Over my Christmas vacation, I suddenly was struck with the urge to play a board game. But seeing all my friends and family are so far away, the only way this was going to happen was through some kind of online game.
The Steam sale was about to kick off that very afternoon, so I started browsing the board game section to see what I could see. There’s plenty of games out there like Life and Monopoly, but not all of them are multiplayer, and some don’t have the greatest of ratings – especially if you want to host a game for other people to connect to online.
At the top of the board game section in Steam is Tabletop Simulator. For whatever reason, I’d put the game on ignore and was completely overlooking it every time I did a search. After a while of picking out possibilities, I finally came back to the top ten. That’s when I mentioned to Syn that Tabletop Simulator was the number one game for this section.
She knew of it and told me it was apparently pretty cool. So I began to look into it and was blown away when I did.
When I realized exactly HOW MUCH this one game could do, and then when it went on sale for $10 during the winter sale, we quickly bought a 4 pack and gifted it to the entire Posse.
There is simply so much gaming potential here if you have friends who are into this sort of thing. I hosted several games for several people in different locations across the US, and no one had trouble connecting, playing or staying connected.
We’ve only tried two mods so far – Uno and The Game of Life. We haven’t tried anything fully scripted, though Uno had some scripts for dealing the cards that was a nice addition.
Much of the fun seems to come from the bumbling of people trying to play a board game in a virtual environment. There’s a little bit of a learning curve when it comes to interacting and controls, but that’s easily master with a little practice. Still, we had plenty of “spills” and car pile-ups during the Game of Life, which just led to a lot of hilarity.
And when an artistic-type finishes Life early on while everyone else is still playing the game, interesting things can happen to the gaming table – which allows you to draw and add text to it…
So anyhow, A+ for Tabletop Simulator and all the amazing mods you can pick up for it. We had a grand time with this, and I hope we’ll be able to explore so more games going forward!
It’s a new year, and it’s time for some new site banners! I haven’t put any site banners into the rotation for quite a while, so I decided with the consolidation of blogs and topics, it was as good a time as any to add some new designs.
Here’s what I’ve got!
My main from FFXIV playing violin. I still had a banner of my main from when she was Miqo’te, so it made sense to go ahead and update it now that I’ve changed race. Also, seeing that I’m adding fiddle content to this blog, and the game just added a violin instrument, this worked out well!
Violin header. This was the banner I used at my previous fiddle blog. I just always liked the image, so I wanted to use it here to reflect the fiddle content I’m moving here.
My snail uke’s sound hole. To represent the ukulele content I’ll be writing this year. I absolutely adore my snail uke, so it makes a great banner to cover that area for me.
A dragon diamond painting. I own this painting, though I haven’t finished it yet. Since it’s one of my favorites, I thought it would be great to represent the diamond painting content that I want to bring over eventually.
One last goal setting post for this year – I promise it’s the last one! This time, I have a list of goals for learning to play fiddle for 2021. I actually have a number of them!
Finish Book 1 of EEi – Volume 1 of Essential Elements Interactive was the first method book I started almost two years ago. Because I’ve hopped between different methods, and even set this book aside for a solid part of a year, I’ve still not finished this book despite all the time I’ve practiced.
I received book 2 as a Christmas present in 2020, so that’s a sign to me that it’s time to work through the remaining content in book 1 in 2021.
Increase my playing stamina – Meaning, I want to strengthen my upper body in order to be able to play longer pieces or the same piece for a longer amount of time before my shoulders and arms start to ache. I’m doing far better than I did when I first started to play just by virtue of practice, but I really want to research strengthening exercises I can use, especially for my shoulders which seem to get to aching first.
Learn vibrato (better) – I started the process of learning vibrato last year. I’ve been working on learning the basic motion for many months, though I’m only able to do it slowly. All of the videos I’ve seen tell me that the next step is to set up a metronome and focus on getting a consistent vibrato at a specific speed. Then, once that’s achieved, speed it up a notch. This is the part I need to focus on now.
