Friday, January 30, 2009

Blog Banter

Hi Guys!

Gabriel has agreed in allowing me to periodically post on his blog, as long as I allow him access to my email. Apparently GMail doesn't have any way to confirm Gabby's address as being in the Youl System, so to make life easier on the ole' boy, I just grant him access to my email.

The recent Blog Banter has come out and the question asked is, “How do we, EVE bloggers, adapt to changes as they are thrust upon us (speed changes, no more ghost training, all the dev blogs, etc), or as our lives make playing the game different (more time, less time)?”.

First off, as a "at-one-time" dedicated PvE'er, I can say that not all change is bad. Once you have rescued the Damsel in Distress a couple of thousand times, popped Zor's ship innumerable times, and have beaten off the EoM hordes in Gone Berserk for the ump-teenth time, you start to desire a little more of a challenge. This is what has driven me from Mission Running to Factional Warfare. So, with the various changes that are going to take place this year, I almost find my heart starting to beat a little faster in the knowledge that the game-play can only get better!

I had a chance to speak with Gabby about the matter, and he really hasn't shown his opinion either way. Gabe is so focused on the war that, as he would put it, “find working with agents (his way of what we call Mission Running) to be a distraction from what God has called him to do."

Now, the second part of the question is regarding time management. Unlike probably most EVE-Online game players, I have a distinct advantage. I am 44 years old (at the time of this post) and I am retired on disability. My primary duties entail, prepping for my classes that I teach, caring for my 78 year old mother, and house chores (paying bills, shopping, laundry {ugh!!}). This means, my schedule is relatively flexible! It's not uncommon for me to stay up until 2-3AM (Idaho Time) working with Gabe on FW plexing. If the corp. wants to schedule a 11:00AM mission ops, I don't have to be at a job, but can very easily fit my schedule around that. Through all of this I must confess that there are some things that I absolutely must discipline myself. From Monday thru Wednesday, I set aside time to work on my class preps. Any educator will tell you that for every hour of teaching, there is usually 3-4 hours of prep time. At the moment, I am teaching through the book of Genesis as well as the Life of King David. Sure, I could probably grab some pre-compiled Sunday School material, but my classes are geared more for the adult/ college level. So, to find me online during the first half of the week is a rarity, unless I am tweeking on a skill or something.

Blogging has also broadened my horizons a little. I've had The Bible Blogger for a couple of years now, but 99% of my posts are already online at Theology Online. My third blog, of which has just started up is the Online Astronomer. This reveals my interests in Astronomy.

As a whole, I am grateful for the life that I have been given. The stress is gone, and my blood-pressure is way down.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

The Battle of Sahtogas

Unlike the previous week, tonight started off to be rather boring. As per my schedule, I lifted off from base and slipped into Kamela. My orders for the past couple of weeks were to run careful security checks throughout the Bleak Lands and assist alerted Imperial bases in securing themselves from Minmatar attacks. If a system is considered to be contested, my team’s job is to secure the local bases, and thus decontesting the system. Over the past couple of weeks, a few of my colleagues and I were very busy. Each night we would secure an average of five complexes and decontest two to three systems. When my duty began, I discovered to my horror that Matari infiltrators set off multiple false alarms throughout many of our major systems. Nothing appeared to be contested from these particular systems, but the congestion of alerts was so great, we had to assuage the concerns of each complex before we could focus on the contested systems.

The members of my team were Reese Traint (New Light Corporation), Jonathan Theodoulos, of the 24th Imperial Crusade, and his brother Onesimus, a new member of VFOR. Both Jonathan and Onesimus are fine lads. Though I am proud to be their uncle, I have found these boys to be young, and in need of maturity.

I left Jonathan and Onesimus to continue their scanning of the Kurniainen and Saidusairos systems, while Reese and I worked to resolve the debacle in Iesa. Entering the system of Iesa, we discovered that there were about a dozen complexes that had gone on alert. Each one needed attention, and we knew we would not be able to close in on the more important systems until these were resolved, so Reese Traint focused on the Minor Complexes in his Punisher, while I took off in my Crusader to calm down the larger plexes.

It must have taken us a couple of hours, but in the end, the two of us were able to secure all twelve complexes, freeing us up to scan down the more important contested systems. Reese took off for Lamaa while I turned the other direction and headed for Kurniainen. So far, this evening was not going well. We were tired and I was looking forward to heading back to base, relaxing with some Mozart, and munch on some of those wonderful oatmeal raisin cookies my niece sent me from home.

