Posted in FFXIV, Gaming, MMORPGs

February 2019 Gaming Goals in Review

Though I set pretty meager goals for myself this month, I didn’t quite reach all of them. This wasn’t unexpected, though. I’ve mostly been focused on leveling crafters on my alt, which I’ve done a great job of. But by the time I get home from work, finish a 4 sets of Beast Tribe quests and maybe get pulled into a run or two of Alliance or Expert, I just don’t have a lot of time for other things.

Once I get my crafting squared away, this will change. So I’m just trying to power through it all right now.

FFXIV: Main Character

  • Level Astro
  • Level Ninja
  • Finish Summoner Job Quests 

Here’s where most my lagging happens. I’m not really that thrilled to level Astro or Ninja, so those are the things that get pushed to the wayside. I did earn a couple levels on Astro this month, but nothing very significant. Seeing how little progress I’ve made here, I’m still counting it.

FFXIV: RP Alt

  • Level Armorer to 70
  • Gear Armorer
  • Level Leatherworker to 60+
  • Level Carpenter to 50
  • Progress on “I Made That” for Alchemist

Here’s where I’ve done a great job! Not only did I get Armorer to 70, but I also got Leatherworker to 70. I’ve almost bought all the tools for every crafting job with Yellow Scrips, so I’m nearly fully geared for all my crafters now, even the ones that aren’t 70 yet.

Carpenter is now 58, and quickly approaching 60. This should be 70 by next month. Goldsmith is quickly leveling (37), and I’ve been doing Grand Company turn-ins for the final two jobs to keep them moving (both level 22).

I worked through growing all the flowers and crafting all of the corsages as an Alchemist, which earned me I Made This IV for Alchemist.

I still have a LOT to craft to get the blessed tool, but I’m moving it along.

How did your gaming month go?

Posted in Just Fiddling

Fourth Finger Fun

I knew that the day would come when I’d add the fourth finger to violin practice. Sure enough, this week, my lesson book has led me to just that – using the fourth finger to replicate the sound of an open string. The book says this is to promote smoother note changes due to not having to cross strings with a bow. I’m not so sure smoother is the result of this for me at the moment!

I read that other folks tend to have a bit of trouble when first implementing the fourth finger. I find it a bit more difficult, mostly because it really forces you to have to twist your hand to be as parallel the fingerboard as possible. I definitely feel the effort I have to make for proper arm posture, especially up and down the length of my left arm.

But like all things, I also know this will get easier with time. When I first began playing, I could hardly endure a full five minutes off playing without having to shake out my left hand out and give it a break. Now days, I might have to take a single short rest during my 30 minute practice sessions. I’m certainly seeing improvement.

Continue reading “Fourth Finger Fun”
Posted in Blogging, FFXIV, Gaming, MMORPGs

FFXIV: Data Center Move – April Dates

Based on the information provided by the official FFXIV website, we now have dates when we can expect the data center expansion to happen.

Europe will get a new Data Center, Light, on Tuesday, 2 April, 2019.

NA will get a new Data Center, Crystal, on Tuesday, 23 April, 2019.

Servers from existing Data Centers will be broken out and moved on to the new Data Center like this:

Because this may separate friends who have made connections across Data Centers, it’s been confirmed that ALL characters on ALL servers will get free transfers for a period of time.

Posted in Gaming, Nintendo Switch, Pokemon

Pokemon Sword and Shield for Switch

Coming sometime late 2019, as expected – Sword and Shield are already up for preorder after today’s Pokemon Direct!

And dang, it looks really, really nice! A full -on 3D experience, really evolved from the previous games, probably thanks to the Switch. The starters are also very cute — I’m leaning towards Scorbunny, though. I tend to go fire, and having a bunny Pokemon on top of it is hard to resist!

Lots to look forward to! I really need to finish Let’s Go Pikachu, though… I guess this is some motivation.