Listen to more great fiddle/violin music – I’ve listened to masterful Irish fiddle music all my life, and that’s the basic area of interest. However, musicians say that to develop an ear for what good violin playing sounds like, one has to immerse oneself in good music. So, this year, I’m going to research and expand the music I listen to in order to help develop my ear a bit more. Not just Irish/Celtic fiddle, but old time fiddle and classical violin as well.
I’m sure more goals will pop up throughout the year, but to start this year off, these are the areas I really want to focus on!
I know that the last few posts I’ve made here have been all about goals, but seeing that’s often what January is about, please allow me a post or two more about what I hope to accomplish this month/year!
Some things are rolling over from December, and that’s to be expected. But starting this new year, this is what I hope to do this month!
Finish leveling Paladin to 80 via Beast Tribes & Quests (and do job quest)
Finish leveling Gunbreaker via Trusts (and do job quest)
Finish leveling all Trust characters
Earn Amaro Mount!
Clean up quests in the First ✓
Work on crafting relics
Finish up to patch 5.4 on Tai
Finish up to patch 5.4 on Tad ✓
I know that sounds like a lot, but many of these overlap. Most of this is my final push to get all my jobs on my main to 80 in order to finally get that done and earn my amaro mount. You don’t want to know how many beast tribes I’ve run to get this done… I’ve almost literally run beast tribes every single day last year. I’m ready for a break!
Play at least 1 new Switch game ✓
Play at least 1 new Steam game a week ✓
Play at least 1 Xbox Game Pass game ✓
Trying to branch out here by nudging myself to play games on other systems/store platforms. I really want to make headway on my Steam backlog, so I’ll be starting out by trying and clearing games I own that probably won’t stick with me. But if I’m surprised by one, I might just change my mind and play it longer!
I’m going to be a bit more gentle in my Switch gaming because I’m sure that everything I have on that system is something I want to play. The same for the Xbox Game Pass.
I’ve decided that this year, I want to make this blog the center of all the things that delight and inspire me. Welcome to 2021.
Over the past couple of years, I’ve stumbled upon hobbies and interests that I didn’t originally have when I first created this blog. That’s a natural thing. That’s a healthy thing, too. After all, one cannot only game and game alone. *shock*
I’ve had a difficult time sorting out how to deal with these new interests as I discovered them. Being a blogger, my first instinct was to spin up a blog about the topic of enjoyment. But in doing so, I’ve ended up with so many WordPress installations, Tumblrs, sites and domains. As much as I love all the sites I’ve built, and enjoyed the time I put into them, it gets to be a bit much.
After a lot of long hard thinking, I’ve come to the conclusion that I want to do things differently this year. I still want to game and blog about gaming. But I also want to write about the other things I enjoy – learning to play fiddle, my ukuleles, diamond painting, neat-tasting teas I discover, and even looking forward to dabbling with learning embroidery this year!
This blog has always been a kinda catch-all for things since I term it a “Gaming and Geek” blog. There’s a lot of ways to stretch the definition of “geek” since one can be a geek of many things. One can be a geek fiddler. One can be a geek DIY crafter. One can be a geek of neat-tasting teas. Right?
Seeing that my fiddle blog domain is up for renewal in February, I felt it’s a good time for me to start working on consolidating those posts and my practice log here. I’ve already moved my ukulele content here, and plan on expanding that topic in the future. I also want to bring my diamond painting log to this blog, as well.
So this is just a post to say that this blog will be expanding on content and topics going forward. I promise that there’s a lot to playing the fiddle that’s pretty interesting if you’ve never considered it, for example! Or, at least, I think it’s interesting. Hopefully, you will too!
I have lots of goals I’d like to see through this year, but here’s my list of gaming goals in particular. Many of them echo last year’s goals in some way, as I seek to do better on what I started in 2020.
Spend Less on Games
I’m pretty serious about this goal this year. I have soooo many games and until I get some of my backlist cleared out, I really don’t need more. So this goal is twofold:
Buy less new games
Spend less in cashshops
There are some things I plan to pick up one way or another (House Flipper DLC), but aside from that, I will work to keep spending to a minimum. I want to maintain my Xbox PC Pass and utilize it as a way to prevent purchasing games I can try out there. This doesn’t cover every game, of course, but I hope it will be a help.
