Thursday, February 28, 2008

If you're watching the Colbert Report right now

If you're watching the Colbert Report right now in his segment on the deceased Bill Buckley, then you may want to know what this means.

I didn't guess its spelling quite right, but it was close enough obviously. :-P

Wednesday, February 27, 2008 Achievements

If my guess of how their formula works is correct, I need to get 57 levels of crafting skill to get back to number #25 from #32. That's assuming other crafting levels are worth the same value as Fishing levels.

I may have to look around and see what crafts I can take to 60 and make gil in doing so in the current economy. Woodworking and clothcraft might be nice to have at 60 for various things. If nothing else I could make some of my own stupidly expensive items that come around every few updates instead of paying a premium for someone else to.

Then again, I don't really care much. LOL.

UPDATE: It's confirmed that 1 Fishing level = 40 points.

"War is good for the economy!"

No, it isn't, stupid! This idea has been thoroughly debunked.

Not recently, mind you. But if you were an American you could have gone down to the market to buy some eggs, milk, and human beings and then gone home and read an essay called, "Parable of the broken window" written by Frédéric Bastiat in 1850 that completely trashes the notion.

Quoth Wikipedia (emphasis added):
Some claim that war is a benefactor, since historically it often has focused the use of resources and triggered advances in technology and other areas. The increased production and employment associated with war often leads people to claim that "war is good for the economy." Others claim that this is an example of the broken window fallacy. The money spent on the war effort, for example, is money that can't be spent on food, clothing, health care, consumer electronics or other areas. The stimulus felt in one sector of the economy comes at a direct—but hidden—cost to other sectors.

More importantly, however, war literally destroys property, buildings, and lives. The economic stimulus to the defense sector is offset not only by immediate opportunity costs, but also by the costs of the damage and devastation of war. This then becomes the basis of a second application of the broken window fallacy: it is claimed that the rebuilding that follows war and its destruction provides a further stimulus to the economy, this time mainly in the construction sector. However, immense resources are spent merely to restore things to the condition they already were before the war began. After the war, the nation has a rebuilt city; before the war, it had a city and time in which its labour could have been used for more fruitful purposes. Further, the fixed amount of natural resources could have been used to build a second city rather than to rebuild a destroyed city, hence highlighting the occurrence of waste. An example of this in America is that many highway and bridge projects that were planned in the late '30s had to be put off until after the end of the Second World War, and the pent-up demand for not only roads, but houses, cars, and even radios led to massive inflation in the late '40s. The war also delayed the commercial introduction of television, among other things, and the resources sent overseas to rebuild the rest of the world after the war were not available to directly benefit the American people.
In other words, wars always make a nation worse off. If you see the "economic benefit" to one party, it's only coming at the expense of someone else you aren't seeing. That's a zero-sum gain. Zero-sum gains aren't an overall benefit in economics or anything else.

It also ignores all those bullets, bombs, etc being used to destroy people's property (and murder them), which makes the total wealth that exists in a country less. That's a net loss.

So, if, for example, some country like the United States spent 1 trillion dollars to attack another country like, I don't know let's say Iraq, it would be harmful to the United States and even more harmful to Iraq. That Haliburton or Lockheed-Martin would benefit at the expense of everyone else doesn't make it a wonderful boon to the economy.

On the Scott Horton Show today he had Lew Rockwell on as a guest by phone. They discussed the broken window fallacy and mentioned that there was another example of how utterly stupid the "war is good for the economy" idea is. If war is so great for the economy, then why not have the US and Japan make a huge fleet of ships, sail them out to the middle of the Pacific Ocean, take all the sailors off them, and then blow them up using some expensive to make (and therefore also "good for the economy") nuclear weapons sinking them to the bottom? Do it several times a year, and the economy will just be roaring.

Hell, evacuate a city of its inhabitants, nuke the place, and rebuild it. Think of all the economic benefit! Makes perfect sense!

Monday, February 25, 2008


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"I've killed myself so many times I probably don't exist anymore." Said Bill Murray, or something to that effect in Groundhog Day.

In the screenshot is my secret leathercrafting mule, Luaplive. Dead outside Aht Urgahn which I finally got access to thanks to Keffka last week. (I was death warping back to San d'Oria.)

I got Mog Locker access after some Metal Gearing through Halvung (nobody was logged in who could Escape me there) and made 60 or so High Breath Mantles to get my Leathercraft to 52. I've since sold an assload of them and mostly recuperrated the cost of materials.

Unfortunately, the price dropped from 7k each to about 5k from when I was planning to do them a while back.

Now I need to come up with something to skill-up on. Most options seem to require Raptor Skins, which are expensive and have a crappy droprate.


Diabolos and other Prime Avatars solo!

Diabolos Solo!

