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Dec. 22nd, 2009

My future in Vana'diel

No, no, before you all start panicking, don't worry! I'm in no way, shape or form quitting FFXI! But it's become apparent to me that something needs to change. Bahamut, my home server, is just not the server that it used to be, and with SE keeping the server closed indefinitely, that means no new players, no low level parties, and just a blah overall play experience. So I figure I do have a few options. I'll list them here:

1. Stick it out on Bahamut for awhile: If I leave the server, I don't plan on doing it until at least February. I'm currently residing in this social LS with one of my oldest friends who's still playing the game and some other guys who aren't quite as experienced and are used to their own unique play styles. They're a good group of people that have challenged me in quite a few ways, and who I have had some fun leveling with and doing various activities with. My dynamis LS on the other hand, the only semblance of endgame I have left, is vastly taking a nosedive. People are switching LSes or servers and Dienasty has been feeling the crunch. It's really hard to see an LS I've been dedicated to for so long flounder along like we are now. I'm also finding with the declining population that it is increasingly more difficult to get things done, like leveling pre-37 jobs or getting groups together even for merit parties. The Nyzul bird camps are actually looking pretty empty these days. Surely SE can see this and will reopen the server soon. Or maybe not...

2. Switch servers: This is the one option that has people screaming, "Squigg, come here!" Of course, everyone expects me to run straight to Carbuncle to be with the PFA crew, and to be honest, that doesn't sound like a bad idea. However, the main focus with my friends there is endgame and I'm not sure if I really have the time and/or energy to dedicate to endgame again. But then again, it might be different doing it with friends that I've enjoyed communicating with all these years. My main draw to Carby though would be my two best ingame friends and BST buddies, Steak and Opiate. I really took it hard when they left Bahamut and I can't tell you how awesome it would be to hang with them again. I also have quite a few friends on Leviathan and trust me, the idea of switching there has crossed my mind. (This is the part where Edwyth starts screaming and jumping up and down like a little girl :P) I've also been looking around trying to find servers with decent pet LSes, since Untamed got me thirsting for pet only activities. Also within the realm of possibility is Hades (a bunch of the guys from Extra Life got me excited about that server for some reason) and Remora (I am a huge Carletta fan and I would love to run around and stalk her in-game like any other true-blue Re-moron :P).

This option also seems like the most overwhelming for me. I've been on Bahamut for almost 6 years and it would almost be like severing a bond. I also still have friends left on the server (like the guys in the SeaMonkeys LS)

Regardless, I'm not going to switch for at least the next month or so. I would need time to close out things on Bahamut, cash out dynamis points, and say goodbye to various friends. I think the biggest thing that weighs on my mind is the fact that once I make the decision, there's a pretty good chance that I couldn't come back to Bahamut if I despised the server I chose. But there are still a bunch of things I want to accomplish in game that I am excited about.

I encourage anyone and everyone to leave comments and to give me suggestions on my decision.

Lastly, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all my friends, Vana'dielians and non-Vana'deilians alike! :D

Nov. 23rd, 2009

Yay!

Another APFT passed! Met body fat requirements! Good for six more months!

Now, back to watching DTWS final.

Nov. 9th, 2009

The weight lifted off my shoulders

I have the most awesome first sergeant in the world.

That is all.

Nov. 5th, 2009

My Worst Critic

Why must I settle for mediocracy when I strive for exellence? This is a quote I came up with last night that I posted on my Twitter after a particularly hard day in the field. To the casual observer, yesterday probably didn't look too difficult, but I've had a lot on my mind lately. Some of it just stems from the condition of being human and not living up to my perfectionist ideals I set for myself. Some of it stems from the balance I am trying to find between my job, my family, God, and myself. This has put me at an emotional standstill, fighting depression, and quite frankly, looking at myself as substandard.

For a noncomissioned officer such as myself, "substandard" is about the worst thing you can be. If you cannot meet the standards, how can you lead soldiers and train them to properly meet the standard? I constantly strive to meet standards--Army training standards, height and weight standards, physical fitness standards, and so on. And as time has gone on and I have had to deal with illness and injury, it has become more difficult to maintain those standards. But as an NCO, not only do you need to meet the standards, you need to exceed them. For somebody clawing at just meeting the standards, exceeding them seems damn near impossible.

And the truth is I haven't met a standard. I had someone carry me through it on his back and I've felt guilty ever since.

I'm still here, and I'm still trying to prove to myself and others around me that I am not a waste of space and that I am here as an asset to my unit and the Army. I also have a family, a husband I love dearly, who is often forced to take a backseat to my mission and my soldiers. And he understands this, but still I feel a substantial amount of guilt about not being able to put him first.

