Monday, April 26, 2010

"Extreme Rules" and Other Stuff

Extreme Rules

Not going to spend a great deal of time on this. Went to watch this PPV last night with my brother-in-law. As part of the theme (which turned out to be a sponsor), we decided to chow down on some Double Downs from KFC.

Those aren't as large as I thought they'd be, but tasty nonetheless.

Mashed potatos, gravy, mac n' cheese, biscuits, double down and soda. If that wasn't enough, we also took down a huge portion of some home made chili-cheese dip and nachos over the course of the rest of the night.

Onto the PPV itself.

WWE has been in what's called the "PG Era". From a business standpoint, it's a lot easier for a company like the WWE to pick up investors if the product they're offering is family friendly. From a fan perspective, this waters down the product quite a bit, especially if you came into wrestling during their "Attitude Era" (Stone Cold, the Rock, etc).

The "PG Era" is also likely fueled by all the bad publicity the WWE picked up for wrestlers dying young and by Linda McMahon's quest for a Senate Seat.

A PPV named "Extreme Rules" leads one to believe that there will be a lot of weapons and violence used. Unfortunately, this didn't pan out and most people who are aware of the current "PG Era" probably expected it.

PPV definitely wasn't worth the price to view it. It had it's moments. Obviously things like this are meant to be viewed with company, and the company couldn't have been better. Just wish this was worth the price of admission. Orton vs. Swagger, Cena vs. Batista were good matches. Everything else was mostly forgettable. Probably won't do the PPV thing again until Summerslam.


Obsidian took down Lord Ruthven Saturday.

Probably not something important to many shells out there, but to Obsidian, it's something completely out of the norm.

Most of our members don't do anything outside of Dynamis, Einherjar or Salvage, so it makes a lot of the practices outside of those areas that are common sense to most not so common to them. The idea of using terrain, for example, is rather foreign to them. The idea of a fight lasting longer than 20 seconds can be foreign to them at times as well.

Lord Ruthven is a dirty bastard. Actually most of the T3 VNMs that SE released back in march are dirty bastards. As time has worn on, more and more low man strats have become available. So one is naturally lead to believe that they can't possibly be super difficult.

Yeah well, put a bunch of people together who have very little experience dealing with things like that on jobs that are completely useless against it and you have a recipe for disaster.

The fight was going rather smoothly the first 10-20% or so. As most people know, Ruthven likes to spam drain moves as well as inflict "ST20" on people. The trick to him is primarily tanking him backwards and pelting him with ranged damage.

Yeah uh...we had no ranged damage. Just a bunch of melee subbin' THF.

We went with that for a bit and, it worked for the most part, but the primary noob factors here were A) People resting too close and B) Melee dragging TP mobs over to where the mages were resting. TP mobs that like...AoE.

We pretty much wiped. I called for a wipe to get him to depop, but as this was happening, we discovered that Ruthven was still running after people left and right and we discovered we could kite him around a cermet spine piece until we recovered. While the recovery was happening, I called upon some Obsidian members I found hiding in various places and got some ranged damage out there.

Inbred also discovered a slope we could abuse. Once recovered, we put everyone up on top of the slope and the tanks down below. Didn't take long for us to take him down after that. He still got off a few combo moves that took out one of the tanks from time to time, but aside from that, I don't think it could have gone any smoother once we were prepared correctly.

The reason this is worth noting is that it's a milestone for Obsidian in a sense. While any shell has members that are prone to making dumb mistakes from time to time, these mistakes are generally due to a lack of experience. As you build experience in dealing with various things, they become second nature obviously. It was important for the people there to see that they're perfectly capable of doing what's necessary to win as long as they listen (which is something most Obsidian members are really good about).


Had Odin and T3 last week. I picked up the P.Body from Odin. Probably won't uncurse it any time soon due to the cost of it, but it's a show piece more than anything else.

T3 was rather merciful on us too, which was nice. We had a horrible streak of "no lube" T3s there for a bit and since that rather epic 48-monster+King Behemoth combo it threw at us that we actually won, T3 has been nice to us.


Got reminded rather forcefully why I got burned out on Sky years and years ago. Spent 3 hours or so up there Friday night. First hour or so, we picked up 5 items. Only needing Zip, water and diorite to finish a set, we parked Glacian in Zip's spawn area, then split up to farm the other two.

Two hours later...

Zip gets insta-claimed by a pair of RDM/NINs.
No Water.
No Diorite.

Two hours, 1 minute later...

Water drops.

So a grand tally of 6/8 pop items. That's nothing to sneeze at, but most of them happening in the first hour just made the rest of the time slog by. More farming it would seem in the near future.


34/35 achievements done.

That 35th one?

"Treasure Hunter" - Obtain all the items in the game.

Yeah fuck that.

Batman: Arkham Asylum

Holy hell what a great game. Yeah I know, that game is so 2009.

Started playing this Friday evening and the level of thought they put into it is rather amazing. Hoping to get more time in with it tonight...

Pet Troll

Rather bored today, so I'd like for my pet troll to come entertain me. It's ok there lil' fella, I won't bite, but I will laugh. :)

Saturday, April 24, 2010

"Qtipus the Troll"

Life's awesome when you become the center of attention for inflammatory remarks isn't it?

Great thing about moderating my comments is:

I don't have to read them.

I can just click the little check box next to it and then push the "Reject" button.

Rather appropriate considering the poster, eh?

Keep trying, hopefully you'll find someone that'll give you the attention you crave.

For those of you that are curious, it's referencing this blog post and it's comments from Ring's blog. "Qtipus the Troll" is likely just some big joke being played though, so I'll bite a couple times and leave it at that.

Thursday, April 22, 2010


Past couple of nights I've descended into the depths of amorph madness and started mauling leeches in Bostaunieux Oubliette. I had knocked out about 50 of them just goofing around as I would run out to Nashmau for Einherjar, so in about 3.5-4 hours of non-stop killing with a PLD/DNC and DRG/SAM, I've averaged about 100 Geirskoguls/hour.

For you non-math majors, that would mean I have another 10 hours of work left at that pace.

And that doesn't even include the time I'm going to have to spend on the second trial.

