Posted in Gaming

2019 Gaming Goals in Review

Welcome to the final day of 2019! It’s time to take a look back a the gaming goals I set at the beginning of this year and see how much I actually completed!

FFXIV – Housing

My first goal was to sit down and work on decorating housing for my Free Company and individual character rooms. Overall, I mostly made this happen.

I did decorate our FC house far better than it started. I also got individual themed rooms for my main, Amon, Zuri, Tai, and Koh completed. I still have a few more rooms I want to work on, with some ideas. I also still need to complete decorating my main’s house! I have ideas for that, too, it’s just taking time to plan it out and make it happen.

So, overall, I’m happy with the progress I made on this one.

FFXIV – Leveling

I completely blew this goal out of the water this year. I’d just gotten all my jobs to 50 at the beginning of this year. The hope was to get them to 60 by the end of this year.

Currently, all but one of my jobs is level 71! And that will be 71 tomorrow.

I think I did quite well with this one! 🙂

Steam – Play the Games I Buy

I actually did a good job of keeping up with this goal this year. I have played every game that I’ve bought, with the exception of one or two (one was a gifted game that I do have installed and intend to play). I haven’t bought a whole lot of Steam games in retrospect this year, so that helps too.

Steam- Play Over 60% of my Backlog

This one didn’t happen. BUT I did move it from 51% to 54% played. Any forward progress is progress right?

It also looks like I only added 11 games to my Steam list this year. I know at least one of them was an old Kickstarter finally coming to beta.

Switch – Backlog

On the flip side… I did awful here. Not only do I still have a lengthy backlog, but I’ve picked up more Switch games I haven’t started. I really want to buckle down on this next year!

So, overall, not too bad on my goals in 2019. I still have plenty I want to get done next year, so look for the new set of yearly goals tomorrow!

Posted in Just Fiddling

Basic Fiddlers Philharmonic Celtic Fiddle Tunes

I got a few things for Christmas that were fiddle-related, including a wonderful instrument tuner, which I sorely needed. But I also got this book!

I’m pretty sure this was something on my Amazon wish list, but I didn’t realize how good a pick it actually was. This is both book and CD – I’ve learned that being able to hear the tune I’m playing is super important.

But the neatest thing about this book in particular is that it includes both a basic and advanced version of the songs, along with tracks on the CD. Also, a back-up section, if you’re playing support.

So once you’ve got the basic tune down (I like that it also has the letters in the notation to help out), you can move on to the more advanced version. It’s a cool way to build up a tune.

I’ve said that I wanted to work on my notation reading this year. I started out with it, and kinda let it fall by the wayside back during the summer. So this is a good chance to relearn and brush up on it.

Also, my ultimate goal is to play Celtic and Irish tunes. So this feels like a good intro into the music I really want to be learning.

While I have decided to continue practicing Greensleeves at this point, instead of going back to the AFM once that’s done, I’m going to be bringing some of these tunes into my practice instead. Excited to give this a try!

Posted in FFXIV, Gaming

December 2019 Gaming Goals in Review

I’m going to go ahead and close out this month’s goal post because while there’s still today and tomorrow, I doubt I’ll be working on goals. Tomorrow, I want to visit my Yearly 2019 Gaming Goals and see how I did with them. Then I can look at figuring out where I want to go in 2020!


  • Level Trusts & Alt Jobs (Main) 
  • Level Crafters and Buy Master VII Books (Main & Amon) 
  • Progress Tai through Shadowbringers 
  • Progress Zuri through Stormblood

I did a great job in leveling my first set of Trust characters and getting my Summoner/Scholar to 80. Next month, I know I want to work on taking my second set through, which requires me leveling one of my tanks.

In the meantime, I’ve also been doing beast tribes on each job and getting them to 71, which allows them to have access to Trusts. As of last night, I only have one job that’s not 71.

