… a level at a time.

Posts tagged “School

Life’s Journey…

Hmm… three posts to cover 2011? This blog has not turned into what I originally intended. I was thinking a post a month at the very least would be good. Oh well… it is what it is, I guess.

I had a fantastic time camping with my friends back in June. It’s been a while since I had gone camping. We stayed at the Wakins Glen campground Friday night through Sunday morning.

Friday night after everyone had finished setting up, we spent hanging around the camp site – drinking, talking, & playing card games.

We spent a chunk of Saturday walking the gorge. Of course I took my camera; my friends got a little annoyed with how long I was taking… but being a photographer, I couldn’t help but stop to take pictures. I was taking a lot of long shutter speed pictures and multiple exposures for HDR images. After walking around the gorge for a while we went back to camp; we made some new friends that were there camping across the way from us.

After that a group of us went out on wine tasting. I didn’t do any tastings, because I decided to drive. When we got back from the tasting tour, we went back to our new friends’ camp site and spent the evening partying.

When I had finished post-processing my photos and posted them, most of the people that had complained about me taking so long responded with something like, “I see what took so long, good thing you didn’t rush. These are some gorgeous shots!”

I spent the fourth of July with a bunch of friends; there was a BBQ at Katie’s house. That night we drove to the city to watch the fireworks. I made my first attempt at taking photos of fireworks and think I did rather well. After watching the fireworks we made our way back to Katie’s.

Most of the group was ready to head to bed, so they left. Katie and I decided we wanted to watch Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along-Blog.

After that night, Katie and I started hanging out on a daily basis, up from our once every month or so. We started geocaching & going on all sorts of adventures together.

Katie and I went on our first date on July 19th; we took a day trip to Niagara Falls. She likes to think that she asked me out… in all honesty, she kind-of did, but I like to think of it as a joint effort [haha]: I mentioned that I still needed to get up to Niagara Falls so I could take pictures; she said that she wanted to go up there again soon, and said we should go together. One of us [I don’t remember who] made the semi-joking comment, “It’s a date.” Well, that semi-joking comment made us think, is it really a date-date or was it just a date we had set to go?

On the 19th, I drove out to Katie’s and we packed up lunch and snacks for a picnic, then left for Niagara Falls. After walking around for a while [and me stopping repeatedly for photos], Katie poked fun at me & told me that she was going to make me an “I break for photos” patch for my camera bag [which I’m still waiting for, lol]. After we had been there a while we began talking about what there was between us… were we just awesome friends, or was there more? Shortly after that, we made our relationship official.

In August, I had my first legit paid photography gig – a wedding vow renewal. It was a bit nerve-racking, but it was my first paid gig, and it was a wedding. At least it wasn’t their first wedding [not to make it sound that the renewal wasn’t important], so it wasn’t as stressful as if I was in charge of getting all the pictures perfect or suffer the wrath of the family. They also understood that I was new to the events/portrait photography. It was a great experience and even though it was stressful, it was a lot of fun. I think I still prefer landscape/nature photography though.

Katie and my next great adventure together was the Sterling Renaissance Festival, we went with our friends Kat and Shannon. They managed to get me in a kilt. Not that it was very hard, I think it went something like: Katie- “I want to see you in a kilt before we leave.” Kat & Shannon- “Yes!” Me- “I was thinking about checking them out anyways, but ok… if you insist.”

My 10-year high school reunion was in August of 2011. I had some car problems and almost couldn’t go due to repair costs, but then I suggested being an unpaid photographer in exchange for free admission & got in to the reunion that way. It was cool seeing everyone again, even though I didn’t talk to most of them back in high school.

Katie and I attended Uproar Festival 2011 with a bunch of friends… that was a great day. All day at the Darien Lakes Performing Arts Center listening to a bunch of great bands while hanging out with some awesome people. Katie and I ended up taking almost the same picture, just a slightly different angle, and I edited mine a little.

Last year was the first time I’ve dressed up for Halloween in a few years. Katie and I dressed up as Desmond Miles and Lucy Stillman from Assassin’s Creed.

Katie’s little brother needed his senior pictures done, and her parents requested my services to take said portraits. Because of this, I ended up picking up my second paid photo gig.

We started off by doing a bunch of the traditional shots, where Katie was helping with getting Tommy into the positions that they wanted for indoor & outdoor shots. After we had finished with the traditional sets, Tommy and I screwed around and got a few fun pictures of him with his dirt bike.

One of my instructors at school invited me to pick up my third paid photo job. There was an event at the Phelps Art Center where Stan Munro, the creator of Toothpick City was at the center giving a demo for some kids & there was a reception after.

It was a lot of fun & great getting to meet Stan. I had been to the Phelps Art Center a few times before to look at & take pictures of the display. It’s amazing what he’s done with just toothpicks & Elmer’s Glue.

I have started playing video games a bit more again: Assassin’s Creed: RevelationsBattlefield 3The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim, and Red Dead Redemption [Katie got me this for Christmas].