I checked in with the two boys, and Onesimus reported that he couldn’t find any alerted bases in the two contested systems of Kurniainen and Saidusairos. “Ugh,” I thought to myself, “this is not going well at all!” I reached over my console and flipped on the Region Reports, showing me the contested systems within the war zone. Sure enough, both of those systems were RED, and then I noticed another RED appearing on the screen: Sahtogas.

I flipped on the comms, and said, “Boys, I’m making a quick stop in Sahtogas. It shows to be contested, and I am hoping to get that straightened out.” I thought for a while, and realized that this is turning out to be a bummer of a night. “Jonathan,” I continued, “How about heading back and completing the reports for us? Onesimus and I will do a quick run through Sahtogas and then head home.” I didn’t think I would find anything. My score so far tonight was ‘zip’ and I didn’t think anything could ruin my losing streak.

I continued on, and finally jumped into Sahtogas. To my delight, I found two complexes on alert and no war targets in system. “Wonderful,” I thought, “This was going to be easy.” I quickly ran a profile check on the neutral pilots in system, and all five of them checked out all positive, so I started relaxing a little more, thinking none of them were pirates. Being a member of VFOR, we do not deal with pirates unless it is a matter of life or death. Besides, though I was in an interceptor, it was currently fitted for speed. I had no scramblers or webbers installed, because I usually don’t run into trouble, especially on quiet nights like tonight. Checking the reports again, I confirmed that Sahtogas was still contested, so I popped the crusader into gear, and sped off for the closest complex.

Securing a complex is not hard. The empire has it setup where all you need to do is to move in on the primary bunker, and run and orbit scan for between 15 to 20 minutes. Once the scan is complete, the complex is secured and I can move on. Nice and simple!

I reached the acceleration gate of the first complex and jumped in. Once inside I saw the bunker, which was about 68km away. I punched my micro-warp drive and quickly reached a broad orbit around the bunker. My scans began and I sat back working on the scans. After about ten minutes I noticed my directional scanner picked up a Jaguar within 15 AUs of the complex. I looked at Local again, and didn’t see any pirate, but the Minmatar Assault Ship made me a bit nervous. I continued with my scans and suddenly alarms went off in my ship. The Jaguar had entered the complex and began an aggressive approach towards me! “Glory Honkers,” I caught myself saying out loud, “This was supposed to be a quiet night!”

I took a quick scan of the Assault Ship, and bugged out. Remember, I wasn’t prepared to go head-on with an opponent, so to stick around would have been foolish. I quickly slid my ship in on a local jump gate, banked around, and shot for a safe spot I had set up earlier that week. I came to a stop in the middle of ‘no where’, and flipped on my directional scanners. I tightened the beam to 30 degrees and scanned the second plex and found it to be empty. I then turned my scanner and low and behold there was the Jag, sitting real pretty in the first complex.

Running the name down, I found the owner to be Ghost Hunter. I pulled up his dossier, and it showed him to have a Security Standing of a 3.4. Pirates show up as a NEGATIVE number, so I was a bit taken back by this. I looked at his corporation: NAQAM. “Huh, never heard of it.” VFOR’s database are kept up pretty well, and this corp didn’t show up to be a pirate corp, so I was more than a bit confused. “Well, maybe it was a misunderstanding,” I thought. He didn’t lock me, so rather than panic, I’ll just move my attention to the second complex. I kicked on my warp drives and headed off. Arriving at the second acceleration gate, I jumped in and moved in on the bunker. The timer started and I watched my scans carefully. After about three minutes, in pops this Jaguar again, and starts to slowly move in on the timer with me. Now, if I had any doubts about this guys intentions, they were quickly dispelled. This neutral wanted to hurt me!!! Flipping on the drives, I kicked the crusader around and headed off to my safe spot. Now, I had the timers run down a bit on both complexes. I only needed one, but I soon realized that this was going to be a long night.

Scanners showed Ghost Hunter to be in the second plex, so I quickly warped to the first, hit the acceleration gate and sped quickly to the timer. Half way there, in jumps the Jag, and he slowly moves towards me. HA! The dude doesn’t have a micro-warp drive! I knew I immediately had an advantage on him. I was on the timer, and orbited it, while he was still 60km away. It took him a while to get to me, and by the time he was within targeting range, I added a few more seconds to the timer, and I sped out! Wa-Hoo! This was fun! This routine went on for a while. I would jump into the plex where he was not at, and head for the timer, he would follow me in and chase after me. By the time he reached me, I added more seconds to the timer, and as quick as a greased pig after a July rain, I shot out of there before he could get a lock on me.

