The sword to your song: Geisha’s Blade

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“This world has need of song and sword.”
- Patricia Biggs, Dragon Bones.

An awe-inspiring presence in certain cosplay conventions that I’ve been to, Geisha’s Blade never fails to draw in a large crowd. So much so that I’ve never taken a decent photo of their booth aside from the small shaky one above, therefore the rest of the images in this blog post will come from their own online gallery.

What is Geisha’s Blade?

Based in Mandaluyong City, Metro Manila, Philippines, it is, some say ‘unfortunately’, an online shop with no physical presence aside from their deliveries and their booths at various conventions. But what distinguishes it from other online shops is the fact that Geisha’s Blade does not have your standard fare of clothes, bags, shoes or gadgets- no. Its wares consist of various types of swords, be it metal or wood; hand-forged or machine-forged; samurai or medieval style. Geisha’s Blade even stocks some manga, anime or videogame-inspired swords. Do note that Geisha’s Blade only sells replicas of popular swords. As of writing, they have not (and never claimed to have) provided swords to any popular franchises such as Lord of the Rings or Highlander.

Aside from blades and swords, Geisha’s Blade does sell other items such as hakama, Japanese armor, masks and dolls. The online shop might be a bit too big to browse through, so here are a few examples from their stellar collection just to show you what they offer. Hint: If you click on the image, you’ll be re-directed to that item in their shop!

Standard Bokken (Dark)

The “bokken” 木剣 or “bokutou” 木刀 is a Japanese wooden sword which is used for sword training. It is shaped like a real sword, usually like the katana.

Bamboo Shinai

The “shinai” is used for sword practice and more popularly, for competition in kendo. Unlike the bokken which is made of wood, a shinai is made of flexible bamboo. It has specific weight and lengths based on kendo competition rules.

Kirishitan (Christian) Katana

“Kirishitan” literally translates to “Christian”. The Kirishitan Katana is Geisha’s Blade’s tribute to Dom Justo Takayama, a Christian daimyo and Japanese samurai who fleed to Manila when Japan began to persecute Christians during the 1600s.

Hitokiri Battousai's Katana

Based on the live-action movie “Rurouni Kenshin”; it was once Hitokiri Battousai’s katana which he left in the battlefield, and subsequently picked up by Udo Jin-e.

Highlander Sword

Based on the sword from the 1986 movie “Highlander”, it has a dragon-head handle. In the movie, this katana was forged by the legendary swordsmith Masamune.

MGS Raiden Blade

A hand-forged, fully-sharpened blade that is capable of cutting through fresh bamboo, this is based on Raiden’s High Frequency Sword in the videogame Metal Gear Solid Revengeance.

Aside from selling their fine blades, Geisha’s Blade also hosts generous contests such as the  Win-A-Sword Slash-a-Pose 2013, Samurai Santa 2013, and the Article Writing Contest 2014.

Interested? Don’t message me since I’m not affiliated with them. Instead, check out their website, their Facebook page, their concisely-written FAQ page, or contact Geisha’s Blade by using this form on their website.

Blogged by: Dindeen Jaro 02/05/2014

The Story So Far – FFXIV ARR v2.15

Game: Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn

Conclusion drawn from Main Story quests up to “Build on the Stone”.

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As of writing: Minfilia, despite having the Echo, is clueless regarding the true intentions of Ascians, particularly the white-robed one named Elidibus. The Students of Baldesion cannot be contacted due to a yet-unknown reason, thus the Scions of the Seventh Dawn cannot turn to them for advice.

What do we know about the Ascians (a.k.a Paragons)?
– Their ‘one true god’ is Zodiark.
– There are beast-like Ascians and human-like Ascians.
– They can teleport and possess mortal beings.
– They are aethereal and are thus seemingly immortal.
– Even if ‘killed’, only their host body will die; the Ascian will just possess a different body.
– They acknowledge the existence of Hydaelyn, but consider ‘Her’ a bane to their existence.
– They are the ones who taught the Beast Tribes how to summon primals.
– The summoning method which they taught to the Moogles basically turned their King to a primal.

My observations:

In the last few story quests leading to the end of v2.15, Elidibus mentioned that Ascians cannot be perceived by “unknowledgeable” ones. Although at first it may seem that only those blessed by Hydaelyn’s Echo can see them, it is apparent that Urianger also caught a glimpse of the Ascian Elidibus while Tataru was completely unaware even though she stood right beside the Ascian. Therefore, those who have much knowledge about the workings of the world as a whole (such as Urianger who delves into research and mysteries) may be able to perceived Ascians; but those with The Echo can see them more clearly. Elidibus also mentions that Ascians have the Echo, or a similar gift; and that if Minfilia develops her Echo further, she will come to understand that which the Ascians have been striving for. He then states that everything will go back to ‘how it should be’, after commenting that Hydaelyn’s power wanes.