I decided to pay a visit to the Terrestrial Avatar of Dreams a few days ago.
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I wanted to try out NIN/DNC against Diabolos and see if I could wear him down. I used the standard all-out-Evasion + Haste-for-Utsusemi casts gear setup. Stun katanas for weapons. I brought some Sleeping Potions and an Opo-opo Necklace, slept to 150% TP, and then clicked the swirly blue thing. And found out I didn't have the key item. A quick trip to Windurst Waters later, and I was back and ready to go in.

As it turns out, through some combination of bad luck, or Diabolos being immune, none of my enfeebles stuck. He also has very high accuracy and spammed Sleepga 2 and Blindga. As a result, the fight was kind of one-sided.
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I'm in the Diabolos "probably can't be soloed by NIN/DNC" camp now I think.

RMT & Prime Avatars

RMT in FFXI aren't very creative. Their new thing is: Get 5 BLMs and a WHM and make 10mil per month farming Prime Avatars. Here you can see them on Mount Zhayolm stealing my favorite solo spot for Wamoura Princes.
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There's at least two active teams of them. They POS hack all over the place, so hopefully they'll end up banned sometime in the near future.

Other Primes as NIN/DNC

The RMTs did give me the idea of trying the lesser prime avatars as NIN/DNC though. I've got Resist+50 or more to water, fire, and thunder from god gear and other random things.

That they are soloable isn't exactly a secret though. I've killed all but Leviathan and Garuda by my self as Summoner before. There's plenty of videos of RDM/NINs doing the same as well MNK/RDMs, WHM/NINs, etc.

I was already in the Boyhada Tree as NIN/DNC skilling up Parrying, so I went to Ramuh first.
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Hojo: Ni slowed his attacks significantly, but it didn't really matter anyway...the poor old man was blind. I used a bunch of evasion gear, but picked Kirin's Osode over my trusty Scorpion Harness as Thunderspark causes paralysis and Ice resist -20 wouldn't help with that. Judgment Bolt only did 206 damage with the Lightning Resist +50 from Byakko's Haidate.

After resisting Astral Flow the fight was in the bag. I kind of wanted to get a Lightning Ring as a reward, but just took the 10k gil instead. The fight took 15 minutes, which is longer than the RMT's 1:35 record.

It was also interesting that Drain Samba and Box Step both worked fine.

Next was Ifrit.
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No Hojo: Ni meant Ifrit missed me that much more frequently. Suzaku's Sune-ate and my Water Belt from Leviathan provided 70 fire resistance and Inferno only hit for ~200.

It was another easy relatively short (16mins) fight for an easy 10k.

My last target of the day was Leviathan. I've never soloed him as Summoner because he can heal himself for 600-900 HP with Spring Water.
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I adjusted my strategy a little and used Blade: Jin on him when I had full health and shadows up to increase my DoT to compensate for the Spring Waters. The fight was longer than the other two, but lasted just under 22 minutes. I had 65 water resist from Genbu's Kabuto and SH.

I'm tempted to do the others, but I don't really have elemental resistance gear for their Astral Flows, and getting hit with one for 1600 damage would kill me.

The difficulty level was much lower than I'd see people claim in the past. Their accuracy is terrible and with resistance gear (or barspells) all their elemental attacks barely break 200 damage even without Shell.

As I was leaving, I ran into this guy:
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As it turns out, he drops an Uggalepih Necklace (did I spell that right? I didn't check) which nullifies Everyone's Grudge damage by consuming TP.

He also likes to stab careless NIN/DNCs in the throat when they fight locked on when their shadows are down. Besides that little, near fatal mishap he went down relatively easily. At the last few percentage of HP I finally managed to aggro one of the dozen other mobs in the room.
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That one only dropped a water crystal though.

I'm not sure whether I'll hang onto the necklace or see if I can NPC it yet. It turns out the Tonbery Light of Penance special attack resets your TP to 0, so I'm not sure how useful the thing would be even if I kept it and fought Tonberries a lot for some bizzare reason.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Merits & What job to level next?

Well, it's been quite a while since I posted an update on what I've been doing with merit points. Looking through some of my previous posts on the subject I was pretty entertained...I used to consider Dancer useless and to remain level 1 until I cancel my account and considered Allied Notes difficult to get. How a few months can change things.

I'll post an update on what stuff I've merited, and then discuss which jobs I'm considering leveling next, why I'm thinking of doing them, and leave the comments section open for my three readers to pick and offer suggestions (you don't need to be registered with Blogger to comment on The Pie Blog).

Merit Points

First, there's several groups that are done and have been for a while...
HP/MP (8/8):
MP 8/8

Combat Skills (20/20):
Katana 8/8
Hand-to-Hand 8/8
Evasion 4/4

Magic Skills (16/16):
Elemental 8/8
Enfeebling 8/8

I'd really like more points to allocate for Combat/Magic skills. 8/8 in Ninjutsu, Dagger, and Summoning Magic would be freaking awesome. Unfortunately, those groups are all maxxed out, and there's no way I'm hurting my Black Mage for a small improvement to my Ninja which I never get to use for anything anyway.