Still pissed off about this, but doing it just to keep Gungnir from being obsolete.

Part of me is seriously just considering upgrading a regular Trial weapon since it comes out close to begin with...

Oathkeeper path requires killing a number of NMs and VNMs which would be irritating, but not all that time consuming as you can go do other shit while the critter you're waiting to pop shows back up. The end result is the highest base DMG polearm in the game short of Gungnir.

Oathkeeper: DMG:87 Delay:492 DMG:+12

Just for comparison:

Gungnir: DMG:100 Delay:492 Acc+20 Additional Effect: Weakens Defense

Now am I dumb enough to believe a fully augmented Oathkeeper would out parse Gungnir in any situation? Maybe in a Merit Party, but anything that actually matters, it probably wouldn't. The Accuracy bonus is too huge.

There's also the hidden damage multiplier. A lot of people will point to that as the primary difference between a normal weapon and a relic weapon. While the numbers those pop out are humorous at times (<3 seeing it kick in on a crit for 800+ on a leech...), don't fool yourselves into thinking it's something that's constantly going off. That feature of Gungnir kicks in around 5% of the time. Something like this can be overcome or beaten by things like 5/5 Overwhelm merits, copious amounts of Double Attack or even 1-2% more haste.

And before someone points out the whole "Weakens Defense" thing, let me remind you that everyone gets to take advantage of that feature when it kicks in, not just the guy using Gungnir.

The problem I have with the quests is that Oathkeeper's is way too simple or Gungnir's is way too difficult. You can theoretically finish up Oathkeeper in a couple days and end up close to Gungnir's level of production for next to no monetary investment. There are some crazy (and I'm guessing unemployed) players out there who have already finished up both relic trials, but even at their max, it took them at least a week for the most part to do so.

At current bazaar prices, Gungnir would take a minimum (assuming you know someone to lend you the last 30) of 197,600,000 gil to upgrade.

That would be 1.2M x 74 Jades, 1.6M x 61 Silvers, 700K x 16 Bynes.

On average, I'd even suggest that your normal person could upgrade damn near all of the Magian weapons in the time it takes for someone to produce that much gil.

Forgive me for feeling like Relic holders actually ended up getting the shaft with Magian Trials. Way too much time and money invested in the damn things already only to have to go spend exponentially more time trying to augment them to keep them way ahead of the curve.

I'll do your damn quests SE, but you keep this shit up and I can't imagine too many people who actually stayed around long enough to upgrade relics staying around much longer.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Final Fantasy XIII - fin

After 60 hours of gameplay, I finally finished this game. Pretty much from Chapter 11 onward, it feels more like a Final Fantasy game. I was definitely entertained by most of the dialogue and cutscenes, I'm just irritated that it took about 30 hours to get to the point where it actually became mostly enjoyable.

On top of that...


...the ending left me rather unsatisfied. They tied up virtually no loose ends. That's kind of what the whole "Final" in "Final Fantasy" is about isn't it? Think about it...

FF1 - Light Warriors' deeds turn to legend.

FF2 - Firion, Maria, Guy and Leon set off for their next adventure while an epilogue describes what happens in the decades to come.

FF3 - Goes through individual character "endings" for the first time in the series.

FF4 - Plays on the character endings a bit more over FF3 by actually telling more story in the ending in the form of the wedding and the reuniting of the heroes.

FF5 - An ending detailed enough to actually show what happened to a pair of chocobos that were minor characters after the world was reborn. This ending is also one of the longest clocking in around 25 minutes.

FF6 - Goes through and tells more story through the ending somehow wrapping all of the major plot points up in a bit of a bittersweet finale. The music in this game is some of Nobuo Uematsu's best work.

FF7 - Despite Meteor actually landing, Holy and the Lifestream slowed it down enough that it only destroyed Midgar instead of the entire planet. While not exactly great at providing character resolutions, SE would make up for this later by releasing Advent Children and to an extent, Crisis Core (even though that took place before FF7 and has an amazing ending itself).

FF8 - Out of all the endings I've seen, this one is probably the best and most complete. Not only do they tie up most of the plot, they also go through and show you where everything starts and where everyone ends up. Squall finally smiles and becomes un-emo. I know that's a sticking point to the quality of the characters in this game, but when compared to XIII, yeah...

While 8 seems to be one of the most polarizing of the Final Fantasy series, anyone who played through it can't deny the ending left nothing to chance.

FF9 - Ending continues the trend of trying to show what happened to characters post-story. Zidane shows himself to be alive and well after the final battle and pretty much every character is given what they wanted. Zidane and Garnet embrace, Steiner and Beatrix are apparently involved with each other and the rest of the cast have moved into positions that are befit of their characters.

FF10 - I didn't like 10 all that much. Mostly for the same reasons I didn't like 13. Linear approach to the game play and a story that just...well didn't make much sense. While I can't say if they actually had plans to develop X-2 when X was completed, the ending was one meant to leave you hanging a bit. I hate that in an ending.

FF12 - I never actually beat 12 because of the story just being incapable of grasping me, but I do want to point out...

Three of those characters look very familiar as it relates to FF13...

Ashe = Lightning
Penelo = Vanille
Larsa = Hope

Anyway, 12's battle system kept me hooked for a long while until some of the marks became borderline ridiculous and the plot just wore thin. I think I ended up stopping shortly after the fight with Cid. I'll probably revisit this game at some point in the future.

Which brings me to...


Holy shit what a craptastic ending. It's visually pleasing for all of 5 minutes. You get to see Vanille and Fang stuck in some sort of lesbian lovers pose after they managed to save Cocoon by turning into Ragnarok and then turning a crapload of lava into a crystal pillar upon which Cocoon rests. Naturally, Dajh and Serah are no longer crystalized, but once the short reunion finishes, they're all just standing there wondering WTF to do now.

SE could have at least done some sort of work on the wedding between Snow and Serah or something to show some closure.

I really need to come up with a teabag rating system for these things...

Final verdict: Don't pay $60 for this piece of shit. Wait until retailers discount it to $20 or $30.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Two Random Stories


Yesterday for lunch, I decided to go to Zaxby's and have a Kickin' Chicken Sandwich. Normally, this sandwich doesn't bother me, but today it had some extra ooomph to it.