I honestly haven’t played a ton of Assassin’s Creed. Between Katie, school, & Battlefield 3 – I didn’t have enough time to invest and get caught up in the story. Maybe I’ll hit it up some more later this week.

Battlefield 3, ah… Battlefield. I have heard friends say both good and bad things about BF3. All-in-all, it’s pretty much the same game as Bad Company 2. Sure, they’ve made it much prettier, added a few things here and there, and added a new physics engine… but it’s essentially the same game as every other FPS out there. Even so, I still enjoy the game immensely. It’s not a game I can spend days playing though, it gets too repetitive.

I was debating getting Skyrim, I’ve messed with most of the past Elder Scrolls games, but I never got very involved with them, I just got bored. Ever since I snagged Skyrim, most of my gaming-time is spent there. To say the game is amazing would be an understatement. The world is massive, there are tons of quests and things to be done. I have a level 37 Orc warrior that focuses on bows & two-handed weapons. I started a mage & thief characters around the same time as my warrior, but the warrior was the only one that has really kept my interest.

Red Dead Redemption is another game I wasn’t sure if I wanted. It was neat and all, but I had played a bit at a friend’s and wasn’t very impressed. The lack of excitement probably stemmed from a few weeks after it was released, when a friend tossed me the controller to a game that he was half way through and didn’t give me much of the back-story or any real instruction about what I was supposed to do. Katie got it for me as a Christmas gift and my interest in the game perked up again. It’s a pretty good game, kind of like a GTA of the wild west.

Skyrim is still consuming most of my gaming time, which is hindering progress in the other three games… but they are coming along, slowly.

This past semester at school went really well too. I took my first Photography class; it was all black & white film, and I loved it. As much as I enjoy digital, it’s a blast developing and printing photos. I also took Computer Imaging, which was loads of fun… even though a good chunk of it was review. I finished up the Design & Foundation Drawing class chain taking the second part of each. The last class I took the past semester was Ceramics I, I decided to take this so that I could make things that I can actually use in every-day-life now that the classes are done.

The other day I received a letter in the mail from school, I was worried that it might be an issue with billing or something. Luckily, it was to tell me that I was added to the Dean’s List this semester because my GPA was above 3.5!

All that being said, I leave you with an inspirational video for the start of the year. ❤

The words in this video are from Dr. Seuss’s “Oh, the Places You’ll Go!”

Congratulations!

Today is your day.
You’re off to Great Places!
You’re off and away!

You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself any direction you choose.
You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the guy who’ll decide where to go.

You’ll look up and down streets. Look’em over with care. About some you will say, “I don’t choose to go there.” With your head full of brains and your shoes full of feet, you’re too smart to go down a not-so-good street.

And you may not find any you’ll want to go down. In that case, of course, you’ll head straight out of town. It’s opener there in the wide open air.

Out there things can happen and frequently do to people as brainy and footsy as you.

And when things start to happen, don’t worry. Don’t stew. Just go right along. You’ll start happening too.

Oh! The Places You’ll Go!

You’ll be on your way up!
You’ll be seeing great sights!
You’ll join the high fliers who soar to high heights.

You won’t lag behind, because you’ll have the speed. You’ll pass the whole gang and you’ll soon take the lead. Wherever you fly, you’ll be best of the best. Wherever you go, you will top all the rest.

Except when you don’t.
Because, sometimes, you won’t.

I’m sorry to say so but, sadly, it’s true that Bang-ups and Hang-ups can happen to you.

You can get all hung up in a prickle-ly perch. And your gang will fly on. You’ll be left in a Lurch.

You’ll come down from the Lurch with an unpleasant bump. And the chances are, then, that you’ll be in a Slump.

And when you’re in a Slump, you’re not in for much fun. Un-slumping yourself is not easily done.

You will come to a place where the streets are not marked. Some windows are lighted. But mostly they’re darked. A place you could sprain both your elbow and chin! Do you dare to stay out? Do you dare to go in? How much can you lose? How much can you win?

And if you go in, should you turn left or right…or right-and-three-quarters? Or, maybe, not quite? Or go around back and sneak in from behind? Simple it’s not, I’m afraid you will find, for a mind-maker-upper to make up his mind.

You can get so confused that you’ll start in to race down long wiggled roads at a break-necking pace and grind on for miles across weirdish wild space, headed, I fear, toward a most useless place.

The Waiting Place…for people just waiting.

Waiting for a train to go or a bus to come, or a plane to go or the mail to come, or the rain to go or the phone to ring, or the snow to snow or waiting around for a Yes or No or waiting for their hair to grow. Everyone is just waiting.

Waiting for the fish to bite or waiting for wind to fly a kite or waiting around for Friday night or waiting, perhaps, for their Uncle Jake or a pot to boil, or a Better Break or a string of pearls, or a pair of pants or a wig with curls, or Another Chance. Everyone is just waiting.