Posted in FFXIV, Gaming, MMORPGs

FFXIV: Fatter Cat Mount

I don’t usually buy a lot of stuff from the Mog Station. Every now and then, a sale will come along, and I’ll pick up old emotes or fluff for alts that don’t have them. It’s pretty rare that I plunk down cash for things like mounts — the last one I bought day-one was the carbuncle.

I pretty much knew when I saw the data mined info on the Fat Cat mount that I’d be picking it up, though. While I’m not as crazy over Fat Cat as some people, I do think she’s pretty darn cute. I even have a Fat Cat Plush!

They released the Fatter Cat mount as a “China exclusive” less than two weeks ago. Honestly, I’m not quite sure why they do that and make a fuss over exclusivity when they’re just going to turn around and release it to everyone else in short order. But it is what it is.

So, this morning, when I saw the mount was in the shop, I didn’t hesitate to pick it up. Especially since it’s account wide.

Some of the shorter mounts are really silly for tall characters, like my RP Alt Amon. But Fat Cat seems to scale well – I only redeemed her on my Elezen so far. I love the way she puddles when sitting still, just like the minion.

I am, however, a little disturbed when it comes to reading the description of the mount…

Uh… let’s just forget we ever read that and focus on the cute. Right? Right!

Posted in FFXIV, Gaming, MMORPGs

FFXIV: Halfway There

If I do nothing else when I log into FFXIV each day, I always make sure I finish my crafting beast tribe quests on my RP alt, Amon. Slowly, something that just started out as random gathering, leading to random crafting… has turned into a dedicated push to finish leveling all of his crafting jobs to 70, preferably before Shadowbringers drops.

As I said before, I don’t even know why. I already have a fully-geared omni-crafter main. Sure, I can specialize in different jobs on an alt, but I’m rarely geared enough to take advantage of the specializations I have.

Unmelded scrip gear is enough for me to get by on. I just want the ability to make and gather things as I desire.

Last night, I finished leveling Leatherworker to 70 on Amon. This means that half of my crafting jobs are now maxed. Yay!

I’m currently pushing through daily Moogle Quests to level Carpenter, and hope to move on to Namazu fairly soon. Goldsmith is my current focus for Ixali quests, which I really just want to be done with by now. The old beast tribe quests are no where near as economical as the new, and after months of hoping I don’t get West for Fishing every day, I just push through them to get the job done.

To supplement this, I’ve started doing Grand Company turn-ins for all crafting jobs under 50, as well. Generally, the turn-ins are pretty cheap to snag off the marketboard or the vendors. I try to go for high quality turn-ins, but mostly, I just want to keep boosting the jobs I’m not focusing Ixali quests on so that by the time I get Goldsmith to 50, the other jobs will hopefully be closer to 30-ish.

All-in-all, I think I have a good chance of having most of this done by the expansion. Once that drops, it’ll be back to leveling my gathering jobs, if nothing else. I’ve never been a fan of leve grinding for crafting levels during a new expansion. I much prefer beast tribes.

I guess this time around, we may be able to earn some experience from weekly turn-ins too? Will have to see!

Posted in Fiddle Resources and Tools

Buying a Violin Online: Set up Violins

Most folks will tell you if you’re shopping for a violin, you should stick to brick and mortar shops. You need to hold the violin in your hand, hear it, try it out and get a feel for each potential instrument before committing. This is good advice, however…

What about the folks who don’t have a local music shop? Or if the one that they do have doesn’t specialize in violins, so the selection is thin and the prices are out of budget? What if there’s no promise that the music shop really knows how to set up a violin properly? And the nearest luthier is hours away (such as in my case).

It’s no wonder that folks in this Amazon age turn to the Internet to shop for a violin. And this isn’t a terrible idea, as long as you know what you’re getting. Beyond just the quality of the violin and the reviews you read, an important thing to make certain of is that the violin you purchase is properly set up before it comes to you.

By set up, I mean that the instrument has been checked for proper alignment and approved by whatever the maker’s process is, the bridge and strings are in place, and with a little bit of tuning, it’s ready to play out of the box. I don’t include tuning in this because new strings can’t be expected to hold tune during shipping — most instruments will need some tuning upon arrival.