Attributes (0/5):
INT 0/5 or STR 0/5?

This group takes a stupid amount of points for a tiny amount of improvement. And I'm not sure whether I'd rather do INT or STR. (36 Points to cap this group.)

Other (5/8):
Critical Hit Rate 4/4
Spell Interruption Rate 1/4

I decided to go with spell interrupt down over crit down although neither seems terribly useful. I've got a Sorcerer's Belt on BLM which has -8% on it, so maybe -16% spell interrupt down might make a difference?

I'm not even sure how exactly the spell interrupt -% shit works quite honestly.

Black Mage (10/10; 1/6):
Ice Potency 5/5
Thunder Potency 5/5
Freeze II 1/3

I've said...uncharitable things about Black Mage group 2 merits in the past. And I'm stubborn enough that I'll stick by it: They mostly suck and don't add anything new to the job.

I have found myself wishing I had Burst II though on a few occassions lately, so I'm tempted to open that. It would take 21 merit points to cap out Freeze II and Burst II. 19 if I decided to open Flood 2 instead of going 3/3 on one of them.

Summoner (7/10; 0/6):
Elemental MP Cost 5/5
Physical Accuracy 1/2
Physical Attack 1/3

I went with Spirit perp reduction as it makes them mostly useless, but useable. I don't really get to use Summoner for anything anyway outside kited Kirin fights. It's just not a very useful job. The group 2 merits are mostly junk although they are situationally useful as avatars have no other strong magic attacks at 75 besides Astral Flow which doesn't really count.

I might open Geocrush for the added stun, but really don't care.

Ninja (0/10; 2/6):
Subtle Blow 0/5
Ninja Tool Expertise 1/3
Hyoton: San 1/1

Ninja is a great job because to be an effective DD you don't actually need any job specific group merits. Just Katana and Crit+ basically. All the merits are fluff that add to the elemental nukes which are pretty useless by 75 anyway. The :San spells (as I found out when I unlocked Hyoton: San) are also garbage.

Monk (10/10; 0/6):
Kick Attacks 5/5
Counter 5/5
Formless Strikes 0/1
Invigorate 0/3
Penance 0/2

SE apparently put 10-15 minutes of thought into Monk merits as there's stuff in Group 2 that's actually useful! Whoduthunkit?

This is the section I've done major meriting on since dinging 75 Monk. Lots of kick attacks wearing Dune Boots are nice DoT, and a free Counter+5 make Counterstance much less suicidal. Monk group 1 unfortunately does not have 20 upgrades, because Focus and Chakra 5/5 would be nice to have too, but aren't as good as Counter/Kicks.

I'll have 3 merit points shortly (I'm blowing up Wamoura Princes at the time of writing), and I'm thinking I'll go with either Formless Strikes or Invigorate first. Probably the former. There's quite a few situations where blunt damage is crappy or completely ineffective (Limbus, on slimes or Prime Avatars, on mobs that used PLD/THF 2hrs, et), so Formless Strikes would be quite handy.

Fully capping Invigorate would make Chakra heal me for ~540 HP (plus any VIT from food) over a minute or so period. Which is just crazy good. If I get a pair of Sorcerer's Tonban from Dynamis-Bastok sometime, I could also change my main lot to Monk and get Melee Gloves which would add another ~60 HP to that for about 600 HP recovered total. Which is super crazy good.

I'll need 19 merits to cap group 2 for Monk, and it'll be my first job to have capped Job-specific merits.

What's Next?

This next section I'm looking for input from my three readers...what job should I level next? I'm leaning towards either Red Mage, Scholar, or Dancer for a few different reasons.

Red Mage

Red Mage is just useful in quite a few places, and I don't have a support job leveled. On the otherhand, it's a Refresh/Haste whore in parties which appear to be mindlessly boring. I have most of the non-AF/Relic gear for it already though, and all the non-Job-specific merits done. We've got a lot of RDMs in Oops though, so it's unlikely I'd be able to get a relic hat anytime soon.

It's quite popular in parties after level 50, so I could probably level it pretty quickly.


Scholar has potential as well despite being the lolJob of the current expansion. I've leveled Leathercraft to 52 on my mule, so I'll be able to run around at 112% movement speed with the earth weather spell and Luaplive-signed Desert Boots. I have most of the gear/merits available for it as well already. I might also be able to get to come to events as SCH instead of BLM for a change as the two jobs are fairly similar. (Being able to cast Bindga and MPK people in Dynamis would be quite a blast as well. Muwahahahahahaha!!!)

It's as popular as Black Mage though in EXP parties, so I'd probably be stuck soloing very slowly or mainhealing.