I have this quirk about going into a restaurant to eat if I'm by myself. I won't do it. Usually I'll opt to go through the drive-thru and then find some place to park and eat in the car. Today's dining spot was a parking space in the Target right behind Zaxby's here. I parked way out at the end of the lot next to a tree for some shade, rolled down the windows and dug right into my sandwich.

Again, this sandwich had some ooomph to it today. Enough ooomph that my eyes were watering up and the occasional tear would fall down my face. As I was eating, I see this lil' old lady that apparently worked at Target doing parking lot clean up. She's walking towards my car and when she passes me, she takes notice that my eyes are apparently all puffy.

"Are you all right son?"

Was about then I realized how bad I must've looked. Sauce all over my mouth, puffy red eyes and tear tracks down both sides of my face. I also had a mouth full of food when she asked.

I just pointed at my sandwich.

"Oh you can't handle your food today eh?"

I shook my head.

"Ok, just making sure you were all right. Have a good day!"

I nodded and finished my sandwich.

Moral of the story: There are apparently people out there who still care.

Unfortunately, they're from a generation or two before mine.


Any of you who have befriended me on Facebook undoubtedly saw my rant the other night about an old friend who sent me a friend request, then unfriended me after about a month citing "I'm clearing out people I rarely talk to" on her wall as a bit of a blanket warning that she was about to commit genocide on her friend list.

Also, any of you who know me know I generally don't view Facebook as a means of constant communication, but have grown to accept it as a way of keeping in touch with your outer circle of friends and family.

Due to character limitations on Facebook, I couldn't tell the whole story and why the end result of this made no sense to me.

However, here in the Blogger-verse, there is no character limitation!

Story starts off in High School. Actually it starts off in Middle School and sounds a lot like an American Pie "One Time At Band Camp" story...

In 7th grade, I met my friend Sheryl via band. Stick thin, frizzy brown hair and huge blue eyes. Annoyed the piss out of me back then. That wasn't hard to do though as I was generally a really angry/envious kid. I don't remember the circumstances upon which we met or actually started talking. She was almost like one of those friends that just show up in your life that you know is a friend and it takes very little effort to get to know them. This also might've been helped by the fact that there were exactly 3 days that separated us in age and set the stage for a running joke for years to come.

Time wore on and by our senior year in high school, she was part of my inner circle of friends and part of their inner circles too. Time wearing on in a band environment often times means that you've had a few conversations with the parents of everyone in your inner circle as well. Sheryl's parents were no exception to this. As a matter of fact, Sheryl's Mom had become a bit of a legend among our friends due to her extremely over-protective nature of Sheryl and rather...narrow opinions of the world as it is. It was actually my dealings with her Mom that started the trend of "saying/doing some of the most obnoxious things possible to derail trains of thought" that I often employ.

We graduated high school and by that time, I was considered part of their family. I can't remember the reasons I found myself at their house from time to time after high school, but I always remember being served with a huge glass of tea that was probably 90% sugar, 10% tea. I did the typical post-high-school visits of marching band competitions for friends that were younger than me, so that was probably it.

Anyway, one particular contest I attended saw the debut of Sheryl's new boyfriend (now husband) Sam. I had run into Sam a couple times before, but had never really spoken to him. Sam and Sheryl had been dating for a while by then, but Sam hadn't really been exposed to the type of shenanigans that occurred within that circle of friends. Basically, what ensued was my friend Troy comes over to say hi before he went out to the field, I pinched his nipple to A) annoy him and B) was the guy way of saying good luck and Sheryl saw me do it.

Sheryl: Did you just pinch his nipple?

(she's seen me do that dozens of times...)

Q: Yeah, want me to pinch yours?


Sam is about 4-6" shorter than me and he's right up in my face yelling this. The reaction puzzled me more than anything else cause trust me, I've said far worse things to Sheryl and she knows it's just my way of joking around and trying to make people feel included.

She also knows I'd never actually follow up on a comment like that.

Sam apparently didn't.

Before I really have a chance to figure out what's going on, I see Sheryl dragging Sam away by the arm or ear or something...whatever it was, Sam was walking crooked. I looked over at Troy and we both just shrugged at each other and went about socializing.

About 20 minutes later, Sam comes up to me, staring at the ground and apologizing for yelling at me. He said he didn't know we joked around like that. Then he gets elbowed by Sheryl and continues saying it won't happen again.

Did I just witness something straight out of a situation comedy?

Yeah whatever, water under the bridge.

Fast foward another couple years and it's Sam and Sheryl's wedding day. I've been asked to be one of the groomsmen. I'm not 100% sure if this was Sam's idea or if it was Sheryl leaning on him to include me, but I accepted and was assigned the task of walking Sheryl's mom down the aisle to do the whole unity candle lighting.

Don't quote me, but I think this was in 1999.

The two funny things of note here are:

1. I ended up wearing the tux that was meant for Sam due to a screw up from the tux company. Can you say "highwaters".

2. As I'm walking Sheryl's mom down the aisle, she's worried the candle is going to go out. She doesn't know I have a charcoal lighter up my sleeve to relight it in that event, so I decided to have some fun with her.

I blew out the candle from the corner of my mouth. This led to a lot of frantic mumbles from her mom as we were walking. Took everything I had to resist laughing, but man, once I talked to them a few days after the wedding...laughed until I cried at her mom's reaction.

Anyway, I didn't stay very long for the reception. I've never been that sort of wedding goer. After the ceremony, I congratulated them both and went on my way. I felt like it was their time to shine together and my personality is such that I tend to draw attention to myself just as much unintentionally as I do intentionally.

After the wedding, Sheryl and I would have the occasional lunch together and Sam would stop in my store every now and then to pick my brain about a computer project he was working on for the next couple years. Truth be told, I visited her folks a lot more than I visited her. I was good with that. Sheryl was always one of those friends you can go have lunch with and pretty much pick up right where you left off the last time you visited. She would have her first baby about a year after my first niece was born and pretty much since then, we haven't really talked at all. Understandably so given that raising a child is and should be a very time consuming process.