I’m very close to my amaro mount on my main. I just have two jobs left to level, which I hope I will do this month. So I’m going to lump it under making progress in FFXIV in general rather than making it a full goal on its own.
Aside from that, I’d like to make progress on my alts who are in various stages of Shadowbringers. Though we don’t know for sure if an expansion is coming out this year, if one is on the way, I’d like to get my alts as far as their gear Ilvl will allow.
Steam Backlog – Get to 60% Played
Though I want to buy less games this year, if I do buy games on Steam, I want to try to play them fairly close to the date of purchase. If nothing else, to make sure they work and that I don’t need a refund!
Anyhow, this year I’m still sitting at 54% of my backlog played. I’d like to try AGAIN to get this to at least 60%.
I’m not sure how many games that will take to achieve this. But, I know I have a number of games that I just need to “clear” because either they’re not something I’d play (I just got them in a bundle or something), they’ve been abandoned by devs since I got the game, or whatever the reason.
Get My Switch Backlog Under Control
This time last year I had trouble even seeing what was on my Switch backlog. I’ve found a bit of a solution for that now.
With that part of it squared away, I want to work on playing the games in my Switch backlog – yes, this means playing more than just Animal Crossing! I have a LOT of great games on my Switch that I really want to get to.
Utilize Xbox Game Pass
Last year, I got three months of Xbox Game Pass for the PC free. I’ve been curious about the service, so I decided to try it out. My thoughts are that this may allow me to try out and play games at a very low cost instead of buying the game at full cost. If I really love the game, then I know I should pick it up.
There are several games on the Game Pass that were on my wishlists or was something I was interested in checking out. So, as far as I see it, it’s worth it.
Will I continue to use this service throughout the year? We’ll find out!
Do More Gaming Blogging
Not a gaming goal, but related to it. Last year, I put a lot of my focus on my Spot of Mummery blogging rather than posting here as much as I had in past years. I’m going to make every effort to put more time into this blog for 2021.
I’ve got a whole slew of topics I want to write about to start with. So be looking for more content here in 2021! Starting with… this post!
What kind of gaming goals do you have for 2021? How did you do in 2020?
This has been a year of experimentation in gear for me.
I have a shorter neck, so I’ve always thought that I needed a shorter shoulder rest and chinrest combo, too.
I think I’ve found the right chinrest for my needs. I’ve been using the WAVE for several months now, and I still really like the way it feels.
But my adventures with shoulder rests have been a different story. I knew that the standard shoulder rest, even with a little bit of flexibility in how to set it, felt too high. For a while, I tried the Play on Air shoulder rest, thinking the lower I went the better.
I did like the Play on Air, though sometimes I’d have to reinflate it from time to time. It also came off the violin back a bit too easy if I was not careful.
However, after a time, I started to notice that my violin posture wasn’t all that great. The Play on Air had no resistance or support at all, and allowed me to droop my fiddle down – where it was easier for my shorter arms to reach it. But the downside to this was that I felt I was holding it more and more incorrectly and it was effecting my play.
So, I researched shoulder rests yet again, and decided on a Wolf Forte Secondo shoulder rest back in September. I’ve found this to be a very comfortable and very adjustable shoulder rest over all. At first, I was a little taken back by the design, but now that I’ve used it for a while, I appreciate what it has to offer.
It doesn’t feel too rigid, but it does provide the support I need. And I found myself actually making the shoulder rest setting higher than I thought it should be in the beginning, to help support the violin under the E string so I can play better.
I was truly surprised that after a while I didn’t leave it on the lowest height at all! I really appreciate that I can experiment to find a height setting based on issues that have come up in my practice – especially with the E string.
Of course, all of this probably could have been resolved quickly by a teacher (again). But this was a learning experience for me. Don’t let your expectations become your “facts” because it could turn out wrong! Be open to experimentation and find what works best for you!
Today it’s time to look back on the gaming goals I made at the beginning of 2020 – when I was still unknowing and innocent of what was to come – and see how much I actually met in the way of those goals.
Let’s get to it!
