How to: level engineering rapidly (also survival tips for alliance 85 start)
While it's probably too late for you to get a realm first if you're reading this, there's enough I picked up getting mine that I thought might be useful for others either looking to race in the next expo, living on low pop servers, planning to bomb the ah, or wondering how something like this happens. Also I'm bragging a little.
1: Mine ghost iron until your eyes bleed. Unless you seriously luck out with the drop rate, you won't get enough motes to get the harmonys required to use anything that also uses trillium, ghost iron is your safest bet, all the way up. The mine just south of the temple in northern jade forest is ideal for this- lots of people run through there and kill mobs, most of them aren't miners. Also, you can mine ore (anecdotally - one in three-one in five) from the corpses of the large spiders left behind by everyone.
If pickings get slim, run out of the mine and up the path to the temple/monastery thing, you can usually find 2-3 nodes there while you wait for the mine nodes to respawn.
Also, there tends to be a backlog of rich ore veins at the front of the start area, they stick around because all the people in the start area don't have the skill level to mine them.
2: If you're alliance, farm the guards at the entrance to the second horde stronghold you attack (not the one you get air dropped in on, the one immediately after the Shado Pan guy shows up.) I'm sure the horde have a similar area. You can use the cloth they drop to make a couple trinkets instead of anvils. You should be able to get four at a time without trying too much.
3: While there are some things you probably want to pick up on the way to 600/615, mostly you'll be making anvils. They give three points up to 585/600, only require things you can get from ghost iron and don't turn green until 5 points short of the cap. I think I maybe had one not give me a point during that stretch, although I may have lucked out there. Also, the anvils are awesome if you lose track of how much ore you need to hit a particular breakpoint, since you can just drop one, smelt out your stack, make everything and see where you end up at.
If you have JC buddies you can try getting gems for the mirror recipe and cut down on the amount of ore you have to burn. I didn't have luck in this area, and I even bothered the guy who got the realm first JC acheivement while I was looking at the last 8 points of engineering.
4: Try to buy stacks of ore at reasonable prices off your competition.
5: Again if you're alliance, don't make a panda first and play around on it for a bit if you're trying to go for realm first or get the jump on the ah, and /console reloadui will fix your camera on the bugged helicopter boat killing quests. It still takes some patient aiming to get through the mass of people blindly firing, the trick is to kill several of the barrels that spawn on the ship before the other several hundred people firing blindly at the ship do. The barrels that are built into the model don't appear to count. Hopefully that bug will be fixed by the time any of you are reading this.
6: Specifically for protection, double charge, fear, revenge, glyphed heroic leap, and shockwave are your very best friends. With appropriate timing you can basically do laps around the loop of the jade forest mine, when you get a large enough pack that you can't stun or fear all of them at once (the shockwave stun is just long enough to mine a node) and continue mining revenge will kill them quickly. Having any gear at all also helps.
7: Remember, if you have a +15 racial bonus that means that your orange/yellow/green/grey breakpoints will simply occur 15 points higher than someone without the bonus.
8: As a side note, due to the sheer volume of ore I ended up mining, if I had a more solid plan from the beginning, didn't dawdle on my panda monk after getting my name in, and got through the start zone ahead of the crowd that clogs up the helicopter quests, I'm pretty confidant I could have had a good shot at the mining realm first as well. However, this started off as trying to get ahead of the crowd to get some ore to dump in the ah at ridiculous prices, and turned into a "hey I could have a shot at a realm first here" when I realized how much ore I had mined by the time the realm first miner got his achievement-and how little ore there was on the ah for people who weren't willing to go farm it out to buy up.
In any case, good luck in MoP and remember that /console reloadui should reset your camera zoom on that bugged quest chain! You'll need to do it again once you get to the second boat.