I have spent the last 10 years putting the Army first. And I'm not getting any younger. Neither is my husband. We want to move on with the next stage of our life together. And we were going to start trying to get there after I took my next Army Physical Fitness test, now scheduled for mid-November. And despite that, I have been wondering about my unit. I don't want anyone to have to pick up my slack, but here I am, contemplating a move that would force my soldiers to pick up my slack for the next year and a half.

Today I found out that we have a major training event scheduled in May, one that I do not want to miss. Why? Because I am the type of leader who wants to train and fight with her soldiers. Before I deployed to OIF 1, I watched a bunch of females dodge deployments simply by getting pregnant. I don't want to be "that female." I am a leader and I have soldiers and officers and senior NCOs counting on me and competence on my areas of expertise.

On the other side of the coin is the promise I made to my husband who has been waiting 8 years for me to finally settle down and start a family with him.

I have the Army for 10 more years. I have my husband forever. So some people would look at this situation and know exactly where my priorities should lie. But I love and respect my unit more than words can define and I already feel that I am substandard. I don't want to let them down either.

And my relationship with God has gotten lost in all this. I don't depend on Him like I should, I don't pray to Him and cry for His help like I should, I don't read His word as much as I should, simply because I don't have any energy. And He should be FIRST, not last.

Right now, I'm trying to work up the courage to talk to my chain of command. They want to know about any major life changes we're considering and I respect that. Maybe they can give me some perspective on what I'm feeling. My commander and first sergeant both have families of their own and are familiar with the difficulties of juggling family and work. But neither one is a woman. And neither one would probably appreciate having one of their NCOs on restrictive job limitations for a year and a half.

God, please help me!

Nov. 1st, 2009

Real Quick Update

Haven't had much time to blog--or do much of anything--lately. I've spent the last two weeks in a challenging military school and next week I'll be gone on a field training exercise with my unit. Then in about three weeks, I have another intensive training event. So work has been hopping lately. I'm exhausted, and looking forward to the holidays for a bit of a break.

FFXI wise, I've gotten BST to 56...hoping to get on and get 57 tonight so I can wear my Scorpion Harness. I'm so excited--Oshi's got a Haubergeon +1 that I plan to borrow when I hit 59. It'll make my BST look sexy! :D

Now off to a late lunch/early dinner with Oshi at Olive Garden, before I have to face a week of field chow.

Oct. 23rd, 2009

DWTS Michael Jackson Tribute

The pros on my one of my favorite shows "Dancing with the Stars" did the most awesome looking tribute to Michael Jackson the other night




And that "Thriller" part at the end was perfect! :D

Oct. 14th, 2009

Six more years

Yes, ladies and gentlemen. I have officially re-enlisted and dedicated six more years of my life to the Army.

I have an intense love/hate relationship with this job. The things I love, I really love and the things I hate drive me nuts. Some days, I just don't want to do this job anymore. But certain distinct moments make it worth it, like watching one of your soldiers succeed, finally seeing the light bulb come on when you're training them, achieving a positive result on a difficult mission, being bone tired after a field exercise, yet having that sense of accomplishment that comes from working so hard to accomplish something so great with your team. Yes, I know this sounds cliche, but it's what keeps me here.

Two years ago, I didn't think I'd be here. Two years ago, I had people tell me that it was over, that I wouldn't be able to serve anymore, that my illnesses and injuries got in the way of me performing the Army's mission. I fought and I fought and now, every single accomplishment feels like a win against those who said, "You can't." And me raising my hand once again and solemnly swearing to support and defend the Constitution of the United States felt like the ultimate victory...even though I was worn out by a day-long field exercise (one of those days where everything that could go wrong did).

I will even begrudgingly admit that that Army is a huge part of who I am and what has shaped my life. I have plenty of interests and dreams of things I want to do after I'm no longer a soldier (ironically, they involve working as a DA civilian so that I can continue to work to improve the lives of even more soldiers) and I do long for the day I no longer have to wake up at the crack of black to go to PT. But you know, I've been doing this job since I was 17. I can't imagine doing anything else.

Somedays it's pretty tough. My leadership constantly pushes me, which I openly invite, but sometimes I feel underappreciated. There is one individual in particular whom I really wish I could please, whom I really wish I could feel that he's proud of me and what I've done for the unit. But you know what? At the end of the day, none of that really matters. It's all about my Soldiers. Right now, in my current unit especially, I serve the best Soldiers in the world. And I wouldn't have it any other way.

Sep. 14th, 2009

Really...