My conclusion:

Hydaelyn and Zodiark are one and the same. They are different manifestations of “All made one”. As in all other creation myths, darkness came before light. Thus, the Ascians believe Zodiark to be the ‘original’, and His resurrection (activation) is ‘how it should be’ to them. However, I think it is merely a cycle, much like the Astral and Umbral cycle of the years and ages of Eorzea. Zodiark was ‘active’ first, then Hydaelyn became ‘active’ once Zodiark became passive. And in time, Hydaelyn will become passive, then Zodiark becomes active. However, because the Ascians think Zodiark to be the one true god (as opposed to realizing that both are the same god, or rather the manifestation of will of their universe), they strive to do things that will hasten the cycle. Disrupting the aetherial flow by summoning the primals seems to be one of the most effective methods, thus they’ve taught all the Beast Tribes how to summon their primals. Since primals exist in a different plane as Eorzea (but both are within the same ‘universe’ of Hydaelyn/Zodiark), pulling them into Eorzea will cause massive disturbances to the aether… these become cracks on Hydaelyn’s crystal, if you will, which in turn weaken her- hastening the coming of Zodiark’s activation. The Echo is afforded to both Hydaelyn’s children (such as Minfilia and the Warriors of Light), and to Zodiark’s children (the Ascians). As for the Ascians being beast-like and human-like, I think it is only the perception of non-Ascians that make them so. Since they exist beyond Eorzea’s plane, when they manifest themselves in Eorzea, it is different from how they really look like.

tl;dr

Hydaelyn is Zodiark, and Zodiark is Hydaelyn. Zodiark is the dark side, which existed first, served by Ascians; Hydaelyn is the light side, activated after Zodiark became dormant, is the current manifestation of the universe’s will. Ascians disturbed the flow of aether, which weakens Hydaelyn so that Zodiark will awaken and replace her.

FFXIV ARR: Beast Tribes Reputation 2.1

Game: Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn

>> Beast Tribes Rep Guide 2.2 <<

Guide Update 01/08/2014: Some Friendly rank quests give Allagan Tomes of Mythology as rewards.
Guide Update 01/16/2014: Beast Tribe minion is worth 25,000 gil and Beast Tribe mount is worth 120,000 gil, both untradeable.
Guide Update 01/26/2014: Added list of Beast Tribe Vendor items.
Guide Update 02/03/2014: Confirmed that Trusted Rank can still take repeatable Beast Tribe quests as seen here . Same limits apply; no more reputation received.
Guide Update 02/04/2014: Completed list of Sylph and Amalj’aa Vendor items.

Total Beast Tribe Quests Allowance per Day: 6
Reset: 12:00am Japan time (GMT+9)

Reminder: Each quest that is submitted uses up a Quest Allowance. Therefore, if you are Recognized by Sylphs and submit all six quests from them, you cannot take any Amalj’aa quests for that day. Note that I used the term ‘submitted’. Although the Quest Allowance disappears from the total when you accept a quest, the allowance will return to the total if you Abandon the quest before you submit it.

Quest Limit:
Neutral Rank: 3 quests per day for each tribe (three 5-Reputation quests)
Recognized Rank: 6 quests per day for each tribe (three 5-Reputation and three 7-Reputation quests)
Friendly Rank: 6 quests per day for each tribe (three 5-Reputation/three 7-Reputation/three 10-Reputation quests)
Trusted Rank: Same limits and rewards as Friendly Rank. Reputation no longer received (maxed out).

Beast Tribe Locations:
Sylph: Little Solace, East Shroud
Amalj’aa: Ring of Ash, Sunken Temple of Qarn, Southern Thanalan

Beast Tribe Unlocking:
Sylph: Accept and complete the “Seeking Solace” quest from Serpent Commander Heuloix at the Twin Adder company in New Gridania.
Amalj’aa: Accept and complete the “Peace for Thanalan” quest from High Commander Swift at the Flames company in Ul’dah.

– Summarized Table of Information –beast_tribesV

– List of Beast Tribe Vendor Items –

Vendors can be found in their respective Beast Tribe areas: Little Solace for Sylphs and Ring of Ash for Amalj’aa.

beast_tribes_itemsII

FFXIV ARR: Pharos Sirius Concise Guide

Game: Final Fantasy XIV : A Realm Reborn

Note: If you’ve already unlocked the Pharos and looked up this guide because you can’t clear it, I wish you all the luck in the world. If you looked up this guide because you are thinking of unlocking Pharos, please reconsider. Read my Recommendations at the end before you unlock this dungeon.

Boss Mechanics:

DPS on the boss while watching out for their mobs.