Some violins, especially in the lower price brackets, will require setup. You will need to place the bridge (with no promise the bridge is properly shaped to the instrument) upon arrival, and this runs a risk of the sound post coming loose during shipping.

Plus, an instrument that hasn’t been run through an approval process and professional setup may require extra cost just to get it in playable condition. That $100-$200 violin from Amazon may cost you another $100-$200 to ensure proper setup from a professional in the end… which is a doubled hidden cost you really can avoid by paying for a quality, set-up instrument from the start.

I’ve gathered a list of online shops that have been confirmed to pre-setup their instruments for online sales. My Bunnel from Kenney Violins came set up, and I know for sure Fiddlerman (some brands – double check) sets up theirs, too. The others I’ve heard as suggestions from the community — so be sure to read the product pages and reviews when looking to purchase to ensure they have gone through some approval process and include set up.

There may be other shops that provide set up online as well. These are just the ones I’m fully aware of. Hopefully this helps you to know a bit more of what to look for if you decide to shop for violins online!

Posted in Just Fiddling

Do Yourself a Favor: Don’t Buy a Cheap Violin

Probably NOT a cheap violin. -Image credit-

The very first step I took on my path to learning to play violin was to make a mistake. I didn’t listen to the warnings I read online, and I bought a cheap violin.

You might be like me. An adult with a full-time job who has taken interest in doing something completely new… or maybe something you’ve wanted to do for a long time… and decided to learn to play violin. But you’re not sure if you can really commit to it.

Will work schedules prevent practice? Will you discover that you’re just not meant to play this instrument? You’ve heard it’s challenging, and the idea of spending hundreds of dollars on a student violin for it to only sit in the corner gathering dust after the first few weeks is not an appealing thing.

What IS appealing? That $40 cheap violin you see on Amazon or Ebay.

“Hey,” you think, “I can handle $40-$60 to try the thing out. And if I don’t like it, then I didn’t lose much.”

Meanwhile, folks who have experience – long-time players, teachers and online violin shops – all are telling you, “No, no no no no… If you want to be successful, you really don’t want to do that.”

What do they know, right? I mean, they’ve been playing for years… or they’re the ones selling the higher quality instruments. Of course they’ll tell you to invest money into a hobby you’re not sure you’re going to see through.

Well, I’m here to say… believe them!

Continue reading “Do Yourself a Favor: Don’t Buy a Cheap Violin”
Posted in Just Fiddling

Fiddle: Trouble with Learning to Read Music

Honestly, I don’t really know if this is a problem or not. If anyone has insight into this, please let me know!

I’ve always had trouble practicing reading music notation. The thing is, I can fumble through reading a (simple) song passage, such as something I’m practicing from my Essential Elements for Strings Book. I reference the notation the first few times, and maybe look at bits and pieces of it a little bit after. But once I know what the song should sound like, I find myself quickly shoving the notation aside to play from memory.

That’s why it’s so, so important for me to be able to hear samples of the tunes that I’m trying to play. When I hear the song and put it on repeat a few times, I’m much more able to perform it. Every book or learning tool I use has to have some kind of track to play with for this reason.

Back when I was learning to play guitar many many moons ago, I did the same thing. I feel like I never really connect the process of learning to match notes on the page with fingering. By the time I settle into practice, I’m doing it more by ear than by eye.

Is this a bad thing? Is this a good thing? Is there something I can do to help me focus more on practicing to read the notes? I guess I could FORCE myself to sit and read notation, but that seems awful dull. Or is this something I should just roll with for now and be more focused on when the tunes get a little more complex?

Posted in Learning to Play Fiddle

Discoveries: Things I Learned My First Month of Playing Violin

When I decided to learn to play violin, I came to the instrument with zero exposure to the instrument. I don’t know anyone, past or present, who plays violin. In fact, that cheap violin was the first violin I actually held — I was surprised at how light it was!

I thought that it might be interesting to gather the discoveries I made during my first month as a completely new violin player. Here you are!

Continue reading “Discoveries: Things I Learned My First Month of Playing Violin”