Posted in FFXIV, Gaming, MMORPGs

FFXIV Housing: Recreation Room

This isn’t actually a new-new room for our FC house, but one I just put some final touches on, making it ready to post about. I still think there can be some additional wall decor added, but I’m holding off to see what the new expansion releases for housing before investing a whole lot more.

Here we have a rec room – there’s an attended spa to get you in a chill mood. 

Lots of reading nooks, including one under the loft. 

Up top, is a couch perfect for arts and crafts, a musical moogle and a peaceful little aquarium. 

There’s also a cushioned window nook and an art corner with another aquarium for inspiration. 

A number of of comfy napping spots and cushions are included for your enjoyment. 

If you’re on the Crystal Data Center, you can visit this and any of our other themed rooms here: Mateus – Shirogane – Ward 14, Lot 14.

If you stop in, please let us know in our Guestbook – located on the counter of our main room right near the front door. We appreciate the Likes and the comments!

Posted in FFXIV, Gaming, MMORPGs

FFXIV: Meeting Minor Goals

I don’t talk a whole lot about my side RP alts, but I did set a few minor goals for one this month. I had two things in mind for my Lala Mocho – I wanted to finish leveling his SAM to 60 and to finally unlock PAL (which is supposed to be his main job when it comes to the RP story I’m writing).

I’ve been running alliance roulette with his SAM the past weeks, and finally hit 60 over the weekend. Pictured above, the white-bought level 60 gear… since Mocho has not completed enough MSQ to get to Idllyshire and buy tome gear.

After that, I switched goals to running squad dungeons to get him to 30 on his Gladiator. That… was a lot of Toto-Rak. The worst part of it was that my squad healer couldn’t keep him alive from time to time, even though she was above level 50, and I was not speed running the dungeon. Not sure what’s up with Squad AI lately, but I don’t remember having this many wipes on my other tank jobs.

Finally, I pushed through leveling, the lvl 30 Gladiator job quest, and unlocking Paladin. I’m holding back getting through MSQ (he’s stuck in ARR 2.1 stuff) until I get his PAL to 50, so it’s going to be slow going for a while. But the big goals for this month are complete!

Posted in Net Fiddler

Progress Report: Four Months of Fiddle

Subtitled: Gifting Yourself and Handling Practice Doldrums

Today marks 4 months of learning violin for me! Similar to month 3, daily practice has been more sporadic than I would like… and I’m learning how to deal with the reality of that in a way that keeps me coming back to the fiddle instead of shaming myself for days I miss.

I think my mindset and how I handle missed practice is very important at this point. I want to keep playing – I still love the instrument and feel like there’s a whole world of music out there for me to discover. It’s just things in adult life that keep tripping me up and pulling my time and energy away.

Granted, missing practice is not something I want to encourage. But if I go heavy handed on myself, I know that it’ll damper the energy and whimsy I’m approaching this process with. I don’t want to do that.

Gifting Myself – Practice Journal

I’m the type of person who can become inspired with a project only to set it down a month or so later. But I’m also the type of person who is still working on producing work weekly for an online project after 17 years of hardly missing a week, aside from vacations. So I can go both ways!

I decided my approach to this would be to celebrate the fact that I’m still practicing after 4 months, even if I don’t make it every day. So I bought myself a little gift of encouragement – a practice journal!

Yes, I’m aware that I could make my own practice Bullet Journal instead of buying one – I might do that somewhere down the line as I do like to journal, and practice seems a good topic to do this with. But to start out, I wanted a journal that would give me some guidance on what I should focus on when I record practice.

The journal I picked was 10,000-hour Practice Log & Journal. It was inexpensive, put together by a musician, and just seemed to have the feel of what I was looking for. I’m not sure that I buy into the 10,000 hour theory of practice, but I am pleased with the journal!

While EEI had a little place for me to record my time and what I practiced on the website, it was just a short one-line description. This book goes into a lot more detail in what you record, and while it takes more time to fill it out, the act of writing down what I practiced and how well I did makes me think back over the session. It’s not just one and done.

I’ll talk more about this book in its own post since this one is getting long already! I do want to quickly touch on my actual progress!

Month 4 Progress

I spent some time working with the FiddleHed online lessons this month. I really do like the approach and how songs are broken down in chunks to learn more easily. I had already picked up this method from reading the Practice of Practice, but this actually put it into action. I may come back to the site in the future as I did have fun with the songs, even if they were just your starter tunes.

I the end, I decided that instead of jumping into a brand new method, even though I enjoy FiddleHed, I really want to see what I started through with Essential Elements for Strings – Book 1 with EEi: Violin. I like this series a whole lot, and even more now that I’ve discovered backing tracks for the online playback songs.