No! That’s not for you!
Somehow you’ll escape all that waiting and staying. You’ll find the bright places where Boom Bands are playing. With banner flip-flapping, once more you’ll ride high! Ready for anything under the sky. Ready because you’re that kind of a guy!

Oh, the places you’ll go! There is fun to be done! There are points to be scored. There are games to be won. And the magical things you can do with that ball will make you the winning-est winner of all. Fame! You’ll be famous as famous can be, with the whole wide world watching you win on TV.

Except when they don’t. Because, sometimes, they won’t.

I’m afraid that some times you’ll play lonely games too. Games you can’t win ‘cause you’ll play against you.

All Alone!
Whether you like it or not, Alone will be something you’ll be quite a lot.

And when you’re alone, there’s a very good chance you’ll meet things that scare you right out of your pants. There are some, down the road between hither and yon, that can scare you so much you won’t want to go on.

But on you will go though the weather be foul. On you will go though your enemies prowl. On you will go though the Hakken-Kraks howl. Onward up many a frightening creek, though your arms may get sore and your sneakers may leak. On and on you will hike. And I know you’ll hike far and face up to your problems whatever they are.

You’ll get mixed up, of course, as you already know. You’ll get mixed up with many strange birds as you go. So be sure when you step. Step with care and great tact and remember that Life’s a Great Balancing Act. Just never forget to be dexterous and deft. And never mix up your right foot with your left.

And will you succeed?
Yes! You will, indeed!
(98 and ¾ percent guaranteed.)

Kid, you’ll move mountains!
So…be your name Buxbaum or Bixby or Bray or Mordecai Ale Van Allen O’Shea, you’re off to Great Places!
Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting.
So…get on your way!


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Beginning of Summer 2011

Classes ended a little over a month ago; I ended the semester with a 3.33 GPA.  If I hadn’t started slacking in Art History at the end of the semester it would have been a lot better. >_<

Summer has been good for the most part so far… I’m job hunting again. But I’ve got a lot going on as well, so at least I’m keeping relatively busy. I’m helping my dad re-construct a shed that he got free from Craigslist. The thing is a freaking beast; it took four of us to take it apart to prepare it for transport to the house.

The past week dad and I have been busy working on getting the shed put back together. Unfortunately, there is a chunk of the shed that needs to be  replaced. So, before putting the thing back together, we have to build part of it to replace the bad areas.

It’s a lot of work, but a ton of fun at the same time. It’s also keeping me from getting a farmer’s tan too since most of the time I’ll work without my shirt on [so much cooler], haha. I’ve had a farmer’s tan for the past who knows how many years. I decided this year I wasn’t going to get one, and shortly after I decided that – my dad told me he would need help with the shed. It worked out perfectly!

As you can tell, I’m still doing photography, but I stopped uploading things to DeviantArt [I last uploaded something on May 10th]. Instead I’m uploading them to a Facebook page [which may become public knowledge in the near future]. It’s easier to do that because I can upload more than one image at a time… with how many pictures I’m taking, uploading one image at a time is very tedious & annoying.

I’m going camping this weekend with friends, can’t wait! It’s been years since I’ve gone camping. Heading out tomorrow and coming back Sunday; it will be a great time. Taking my cameras down with me [of course], so I’ll have plenty of pictures when I get back.


Minor Update for a Major Gap.

I can’t believe how long it’s been since I updated. I’ve been pretty busy with photography & school, that’s probably why I haven’t updated.

Back in January before classes started I went out to California again. That trip wasn’t for pleasure… I went out to visit and support my mom, while she had surgery. Everything went well, and she’s recovering relatively quickly. I wish I could have spent more time out there with her, but I had to get back for classes.

Right before school started, I quit World of Warcraft. It’s weird not playing, but it’s nice. I have more free time to do all the other things that I would put off because I was being lazy. I replaced WoW with more productive things like taking pictures, messing with Photoshop more, hanging out with friends, playing some of my Xbox 360 games I still haven’t finished [Dragon Age: Origins], catching up on movies/tv shows via Netflix. Ok, those last two aren’t so productive… but I can only sit in front of a computer messing in Photoshop for only so long, and I can only do so much with night pictures.

I spent time playing Battlefield 2: Bad Company again, I’ve missed that game and some of my friends have played it recently. Actually, it’s the same with Borderlands too… a few friends have messed with it on occasion the past couple of weeks and I’ve joined them a few times.

This semester is going better than the past two… I’m enjoying my classes a lot more! My favorite classes are Design and Foundation Drawing. I love doing something for the class and not sitting there and listening to lectures. English is surprisingly good, even though the class is mainly lecture… Dr. T keeps the class interesting. It’s a bit small, so there’s not much discussion which kinda sucks. The one class I’m having the most problems with is Art History… I wish the professor was a bit more captivating.