Lady GaGa needs a serious dose of therapy. For real...

I liked her song "Let's Dance" but "Poker Face" makes my ears bleed. But apparently, the American public always fall for fruitcakes.

But I digress. Maybe this is me getting old and unable to understand the next generation. Scary to think that, but oh well.

Real life has kept me pretty busy and off the game for awhile. I do log on once a week for Saturday dynamis, but that has been the extent of my FFXI lately--except for this weekend, when I dusted off the BST and had some fun in the sun in Western Altepa Desert, dodging Cactuars and charming spiders and sicing them on unassuming Anticans--and each other. I'm almost 42 now and I'm thinking that when I come back to the game on a more semi-permanent basis, I'll go back and forth between meriting and leveling BST. I'm planning on concentrating on pumping up my WAR and some of the merits I'll planning are beneficial to BST (I'm 8/8 on axe merits, but crit hit merits will help...I'm currently 3/4). My poor WAR...it's been whored out getting BLM and WHM merits and has almost nothing for it. But I plan on changing that soon...

I am getting a lot out of helping out with church worship. But I still have so many issues and concerns, some of them that have kept me up at night. I'm starting to feel some of my old depression seeping in, but I know I have a great support system in place, so things don't seem quite as bad. But I really do feel like I need a stress free break. But looking at the training schedule, I doubt that will happen anytime soon.

Been experimenting with some other games on XBox games lately. Besides my regular infusion of Guitar Hero and Rock Band, I finished out most of the achievements for A Kingdom for Keflings (don't laugh, that game was cool) and I'm currently in the middle of Shadow Complex. I've got a huge list of RPGs sitting in a pile in my apartment yet untouched by me that I must catch up on, so I'll be busy for awhile. Also, my Super Nintendo has been calling my name--I found a site Starmen.net, entirely devoted to the Mother (EarthBound) series. I've been seriously thinking about trying to get my hands on Mother and Mother 3 imports, but that's probably down there on the priority list. I wish they would release Mother 1+2 and Mother 3 in the US though. That would be sweet. Oh, and lastly, I downloaded FFVII onto my PSP and have been pushing through that as well. So although FFXI has been on the backburner, my consoles are still getting a pretty decent workout.

Also currently reading "Blue Like Jazz" by Don Miller. Have a few new books that I plan to get into once I finish this one, but I'll most likely end up picking up "The Shack" by William P. Young.

Anyways, I know my updates have been non existent lately. I'll try to be better. In the meantime, I update my Twitter on a regular basis. My Twitter ID (of course) is Squigglicious, but my account is locked due to numerous bots trying to access my info, so if you want access, just send me a short message telling me who you are and I should get that to you. But I should warn you--Twitter can be like crack. Seriously.

Sep. 9th, 2009

I know, needs moar updates

Sorry, don't have much time to update. Just posting the newest video from my current favorite band, Skillet. The song is called "Monster." Enjoy!


Jul. 12th, 2009

Adventures with Untamed

So last week, a few of us in the Untamed (all-pet) LS decided to do a Gration run. Well, two actually. We have a crafter in the LS who has been making a bunch of pop items, so we went in with 2 BSTs, 4 PUPs, a SMN, a NIN and me as RDM (I had just gotten 72 and I didn't have a buffer). Proud to say that we did pretty well and even got a shield to drop for Opiate.

Last night after dynamis (yet another Xarcabard with no RDM hat :( ), we did an all pet KSNM ODS run. It was a lot of fun and I got a damascus ingot with my orb, which netted me 350k :D We're talking about having events two days a week on Wednesdays and Saturdays, starting with simple stuff and then maybe moving into the endgame realm.

I don't really know how I feel about that. I mean, I know it will be awhile before we're doing anything really serious endgame, but I took a break from Knights to get away from the endgame grind. I really can't see myself doing endgame with anyone but Knights. However, finding new ways and experimenting with new tactics to get our pets in on the action is really fun. I'm enjoying helping an LS out with something other than my BLM or my WHM and I'm learning a lot. That's what I love about this game--no matter how long I play, there's something new to learn. Too often, LSes get stuck in a rut, using cookie-cutter tactics to defeat bosses. These tactics usually use specific jobs to get the job done. That is very effective, but sometimes also boring. With Untamed, I can actually use my SMN, and soon, my BST in new and exciting ways.

I'm sure I'll have more time to make a definite decision. I'll help out with events as best I can and bring my experience to the table. But when we start pushing into the realm of endgame, I'm going to have to think long and hard about it. It's almost as if I'm cheating on a boyfriend with a new fling.

Anyways, I'm off to do more schoolwork! Joy...

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