It's a pretty versatile job, and I have most of the gear for it already. Due to the inability to equip dagger/kris-style daggers I wouldn't need to get a wildly expensive Blau Dolche. Unfortunately, I can't merit Dagger as I'm all capped out in Combat Skills. And it has no AF/relic yet.

Decently popular in parties I guess, but not a must-have job. It'll most likely end up being another job I never use.


That's it for now! My next update will include lots of pictures and have me bitching about the RMT who farm Prime Avatars (making 10mil/month doing so), Dynamis, Sky (Epic got MPKed up there last night), and other fun stuff.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Hmm. I guess I'm a loser IRL

It's not entirely clear how they calculated it yet, but it appears that only 24 people on FFXI Hades Server have less of a life than I do. Or something, I've got no idea how guys calculated it yet, but I've got the 25th most Achievements on Hades. #963 out of all the people who registered with the site and linked to their profiles.
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The people who are higher up either have Maat's Cap or one or more relic weapon, shield, flute, etc. Or something...LOL.

I figure I'll get bumped out when either more Excellence LS people with multiple relics register with, or they change the points criteria. I'm clearly not in the top 25 most accomplished people on the server. Hell, I've only cleared 4 or so Assaults.

UPDATE: I'm #26 already. LOL

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Lil' Limbus

Well, as I move into my seventh month waiting for a Diabolic Yarn to drop so I can upgrade my Wizard's Petasos to the +1 version, I decided to cash in some coins:
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Having 294 Evasion skill as Ninja is pretty entertaining.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Ever heard half of a conversation?

Have you ever heard half of a conversation? Probably someone talking on the phone and you couldn't really tell what the person on the other side was saying just from what you were hearing? Or see a crazy guy walking down the street talking to himself? Or see a person with a hands-free headset walking down the steet talking on the phone that looked like a crazy person?

Well, those things can all seem a little weird.

Weirder still, is when someone has half a conversation that they pickup from the middle with you.

A few minutes ago, I was wandering around Bastok Markets getting random shit, and I get a tell.

Someguy>> wait
Someguy>> no that won't work
Someguy>> good luck
Me>> ty


Animated Shield Down!

Oops did another run of Dynamis-Xarcabard tonight, but we didn't have enough people for Dynamis Lord. :-(

We killed all the Demon NMs again and got a few pieces of Relic Armor (DRK, BST, and BRD). Then killed a few more Ahriman and Demons. It was decided we'd go kill Animated Shield so that we could finish the Aegis we've been working on for a while.

I switched to Monk and found the rest of the LS near the Animated Shield spawn. The thing tried to Warp out about 6 times, but some combination of damage, my Shoulder Tackles, and two Blue Mages spamming Head Butt and Frypan interrupted it, and we won! Amey now has a Supernal Fragment, and just needs some coins to finish Aegis.

Also, did you know that Shield Bash can do 2,514 damage? Me neither until about 30 minutes ago. LOL.

Friday, February 15, 2008

KS99, first Oops DL run, ...Tiamat?

99 Kindred's Seals Orb Runs!

Epic did a couple KS99 runs lately. Most recently this past Sunday we did three or four of the King Behemoth knock-off one. The basic strategy is make it chase people up and down the long slope running out of range of it's Meteor spell's casting range.

The three people who hadn't used orbs went, and after them someone else did, but I had to go to bed by then. One set of drops was pretty horrible, another OKish, the last pretty good with a Behemoth Hide and some other crap.

No Behemoth Tongues dropped, which are used to get a Black Belt, but people using orbs who had no use for it graciously offerred to sell it to me for an assload of money if it did. I offerred to pay for it what they paid for their 99 Kindred's Seals (99 x 0 = ???).

I didn't die any of the runs and managed to be nowhere near the final Meteor that kills everyone in range. Well, except Paladins with Fealty.

I finished off one of the Behemoths
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And here's a shot of people who ate a final Meteor
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Dynamis - Xarcabard + Dynamis Lord Fight

Oops did another Dynamis-Xarc on Tuesday, and we tried to kill Dynamis Lord, the area's mega boss, for the first time. Things started as usual with us clearing the Ahriman at the towers and then killing the Demon nobility NMs.
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That went pretty well. The first few towers we had no Relic Armor drops. Then, we got a set of White Mage gloves. Nothing for a while longer, and then a Samurai Hat dropped which makes Neo 5/5 on his SAM AF2 set! We also got a set of Koga Tekko which went to Izar as we headed for the dragons and Dynamis Lord. A dozen dead dragons later, and I warped and came back as Monk/Ninja to Hundred Fists zerg Dynamis Lord. I could have come /Warrior for Double Attack and Berserk, but wanted to be able to survive longer should the shit hit the fan.

At last, I arrived...
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I think he looked a little scared.