First Boss: Symond The Unsinkable – Kill all hound mobs as they show up. Three stacks of debuff from the hound mobs will make your character explode. Watch out for AoE sandstorms that show up on the floor.
Second Boss: Zu – Do not kill the eggs because it will make the boss build up rage. Wait for the eggs to hatch and kill the mobs as they show up.
Third Boss: Tyrant – DPS all the way.
Final Boss: Siren – A Charmed target must be healed to 100% before the Charm debuff kicks in, otherwise he will turn against the group. Zombie mobs, especially Sergeants, must be killed ASAP; stay away from them because they will hold their target down. If Siren teleports to the middle of the room, run under her. If she teleports to the side of the room, stay away from her path (like Ifrit dash).

Recommendations:

Once you unlock Pharos Sirius, it will show up in the High-Level Duty Roulette along with Amdapor Keep. If your character has just barely reached the Average Item Level (48) or if your character is a Summoner, Dragoon or Monk, think twice before unlocking this dungeon. The reason for that is because the first and second bosses, and the final boss, require burst ranged damage. Re-read the boss mechanics. You will notice that a melee DPS (monk, dragoon) will have a hard time taking care of the boss’ mobs, and a summoner which is damage-over-time based will barely be able to keep up with the mob spawn. I am a summoner; I would lock up Pharos again if I only knew what it was about before I unlocked it. And my sister is a monk; I told her not to unlock this dungeon just yet.

That said, Pharos Sirius is a fun challenge if done with a proper team (not a random/roulette one) or a group of friends.

FFXIV ARR: Customized Emote+Action Macro

Game: Final Fantasy XIV : A Realm Reborn

Where to find user macros: Click SYSTEM, then click USER MACROS.

A macro is a list of keywords that the user may customize to combine sets of emotes, actions or even chat.

List of macros (outgoing link, not my compilation): FFXIV ARR Macro Commands

Example: 

/macroicon “Resurrection”
/ac “Swiftcast” <me>
/wait 2
/ac “Resurrection” <t>
/em tells <t> to get up already! щ(ಠ益ಠщ)

The example above will do the following:

* It will use the icon for the Arcanist skill Resurrection instead of the generic Macro icons.

* It will cast the Thaumaturge skill Swiftcast on the user.

* There is a waiting time of 2 seconds.

* It will cast the Arcanist skill Resurrection on the user’s target.

* It will display a custom emote (with no motion) in the chat window, that will look like this:

emotes

Earth and Eorzea through Lominsan Eyes

As I took screenshots of the beautiful night sky in Costa del Sol, I wondered, will this be the only sky and stars that I can see in the future? Eorzea’s skies are obscured by nothing but clouds and treetops- Earth’s sky is barely visible from the cities, the bright lights drown out star and moon light.

A clear nightsky at Costa del Sola, Limsa Lominsa.

A clear nightsky at Costa del Sola, Limsa Lominsa.

When I reviewed the cutscenes for the Titan quest, the kobolds mentioned the breaking of a ‘covenant’. I remembered how an NPC commented in one of my quests that the kobolds summoned the primal Titan only because Lominsans encroached on kobold territory. A covenant was created in the past: Lominsans can live in their cities, towns and sanctuaries, but must leave the mountains and some parts of the wilds to kobolds. But due to their greed, Lominsans wanted it all… and my character was required to ‘save’ them from the wrath of the kobolds and their father, Titan. There are no primals, no kobolds, no Titan on Earth, but isn’t this story all too familiar?

In the wake of the recent supertyphoon Haiyan (locally called Yolanda), many refugees flee to other provinces much like how the Ala Mhigans fled to Gridania and Ul’dah when the Empire took over Ala Mhigo. The difference is that Haiyan is an unstoppable force of Earth, while the Empire was only able to take over Ala Mhigo because of the Ala Mhigans own fault- a coup which weakened their city-state and allowed the Empire to attack without much resistance. But the similarity? Wherever we are, Earth or Eorzea, there will always be those who are less fortunate than us. Eorzea’s Gridania, a quiet land which dislikes war and thus seeks to limit its people to minimize conflict, assisted the homeless Ala Mhigans. But Ul’dah, the prosperous city of much wealth, left refugees outside its doors, in the harshness of the desert, offered little help, and showed much disgust and distrust. On Earth, help is pouring in from other countries or provinces, but what are some people doing? They are taking the ‘best’ donations and they just send in the leftovers to those who are actually in need.

Games are not meant to be taken seriously. It is meant to be used for entertainment, to get away from the harsh realities of life. All events and characters are fictional, and any similarities to real life are coincidental. So what exactly am I even talking about? I’m not quite sure how to explain it but maybe it goes something like this: As human beings, we can learn from almost anything and games are no exception.