Spend Less on Games
This goal was focused not just on not buying new games but in spending less on things like Mogstore purchases for games I do play. Hmmm… I don’t know. I guess I did better than I did last year on this point, but I don’t have any numbers to really compare.
I certainly didn’t do as much of paying to move characters around, renaming them and repurposing them in FFXIV. I did make a few Mogstore purchases, though. But some of that was parts of giveaways I did for others on social media. And gifts for people.
So I’m going to say: I did better in this area, but I could still do better than I did this year.
FFXIV – Leveling My Main
My ultimate goal for my main in FFXIV was to level everything to 80 and earn the amaro mount. I had a pretty good idea when I set this goal that I’d likely not obtain it within a year.
I didn’t. However….
After a full year of beast tribe quests almost every day, I’m in the homestretch. I only have Paladin and Gunbreaker to finish up. Both are in the lower 70s at the moment.
Paladin I’m leveling through beast tribes and trying to clean up old quests.
Gunbreaker I’m trying to level through Trusts because I have one more set of characters to finish leveling there, and they need a tank to do it.
Both of these could technically be finished in January. So I’m pleased with my progress on this goal and will work on finishing it in 2021.
FFXIV – Alt Progress
This was a goal about making progress on various alts I have scattered all across the leveling map. I admit, I bought two story skips this year because I just have a hard time stomaching Stormblood.
However, the two characters I bought the story skip for were only in their 60s, so I still had to level them in order to get them to Shadowbringers. I also did level Zuri through all of the Stormblood content since I left her off in the middle of it. So I did push through that expansion on at least one character.
Aside from that, here’s my basic alt progress:
Main – done with 5.4
Amon – done with 5.4
Tai – done with 5.2
Tad – done with 5.3
Zuri – starting Shadowbringers
Ben – starting Shadowbringers
Koh – leveling her to 70 so I can story skip
Mocho – leveled his Paladin to 50, he’s only at the end of ARR
I have other characters on another server but… yeah. Not going to worry about that right now.
Overall, I’m pretty happy with where my characters are. I think I’m going to hit up smaller goals in the next few months to see the rest of them through 5.4, and hopefully get Zuri and Ben through Shadowbringers as well.
I’d like to get most of my characters on the same page before the next expansion. I’m not so worried about Koh and Mocho, but those who are already in Shadowbringers I’d like to get as far as I can to towards the end as their gear allows.
I’m pleased with my progress on this goal, but still have a long way to go.
FFXIV – Decorate House & Rooms
I’m very happy to say that I finally found an idea for a theme for my main’s small house. She now has a Curiosity Shoppe which I really had a TON of fun designing! I’ve been struggling with trying to figure out what to do with that space, so I’m happy I got that done this year.
I didn’t do as much decoration on alt FC rooms as I wanted – I still have two more rooms to work on – but I did create a sleeping quarters out of Tad’s FC room (I couldn’t find a post for this, maybe I didn’t write one 😦 ).
I didn’t play EVERY game I bought this year. A couple of them came as surprise SteamGift winnings over the holidays. Another few were Kickstarters that finally came to Steam.
But for the most part, I was good about playing the new games I bought.
Steam – Get to 60% Backlog Played
Nope. Didn’t quite get this done.
I started out at 54% played…
And managed to maintain that by the end of the year despite adding new games (keep in mind some of these were DLC for games).
So, no progress but it also didn’t get worse. I need to do better with this next year.
On the flipside, I actually have been playing more Steam games this year! Between House Flipper, Barn Finders, Tabletop Simulator, 7D2D, and No Man’s Sky, I’ve put in a pretty hefty amount of gameplay this year.
I just need to spread that out across more games!
Uh yeah. No. 😦
At the beginning of this year, I didn’t even know how to organize my Switch backlog and keep track of what I was playing. When I found the My Collection feature on the Deku Deals website, this somewhat helped to solve this problem.
The next step is actually playing the games I get! As I noted in my post about my 2020 Nintendo Switch stats, I was stunned and somewhat bummed by the fact that I put a lot more hours into my Switch this year, but in so few games.
Again, I need to start spreading the time I spend out on more games!
