you include Mav, but he fished his own fish up and congrats to him anyway :D)

Anyway, back to work with me. Hoping I can update this blog again sometime this week, but it's not looking good.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Labor Day Weekend...

Anyone else notice that you always get swamped with work the week before you get ready to have a visitor or get ready to go somewhere for a few days? It's almost like customers just have this sense built into them that tells them "Q is getting ready to have company over, I better get my computer to him now" without any prompting whatsoever from me. Some of the "work" have been things that I've self-imposed, but as far as my business work goes, this past week has been on the insane side. Especially considering the week before was just completely dead.

Anyway, onto FFXI-related stuff...

Critical Break: 0-60 Series

Some of you probably already know this, but if you don't, I've been doing a crafting article once a week on Ringthree's blog since the beginning of June. The primary idea behind that article is to give some insight into the various things I learned over the couple years I spent getting gil together for Gungnir as well as my opinions on various other crafting-related issues that become semi-decent topics to discuss.

Having essentially run out of things to talk about, I went looking through and Wiki for something I could write a short blurb about when it dawned on me that a lot of the crafting guides that had been written were either out of date or didn't offer much in the way of actually being thrifty. Ctownwoody's (from Asura) guides on Wiki are easily the best guides out there, but even some of his stuff was a little outdated as most of his 0-60 guides were written years ago. He's updated them a bit, but the bigger problem with Wiki guides (especially if you don't use Firefox with AdBlock and NoScript) is that a lot of their scripted frames just suck.

So given all of that, I decided to undertake writing my own guides. At first, I was going to write one guide per week. I had enough fun doing the first one (Bonecrafting) that I decided to go ahead and get the second one out of the way. Then I realized Girlfriend would be here when it was time for the third one, so I went ahead and wrote it too. Then I just said "fuck it" and wrote the rest. Right now there are 8 guides sitting on Ring's blog that are waiting to be trickled out to press. I mentioned in my last guide (to be published Oct 13th) that once all of the guides have been published and pushed off the front page, I would publish them here on my blog in their own section so that readers don't have to sift through searches for information related to a specific guide.

One thing that I do like about this is that it seems to have a lot of opinions on the best routes to go. Between comments posted on my guides, /tells in game, and conversations over IM, I've had the assertion of "There's a ton of ways to go about this" reaffirmed quite a bit. I wrote those guides trying to find the cheapest, most efficient route possible to 60. Some people, for example, may find the level 28 Gelatin synth a far better use of their time as opposed to what I suggested in the form of Beetle Ring - Beetle Earring - Horn Hairpin path. The end results are about the same either way you go. You either spend a lot of time killing Dhalmel or you spend a lot of time killing Beetles.

I found that I had a lot of fun working on those things. Even though I'm technically done writing anything for Ring's blog until mid-late October, I've still got a bit of an itch to knock out the 61-100 Series that I have in the works. These will likely be shorter guides since we're not covering as many levels, but I get the feeling that the narration for each step will likely be longer. I may knock those out once Girlfriend heads back home...

The order these guides will be appearing will be:

Bonecraft - Clothcraft - Woodworking - Leathercraft - Alchemy - Cooking - Smithing - Goldsmithing. So keep your eyes peeled for them and, by all means, leave your thoughts on what could be a better approach. :)


This past Wednesday, we had Dynamis Tavnazia and Dynamis Valkurm. Numbers were still low, even for Tavnazia as I found myself looking for people who weren't signed up to fill a couple holes. Tavnazia went relatively smooth up until the last 30 mins where a botched sac pull and some irritating Nightmare Clusters caused us a couple wipes. I did manage to get my first piece of AF2-1 ever from this zone:

Was a good run with 9 drops total, most of which were actually wanted. Tav is seriously to the point where if you're only after AF2, Xarc and Glacier are kind of pointless.

Valk surprised me though. Obsidian isn't very well known for being the low-man type of Linkshell. Don't get me wrong, we have a lot of people who do a lot of low-man things outside of Obsidian, but usually, we have numbers that don't require low-man strategies. The Valk crew consisted of 21 people and they beat the zone. For some shells, that may be commonplace, but for us it isn't. That goes a long way towards boosting my confidence in our ability to overcome lower numbers when seasonal reasons like we're currently experiencing cause us to have issues with attendance.

Now for that low-man DL strat...


Man, I royally fucked up the Odin pattern this month. I knew after the last Odin, we needed to get two T3 wins to keep Odin on pace cause of mule issues. That wasn't a huge deal until we snapped a 9-run winning streak on a T3 that forced me to postpone Odin by a run-day.

Then I went and picked the wrong T2 the next run thinking that Nirimule and Dantmule had the same feather sets. So...postpone Odin by one more run-day.

Yeah...but in better news, I did a little research on our 2009 win-loss record. I mentioned it on the Obsidian forums, but wanted to point it out here:

Since the beginning of June, Obsidian is a rather staggering 22-4 in Einherjar with 2 of those losses being low-manned Odins (24 or fewer people, losing one at 1% and the other with fewest people (21) we've ever had). Since the beginning of 2009, Obsidian is 55-15. We've had two separate stretches of 25-5 since then with that rather horrible 5-5 stretch happening between Jan and Feb. I think it's pretty safe to say we've found our stride.

Misc. Notes

- Fishing is at 78 and stalled for the time being while I work on getting more Giant Catfish for the Fish Ranking contest. The hope is that we'll pick up enough to get a few friends some Pelican Rings. Once that's done, I'll hit the fishing a little harder to try to finish this off to 100.

- I'm currently 168k/200k for my Boneworker's Signboard. I'm curious to see if it's actually "Skill+1" or "Reduces chance of material loss". Consensus seems to be that it's the latter, but there are some that are swearing it's Skill+1. If it's truly Skill+1, then I should see an increase in HQs from the Trumpet Ring synth. Looks like I have some testing to do in the future. Hopefully I'll catch a good wave of guild point items and finish this up in the next week or so.

- Girlfriend is here until Tuesday, so I probably won't be in game much. It's Corvette Homecoming weekend this weekend and one of her friends came down with their family for it. Her friend's Dad owns a couple Corvettes and drove them down from Boston for it while Girlfriend and her friend flew down since they couldn't take the time off work to spend 2-3 days driving each way.

- Now that I don't have to worry about Critical Break columns for a month or more, I can possibly start working on my Weapon Skill gear series again and make the corrections I need to make, but the itch to do the 61-100 Series is stronger than the itch to do the WS Gear series.

- I started turning in my Marduk pieces. The only piece I'm missing to finish the set are the 35 hands. I turned in the parts for the legs and the feet last week, but don't really know if I want to spend 16-17 mil total on the Head, Body and Hands. Most of this set looks completely pointless for WHM with the exception of the head, but you could make the argument that the Walmart Turban is better. BRD and SMN definitely benefit more from this set than WHM as the combination of the Noble's Set and the Blessed Set just pretty much pwn this Salvage Set completely.

That's all for now. Next post will likely be Tues or Wed unless something really good happens over the long weekend. :)

Qtipus' Information

FFXI subscriber since NA release.