I switched majors about two weeks into the semester; I went from Information Technology to Fine Arts. My school doesn’t have a Photography degree. Once I finish up my Fine Arts degree, I’ll be transferring to a school with a Photography degree. I’m thinking about doing a double major Photography/English or Photography/Journalism, but I haven’t decided. I guess it depends on where I want to go with the course my life has taken. I’m going to take some time and think about it, see where this semester leads.

So… I stopped typing this update mid-March [saved a draft] and now resume it mid-April. I’m really slacking with the blogging thing this year… gotta work on that! >_<

I have to reload my laptop after I get stuff backed up. Service Pack 1 for Windows 7 [64-bit] pulled a number on the system… most systems from what I’ve found online. It now takes 20-30 minutes from hitting the power button til I’m logged in and the machine is “ready” to run. I put ready in the quotations because even though the machine has booted… it takes about 10 times as long to do anything. I can’t even boot into my Ubuntu partition now, which is even more frustrating. This is what I get for being lazy and not reading up on any issues the Service Pack might have before I installed it. >_<

On a brighter note, it turns out the only thing wrong with my desktop is the RAM is fried. I thought there was more wrong with it… from what I could find online – I thought it was the motherboard or CPU. I’ll be replacing the RAM as soon as I can.

I have to swing back out to main campus and drop off a form. Since I last worked on this post, I’ve decided that I am changing my major again… slightly: I’m going to do a double-major of Graphic Design & Fine Arts.

This semester has my first ever art classes [actual classes, not counting art in Kindergarten]. Andrea [my Foundation Drawing professor] is awesome… over the semester I’ve gotten to know her pretty well. She asked to see some of my photography when I mentioned how much positive feedback I was getting for just starting out. I brought my laptop in one day so that she could see some of my stuff. After she saw some of my work she told me I should start networking and she introduced me to Liz.

Kurt [Liz’s husband] is a professional photographer… Andrea told Liz that she liked my photography and she thought Kurt would be a good contact for me. Liz suggested I email Kurt and mention that Andrea & Liz and she had sent me to him. She also suggested asking about going to see his studio and meet up with him sometime. I’ve since heard back from him, Kurt invited me to come and sit-in at one of his shoots [should happen in the next few weeks]. He said he would email me once he had a date finalized… I can’t wait! ^_^

Andrea is also encouraging me to put some of the work I’ve done this semester in the Student Art show on campus. I’m my own worst critic… I know this. I don’t feel like any of my stuff is good enough, but a lot of that is because I’m comparing my work to extremely talented artists that have done it for a long time. She pointed out two things that she thinks I should put in the show; I probably will enter them. What’s the worst that can happen? They tell me I need more practice? I’ll be practicing either way. I also have to look into if I can submit stuff that wasn’t done for class… if I can – I’m going to submit some of my photos.

I think that’s enough for today. It’s late and I was up most of the night last night and I had class early this morning… time to kick back and watch some Netflix before bed.


Walking the paths set before me.

It’s been a while since I’ve posted. I got caught up between school, gaming, and nurturing a new passion. What’s gone on the past two months you ask? I’ll tell you!

Since we last parted, I have made a little progression with Deathengine. He now has the Fiery Warhorse, as well as the Kingslayer title. I’m still running Zul’Gurub [still trying for the mounts] before Cataclysm is released… but I’m not getting my hopes up. I’m also in the process of farming gold & Emblems of Frost so I can continue on the Shadowmourne quest chain. I’m still on the first step [The Sacred and Corrupt], I need to get another 16 Primordial Saronite. At the very least, I want to complete this section of the chain so that I can get my hands on Shadow’s Edge.

I picked up Battlefiled: Bad Company 2 for the Xbox 360. I’ve unlocked almost everything; all I have left to unlock is the last weapon in the Assault class.  I enjoy the Recon class the most… give me a sniper rifle and I’ll go to town.

I also picked up Halo: Reach. I finished Legendary in co-op mode, & I have one mission left to complete in solo campaign. A few of my friends and I are really enjoying Firefight lately, we will set up a game that lasts hours. The last game we set up was 10 sets, I don’t remember what difficulty we played on… but it took almost 2 hours! [click here for my Reach stats]

I have continued with the photography, although I’ve taken a few breaks due to school & games. One of my best friends moved back from Florida a month or so ago. We haven’t gotten to hang out too much, but the last time we hung out; she brought her puppy over and I ended up taking quite a few photos of her.

Indiana is a beautiful dog. She has gorgeous eyes and no problem whoring herself to the camera! I’m sure I’ll get plenty more opportunities to take photos of her.

I went to Watkins Glen over the weekend for a hike. We hiked from the top of the gorge to the bottom and stopped for lunch. After lunch we went back up to the top and made one last trip back down to the bottom. We did about five miles total during the hike.

Normally five miles wouldn’t phase me, but that’s talking five miles on a flat surface. Damn, all those hills & steep inclines made things interesting! I was a little sore on Monday after the hike.