Overall: I did a fair job in meeting my goals this year. I still have a lot I need to organize in terms of experiencing my Steam backlog. I’m hoping that the addition of the XBox Gaming Pass will help keep me from buying new Steam/Switch games overall, though, so I can focus more on the ones I already have.
This was one of those things I’m sure a teacher could have eyeballed in two seconds. For me, it was a learning experience that I want to pass along.
So, I own two different bows that I use depending on which violin I’m playing and where I happen to be practicing. One is a Fiddlerman Carbon Fiber and the other is a Holstein Sandalwood Violin Bow (which I also got from Fiddlershop).
I was having so much trouble with bouncing and bow stuttering when playing long notes during songs, but not when I was just generally doing long-bowing exercises. This was especially true of the Holstein bow, and it was driving me nuts when I was trying to play Silent Night the last few months.
I tried everything – changing rosin, switching bows, loosening the bow, tightening the bow a little bit… but in the end, I learned I was simply not tightening the bow enough.
This came from reading a review about the Holstein bow saying that the customer had to tighten it a bit more than they expected to get a solid sound. So, instead of loosening it, I decided to tighten it more than I thought I needed to. Sure enough, much of the bouncing and stuttering went away when I did!
I’m not going to say my long bowing is perfect now, but the issues I had due to the bow tightness are no longer causing the warbling I hear. I now know that it’s something to do with my bow technique when I get this sound and not the bow.
This may or may not apply to your bow as every bow is different, but just something to keep in mind if you’re also experiencing a lot of bouncing and stuttering on long notes.
I hope you had a great Christmas/holiday/vacation/whathaveyou! I had a week off and it went far too fast. I didn’t get as much gaming (in a wider scope) done as I’d have liked to, and now things are getting a bit complicated with family medical needs this week. I’m doing my best to attend to that and balance back-to-work, but it’s been tiring.
Hopefully I can take a bit of time to rest over the New Year. That being said, here’s a review of my monthly goals a day early because tomorrow I need to sum up my yearly goals for 2020!
Here’s what I’ve got:
Finish leveling Warrior to 80 and do job quest✓
Level Gunbreaker via Trusts ✓
Clean up quests in the First (to level tank) ✓
Level BLU when patch drops
Cap BLU skills ✓
Work on crafting Relics for Main and Amon ✓
First of all, I did reach level 80 Warrior on my main and finished up that job quest. That leaves me with just two jobs left to get to 80 – Paladin, which I’m using beast tribes for, and Gunbreaker which I’m trying to level through Trusts.
I did a little bit of leveling with my Trust this past month, but not as much as I’d have liked. It’s really hard to get the motivation up to run those dungeons every day, even though it’s not really very hard. I HAVE to knock this out in January. I would love to have everything leveled to 80 next month and earn that Amaro mount!
I’ve made progress in cleaning up quests in the First! This is easier said than done because just when you think you’ve finished all the quests, another four pop up in a zone! I did finish all of Lakeland and the lower area of Kholusia. Seeing that my Paladin is only level 72 without that great of gear, I’m trying to tackle level-relevant zones. So the first part of Amh Araeng will be the next stop.
I didn’t realize that the BLU expansion wasn’t happening until a further sub patch when I wrote this, so I crossed that off the list since I couldn’t do it. I did, however, get a few more BLU skills capped.
I finished up two crafting relics for Amon, and that’s all I’ve done in that area. I have been trying to meld my crafting gear properly and all that, but I’ve been terrible at keeping up with the relic work. I haven’t done anything on my main yet.
Continue to level Taming in UO
Continue playing Steam Games ✓
Play Switch Games ✓
Play 3DS Games
Play Xbox Pass Games ✓
Sadly, I didn’t get back into UO this month. But I’m not giving up on it! I also didn’t get to pick up my 3DS like I wanted to. But I have played some of my Steam games – ended up with a few new ones with the holidays – and I’m making an effort to try out games on the Xbox Pass as well.
Overall, I wish I’d had more time to branch out to other games this month – even with vacation it seemed hard to do. I went to a lot of in-game events in FFXIV for Starlight, and all of that was good fun. So I suppose the trade-off in time was worth it. 🙂