Some party shuffling, and the Bards used Soul Voice and gave us supercharged Songs. Two each of Minuet, Madrigal, and March. I ate a Meat Mithkabob (I'm bringing Coeurl Subs next time) gave spare ones to a few people, and we went in!
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DL parried my first two punches, so I ended up figthing from behind him most of the rest of the fight.

I'm not entirely sure what exactly happened (even later from looking at the log), but the plan was to Chainspell Stun DL the whole time, which is the standard strategy, but that wasn't what ended up happening. We had four RDM/DRKs who were supposed to work in teams of two in case one Stun resisted, overlapped, or whatever else.

The CS+Stun didn't start at the beginning of the fight. First, we got AOE Aspir'd. Then AOE Drained three times. Then Aeroga III'd. Before I started seeing Stun going off constantly on DL. The Drains were for a little over 100HP per person. The Aeroga III for about 400. I used Chakra to heal 300 and reapplied Utsusemi.

In an apparent "slight oversight" there was no healing forthcoming. I had ~1,550 HP to start as a Monk with Max HP Bonuses. Virtually nobody else had nearly that much or an ability to heal themselves. So, most of us had ~50-60% HP.

Now with DL stunlocked though, things were going pretty smoothly. His HP was down to about 20%. Then, apparently stuns overlapped and I saw DL launch into a TP move. I didn't see "Dynamis Lord readies {XXXX}." in the log, but instantly knew as he lept into the air what it was: Oblivion Smash.
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"2 of Evilpaul's shadows absorb the damage and disappear." All but two of Evilpaul's LS zerging buddies HP bars also absorbed the damage and disappeared. It drilled everyone in range without shadows for over 1,500 damage.

I tried to recast Utsusemi again, but Ying and Yang had been resummoned and each took a swat at me with their big blue master to put an end my efforts. The sole survivors left standing (you can see them there) were two Thieves who also died shortly thereafter.

Dynamis Lord came to hang out with my corpse at the entrance. Perhaps that look that appeared to be fear earlier, was instead a knowing smile?
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I guess as a result of nobody doing any healing, that all the mages who were further down the hill didn't end up dying.

Which is kind of disappointing as it would have made this slumber party pic that much funnier. :-)
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Before doing Dyn-Xarc, I was going to get the ENM key item for Boneyard Gully (I plan to try and solo it). I did a /search of the area, and noticed most of at least one or two HNM shells present. So I had to go look, and sure enough:
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Tiamat was up and being fought.

I'd have stayed to /poke it and maybe kill the Elemental adds, but I left all my MND and Enfeebling gear in my Mog House (I don't bring that stuff with me Fishing...which I gained 2.4 levels in earlier that day). Tiamat spams Wing TP moves that my craptastically weak Stoneskin was breaking on everytime for significant damage, so I went back to mountain climbing.

The End?

That's it for now! Another DL run tonight, hopefully we'll kill the jerk and get 14 Summoner's Horns so I can get one of them and be 5/5. :-)

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Police are Awesome!

Just the other day I saw a bunch of kids who live in my neighborhood playing and having a fun time. And I thought, "Boy it sure would be great if I could browbeat them with ridiculous accusations, demand they address me only as my oficial title, and threaten to kill them repeatedly!"

Oh wait.

I didn't.

Because I'm not a brigandish pederast (a.k.a. police officier) or other variant of sociopath. Now I wouldn't suggest that Officier Salvatore Rivieri is actually a boy-toucher, but he sure seems to be having a good time abusing them, doesn't he?

Over on Scott Horton's blog, he posted this and in the comments section a bunch of people replied.

I thought this one in particular was quite poignant,
Salvatore Rivieri was probably doing this same thing in the late 1960s / 1970s as a bully to similar people. This is what bullies do when they grow up get older.

That about sums it up for me.

What is beer with no hops?

That's what I'm going to find out. There's been a shortage of hops this year which has made the price more than double across the board. Their availability is going to be shitty for the next year or so. As a homebrewer with a reputation for making really strange fucking beers that are....good, I've decided to figure out how to make a damn good ale with no hops in it. (I'll need something in a pint glass to cradle and weep that it's not an American IPA for the duration anyway. :-) )

What follows is my theory, followed with what I think may be a recipe that produces a drinkable beer using no hops. (I'm brewing that beer as I write this.)

Also, if you consider your personal Hell to be a land with no Reinheitsgebot (if I spelled that right, I get a cookie), then Abandon All Hope Ye Who Enter Here...

The Goals

It's important to have clearly understood goals in mind before attempting to do something so that one is able to have a more objective view of success or failure. Opinions on a project can change as it's carried out. That means to be meaningful, writing down objectives will be required to avoid "mission creep" and attempts to understate the shortcomings of what are really failed attempts. Of course, taste is entirely subjective, so inter-person taste comparisons aren't really possible. But they will convey some idea to other people what I'm looking for in this Brave New Hop-free Ale.