By this time Onesimus arrived and we decided to collaborate. Ones (pronounced “owns”) took off for a complex and headed for the timer. This caused Ghost Hunter to jump after him. While he was chasing my nephew around, I took off for the other complex, and sat on the timer. Ones would get away in his executioner and the Jaguar would come huffing after me. By the time he arrived, I shot off, knowing that Ones was on the other timer. Oh what fun!!!

After a couple of cycles of this cat and mouse game, we had to stop. Ghost Hunter wasn’t a fool and he quickly learned our game. So we setup a safe spot directly in between the two complexes and while monitoring our antagonist, I directed Onesimus on which complex to hit. Now me, I tire easy. I am not a warrior, but a theology scholar. I am quite content with my books, and computers studying the latest archeological findings. My nephew on the other-hand was bubbling over with excitement and energy! He would zip in and out staying just ahead of our slower opponent, running the timer down each time. After a couple of passes, Ones stopped in on my safe spot to get his bearings. This was when I realized our advantage!

“Onesimus,” I said over the comm., “Notice how we are directly in line with the two complexes? Let’s wait here a minute and try something.” I realized that Ghost Hunter was scanning us also, and while doing so, he could see Onesimus’ executioner to be next to mine. The one thing he could not see is was depth!

We waited a couple of minutes, and the Jag quieted down, realizing that his ‘mouse’ was with me, in between the complexes. He didn’t have probes therefore he couldn’t get a lock on our exact position, so we were safely out of harm’s reach. Sure enough, the assault ship stopped and waited for Onesimus to make the next move.

“Now, Ones ole boy, just head carefully over to that other plex,” I said to my nephew. “If he is watching us, he might not know you have warped to the next complex, and think you are still with me!”

Onesimus deftly turned his executioner toward the empty complex, and slipped into warp. Sure enough, the Jaguar didn’t move! Ones jumped through the acceleration gate and quickly got on the timer. It was down to under three minutes! My nephew kept a tight orbit on the bunker, and for a while Ghost Hunter didn’t move.

“Two minutes,” Onesimus called out over the comm. System.

“One minute, forty seconds…. One minute, twenty seconds…” Still no move from Ghost Hunter.

“One minute!”

I turned my crusader and started slowly moving towards the complex where my nephew was riding the timer. This must have tipped off the Jaguar, because he immediately warped toward the other complex! My heart pounded! “He’s coming in! He’s coming in!” I shouted, “Be careful!!!”

“Forty seconds… thirty seconds… twenty seconds…”

“I see him Uncle.” Onesimus calmly commented. “He just entered the plex.”

“Ten, nine, eight… ,“ ticked off my nephew. I held my breath!

“Three, two, one!”

“Warp my Boy! Warp!” If I could have jumped up and down in my pod, I would have! My heart was racing and I could see this wicked person locking his scrams and webs on my poor nephew.

There was silence for a couple of seconds, and all I could hear was the thump, thump, thump of my heart. Then Onesimus’ voice came across the comms, “I’m out!”

“We turned our ships and warped to the nearest gate. I leaned over and checked the reports.


Wa-Hoo!!!!! We did it!

We carefully headed back to base. I remember my nephew as a young lad, running around in his bare feet at the estate. Now, my view of him has started to change. Sure, he’s young, and yes, he still does things that makes me nervous, but now I have started seeing my nephew in another light. No longer, Onesimus the quirky child, but Onesimus the warrior.

My heart swelled with pride.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Factional War Rank Pins

Today, John came online and was a bit excited. He told me that he received his pins from Dragonfire Laser Designs today and was all excited about them.

He explained to me how Lucas Amodio spent the holidays designing and molding the Amarr Faction Rank pins, and that the first five of the 10 piece set had arrived in the mail. John continued on to say that even though they are only$3.00 a piece, they are a good deal.

This truly amazes me. I do all the work, and take all of the risks, and my avatar thinks he can share in my achievements. Are all earthlings like this?

*Important Note: Though Lucas does not have them on his web site yet, go ahead and email him.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Matari on Twitter!

Today, I finally broke away from John's Twitter account. While online, I discovered Twhirl, and created my own account. Bear in mind, I am attempting to expand my social network to others, and John had shown me how useful Twitter is in meeting other people. If you are interested, toss me a "tweet" at GabbyTheodoulos. I'll be glad to respond!

When I logged on for the first time, I discovered to my horror that several Matari had also infiltrated Twitter! I contacted both the Imperial Chancellor as well as the Ministry of War, but have yet to obtain a response.

So far, I have identified two, and think there might be several more.

Alexia_Morgan is a member of the Brutor tribe. While reading her bio information, it appears to me that she might just hold a grudge against the Amarrian people.

Wensley is even more nefarious! His Security Status is a -9.8 and has a 5 Million isk bounty on his head! Be careful with this one, he looks tough!