I’ve made pretty good progress and I’m getting towards the end of the book. So my goal is to focus on learning the songs and working on the exercises that will finish Book 1. Once I “graduate” that, I’ll decide where to go. I have other method books that I’d like to investigate, or even Book 2 of EEI on down the line.

I have mostly solidified playing songs #116-#118, since this is where I’ve been stalled out at since last month. I find myself going over and over these tunes (Song for Maria, Banana Boat Song, Firoliralera) to retain my practice since it’s been so spotty. While I can play the songs alright, it isn’t good to not be moving forward at all.

Last night, I decided to push on past the Skill Builders section (which are mostly scales that I practice, too), and try out a new song – Jingli Nona. While I haven’t tried playing it with the music yet, just working through the song on my own, it seems like it should be pretty intuitive to learn. Here’s what it sounds like:

It’s nice to be making progress on a new song again! Hoping Month 5 will turn out better that the past two months have been for practice.

Posted in IRL

Birthday Sea Monkeys and Building a New Gaming PC

Please excuse this very IRL post today – it is, indeed, my birthday!

And while I got sensible gifts, such as a Nintendo Eshop card and a nice SSD for the new PC I’m building (more on that later), I got one thing quite unexpected as well – Sea Monkeys.

As a kid, I always wanted to have Sea Monkeys, but never did. Yeah, I know they aren’t the whimsical little creatures depicted on the outside of the box…

I know they can’t be trained as the above ad tries to sell. But I still was interested in seeing what it was like to raise them.

I stuck a cheap set on my Amazon wish list years ago, and it languished at the bottom. I think my friends and family considered it a joke, and never looked twice at it. Well, until a little bit back when I half-jokingly noted – maybe it was around last Christmas? – that they’ve been on my list for years an no one ever gets them for me.

Well, Xaa took it that to heart and now I have Sea Monkeys of my very own!

The picture above was day 1, when you fill the little tank and add water purifier. Then you have to wait 24 hours before adding in the actual eggs. I had no idea how long my sea monkey pack had been in some Amazon warehouse, so I didn’t have too high hopes in seeing anything hatch.

But sure enough, that very night, I saw first one… then two… then three! Tiny, tiny white wiggly swimming things! My Sea Monkeys were alive!

Last night marked a full day of the eggs being exposed to water, and there’s a whole slew of them swimming now. Some are a tad easier to see than the first day, and from what I can see, they seem to be thriving. They’re still too tiny to try an take a picture of, though. I’m not supposed to feed them until Day 5, so I’m just observing them from time to time and giving them plenty of light from my desk lamp (which seems to excite them).

I’ll keep you updated!

Building PC Bummer

So, the time has finally come. It’s been over 6 years since I built the gaming PC I own now. And while it runs just fine, and the only thing I’ve needed to do was replace the CPU fan and upgrade the video card, it’s starting to feel its age. It’s still running Windows 7, for example.

So, I decided with my tax return, this year I was going to invest in the parts to build a new gaming rig. Over the weekend, Syn and I did some shopping, and between NewEgg and Amazon, I bought a new everything (except video card, I’m transferring my existing one). I backed up all important files, and waited for my parts to arrive.

Yesterday, the last shipment from NewEgg came in, and I decided to go ahead and start putting a few things together. It’s hard to resist with all those boxes sitting there waiting to be opened!

The start of my new gaming PC

I got the processor, CPU fan and motherboard all set up in the case, and figured out where all those tiny power plugs for the front case panel go. Then, I went to install the power supply.

That’s where I hit a snag.

I got a pretty beefy power supply this time around, and I was rather surprised at the size of the box it came in. Pulling it out, I took note that the bottom corner of the box was dented in – like it had been dropped. It looked a bit serious, but when I opened the power supply itself, it seemed like the inside was well cushioned, so I didn’t worry much.

I installed the supply, and it was only when I went to start plugging in the cables that I noticed the damage. It was subtle, but there – the corner was dinged, and the top of the power supply was bowed upward from whatever force had hit it. A bent power supply… is not something I’m willing to risk, especially when it cost over $120.

SO. I put in for a return and will be sending it back today.

I’ve never needed to return something to NewEgg before, so I hope it’s as painless as Amazon. The sad thing is, I asked for a replacement without realizing it’s going to take 2-5 days for them to process and then another 3 or so days of shipping for me to get the replacement. Which means my new computer building is on hold, maybe for a week and a half, until it comes in.

Kinda a bummer. If I’d known about the process time, I would have asked for a refund and just ordered one from Amazon and had it by Saturday. But it is what it is, and I can wait.