I want to get a better camera now, I would like a Digital SLR. I was looking at a few online… I found two that I want [one or the other], the Canon EOS 5D Mark II or the Canon EOS 60D. I just have to figure out where I’m going to get the extra $2500+ for the 5D Mark II or $1000 for the 60D. I’ll probably go for something more like the 60D for now… just have to find an “affordable” one!

Don’t get me wrong, I love my camera [Nikon Coolpix L18, for those of you that are wondering]. For being a basic point & click machine, it does a very good job. I just want to be able to mess with all the settings, not just the preset ones that came with mine. I can’t change the shutter speed on my camera… also, there is no manual focus, this makes me sad.

So far all I’ve done nature photography and some sets of domestic animals. I would like to do a bit of photography with people as well, nothing major… unless I’m mysteriously amazing at it. I’m not sure how I would go about photographing a person, model specifically. I prefer to capture the moment and not script something [IE – set up a photo-shoot with wardrobe/theme].

I was thinking about it last night [technically Wednesday morning, about 4am while lying in bed awake… again]. I got thinking about different friends that I think could model & one person jumped out to me.

So Wednesday morning after I woke up [around 11am] & mulled things over a bit, I sent her a message on Facebook running the idea by of her doing a photo-shoot with me. I know it wouldn’t be anything professional [obviously], but I let her know what I had thought about.

I can’t say I was really expecting her to jump at the idea, seeing as we haven’t really talked in about four years and it was out-of-the-blue. I was surprised by a very enthusiastic response!

She asked me why had thought of her before anyone else. Honestly, that’s a good question, I’m not even sure why. She just popped into my mind when I started thinking about who would be a good person to do a photo-shoot with, who I felt would be an ideal match for the step into the world of photographing models.

Anyways, we are now in the process of trying to decide more of the specifics of what kind of photo-shoot we want to do. In a way, I wish I had some sort of studio so I could practice the indoor “staged” shots. But at the same time I’m glad I don’t have a studio, I’d rather avoid the prefabricated look. We will probably end up doing our photo-shoot outside. It’s a great time of year to do an outdoor set, with the leaves changing and all… even though its freaking cold out.

As soon as we have everything decided and we have free time, we’ll do a set and see how things go. If we think there’s possibility there, we’ll probably set up future shoots to do. With the way things have gone lately, it wouldn’t surprise me at all if we did multiple sets.

I should ask around if any of my other friends wants to do a photo-shoot. Although, I’m not sure who I would ask. The biggest reason I mentioned it to my one friend is because of how she just popped into my head when I started thinking about it. If I do end up talking to more friends about doing a photo shoot… worst case scenario, we’ll end up with stupid pictures to post on Facebook. Who knows, maybe someone will even end up with a new profile picture!

I stopped in at school today to see an adviser about possibly changing my major. Because I went in without an appointment, I was only able to speak with one of the lowbie-advisers, oh well. Information Technology is seeming less and less desirable of a job lately. As much as I enjoy computers & technology, I don’t know if I want a career that’s focused on that. I’ve hated not knowing what I want to do for a career. Even when I finally chose IT, I wasn’t entirely thrilled about it. Yeah, it’s interesting… but all I’m interested in is stuff I’m planning on doing to my computer[s] & network[s]…

I have a meeting with the head career-adviser at school on Thursday. I’m thinking about switching my major over to something a bit more photography-oriented, possibly photo-journalism.

The more pictures I take [especially of nature], the more I think about photography as being a career… like working for National Geographic! That would rock!

Primordial Saronite


First time raiding.

Well, I managed to finish all the projects I had for school. I had a few days to relax and managed to get a bit of gaming in.

Over the weekend one of the guild leaders asked if I wanted to go to Icecrown Citadel with the guild. According to wow-heroes my Death Knight wasn’t geared for ICC… especially twenty-five man. He only had Tier-9 and heroic gear. They told me it was an alt-run so it didn’t really matter if I was geared enough or not, everyone else knew what they were doing & there would be some mains to help with the under-geared. I decided to tag along.

We had a few bad pulls on the way to the first boss, Lord Marrowgar. Someone stepped a little too close to a second group of mobs and pulled the whole center of the room while we were mid-fight which resulted in the first wipe. After the first wipe things went pretty smoothly.

We paused briefly before engaging Lord Marrowgar so I could be informed about the boss fight & what needed to be done [not much explanation needed]. It probably helped that a lot that everyone else knew the fight so it was just one person that it had to be explained to. We downed Lord Marrowgar pretty quickly and all the drops were caster, so nothing useful for my DK.

We cleared through the trash easily and made it to Lady Deathwhisper fairly soon after downing the first. We had to stop a bit longer because the Main Tank had to go help his kid with something quickly. That was actually a benefit… I happened to disconnect while we were waiting. It took me a minute to log back in, while I was logging the guild went over the fight. Slightly more complex [although, not by much] than Marrowgar, but we managed to down her on the first shot. She dropped more caster gear… maybe I should have brought my mage…

I started this post on Monday, May 3rd but couldn’t continue editing it until today due to projects one week then finals the next.