I ran into her at an optometrist's office I do work for a few months after she had her baby. We chit-chatted for a bit, but given the experiences I had with my sister and her near 1 year old, I did my best not to keep her too long. That was the last I had seen of her for a long while.

The next part is going to bring you up to speed on why the Facebook thing perplexed me. You guys just needed to know some history before I explained it.

About this time last year, I was called out to her parent's house to fix their computer. I showed up and as I'm working on it, I'm informed that Sheryl has apparently disowned her parents.

Not just any disowning. Police Restraining Order disowning. Even apparently had restraining orders filed against her parents so they wouldn't go visit Sheryl's neighbors. This was one of the few things in life that actually came as a surprise. WTF could have possibly happened to cause that sort of reaction?

This was also something I knew I needed to stay out of. I truly wanted no part of it aside from one small urge to find Sheryl and ask her what was up. I knew one side of the story and, to this day, still only know one side of the story. Remember folks, there are at least 3 sides to every story.

The general idea that I got from the story is that Sheryl's mom was being overbearing and both of her folks were continually bashing her husband. Seems they finally had enough of it. I know at more than one point in my life, her Mom has wondered aloud things like "Why couldn't she have picked someone like you", so it wouldn't surprise me if sentiments like that fell out of her mouth at some point in time around Sam and Sheryl.

Remember, her mom has always been the over-protective, narrow opinioned, mother-knows-best type. While those qualities aren't necessarily good, you have to keep in mind that every person on this planet has a few, less than savory, qualities about them. That doesn't make them bad people though. Pretty much since high school, I've considered her parents like another set of parents to me.

The reason for the disapproving nature of her folks towards Sam was they viewed Sam as being the overly-manipulative, controlling husband who did his darnedest to keep Sheryl separated from her family. I can't really speak to that point since I don't know Sam all that well and haven't had any sort of peek into their home lives, but it seems to me if that's true then Sheryl either A) Knows this about him and accepts it or B) Doesn't know this about him and has some sort of other issue(s).

The problem with both A and B is there isn't jack-shit anyone can do about it. Sheryl's a grown woman capable of learning on her own and making decisions based on what she's learned.

So fast foward to the beginning of this year.


I'm at Wal-Mart on my birthday with my folks going to spend my gift cards while they do some grocery shopping. As the shopping is winding down, I happen to see Sam at the front where all the carts are positioning their daughter in the cart. When I saw him, I went the other way. Given my connections to her folks, I didn't know how he would react and I didn't want to cause a scene.

I'm over in the bakery section with my folks looking at some different breads when I hear Sam greet me from behind.

Ok, so obviously it's not going to cause a scene.

He had the cart with their daughter in it, but no Sheryl anywhere to be seen. I had a feeling she was there somewhere as it's rare for the Father/2-Year-Old-daughter combo to be out with the mother for grocery shopping.

I chit-chatted with Sam for a bit and sure enough, here comes Sheryl. She was apparently overjoyed to see me. She gave me a hug and since that one wasn't apparently good enough and slightly awkward, she gave me another one that damn near broke my neck. It had been probably 2+ years since I had seen either one of them, but I really can't say I was happy to see them given what was weighing on my mind from what her parents had told me.

After exchanging some photos and whatnot, she asks about going to do lunch sometime. I told her she knew how to find me if she wanted to go and she said she'd call me up at some point. As we're leaving, my parents (who are clueless to the whole situation between Sheryl and her family) blurb "Tell your folks we said hi!"

"Will do!"

...and I just quickened my pace to the checkout.

About a week or so after that, I sent an email to the business email address Sheryl had listed. Purpose of the email was to let her know a little more about what's going on in my life and to see if she was truly intent on trying to catch up or have lunch. No response came to that email.

Fast forward to early March from early Jan. My Facebook account has become active again thanks to my sister. I knew that Sheryl had blocked her parents from seeing her FB page, so it came as a bit of a surprise to me to see a friend request from her. I accepted and sent her a short blurb:

I sent you an email a couple days after I saw you two in Wal-Mart in Jan. Dunno if you got it. Was sent to the photography email address.

Her response set the conditions for being her friend on Facebook:

Nope, never got it. :( So, you're ENGAGED??!!! How exciting! thing please. PLEASE do not tell my parents you are in contact with me in any way or let them know anything about what I am doing or where you see me. I'd appreciate it.

Hope we can get together and catch up sometime. I'm always running around, so let me know if you ever want to hang out.

My response:

I already told them months ago while working on their computer I wanted to stay out of it. They didn't ask me to do anything, just wanted an ear I guess. Far as i'm concerned, that's stuff between you guys and all of you are adults capable of working things out eventually. So yes, I know their side already.'s basically the same story that it was when you and Sam started dating. Unapproving parents (mostly ######). I'm sure there's more to it than that, but it's none of my business (3 sides to every story rule).

Btw, typing on an iphone sucks.

Yes, I am engaged to a girl I met online 5 years ago. We've been dating for over three years. Her name is Jessica and she's an attorney. Plans are in place for her to move here in July. :)

So now she's aware I stay in touch with her folks. She's aware I know their side of the story.

A couple weeks later, I go to Subway for lunch and apparently Sam has come in behind me to get lunch too. I normally don't pay attention to the people in line behind me unless they're making odd noises. When it was my turn to order, Sam said hi to me. He apparently didn't recognize me from behind and waited for me to speak before he knew it was me for sure. More chit-chat happened, but I couldn't stay any longer since I was in a rush to get back to work, wolf down my lunch and get back on a project I wanted to get finished that day. There were more promises made of having lunch together sometime.

Then fast-foward to Sunday. I log into FB to find a post by Sheryl stating she's going to be cleaning up her friend list and if you get blocked, don't be pissed. I read that and thought of the story her Dad had told me a couple days prior about running into Sheryl at a restaurant here where he essentially embarrassed her in front of her friends while they were having lunch. Part of me figured since that happened, my name and anyone else connected to her folks were probably going to be on the chopping block.

Sure enough, a couple hours after that post on her wall was made, I had been removed and subsequently blocked. I'm not pissed or even remotely upset about the blocking itself. I felt that was inevitable. It just puzzles me to no end.

Why go to the trouble of seeking me out only to block me later if you really had no intention of maintaining any form of contact?