My goals will be simple:
To produce a moderate alcohol (4-6%) ale that's pleasant tasting with a shelf life of about three months by normal brewing methods without the use of hops.

The Issues

(Author's Note: I've realized I'm unsure how many 'R's are in "bitterring", "bitterred", etc. So try not to be too judgemental and/or grammar Nazi me up in the comments section too badly. Thanks!)

There's several problems to be addressed in making a beer that has no hops in it. These are bitterring, preservation, and clarity (by order of importance).


An ale with no hops in it, even a very low terminal gravity one, is going to be very sweet. Most likely cloyingly so in a standard 4.5% alcohol "session" beer. So, coming up with some sort of bitterring (or souring, I suppose) agent is essential to have a drinkable result. Although there are probably some chemicals used commercially to bitter, and there are ways to abuse food that produce bitterness (boiling coffee grinds), I'm going to stick to bitter herbs as that's what I'm replacing and beer is supposed to be food.

I've found several possibilities: Wormwood (devastatingly bitter; sold at the Homerewing Store; unreliable evidence of toxicity dating back ~100 years), Yarrow (bitter; I can't find any; apparently safe), and Angelica (bitter; I can't find any; possibly carcinogenic according some some sources).

I'll use Wormwood for my attempts as I can get it. If the horror stories from the turn of the century are true, it wouldn't matter in this context as the Thujone oil is only soluable in alcohol, not water, so very little will make it into the finished beer.

I'll start by steeping 1/4 oz. per five gallons in a quart of water (in a cheesecloth "hop sock") before adding it to the primary fermenter. I'm contemplating whether or not to fish it out after three days, but I'm going to leave it in until racking at day five or seven for this attempt.


Hops are antiseptic, antimicrobial, antioxidant, anti-other stuff, etc. Hops preserve beer. Most homebrewers know the story of the creation of the IPA, a hoppy British beer, created to survive the long ocean voyage to India. If I am to produce a bittered beer, I'd like for it to be able to age at least three months.

I'm not aware of what, if any, preservative properties Wormwood has. So, for now, this aspect will largely be up in the air. My first recipe includes (see below) Rose Hips, which are loaded with the antioxidant Vitamin C. That may or may not be consumed by the yeast during primary fermentation, but it has been added commercially at wineries at bottling time as a preservative (to mixed reviews).

No preservatives may be necessary given my less than three month survival requirement.


It's quite nice to drink crystal clear homebrew. While not as important as tasting really damn good, holding a pint glass up to the light with not a hint of haze or cloudiness, and then taking a sip of a delicious beer created by one's self...well, I guess you have to have done it to understand.

For that reason I'll be experimenting with extra fining agents. Whirlfloc for the entire (very short because there's no hop acids to isomerize) boil. Bentonite in the primary possibly depending on how the hot and cold breaks look.

The Recipe

I'm going with a wheat beer, because that's the malt I have on hand from a previous batch I never got around to making.

- 4# Wheat Malt
- 4# Pale or Munich Malt (I'm not sure which I got, and my nose isn't working at the time of brewing)
- 1# Cara Munich II (70-75L color)

- 3/4 oz. Lemon Zest (from the spice rack, but it smelled sooooo good and right now that's saying something)
- 1/2 oz. Dried Woodruff
- 1/2 oz. Dried Woodruff
- 1/2 oz. Rose Hips
@Into the primary fermenter:
1/4 oz. Wormwood that has been steeped in a quart of near-boiling water.

1 Whirlfloc Tab added at 30 mins.

Safale Dry Yeast

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

An Ugly Pink Layout

I got bored, so I changed the theme to an ugly pink one reminiscent of strawberry-rhubarb pie. Or something. I mostly just changed it because I added the widgets to the sidebar, and you can't see those thing's black text on a black background.

Hope you enjoy it!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Pottery Barn Theories

If you've sufferred the misfortune of seeing of the US Presidential TV Debates, then you've probably heard somebody, in one party or the other, suggest that like a neato planter from the Pottery Barn™ "we" broke Iraq, so "we" have bought it.

At the mindless, emotional level this makes a lot of sense. Well, not really. The mindless, emotional level doesn't really have any critical thought, so I guess "it just feels right" would be more accurate.

But, when subjected to any critical thought, the Pottery Barn analogy is either deeply offensive, racist, garbage or bizzarro nonsense. Or a little bit of both, maybe, in some permutation of it.

For starters, it's pretty strange to suggest that "we" (I'm not included in "we"--I had nothing to do with this disaster--and you probably didn't either) broke Iraq so "we" own it. Iraq is a nation of more than 25 million people, their land, and their stuff. So to say that "we" broke & own it is either completely nonsensical or some sort of massive slavery.

In the less literal meaning that the folks in Washington D.C. destroyed the place and so they have to fix all the problems...that would make sense, but has two problems.