Windows XP and Windows 7: FAT Virus Prevention and Removal from Removable Drives

A FAT virus is malware that affects the File Allocation Table (FAT), rewriting some parts of it so that the malware can infect other removable drives that will be connected to the computer system. To prevent the auto-activation of the virus through your operating system’s autorun or autoplay feature, disable that feature through the Group Policy Editor. Note that Group Policy Editor is not available in “Starter” version of operating systems.

Remember: Turning off Autorun or Autoplay does not protect your system in the case of user error. That is, if the infected drive is executed manually by the user, the system will be infected despite Autorun/Autoplay being turned off. Instead of opening or double-clicking a removable drive (which may activate attached malware), you can right-click it and choose “Explore” or use the Windows explorer sidebar to explore the drive.

The propagation of this kind of malware depends on user intervention. If you do not copy or execute malware, then your computer system will not be infected.

To Turn Off Autoplay on Windows XP:

Group Policy Editor (Windows XP)

Group Policy Editor (Windows XP)


1) Click START.
2) Click RUN.
3) Type “gpedit.msc” without the quotation marks in the Run dialog box.
4) In “Local Computer Policy”, under “Computer Configuration”, click “Administrative Templates”, then click “System”.
5) On the Extended tab on the right panel, double-click “Turn Off Autoplay”.
6) Under the Settings tab, choose “Enabled” and Turn Off Autoplay on: “All drives”.
7) Click OK. You do not have to restart the system to implement this change.

To Turn Off Autoplay on Windows 7:

Local Group Policy Editor (Windows 7)

Local Group Policy Editor (Windows 7)


1) Click START.
2) Click RUN. If RUN is not visible in the Programs menu, type “Run” on the Search box, then click RUN.
3) Type “gpedit.msc” without the quotation marks in the Run dialog box.
4) In “Local Computer Policy”, under “Computer Configuration”, click “Administrative Templates”, then click “Windows Components”, then click “Autoplay Policies”.
5) On the Extended tab on the right panel, double-click “Turn Off Autoplay”.
6) Under the Settings tab, choose “Enabled” and Turn Off Autoplay on: “All drives”.
7) Click OK. You do not have to restart the system to implement this change.

To View Hidden Files on Windows XP:

Folder options (Windows XP)

Folder options (Windows XP)

1) Open any Windows Explorer window such as My Documents.
2) On the menu bar, click “Tools”, then click “Folder Options”.
3) Open the View tab.
4) Under the group settings of “Files and Folders”:
a) Tick the options “Show hidden files and folders”.
b) Untick “Hide extensions for known file types”.
c) Untick “Hide protected operating system files”. If Windows displays a Warning, answer “Yes” (the default is No).
5) Click “Apply”, then click “OK”.

To View Hidden Files on Windows 7:

Folder Options (Windows 7)

Folder Options (Windows 7)

1) Open any Windows Explorer window such as Documents.
2) On the menu bar, click “Organize”, then click “Folder and Search Options”.
3) Open the View tab.
4) Under the group settings of “Files and Folders”:
a) Under “Advanced settings”, tick the options “Show hidden files, folders and drives”.
b) Untick “Hide extensions for known file types”.
c) Untick “Hide protected operating system files”. If Windows displays a Warning, answer “Yes” (the default is No).
5) Click “Apply”, then click “OK”.

To Delete a File-hiding FAT Virus on a Removable Drive:
* You must show all hidden files first. See instructions above. This also works for Windows 7.

The contents of a virus-infected drive

The contents of a virus-infected drive

1) Select all of the files in the infected drive, except for the unnamed hidden folder. The unnamed folder contains your files.
2) Hold SHIFT the press DEL on your keyboard for permanent (irreversible) deletion.
3) If Windows asks you to confirm deletion, click “Yes”.

To Unhide the Unnamed Hidden Folder:

* This also works for Windows 7.

Rename the unnamed folder

Rename the unnamed folder


1) Rename the folder by pressing F2 on your keyboard, or right-click then choose “Rename”.
2) Give the folder any name that does not contain spaces or special characters.
3) Click START, then execute RUN. Type “cmd” without the quotation marks to open the command prompt window.
4) Go to the affected drive. For example, if the hidden folder is in drive F, type “F:” without the quotation marks then press ENTER on your keyboard.

Use ATTRIB to unhide the folder

Use ATTRIB to unhide the folder

5) Use the ATTRIB command to unhide the folder. Use -h to unhide and -s to remove its system file setting (system files are hidden by default). For example, if your hidden folder is named “a”, type: attrib a -h -s
6) Press ENTER on your keyboard, then type “exit” without the quotation marks and press ENTER again to exit command prompt.

End Note: I will not be remaking this guide for other versions of Windows OS. For questions, comments, corrections or suggestions, please send me a message on Facebook by clicking my apple logo on the sidebar.

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