I finished up getting Master crafting books with scrips for both my main and Amon. I’ve been slowly working on leveling their crafters in the meantime. I’m sure if I buckled down and worked on the Restoration, I could level a lot faster, but I just haven’t had the focus for that lately.

I did progress Tai all the way to the Greatwood in Shadowbringers. I honestly could have gotten even further, but holidays were distracting. I also leveled him to the point that I couldn’t go any further using the Beast Tribes. The game gates you if you haven’t cleared the Greatwood at a certain rank. That’s fine – I’ll get ther eventually.

I didn’t get around to working on Zuri’s progress at all. I didn’t expect I would until I got Tai sorted away. It’s fine.

Nintendo Switch Goals

  • Earn at least one new badge in Pokemon Sword
  • Finish next temple in Link’s Awakening
  • Ring Fit

Nope, didn’t do any of this and it makes me sad. I do have the excuse of getting some Steam games for Christmas that took my attention away. Though I also added three new games to the Switch backlog for Christmas as well! Augh!

I’m going to buckle down on this harder in 2020. Though I have a feeling Animal Crossing is going to sweep away my time when it releases.

Overall, a fine month. We’ll check on the year’s progress tomorrow!

Posted in IRL, Kitty Korner

RIP Sebastian, My Friend

Sebastian has been a part of my family for 8 years. He was a special cat – super social, very dog-like in his desire to please, constantly craving attention and affection, vocal and friendly. I’ve never met a cat quite like him, and I don’t know if I ever will again.

I took him to the vet last week due to lack of appetite and the fact he was lethargic and had been sneezing through the weekend. They said he was running a fever, checked him for anything else, and sent him home with antibiotics.

These seem to improve his disposition for a few days, but then on Monday of this week, he started losing appetite again. I knew my vet was open until noon on Saturdays, so I called and they brought him right in this morning.

At first, I thought this was going to be a blood test and possibly something treatable with the liver. But when the vet examined him this time, she found a mass in his stomach and also ordered an X-ray.

The X-ray revealed a cancerous tumor in his stomach. They showed me the results and it was almost as large as my fist. He wasn’t eating because he couldn’t… and I was given the choice to take him home with appetite simulators (so I could “spend time with him”) or say goodbye.

I took this picture of him in the vet’s office, joking that he was “unhappy” to have another visit. I never imagined it was his last picture or that I was going to learn something so serious.

Though he didn’t seem to be in terrible pain, I was warned the tumor could rupture, which would be horrible pain for the cat. And while having more time with him was an option, I knew that it would just be a lengthening of a tearful situation that was meant to comfort me… not to see to the good of the cat.

No matter what I did, it didn’t escape the fact there was nothing to treat this. Whether it be today or next week, I’d have to put him down. The thought of that lingering sorrow and anxiety for days was (to me) worse than simply making a clean good-bye.

So spoiled with PILES of toys

And though my words here are somewhat making light of it, it hurts more than I can really express in writing. Sebastian was an empathetic cat, in tune with emotion and truly loved people in a special way.

I decided it was best not to delay what I couldn’t change and said good-bye to him at the vet’s office today. They allowed me to be there, and he peacefully passed away mere seconds after the injection.

I know it was the right thing to do – even the vet said that it would be her choice – but I have a lot of grief to work through. His loving presecnce at the window when I come home from work every day and first thing in the morning at the bedroom door, and how much he loved to share laps for hours… the way he “talked” to ask me for things, and just his companionship overall… I know I’m going to miss that for a long time.

I hope the Rainbow Bridge does something nice for the Holidays, Sebastian.

Posted in FFXIV, Gaming, MMORPGs

FFXIV: Summoner/Scholar & Trusts Ding 80!

The Starlight Festival is in full swing in FFXIV this week, and while I do want to talk about the event, more importantly, I hit one of my most important monthly goals last night.