Now I don’t remember all the details of what happened in ICC that weekend. I know we made it to Festergut or Rotface and wiped a few times so we called it. Oh well, the important thing is that finals week is done and I didn’t let Warcraft distract me [too much].

I have since been to ICC a few more times and managed to get a few upgrades. I have also ran Trial of the Crusader but I didn’t get anything there, as well as Vault of Archavon [25 man] once and got two PvP pieces.


I feel your Icy Touch…

Has it really been almost a month since I updated? Wow, apparently I’ve been busier than I realized. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised… between work, school, homework, a concert, & a rave I kinda ran out of time. Haven’t had a ton of time for gaming, but I made sure to still get in a little bit.

It’s been a few weeks since I’ve played Final Fantasy XIII. I got a bit further into the game & got a chance to mess with an Eidolon, they are pretty slick. Unfortunately I can’t remember enough to include a lot of info about them in this post, it’s been a while since I’ve played the game.

From what I do remember though, when a Eidolon is summoned the party members other than the one that summoned it are “dismissed” until the Eidolon leaves the fight, like they did in Final Fantasy X. One of the differences this time around is that the character that summoned the Eidolon will attack along with it. The Eidolon can also transform into a vehicle of sorts for the summoner to ride on & do team attacks.

A week or so after my last post I hit 80 on Deathengine. The second Heroic I ran after hitting 80 was The Culling of Stratholme. We managed to make it through the instance fast enough to fight the timed boss [Infinite Corrupter], I was the only person who had not gotten the Reins of the Bronze Drake. Fresh 80 and an epic flight mount… now I just had to save up for the epic flying.

I was surprised when my third Oculus run I was awarded with the Reins of the Blue Drake [see picture to the left] from the bag of gems awarded at from the chest at the end of the instance.

With the help of Dungeon Finder & random Heroics, I managed to save up enough emblems to buy the full Tier 9 DPS set for him. He is almost fully decked out in epics as well. I believe his cloak is the only thing left to upgrade from Heroics. I hope to get in an occasional raid with my brothers & friends so that I can upgrade his gear further.

Just a few days ago [about three weeks after hitting 80], I managed to save up the 5,000 gold needed to buy epic flying. I was finally able to use the two Drake mounts I had won in the previous instances.

I also decided I wanted to try a dual-wield Frost/DPS spec for him without giving up his current Unholy/DPS spec. Luckily I had purchased the Dual Talent Specialization a while back in case I wanted to tank with him. I have yet to get decent tanking gear, so the Frost/DPS spec was quite viable! I’m pulling roughly the same DPS in both specs.

The Frost spec I’m using is a bit more enjoyable because I don’t have that annoying ghoul following me around. OK… you got me… I enjoy them both the same. It’s just when running in the Frost spec I don’t have to wait for my minion to be re-summoned each time I dismount [and that animation can get annoying if you’re mounting a lot, ie- farming]. o.O

I have also since transferred Stasís over to Silvermoon from Staghelm. Pretty much everyone I ever played with on Staghelm has quit the game. It’s a good thing I never transferred Texhnolyze from Silvermoon to Staghelm, huh? lol

She is in the same gear as she was the last time I posted about her.

I ran a few Heroics with her shortly after I transferred her over. I have to learn how to play Mage again, my DPS was not that great [not bad, but not great].

Between Deathengine and Stasís, I managed to save up enough emblems to buy some of the Bind-on-Account gear. I now have a level 12 Priest that has the BoA chest, shoulders, and staff. I’m thrilled about the 20% experience boost from the [chest & shoulder] BoA gear, it makes leveling so much easier! I also purchased a set of shoulders for my Rogue. He is level 16 so far. I’ll get him a BoA chest piece once I have enough emblems saved up. I will be messing with my two new characters on a semi-regular basis [as far as my WoW time goes].

I made an account on Chess.com and have been playing Chess with a few friends from work. I haven’t played Chess in over 12 years, so I’m not all that great, but I’m learning again. It’s quite fun, and really nice because there is a Chess.com Application for my phone [HTC Hero, Android OS]. We usually play with a 24 hour limit [to make your next move]… but the games are only last a few days [at most].

I have a few new projects at school, so I’m going to have even less time to game the next week or so. So far all my classes are going well, but I’m doing better than I expected! Being out of school for five-ish years & I have a full-time job on top of full-time school has made things difficult, but I’m managing. 🙂


Spring break…? Not entirely.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Why assign projects to do over spring break? I thought the reason for spring break was to give us a break… guess not. Still working on finishing up my movie research paper, having more trouble finding articles I can use than I had originally anticipated. I don’t have a ton more to do, I’ll have it finished tomorrow. I’m definitely taking a break to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with some friends though

I did a little bit of instance grinding with Deathengine yesterday [Tuesday] afternoon. I managed to snag a few upgrades and hit level seventy-eight, go me! Since level seventy-three I’ve been strictly instance leveling with him, time between instance pops I’m spending leveling professions & generally screwing around. Cooking & Fishing are both almost three hundred, JewelCrafting is going to be a bit harder to level since I picked up Skinning as my second major profession. I can always farm up the materials I need on Texhnolyze. I picked Skinning because it’s extremely easy to level & I can use it as my gold “farming” profession. Once I get a bit of savings, I will most likely be swapping Skinning to Enchanting.