Posted in Net Fiddler

Accompaniment Makes all the Difference

I know that it’s been a while since I last wrote about progress. I’m coming up on the 4 month mark, and while it’s been a bit more of a struggle to practice this last month, I haven’t given up. Nor am I frustrated or even disinterested in playing violin – really it’s a matter of time and energy level after dealing with work.

All excuses aside, while I haven’t been as consistent in my practice as I want to be, the important thing (as I see it) is that I have not stopped practicing by any means. In fact, I made a discovery last night about my instructional series of choice –
Essential Elements for Strings – Book 1 with EEi: Violin – that has fueled more excitement for me.

Just by accident, I learned you can change the type of accompaniment with the online playback tracks!

By default, all the tunes I’ve played using the EEI online site have a metronome as the backing. For some reason, probably by accident, I clicked the drop-down and discovered… there’s actually a variety of instrumental accompaniment for each song.

It makes a huge difference to play the Banana Boat Song along with a Reggae jam, and Firoliralera with actual Latin Folk backing it! And while I’m still working on learning these songs, and have been practicing them probably longer than I really should have, my enjoyment of practice skyrocketed to have something more than just a metronome keeping the beat along with me.

I love that the songs have a variety of accompaniment styles to choose from, even some you wouldn’t expect. Dropping a classic rock vibe behind Song for Maria, for example, completely changes the feel of the tune. Some styles are a bit more suited to the song than others, but having the option to change it up is amusing and keeps you on your toes.

I really wish I’d known about this sooner – here I’ve been practicing with this series for over 100 songs and almost 4 months and I never realized this was an option! Silly me! Now I really want to go back and revisit old tunes just to see what the options are!

I know this is going to make practice a lot more exiting forthcoming, and is just another reason why I’m really enjoying EEI.

Posted in FFXIV, Gaming, MMORPGs

FFXIV: Housing – Sparring/Training Room

Over the past weekend, I was inspired to work on another design for a personal room in our FC house. This turned out to be a sparring/training room, which was actually a suggestion that Syn gave me.

This fit well because I chose to use Tai’s room to do this, and he’s all about battle training and staying in fighting shape. That’s also the reason for the dark blue, which is his signature color.

As seen above, the room is built around an open central area with practice mats. I also recreated one of Tai’s retainers to be a stand-in practice dummy.

There’s a trophy display of an Ixion horn in the back corner.  Just for a little color.

Next to that, we have some lockers for changing, and a curtained-off shower station. Gotta wash that training funk off after practice! 

Lots of windows to brighten up the otherwise darker room. And a scuffed-up PotD floor which lends to the feeling that it’s seen better days.

I still feel like there’s some more I can add to this room as new housing items come out – it was only in Eureka that we got the chainmail hangars and the crossed halberds (which aren’t listed at the FFXIV Housing site!). Why don’t we have more weapon displays? It’s hard to make a convincing sparring room without some weapon racks.

If you’re on the Crystal Data Center, you can visit this and any of our other themed rooms here: Mateus – Shirogane – Ward 14, Lot 14

If you stop in, please let us know in our Guestbook – located on the counter of our main room right near the front door. We appreciate the Likes and the comments! 🙂 

Posted in FFXIV, Gaming, MMORPGs

FFXIV: Maxing Out DPS Levels

This post will come as no surprise to anyone who saw my goal review post a few days ago, but considering this achieved one of my 2019 Yearly Goals, I wanted to give it a repost.

Over the weekend, I finally finished leveling my main’s Ninja to 70, which means all of my DPS jobs are now max level (for the time being). I know it’s pretty crazy that it took me this long to do. A smattering of alts tends to pull my attention away… not to mention there was a time when I had decided if I wasn’t going to main a job, I wasn’t going to level that.

It wasn’t actually until Stormblood that I decided to go ahead and just level jobs. That’s why I still have three jobs lingering around the 50-60 levels. That’s a post for another time, though.

Right now, I’m just happy to have this much done before the next expansion hits.

Okay, yeah, I still also need to level Blue Mage. That’s not hard to do, and it only goes up to 50. So that might be a June project.

Crafting Achievements

Alongside that, I also hit level 70 on Amon’s Weaver.

It’s been a long, unexpected road to bring up yet another omnicrafter to all 70s, but it’s almost done. All I have left to complete is Blacksmith. The picture below shows that at 60, but it’s actually 63 as of last night.

Namazu beast tribe quests will make short work of that. They’re super fast and not very painful at all… compared to Ixali stuff. So this should be a chapter I close out in a few short weeks, if that.

I’m not looking forward to leveling two omnicrafters/gatherers come Shadowbringers, but if I could pull myself up to full 70s on two characters, I can make it to 80. Right?

Oh, and I’m happy to say that I spent about half a day pushing through all the crafting job quests for Amon as well. So, aside from Blacksmith, I’ve finished all of those.