Why act so happy to see someone then cut off contact?

The part that irritates me is that it's blatantly obvious she's trying to shut everything down that she can to keep her folks out of her life. Even though we haven't exactly kept in touch the way we used to, shutting her parents out of her life apparently involves shutting out other people as well.

This makes me question just how genuine she is to herself and the people she interacts with. It also makes me wonder what type of life she's living if she's living in constant fear of her parents being involved.

Again, I don't know the entire story. I just know her parent's side of it. Unless I completely missed the boat on something though, I've never known her parents to completely fabricate a story. It was no secret Sam didn't get along with Sheryl's parents and vice-versa. Hell, Sam's parents and Sheryl's parents didn't even get along.

But really...if that's what is at the center of this entire debacle, what price are they willing to pay for Sam to "win"? How many bridges have to be burned? It's pretty obvious her parents still want to maintain some form of contact with their daughter and granddaughter, but that's not being reciprocated and really, when it comes down to it, nothing gets solved by shutting people out. If they're willing to shut out old friends and family, there probably is no limitation to who they'll shut out.

I do know this. Reality always comes crashing in. Everyone involved in this sad story has some portion of the blame to share and unfortunately, that stupid squabble is going to affect the life of a kid.

As for my willingness to become involved. This blog post is the extent of it. I really have no desire to sit and mediate between them or act as a go-between. Well I guess this blog isn't the extent of it. I'll be an ear.

And Sheryl, if you read this, you can come talk to me any time, but you better be ready with legit answers instead of the apparently phony stuff you've been showing the past couple times I've seen you. Old friends like me know where you came from and when you're not being true to yourself. I'm sorry, the Sheryl I knew got pissed off if anyone even hinted an insult about her mother. God knows I've been on the wrong side of that before.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Productive Weekend is Productive

A lot to get to, so a short(er) intro today.


Didn't get a whole lot done here due to crystal changes being stubborn, but had a decent turn out and explored the Lord Ruthven section of these new events. I have to say that Feurunke and Erebus are both pains in the ass.

What was notable about this event was that it marked the debut of the tanking duet of Kreoss and myself. I'm still rather uncomfortable in my role as a main tank for events like these, but apparently all of our normal tanks we have available for Dynamis are set up elsewhere for these things. You do what you must though. After about 2-3 hours of no crystal changes, we called it a night and will come back at it again later this week.


Pretty easy T3 finally. We had something like 3 straight T3s where we either had Behemoth or cracked out normal monsters that just ate up a lot of time. Two of those 3 we ended up losing. The last ended up being a display of what happens when everyone does everything right. It's not often people face the max number of critters in T3. Usually it's in the 36-42 range. Prior to the last Odin, we had a room with all 48, Behemoth and we won. So we were due for an easy T3 and it didn't really disappoint.

Notable here was the return of Kaeko (Kaea now) to Odin and Obsidian. I'm pretty sure I mentioned this somewhere before, but Kaeko was instrumental in helping Obsidian develop a lot of the strats we still use today and put in a lot of time in Obsidian's early days grinding out Dynamis with the rest of us. When Obsidian was losing Einherjar rather consistently the first few months we did it, I was approached by Kaeko about him joining our runs (which was a no-brainer) and ultimately picked his brain as the runs progressed about what we could do differently.

By that time, I had already integrated the members shared between Versus and Obsidian into the runs and came close to maxing out the numbers. Really at that point it was just a matter of time and experience. Kaeko offered up strategies in dealing with some of the bosses (most of which, a lot of our members had never encountered before Einherjar) that helped accelerate our success as well.

It's kind of laughable now when I think about it, but there were seriously a good portion of people back then who didn't understand what a bard swap was...


I don't blame people for hating sea. I'm not super fond of it myself. There's not a whole heck of a lot to get from down there aside from torques and a couple of earrings off JoL since AV is currently not defeatable, but I suspect by the end of this year as people start getting their jobs to 99 and whatnot, we're going to end up seeing AV taken down consistently.

That would be what I'm preparing the shell for. If the event this past Saturday was any indication, we still got a lot of work to do. The biggest problem with sea is that there's tons more time spent running around and trying to MGS a bunch of true sight critter than there is actually fighting stuff. This means people are dying and getting frustrated which makes for a not-fun event.

We managed to take down Ix'MNK, Ix'DRK, Jailer of Fortitude and Jailer of Faith during this run, but yeah...clearly we need a few lessons in exactly how sea works. :)

As with other events, time and experience fix it. It's just a matter of patience.


I have to say, I love the fact that SE reduced the respawn timer of the ???s in sky to 2 minutes. We killed off 9 gods Saturday evening in about 3 hours of a relaxed killing environment. I ended up tanking again along with Reijbryn and got a better feel for exactly how hate works and whatnot, but there's still a lot of room for improvement.

Humbling moment of the night though was Kirin wiping us and depopping. Happens to everyone from time to time and Kirin pop sets certainly aren't as time-intensive to farm as they used to be. Yeah...a broken shadowbind on a chainspelling Suzaku combined with a main WHM dc'ing combined with Kirin popping out babies faster than the Octomom just made for a mess.


Sunday's Xarc run will go down as one of the most productive in Obsidian's history. Our attendance was up a bit, so that was certainly a factor, but it really seemed like a lot of people brought their A game. A quick run down of what we did:

- Got to DL in approx one hour and 45 minutes (the normal deliberate "pace" is about 2.5 hours)
- Killed DL in approx 30 seconds.
- Picked up Shadow Mantle for Glacian
- Killed Animated Claymore for Kreoss' new shiny stage 4 relic weapon.
- Killed Animated Great Axe for Calix's new shiny stage 4 relic weapon.
- Picked up 12 drops, most of which were actually wanted.
- Picked up 2 100 coins for Alaistair's sponsored month.

A couple kind of sucky things happened during the run, but definitely weren't sucky enough to take away from what we accopmlished.

One of the sucky things was a THF drop. Assassin Armlets dropped and Millenas had the bid won. They dropped in the middle of a pull that kind of surprised a lot of people and we had a few dead bodies as a result. Millenas was one of them. After she had raised and lotted, she ran off behind one of the little cermet spine thingies to recover...