I started a few days before December, and have been doing one run with my Trusts per night. I’ve worked on the same job every day — Summoner/Scholar — and finally hit 80 on both my job and the first three Trust members I’ve been leveling.

So this didn’t take quite a month to do, even with the Trust members leveling at the same rate (and at one point outleveled me) as I did. But it still came pretty close to a month’s work.

I picked Summoner because it was the last casting job I needed to level to get all of my casters wearing the same gear. This let me clean out a significant chunk of my inventory, for which I was pretty happy!

As an added bonus, this allowed me to level my first healer – Scholar – to 80 as well. This means that once I figure out how to play the class somewhat, I can take on the Shadowbringers role quests for that job. I haven’t done these yet on either of my characters, and I do want to finish this all on my main for every role eventually.

So. As you can see, I still have three more trust members to level. Because none of them are a tank, my next goal is to take my Gunbreaker through the Trusts as my first tank. In the meantime, I’m still using Beast Tribe quests to nudge each of my jobs up to 71 to allow them to access Trusts. This has been working very well. Here’s where I’m sitting at today:

Right now, I’m about halfway through 70 on Dragoon. Then all I have left is Ninja and the rest of my tanks. That’s a lot of jobs! And at one trust a day, even if I didn’t skip a day, that’s going to be a lot of work for next year!

Posted in FFXIV, Gaming, MMORPGs

FFXIV: Live Letter LVII – Patch 5.2 Info Roundup

This post is late, seeing the Live Letter happened almost five days ago, but life has been crazy in the final work week before the holidays. I get a vacation starting this weekend, and boy do I need it!

Anyhow, I just wanted to touch on the highlights of the Live Letter, which gave us a look at what’s coming in patch 5.2, and talked way too much about virtual butt sizes.

It’s a sad age when 10 minuets of broadcast has to go into discussing the technical aspects of why an outfit’s butt size wasn’t working as intended, was nerfed, only for it to be given back due to public outcry. It was pretty funny to watch Yoshi-P make butt shapes with his hands, however.

Borrowed from Polygon because I needed this image on my blog

For those who are concerned, the B2 outfit butt size will be restored in patch 5.18 (releasing Dec 24). Merry Christmas!

Patch 5.2 – Echoes of a Fallen Star

So what can we expect from the upcoming patch – which is due to be out late February? Here’s a quick list:

  • New MSQ story
  • New Beast Tribes – for gathering only
  • New Dungeon – Anamnesis Anyder
  • New Trial – Ruby Weapon
  • New 8-man Eden Raids – Eden’s Verse
  • Relic Gear quests begin
  • More Ishgard Restoration
  • Diadem returns as gathering location for Restoration
  • Further Crafting & Gathering updates – Especially Fisher
  • New Tomestones
  • Free Company rank increase (!)
  • Groupable Deep Ocean Fishing (!)
  • Umbrellas (?)

This seems like a pretty wide variety of content, even if this is just the first glimpse of what we’re getting. I find it amazing that MSQ story is back on the list of exciting things in each major patch because we all want to know what’s going to happen next!

I’m super excited to see what the next phase of Ishgard Restoration with the Diadem will be like. Also the changes to fisher, including the deep ocean fishing sound amazing. I’m curious what perks the next Free Company rank increase will bring. I think this is the FIRST increase I can remember we’ve had since the game released!

The new dungeon looks a lot like something connected to Amaurot. As long as it kicks actual Amaurot out of the Expert Roulette, that’s all I care about. If I ever have to run that place again, it’ll be too soon.

They did note that from here on out, we’ll only be getting one dungeon per patch because the team is focusing on bringing out a variety of content. I know for some people that’s a bummer, but I don’t mind at all. Dungeon running is still not my preferred content, and if there was a better way to earn Tomes, I’d be doing it in a heartbeat.

If it gives us more variety per patch, I’m all for it. So far, this little sneak peek had a number of things I’m curious about. But really, why does the new beast tribe quests center around gathering? It’s so easy to level gathering as it is. And why umbrellas? What are the functions of umbrellas? I guess we’ll find out.