If you find any more Matari on Twitter, please contact me as soon as possible. I'll add them to this list and forward the information onto the appropriate authorities.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Agony Unleashed Downs an Archon

Tonight, while sitting here in Tuomuta, I linked onto the Internet and attempted to catch up on my reading. My order of Punishers won't be in until tomorrow, and none of my corp mates seem to be available, so I kicked back in the Capsuleer's Lounge and logged on.

Recently, I stumbled across a really fine blog post on A Misguided Adventurer. In one of his recent posts, he writes how a rather overly confident carrier pilot attempted to have his friends and him for lunch. In the end, it was the carrier who had to eat humble pie, and at a cost of over 1.5 Billion isk!

I am a firm believer that humility is far better than humiliation.

Good work guys!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009


Today a group of us from VFOR decided to assist the Sarum Family in several of local problems. Together with my friends Mechbard and Amroh Bhank, I set off to right several wrongs.

While on one particular mission, I noticed that my friend Mechbard started calling me, "Gabby". Now, I am used to be calling Gabe or Gabriel, but this new nickname took me back a little. No one had ever called me "Gabby" before!

Where I come from "Gabby" was a nickname for someone who like to gab or talk all the time. I thought to myself, "Gabe ole boy, do you talk too much?"

I didn't think so. Hmmmm....

Anyways, after a couple of days dwelling on it, I have come to the conclusion that this new nickname is all right by me. It comes across in a comfortable friendly manner, and if my friends start referring to me as "Gabby" that is fine by me!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Frustrating the Enemy

After spending the evening on Ops, I decided to call it a night. At the time, it was just after 10PM (Idaho Time), and we had an extremely successful night capturing enemy complexes deep in their territory.

Arriving back at our extended base, I decided to leave my EWAR Crucifier* behind and fly back in my capsule. It was relatively quiet, and I didn't think there would be a problem. Besides, all we saw was jBobj, who a single Matari militia, and I didn't think he would be interested in me.

I dropped off my ship and quietly slipped out of dock. No one was around, so I headed for the first gate. When I made it to the second gate, I noticed jBobj again. My initial reaction was just to wave to him, but we are under orders not to fraternize with the enemy. So I just moved on.

When I appeared from my next jump through a gate, I discovered to my horror that the system was full of Matari War Targets! Flying a capsule through low security space is much like running around in your "undies". There is not much between you and the outside. Needless to say, I made a run for it! While warping through the system, I noticed my buddy jBobj popped up on my Local Screen. Apparently he thought I would be an easy target to add to his kill board. I was betting that my pod's small signature and my ability to warp quickly would keep this sorry hide of mine safe. When I came sliding up to the next gate, there they were! All those war targets seen in Local. I don't recall exactly how many enemy ships were camping at the gate (mind you, I was quite busy getting my pod out of there before they would pop me), but from my small perspective, half of the Matari fleet was there and they were all staring down at my tiny little pod.

I jumped through the gate.

Have you ever heard the adage, "Out of the frying pan and into the fire?" That is exactly what happened to me! Thinking that I finally rid myself of all the nefarious cretins in the region, I jumped right into the lap of a bunch of pirates! This particular corporation of pirates had declared war against our corporation, but since we only consider Matari Militia as our enemy, we generally ignore them. Yet, keep in mind, I am only flying my capsule!

It's a good thing that when you come through a jump gate, you remain cloaked for about a minute. I needed that time to calm down a bit and assess my situation. Once a little calmer, I realized that most of these pirates were flying larger ships, so I knew they would not have an easy go at targeting me, so off I went again!

I only had a couple more jumps to go, so I was feeling rather confident of myself. Lo and behold, there was my good ole friend jBobj in local. One thing you have to hand it to him... he doesn't give up easily. Making it to the next gate, I jumped through, and once again found myself in the middle full of war targets.

Taking off, I noticed one of them, who goes by the name matt deamon toss of a little jib on local. "Run Gab [sic]. Run for your **** life." Now, if I were permitted to chat with the enemy, I would attempt to encourage him in two ways. First off, it's GABE, or actually my friends are starting to call me Gabby, not Gab. Second, I would strongly admonish him to kindly refrain from using foul language. You never quite know when there are ladies present, and to use such vulgar language in public is terribly inappropriate.

Well, I finally made it back home. Despite the rascallions in the poorer neighborhoods, I did not get my pod popped, and we captured five complexes. All in a night's work!

* An EWAR Crucifier is a small frigate fitted for Electronic Warfare. By itself it doesn't do much damage, but in a fleet, it really becomes a valuable asset.