First, they aren't the ones who are going to be the ones who get killed, maimed, and disfigured cleaning up the mess they created. Our people in uniform are and cleaning up after chickenhawk politicians like Dick Cheney isn't, to the best of my knowledge, in their contracts or what they swore an oath to do.

Second, it assumes the people in Washington even know how to go about de-disasterifying Iraq. With the number of times they've switched supporting factions already, and with the vast number of factually incorrect statements they make about the various Iraqi factions, the likelihood of them guessing how to go about that is negligible.

But, that's just dissecting what the idiotic phrase really means. Its unspoken, but fundamental and underlying assumption, is what's truly perplexing. If "we" "broke" Iraq, so "we" have to "buy" it or however one chooses to phrase it, that necessarily implies that it wasn't "broken" before "we" went in there. That is to say that Iraq, under the Iron-fisted rule of the Bogey-man of Baghdad, wasn't broken.

So the old, demagogic, neo-con taunt of, "So you think Iraq was better off under Sadam Hussein? (You, enemy of liberty, you!)" has actually been answered by the neo-cons. And it turns out that even neo-cons agree with the antiwar movement: Iraq was much better off under Sadam Hussein.

Monday, February 11, 2008

The Chicken Doves

A great article by Matt Taibbi in Rollingstone Magazine. If you're too lazy to read the whole thing, here's the very end of it:

Before the 2006 elections, Democrats told us we could expect more specifics on their war plans after Election Day. Nearly two years have passed since then, and now they are once again telling us to wait until after an election to see real action to stop the war. In the meantime, of course, we're to remember that they're the good guys, the Republicans are the real enemy, and, well, go Hillary! Semper fi! Yay, team!

How much of this bullshit are we going to take? How long are we supposed to give the Reids and Pelosis and Hillarys of the world credit for wanting, deep down in their moldy hearts, to do the right thing?

Look, fuck your hearts, OK? Just get it done. Because if you don't, sooner or later this con is going to run dry. It may not be in '08, but it'll be soon. Even Americans can't be fooled forever.
He's a lot more optimistic than I would be with the closing line though.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

My Lizard and Me

Well, as you may know from my last few posts, I leveled Dancer as subjob for Ninja and Monk.

What you haven't heard is the full story.

I was outside town stabbing Bees as a lowbie Dancer/Whitemage with a dagger, when it came upon me to switch to /BST and use a pet. So, a quick trip to my mog house and I was back outside stabbing bees alongside my very own pet bee! I gained a few levels pretty quickly, and it was then that I saw Rupert!
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We bonded instantly! We shared common interests of killing things like crabs and Goblin Weavers. Every once in a while he's do this funny trick where he tried to petrify me too! Such a kidder! I hit level 11 in no time, and headed off to meet new people in Konschstat Highlands.

When I arrived in Konschstat is when I met my new friend:
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Buzzy the Bee! As it turns out Buzzy and I had so much in common too. Like Rupert he loved killing Goblins. I was so lucky to meet so many nice friends in just a few levels! After many battles Buzzy finally was killed by a Goblin. :-(

I decided to move on and see about getting a party in Valkurm Dunes.
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I got a party, but it was with a bunch of Dragoons and a White Mage who I don't think were as smart or as fun as Rupert and Buzzy. I'll miss those two guys.

After a while the Goblins ate the White Mage and most of the Dragoons, so I went on my way to make new friends elsewhere. I forgot to take pictures, but I found out what nice fellows Seeky and Vampsuckula were! They were my bat friends who enjoyed killing worms as much as Rupert and Buzzy liked killing Goblins. After many hours of fun Seeky and Vampsuckula had to go to bed, so I had to wait until the next day to make new adventuring buddies.

And I found one just the next day!
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She said her name was Betty, and she loved killing Goblins as much as anyone I'd ever met! They practically ignored me when she got really into it!

After a while I went to make new friends in the jungles and met these guys:
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They were Dragoons again though...not as fun as Rupert and Buzzy. :-(

My journey was almost to an end. I went back in time to North Gustaberg during the Crystal War, and you wouldn't believe who I found: Rupert's great, great grandfather Jeremiah Whitaker Rupert the First!!! He was just like his Great, great grandson, but thought taking his picture would steal his soul, so I wasn't allowed to take any. :-( But in just a few short hours E.J.R. the 1st and I had killed so many worms I was a level 37 Dancer!


And thus ends the complete and true story of friendship, love, trial, and loss on my journey to level 37 Dancer.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Job level update

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Dancer is actually 37 too now, the site just hasn't updated yet. I'm having fun with it as NIN/DNC in Campaign Battles at the moment.

I think I have the plague.

I was feeling pretty sore in my shoulders and random joints a few days ago. Yesterday, my whole midsection was sore and nose running a bit. This morning, I woke up at 7AM and thought about staying in bed all day because everything hurt, my nose was running yet clogged, and my ears were popping and I just generally felt like shit.