If you want more details about content of this Live Letter, check out this Google doc.

Posted in Gaming, Steam Gaming

Steamgifts: Giving it All Away

One of the first posts I wrote when this blog was still young was about Steamgifts. This is an online community that creates a massive number of giveaways of free Steam games/keys.

I wrote about how all that works in that post, and while I haven’t been actually entering that many giveaways since then, I have recently been using it to purge my Humble Bundle library.

One of my gaming goals for this year was to play over 60% of my Steam backlog. While I’ve inched that up to 53% played this year and have played almost everything new that I’ve bought, I won’t be hitting that goal, and I pretty much know it.

However, this number is somewhat misleading because I have a ton of games from bundles I purchased that I’ve never claimed on Steam yet. The last bundle I ever bought was in 2017 when I realized I was just stacking on a bunch of games that I may never play.

This is also why I never subscribed to that Humble Choice or whatever it is now that dumps even more games on you every month. My backlog is too large to handle already. I don’t need all that!

In preparation for the new year, one goal I’d like to set is to is bring in some of these unused bundle keys into my account for the games I do want to keep. So I’ve been massively sorting through games and figuring out which ones I just wouldn’t spend time with.

These are the games I’ve been tossing out on the Steamgifts site. And I’ve had quite a number of them! Not done yet, either.

It feels good to get these keys out of my inventory and hopefully in the hands of someone who really does want to play these games. Then I can focus on claiming the keys I want and hopefully trying out some of these games. I have the whole series of oldskool Sierra adventure games, for example, that I really want to play.

The Steamgifts site has been hosting a pretty fun holiday event where you can open 5 random gifts each day and choose whether to take up the giveaway. While I don’t really need any more games, I have entered a few that have been interesting to me. Doubtful that I’ll win, but it’s still fun to do.

Posted in Ukulele

Welcoming the Uke!

Oh, Christmas Uke!

It has arrived – my blue ukulele!

And no, before it’s even asked, I’m not giving up on fiddle or replacing fiddle or anything of the sort.

This was an unplanned sort of thing, but the way that it sounds, uke is a far more casual instrument to plink around with. So I don’t see it competing with fiddle for real hardcore practice time.

Even though this wasn’t a planned thing, I think it was something I was working up to without knowing it. Back in high school, I used to mess around on my acoustic guitar – which I still have! – and really enjoyed playing what little I did learn of it.

However, the stopping point for me was when chords became a thing because my fingers were frustratingly short to reach the notes. It’s the same sort of problem I have playing a full sized violin.

I’ve wanted to pick up my guitar again, and even bought some new strings for it, but then I remembered the troubles I had, and the pain of working up the callouses on my fingers for the metal strings. For some reason, I’ve not had that issue with violin like I did on guitar.

I don’t remember how I got around to looking at ukes this past weekend. But it almost feels like the energy and expectations around ukes are the exact opposite of someone new to violin. It’s easy to play from the start, inexpensive to pick up a decent starter kit, and the attitude for learning is – just have fun, even if it’s just 5-10 mins a day! As long as the uke is tuned, you make a nice sound out of the box.

That’s much different than some of the violin folks I’ve seen online (fiddle folks are a bit more laid back) who tell you to get a teacher before you even buy an instrument, spend at least $300+ on your starter kit to get something playable, and put in a good chunk of time practicing every day. Only to struggle to make a good sound.

Now that doesn’t make me love my fiddle any less. It’s just a very different instrument with different demands.

In fact, I didn’t really take the uke seriously for a long time as a possible mini-guitar. But then you see things like this that show me how it could really be played.

Dang! That’s beautiful! I want to learn that one day.

Anyhow, the resources for learning and play alongs for Ukes are all over the place, and it just seems like something I could dive into and make good progress with. I already got my uke tuned up and have been strumming that C chord that seems to be the first thing you learn.