Hrm, so I started this entry yesterday thinking I would come back to this post last night before I passed out. Didn’t happen, I was out until 2AM with my two best friends… even though I had work at 7AM. It was St. Patrick’s Day though, not a regular event.

I busted out a bit more Final Fantasy XIII the other day as well. At first I wasn’t sure what I thought about the combat system. I’m really starting to like it though, it’s a bit more of a challenge than any other combat system that has been used in Final Fantasy games. One of the things that bothers me though is if the main character [Lightning] gets Knocked Out, the game ends: you are given the choice to restart the battle or quit. Unlike other Final Fantasy games, every time you win a battle, all your character’s health is returned… this is handy.

Each character has a role it plays [Commando, Ravager, Sentinel, Synergist, Saboteur, and Medic – I will discuss these a bit later]. The combination of roles you have set for characters is called a Paradigm. You can have up to six Paradigms saved and can switch between them at any point via the menu or Paradigm Shift during combat.

There is another new feature I’m a huge fan of, Stagger. On the top right of the screen there’s a bar, and two percents displayed. The first percent is based on the damage & attacks you do to your current target, the second number is that target’s Stagger point. As you do damage, the Stagger bar fills up. When no damage is being done though, the Stagger bar drains to zero. Once the target hits the Stagger point they go in to a Stagger State for a limited amount of time & the damage you do to them goes up… a lot. From what I can tell, the damage increases the higher the you get the Stagger percent to. An example of the difference in damage would be something like this; at my current point in-game, characters are doing anywhere between 50 and 150 normal damage, once a target has been staggered I’ve hit things for almost 2500.

Role Discussion:

Commando: Uses physical damage slowing the rate of Stagger decay and does a medium-high amount of damage.

  • This Role is key for building up the Stagger bar since without a Commando, the bar empties fairly quickly.

Ravager: Uses magic based attacks [Fire, Blizzard, etc] that do a low-medium amount of damage, but does a lot of percentage to the Stagger bar.

  • Very effective in building up the Stagger bar, especially when combined with a Commando’s slowing the Stagger decay rate.
  • After the Stagger point is reached, Ravagers keep the Stagger percentage going up which increases all the damage done to the target.

Sentinel: Taunt the target into attacking them while using defensive skills to take less damage.

  • Essentially the tank, they make sure no one else in the party gets hit.
  • Sentinels don’t do any damage.

Synergist: Buff the other party members with spells like Shell, Barrier, and Brave.

  • Status Buffs for party members help them absorb damage, do more damage, and other things.
  • Synergist only Buff the party, they don’t attack.
  • I wouldn’t recommend having a character set to be a Synergist the whole fight. Swap them in when your party needs Buffs re-applied.

Saboteur: Debuff the target with spells such as Deshell and Bio.

  • Debuffs decrease a target’s armor, magic resistance, or do damage over time.
  • Other than Bio, I don’t think Saboteurs do damage.
  • I wouldn’t recommend leaving them in your party after the whole fight. Swap them back in if Debuffs need to be re-applied.

Medic: Well, this one is exactly what it sounds like… the medic. they use spells like Cure, Regen, Raise, and Esuna.

  • Keeps everyone alive!
  • If needed, raises KO’d party members.

There is a different leveling system, the Crystarium which resembles the Sphere Grid from Final Fantasy X. There is no experience rewarded after battle, instead you get Crystogen Points. Every character has multiple Crystarium [one for each Role] that you can distribute points into. Within the Crystarium are different abilities/spells you can unlock as well as more Strength, Health, or Magic.

I have only unlocked one of the Summons, or “Eidolons” as they are called in this game. I haven’t gotten to use it yet though, as soon as I acquired it the game shifted from Snow back to the rest of the group.

Commando, Ravager, Sentinel, Synergist, Saboteur and Medica

So much to do, so little time!

One week until Final Fantasy XIII is released. I have to say, this is the first FF that I have really looked forward to since I was disappointed by FF VIII. Even though I enjoyed IX, I didn’t look forward to it at all.

From what I have seen, I don’t believe I am going to be disappointed with XIII. The Japanese trailer for FF XIII is located here and English trailer is located here.

I have my reserve paid off for the 360, as much as I would like to get it for the PS3 [one disk instead of three]. I don’t have a PS3, nor do I have the money to get one any time soon. At least I can burn [“install”] the disks to the 360, which will improve loading time.