...where her XBox decided it was time to crap out and not let her play for a few minutes. Unfortunately, no one saw her DC'ing because she was behind said thingy. So we're all just killing along and I'm waiting for the next opportunity to pull when I see:

Darkdawn obtains a pair of assassin's armlets.

I've known Darkdawn for a while now and there's nothing in his nature that I know of that would lead me to believe he'd ninja lot something, but my first reaction was to check the log in case I missed something. Seeing no other lotting occurred, we tried to figure out what just happened.

Millenas dc'd shortly before they dropped, no one saw her dc'ing and the rest is history. Darkdawn basically obtained a free pair of THF arms. Not a complete waste though as DD has THF at 75. This bodes well for the Salvage group at least since they have another semi-regular TH4 option to haul out.

There are some that would look at this being some sort of "Snipe Karma" as it relates to the bidding practices Millenas will employ at times. While I tend to lean towards that mentality a bit, no one really wants to see that sort of thing happen to anyone cause it all comes around eventually.

The other sucky thing that happened was something out of everyone's control really. A third BLM hat dropped within the last 2 seconds of the run. Said hat would have gone to Ringthree if everyone had actually had the chance to pass it, but 2 seconds just flat out isn't enough time.

Not that she was defending Ring, but Omoi and I had a debate about killing things in the last 3 minutes of the run. It really comes down to a "Why? vs. Why Not?" debate. On the "Why?" side, you have Omoi's points about it being demoralizing for someone to see a drop right before getting kicked out and it just adding to frustration that's inherent to the way Dynamis drops work.

On the "Why Not?" side, you have my points about losing items every now and then, but most of the time, they get passed within 10-15 seconds. There are a lot more comments along the lines of "Good job passing that item there at the end" buried in the results on the forums than there are "Damn, we lost another item" comments.

Neither side is wrong really, it just boils down to which side you lean towards. To me, we paid for 3.5 hours of time in there, I'm going to utilize every second of it that we can.

Overall though, this run was a hell of a lot of fun and very productive. Sure I would have liked to see more drops cause we really did clear an absolute Fuckton of demons yesterday, but I can't really complain too much considering the tasks we actually accomplished.

If this is what the expansion of Obsidian is going to look like on a week in and week out basis, we got a lot of fun times ahead. :)

Wednesday, April 7, 2010


Super busy the past couple weeks during the day, so haven't had much time to really sit down and put too many of my thoughts out here on the web. Now that I have a little time, here's several updates on...erm...updates.

FFXI Version Update

A couple Mondays ago, the March update finally happened. Included in this that's really noteworthy are:

Trial of the Magians

This was probably one of the bigger pieces of news that came out of Vanafest 2010. A way to upgrade your existing gear. While I tend to think of this as a way for SE to avoid having to implement more gear for levels 76+, it's also a way for people to extend the life of gear they fear will become completely obsolete if/when SE does decide to release gear that's 76+.

While I'm of the mindset that all gear is made to become obsolete, there are two particular sets of gear that you just don't make obsolete. Relic and Mythic weapons (some would argue Salvage bodies). SE seems to have realized this fact and included them in the ability to "upgrade" through Trial of the Magians.

They announced this facet of it at Vanafest, so this was something I eagerly waited for with a large degree of trepidation. Turns out, my initial fears were correct.

I had a feeling they were going to make the upgrades significant enough to where you didn't want to pass them up, but in order to obtain them, you were going to have to do something insanely long and arduous. This is SE after all. Repeating the same task for years on end is a fundamental question that's asked when designing new content.

"How many years do we want this to take?"

And yes, I get it's a business and you don't keep accounts active if they don't have some long term goal to work for.

I haven't looked that far into the other normal weapon paths, but when I see:

Trial 1039: Use Geirskogul 1500 times on Amorphs.

I groan a bit, but just get to work. It's not that much worse than spamming skill chains for new weapon skills.

However, when I see:

Trial 1040: Use Geirskogul to land the kill shot 1500 times on Lizards.

That's just about where I draw the line.

Are you fucking kidding me? Not only do you have to do that on monsters that give xp, but you're likely fighting things that will end up being able to kill you.

And this is just the first 2 stages in the Gungnir path. What's next?

Trial 1041: Use Geirskogul to land the kill shot 1500 times on the Dynamis Lord on Lightsday while entering the zone during double ice weather?

Sick and sadistic SE. Relic and Mythic owners have already literally busted their asses for at least a year trying to complete the quest to even obtain a relic and now the weapons aren't even a finished product when you obtain them. Don't get me wrong, I like the idea behind the Magian trials, I just don't think relic/mythics should have the asinine quests that they do when it's possible that a normal magian weapon (which often times rivals a relic in terms of stats) can be done in a fraction of the time.

Adding to this frustration is a little feature SE finally decided to implement where your progress is announced via /echo. I'm glad it's there in a way so I'm not having to constantly check to see if an elemental resistance has worn off, but at the same time...'s like counting the mile markers down on a cross-country trip...


This looks like it's a lot of fun and easy to set up and organize. So much so, that I've added it to the list of events Obsidian will start doing. It seems to be a very well thought out series of events that don't actually eat up tons of time unless you want to spam the piss out of them.

What I learned pretty quickly is that in a large group, this can turn into a clusterfuck really quick if everyone's running around /healing to track down the critter their crystal is currently tiered with. Also learned pretty quick that Krabkatoa is sirius biznez.

We had our first official run with them last Saturday in Obsidian, which brings me to...

Obsidian Expansion

I've discussed this for a while and tried to beat info out of people as to how we want to do this. While we've pretty much got the logical structure down and sky runs have already started, the website (which is the focal point of all our organization abilities and whatnot) is what's going to take the most work. This is also hindered by the fact that Gawayne has a real life complete with career and girlfriend.

So I've been doing what I can to take some of the workload off of him. Since this job of mine requires that I learn about database programming, Gawayne was nice enough to give me access to the back end of the Obsidian databases and allow me to piddle around setting up the table structures and whatnot. It's relatively mundane work, but I'm learning pretty quickly where a lot of the pitfalls with database programming are.