I’m pleased with the style and design of the instrument. Unlike violins, where you’re warned away from using painted on or colored woods (effects sound?), Ukes come in a variety of colors and styles. I immediately went for this Blue Hola! Concert Uke, which actually has a bit of a teal undertone overall.

The concert uke is apparently the mid size instrument, with a soprano being smaller. So I could have went even smaller than this, but to be honest, seeing it in person, I think this is the right size.

Testing my fingers on the fretboard, I can already tell this is much smaller than a guitar, and more feasible for me to play. Not only that, but it’s comfortable for me to hold even without a strap.

And most importantly, it doesn’t send my cats into a fit when I play (violin does – even a good violinist playing solo on a video does). Which means I can keep it in the front room and plink around on it at my main desk.

Posted in Fiddle Progress Report

Fiddle Progress Report: 11 Months

This hasn’t been one of my proudest months in terms of practice consistency. I have a list of woes that either sapped my time or energy to play: illness, migraine for days, sick pet, and dealing with something that felt like a house crisis which turned out to be opossums. Go figure.

Anyhow, my consistency was shot for this month, but I don’t feel like I did any backsliding, even if I didn’t really make a lot of forward progress. In fact, since I have continued to make the trio of Angelina Baker, Buffalo Gals and Cindy a staple in my practice, I’ve seen a lot of improvement in the tone of playing those songs.

I want to move on from those eventually, and probably will starting in the new year. But I’ve also been practicing two holiday songs – Silent Night and O Holy Night. I was able to pretty quickly pick up Silent Night, and now play it more or less well.

O Holy Night has been far more of a challenge, and I’ve tasked myself to spend some real focus time in working on it this week. My goal is to have it in a playable condition before Christmas.

I’d love to get Greensleeves started before the holidays are out, but it really depends on if I can memorize O Holy Night enough to start another tune. I’ve not been able to make anywhere near the progress I was hoping to on holiday songs, but I do have a lot of time off coming up from work, and I intend to use it!

I have been working through the classes at Julia’s Violin Academy, though not keeping up with the live classes there as much as I’ve wanted. Maybe I can use some of this time to explore the things I’ve missed. I’ve been working in the scales and arpeggios into my practice, and really need to keep adding more of them and moving forward with that method.

Flashback Time!

About this time last year, I’d already bought my first little fiddle from Ebay. It wasn’t a good quality instrument, and I ended up upgrading pretty quickly, but it did provide me my first look at a fiddle.

Because it was so cheap, I wasn’t afraid to learn how to change strings, change the bridge, change the chin rest, put on peg compound… all things that being totally new coming to the fiddle might have been a bit more scary on a more expensive instrument.

I still own the instrument, and have tried a few times to bring it out and make it sound better, with no luck. I go back and forth on whether to display it just for looks (it is a nice looking piece) or if I should take it to Goodwill. It was my first fiddle, so I have a bit of a sentimental feeling towards it. But I also hate to see an instrument that’s mostly playable go to waste when it might service someone else.

Looking back, I apparently set up my little fiddle on December 22. I was so proud of myself and really in love with the way the instrument looked. It wasn’t until January that I really started to learn what to do with it and February before I set up this blog to document my journey.

The first picture I took of my fiddle, the day I set it up.

I hope the excitement I felt when I first started will continue to move me forward. I really had no idea the amount of time and practice I’d have to put into learning the fiddle to make what I played sound remotely well. But I think that learning the patience and diligence needed to make progress has been good for me in a character-building sense.

Before I get too philosophical, I’ll close this report out. Next time I check in, I’ll be celebrating more or less a year of attempting to learn to play fiddle. I hope that between now and then, I am happier with my time and progress than this month. Nothing else to be done but move forward!

Oh, and I might have a little surprise tomorrow. We’ll see what I decide to do with this.