While it's possible that the wine I drank the night before didn't help any, I'm pretty sure I've got some sort of cold and/or flu.

I did end up driving all the way out to school, parking, running to class (I left 15mins late), and got there to see it was cancelled. So, I wasted about 80 minutes driving and 20 minutes walking while feeling like death. Somebody up there must like me.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

New (sub)Jobs!

Long time, no update!

I've been leveling the two new Wings of the Goddess jobs for use as support jobs. Scholar for use as a Summoner and Black Mage support job. Only on BLM if they add Blink and Stoneskin, but it works for Summoner decently already. It's 37 and done already. Which makes sense because it was 34 when I wrote about it a while back.

Prancing! Prancing!

Dancer I didn't initially plan to level at all. Probably because it's hilariously homoerotic. I didn't really want to have my dude doing dances and steps and sambas, oh my! But, SE made /DNC truly awesome as it let's you heal yourself more or less indefinitely as long as you can hit whatever you're fighting and it's not hitting too hard.

I was inspired by a combination of seeing NIN/DNCs and MNK/DNCs doing campaign battles, and the illustrious Genome's Livejournal entries about the subjob and soloing the scorpion KS30. I plan to do the Monk AF3 NM as NIN/DNC once I get the second item from Limbus* which was soloable as NIN/RDM with some Yagudo Drinks previously.

My Dancer is currently up to 34. I soloed most of the way to 20, did half parties to 30, and have partied nearly all the way to 34 now. As Genome had noted, and I concur with...Dancers do horrid fucking damage. Severely bad. It's what appealed to me about NIN/DNC except in reverse. It takes forever to kill a Dancer unless the Dancer is thoroughly outclassed and doomed anyway. Just plunk away on the monster, it plunks back, you heal your damage using the TP you got plunking, the monster (hopefully) doesn't heal itself. Five minutes and a sad dying animation later, and the Dancer has more EXP.

As it turns out, Dancer has crappy combat skills...the highest are only B+. But, it gets two Accuracy Bonuses and three Evasion Bonuses. Which compliments the crap damage, but high survivability thing. At subjob levels, it only gets one of each. But, those come with a free Sneak/Invisible and a Cure 3, which makes it look quite nice for Sky farming as NIN.

Just 18k EXP or so and I'll have it to 37 and I can go back to Fishing and Leathercrafting. And selling off all the shit I bought for Dancer equipment-wise. I've got about 200k tied up in the stuff.

*Moar Limbus!

We did a run of Apollyon NW today. The "Ground Kings" knock-off one. I went as BLM, and mostly just pulled mobs. We had a full 18 people with a Corsair and Bard and a bunch of melee, so mobs died good and fast. I'm kind of the only Black Mage who goes with a "Hey! I can make this thing die really fast!!" mentality which can kind of get me into trouble. I only died twice (and we had no wipes) both on the last floor with the Behemoths. The first was just bad luck with getting stunned by the Kaiserbehemoth and then hit three times before I could do anything. That's probably what I get for pulling it with Freeze II. The second was a Kick Out or whatever the Spike Flail, a.k.a. "people shouldn't be fighting behind it to make it do that in the first place", move is called.

Unfortunately, it's been seven months since I got the Diabolic Yarn that I've been after the whole time, so I didn't really get anything out of it. Again. We've got another Omega set now, so we'll probably be doing that soon. Which can in theory drop a BLM item, but I'm not counting on it.

Friday, February 1, 2008

The Craziest F#?ing Thing I've Ever Heard

What I consider to be a classic segment of the Colbert Report apparently is sporting a new [writer-less] name.

Speaking of writers...what the fuck did they actually do on the Daily Show/Colbert Report? They were off the air for two months and are just as funny and, sadly, informative as ever.

Much thanks to Scott Horton for finding this gem from last night's Report.


Regardless of whether you plan to throw away your vote, or not, you should take a look at and see if the candidates really stand for what you think they do.

They cover a wide variety of issues, and nearly everyone I've talked to is wrong about their favorite candidate's position on the war.


I went to class today at 7AM. It was pouring rain, and cold enough that it was freezing when it the ground.

Which was extra great in town near school where the shitheads have pretty brick sidewalks. Sidewalks which probably weren't even level whenever they put them down. And certainly aren't now when you need to be a sherpa to be able to trek them successfully. So, I walked in the street instead as I actually had some traction there.

The Calc 2 quiz that I'd forgotten about was rather easy though. I might have been the first person done, but I wasn't paying much attention to the rest of the room so I don't know for sure. It helps that the Professor is good at explaining what you're actually supposed to be trying to do which several other ones just weren't.

Meh, I'll go make a "sponge" to make soft pretzels with tomorrow. Should be interesting as I don't entirely know how to do that. :-)