The main idea around the overhaul of the website is to make it a lot more flexible. When Gawayne originally set it up, it had one purpose and no one had any intentions of expanding it beyond that purpose. When Einherjar came along, a lot of the code that was used for Dynamis could be re-used for Einherjar, but that required him to create an entirely new set of tables. So right now, the back end of the website is essentially two sets of the same tables. If we wanted to add events, that means we end up having to create that whole new table set, etc etc.

So we wanted to build the new site in a manner that allows us to make a few simple changes to some tables when new events come along. We also wanted to allow for FFXIV things. As of this post, a lot of the tables are done. I wouldn't venture to guess what percentage are done since it's become rather apparent to me that there's always something you think of when you're working on something else, but I'd be willing to say a lot of the main tables are finished just waiting on Gawayne to tie it all together with code.

As far as the "new" events with Obsidian are concerned, we've had decent turnout for all of them. While some haven't had as many as I originally hoped and others have had more than I expected, it's at least become very clear to me there's a demand for it still and if we do it right, we should be good for a while. :)

Monday, April 5, 2010


Anyone ever feel like the world is conspiring against you all at once? Just having little things go wrong to start that annoy you, then gradually building and building until something major happens that you never saw coming?

I tend to go through these phases 2 or 3 times a year and just went through one. I normally don't try to look at phases like these as signs of worse things to come, but sometimes, I just have to scratch my head at how events play out over a short period of time.

Where it starts is back on March 9th shortly after I placed Disc 1 of FF13 into my XBox360.

Actually, let me create the list just so you can skip to the good parts...

- FF13
- MyBrute (
- Bank forcing me to manually reconcile my old bank account.
- Intuit's End-of-Life structure
- Struggles with LSI Lease Source.
- RMT Spam
- Trial of the Magians: Relic Quests
- Windows Update f***ing up one of my computers.
- Fired from job.


So yeah, this was where my annoyances started. Most know what my issues with this game are from previous posts. While it doesn't annoy me as much now, it sure as hell pissed me off early on. I haven't beaten it yet, but SE sure knows how to design a system to piss off a completionist like me.


About Nov. of last year, I closed the original bank account for my business. This was mostly due to a number of companies I had blocks on continually trying to get money out of it and screwing up my "Available Balance". In the process, it caused the QuickBooks WebConnect files I normally use to become unavailable. This means that in order to reconcile my bank accounts, I needed to have them print off the statements (since I had gone paperless) and manually do it against what I had records of. This cost me a couple of days.

For you accountants out there, no I don't reconcile my bank account each month. :)



However, two months of my new account were available for me to download as a Quickbooks Webconnect file. Sadly, Quickbooks only verifies bank information if you're using versions of their software that are less than 3 years old.

And naturally, I'm using Quickbooks 2006.

Which is perfectly fine for my business, but apparently, supporting their products for a long while affects their copious bottom line drastically, so they like to extort money out of everyone by trying to force an upgrade every 3 years. Even hardware vendors support their shit longer than that.

So now I get to do the entire year manually.

LSI Lease Source

These people are a bunch of fuckwads. That whole Northern Leasing outfit is a sham and a half.

They decided it was time to ding my credit over my past due balance.

The kicker is the past due balance was inflated to dumb proportions.

Literally, last bill says: "Amount due immediately: $172".

Credit statement says: "Charge off: $580".

Guess who's attorney is researching how to shove a sandpaper covered silo up that company's anus?

If you said me, you'd be correct.

RMT Spam

It took all of about 10 hours after Odin opened back up for RMT to find their way into my tell log and I get an average of 5-8/day.

Yes I have the spam filter on and no it's a piece of shit that doesn't work most of the time. What SE needs to do is ban /tells from being sent by people under level 20 unless said tell is to someone who is on your friend list.

I will say this:

If I ever find the people who run "br8sale.c8m _8 is o_" or "", I will beat them senseless.


Trial of the Magians: Relic Quest

I have a separate post for this, but I'll sum this up.

SE can suck my c0ck. I just went through hell for 2 years to make Gungnir, now I have to go use a WS with shitty ACC 1500 times on amorphs, then I have to go use a WS with shitty ACC to get the killshot on lizards.

I'll do it, but if this is what they're going to force us to jump through to make these weapons better, I can't wait to see what's in store for the next stages.

"Use Geirskogul 1500 times to land the kill shot on Absolute Virtue during wind weather."

Windows Update

I have my computers set to automatically download and install critical updates. Apparently one from the last batch didn't get along with Zone Alarm or my NIC Drivers too well.

I didn't have to reformat the hard drive, but I had to spend about 3 hours trying to figure out what was going on.

Fired From Job

Many of you have seen me discuss the "work" thing. These guys chased after me for years before I finally relented and came to work here.

New accountant was brought on shortly before me and he's apparently been fucking with a lot of long time employees and their pay/benefits. Said accountant is good friends with the owner.

The characters you need to know for this story:

Owner: Self explanatory.
Accountant: Self explanatory.
Boss: My direct boss, answers to the owner.

My boss comes in last Thursday to tell me that I had been fired. It's April Fool's Day, so I naturally don't believe him. This holds especially true since I had just pulled the same damn joke on one of the other employees a couple hours earlier. After spending a few minutes trying to convince me, I see some tears well up in his eyes. I still didn't believe him entirely, but the thought of "this is either real or this guy is a great actor" was rattling around in my head.

As the day wore on, that thought started taking up more of my brain space. Once it got closer to closing time, I went to talk to one of the VPs (there's something like 4 of them here) and while he was only made aware of it when my boss had gone to speak with him earlier, he was pretty convinced it was real. My boss and said VP thought it was a dumb move and both gave me the advice of coming in on Monday to talk to the owner (who was the one that hired me to begin with).

I wasn't really content with that answer. I didn't want to spend the entire weekend stewing over this. I've effectively dismantled my business because they wanted me to come here full time sending about half of my customer base to competitors I felt would fit their needs best. On top of that, Girlfriend is moving down here sometime soonish.

Don't get me wrong, I've been in the owner's position long enough that if you make a decision that's best for your business, you have to be able to make it from a pure business standpoint and not let the personal aspects of it get in the way of the business aspects. From all accounts though, this was something that was handled in a completely different manner from the other firings that normally happen.