I don’t know what is going to happen with Mass Effect 2 once I start playing FF XIII, I have a feeling it is going to be put aside until FF is done.

I wish there was more time in the day. I have so many projects running at the same time… it’s getting difficult to juggle them all & remain productive. Studying for my two exams haven’t helped the process of being productive with anything else either. Then there is my research project… I have to watch & analyze the character interactions & communication in a movie of my choice. I chose American History X, it’s a great film, I love it. But analyzing all the character interactions isn’t exactly what I have in mind when sitting down to a movie.

As an additional note on the Authenticator post the other day. If you do not have an authenticator attached to your account, and your account gets hacked… the person who hacked your account can easily put an authenticator on as soon as they have access to your account.

This happened just yesterday to one of my brothers. His account was hacked while he was at work. Our other brother was at home & online when one of the characters on the hacked account popped online. He tried to log on to the hacked account to change the password; whoever hacked the account attached an authenticator to the account. Luckily, Blizzard has restored [or is in the process of restoring] my brother’s account back to the state it was in before his account was hacked.


No more server hopping.. maybe.

I haven’t done a ton with Mass Effect 2 lately… it’s not one of  those games I can just start and stop when I want. I get hooked in the story and don’t want to stop playing. I’ve had too much homework to take any real-time to dedicate to it. Hoping one of the next few weekends prove to be more viable for a bit of time spent progressing through it.

I still haven’t finished Assassin’s Creed or started AC2. I’m debating if I’ll ever finish it, I might just start the second and skip out on the last bit of the first. I’d rather not though, but with school and starting up World of Warcraft again, I don’t know if I’ll ever have the desire to finish Assassin’s Creed.

Speaking of WoW…. my brothers started playing again a week or so ago. They refused to start on another server or transfer, and my friends and I were already set on Staghelm and we didn’t plan on moving.

I guess it’s a good thing I never transferred my Paladin [Texhnolyze] to Staghelm. Even though I don’t play him anymore. I’ve fallen in love with the Death Knight and Mage, I’ve spent all my time playing on one of those two.

I’m also messing around with a new Rogue a little bit; my brothers, one of my nephews, and I all started new characters together. We’re staying relatively the same level so we can group up for quests and instances together.

I have gotten stuck server hopping so I can play with my best friends and my brothers before. I hate server hopping, I’m bad enough with alts on a single server…

But as it stands now, it looks like all my real-life friends that I play WoW with are leaving the game “for good.” If they do stop playing though, I will be going back to playing on Silvermoon “full-time” [as much as I can without screwing up school and work], which will be nice: no more server hopping. Also, if they stop playing, I *will* be transferring my Mage [Stasís] over to Silvermoon. I wonder if I can convince them to toss me any extra gold & spare mats before they stop playing [haha, doubtful]!

I’m also debating swapping Authenticators for WoW. I have one of the key-chain ones, but I also have the HTC Hero that runs the Android OS. Now there is the Authenticator application available for download on the Android Market. I always have my phone on me, I don’t always have the key-chain Authenticator with me.

I really wish I could go to PAX East this year, really I want to go to any PAX. I’ve never been to a gaming convention. Unfortunately due to obligations, finances, school, & work… actually getting to go is not gonna happen, again.


Free time, time to continue.

Classes are burning a lot more time than I originally thought they would. I’m sure after I get into the swing of being back in school, things will even out and I’ll be able to game a bit more.

I haven’t gotten to play a ton of Mass Effect 2 yet [only two, maybe three hours]… but from what I have played, wow. Especially that beginning sequence.

There are still some issues with bump map loading that existed in the first, but it’s nowhere near as frequent.

They tweaked the combat system slightly. I think the changes they made are a nice improvement, it’s a lot more fluid.

I’ve renewed my World of Warcraft account again. I’m not playing on Silvermoon anymore, at least not as my main server. I started playing on Staghelm again, up and running with some real life friends.

Stasís is now 80, and has full Tier 9 gear, and epics from random heroics. She still has two blues equipped [cloak & a trinket], but that’s only because I haven’t found replacement gear yet [or gotten enough badges to exchange for upgrades].

Played a bit last night, decided to tank a few instances on my Death Knight [Iscariott, 61] just so I could avoid the  fifteen minute [or more] queue as DPS. According to every group I got into, I’m really good at tanking compared to most other “low level” DKs. I stuck with a few people from the first group and did chain instances.

After a few runs, a Balance Druid that was three levels higher than me joined the group, almost immediately he complained that it was “another shitty DK tank.” Both the healer one of the DPS that was with us told him to shut-up because I was good compared to most DKs. He didn’t believe them at first, but after a few pulls, he admitted… “wow, a DK at this level that can hold agro, that never happens!”

I’m debating if I want to transfer my Paladin [Texhnolyze] over to Staghelm, or if I want to just leave him on Silvermoon. I might transfer him eventually, when I have more time and money.