So I called the owner. I asked him if this was some sort of elaborate joke. His response was "There's been some sort of miscommunication, but we do need to talk about your salary and contract, so come up and see me on Monday." He was naturally in a rush and didn't want to discuss it any further than that at the time. This left me with the impression that I still had a job, they just wanted to cut my pay.

The pay portion of this works out a little weird. When I was brought in here at the beginning of 2009, I was told to just bill the hours through my company the same way I normally would any customer. Pretty easy to see this is simply a move to avoid paying payroll taxes. For those of you that don't understand, most companies are required to match what you pay in social security and medicare. You add in benefits and what not and this effectively makes a guy who's on payroll for $10/hour approx a $15-20/hour employee.

I didn't have an issue with this. Small business owners often times don't give themselves a paycheck, but will just pay the taxes portion of it the same way as if they did then just use company funds for whatever.

Anyway, back to the stewing. I spoke with my boss the next day about it. He gave me a couple more details that didn't sit too well with me. The first was that it seemed like most of this stemmed from the accountant. The second was that they thought I made too much money and compared what I'm capable of doing to what someone straight out of college who'd work for minimum wage can do.

The small business owner side of me understood the second part. You're always looking for ways to make your bottom line better. However, there's usually method to that line of thinking.

1. Thought enters brain.
2. Discuss it with employee.
3. Research it a bit further.
4. Make decision.

It appeared, to me, in this case the accountant decided to skip steps 2 and 3. Do not pass go, do not collect $200. Or, do not think, go straight to firing. That, my friends, is not a way to do business.

While I understood the business rationale of the second part, comparing the number of years of experience that I have to that of a college kid who'd work for peanuts is offensive. It's a constant war with me. In my efforts to make my business a success, I've just become wired for defending what I'm capable of due to the sheer number of competitors that are in this market. "Why choose me? Here's why..." is a conversation I have with a number of people on a monthly basis.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying the guys out of college aren't talented. They likely know a few things that I don't know and there are likely a small handful who would be considered prodigies. That doesn't mean that they'll A) work for minimum wage or B) work for less than I do.

Here's what I know so far. The accountant is apparently not very rational and thinks he could get the same production out of a college kid. The accountant thinks I make too much money. The Owner and Accountant both really have no clue what it is I do all day and stated as much.

The figure I have listed for my hourly rate wasn't something I just came up with willy-nilly off the top of my head. Back at the beginning of 2009, I did some research on average salaries across KY and the nation for my position. You could utilize several job titles for what I do. Right now, "Help Desk Technician" or "Level I/II Technical Support" or "Level I/II Networking Support" would probably sum it up the best. Average salaries for those positions across the nation were $35,000-$55,000/year. Average salaries across the state of KY had a smaller range, but still in the same area coming in at $35,000-$45,000/year. I picked $40,000/year and have been billing them for that over the past year and a half without a single complaint about it. Why would they look at it now and say "ZOMG THAT'S TOO MUCH MONEY!"

There were a couple of scenarios that played out in my head based on the conversations thus far.

First Scenario:

Accountant finds a way to pinch some pennies, goes to tell the Owner, Owner says something, Accountant misunderstands and passes the word along to my boss to fire me.

Second Scenario:

Accountant has always resented what I make, finally found an excuse to can me, tells the Owner, Owner approves, Accountant tells my boss.

Third Scenario:

This is still one big fucking joke.

In either case, the protocol for firing an employee wasn't followed here. Normally, the guy that makes the decision on firing someone does the deed. It doesn't get delegated to someone else.

Ok, so it's clear I still have a job and they don't know exactly what it is I do. I decided because of this, I would make a presentation to illustrate exactly how things are set up and why I more than pay for myself. The primary focus of the presentation is down time, the things that cause it and how I've responded to it.

You see, the network here is operated by a bunch of bored babies. They spend tons of time on the phones calling people and while they're talking, they're surfing around on the net. Any of you in the I.T. field know what sort of silliness that can bring. As a result, I've taken what was here from a network structure standpoint, modified it a bit, and have made it so that if a machine goes down for any reason, I can spend 15-20 minutes hooking a new one up for them to work on while I fix the old one. That's just one facet, but that facet alone has a seven-figure side effect.

Monday rolls around and I'm probably more motivated than I've been in a very long time. Anger does that. About halfway to work, I get a call from my boss. He apparently went to bat for me earlier in the morning and had a conversation with the Owner. Instead of meeting with the Owner and his team, I get to meet with my boss.

I was a lot more comfortable with that, but disappointed that I wasn't going to get to take this rage out on the people that caused it.

Disappointment is the anti-rage by the way.

I'm beginning to think these guys know that.

Anyway, I ended up having about a 45 min "meeting" with my boss on the whole ordeal.

Yes, the idea to fire me came from the accountant.

No, there wasn't a misunderstanding between the owner and the accountant.

Yes, it was the Owner's decision to fire me.

Yes, I had a job if I'd accept a 25% pay cut and no benefits for a while longer.

No, I wasn't happy about it, but really had no other choice for now.

Since half of my customer base was essentially gone, I couldn't just give them the finger and go back to doing what I was before. The new rate is still good. After I thought about it a bit more, I came to the conclusion that I'm not really pissed about the money. I was pissed at how it was handled. Everything works out for the best no matter what, but that was a damned inconvenient time for that to show up.

Now the game plan has changed.

The plan originally was to try to make a career here.

Now the plan is to get Girlfriend moved down here, settled into a job and then go find a new one myself unless things change drastically here between now and then. There's still opportunity for financial growth once my boss retires in 5-ish years, but I'm not going to toil around in financial obscurity because a penny pinching accountant thinks some dude right out of college is just as effective as the guy who's been dealing with this company for 10+ years. He won't keep people very long at the rate he wants to pay (he wanted to drop me to $10/hour). He'll drop all this work back on my boss' shoulders. Once my boss retires, there's no replacement. What he's built here isn't something you hire someone off the street and expect them to pick up instantly.

Hopefully they understand this now. If they don't, they're going to be in for a very rude awakening 5 years down the road.

Qtipus' Information

FFXI subscriber since NA release.