l33tminion: (Default)
It's been a busy week!

Sunday I took Eris to the aquarium and did some touristy things downtown.

Monday was Patriot's Day and the Boston Marathon, so it was a daycare holiday and I took the day off work.

Spring performance reviews wrapped up this week at work, and I'm pleased with how the last six months have gone. I've been productive, and my coworkers had nice things to say about what I've accomplished.

Played some Magic, too. Friday, I drafted Conspiracy after work. Didn't win, but the game was as interesting as you'd expect from that format (got into a ridiculous deadlock, I guess I shouldn't have passed up that Traveler's Cloak). Today, I played in the Amonkhet prerelease and that set also seems great. Probably was the closest set of games I've played in a prerelease. The first match I didn't quite turn a game-three loss into a draw, the second match my opponent was able to grind game three into a draw though they seemed to be in the losing position, the third match my opponent no-showed (I found the player with an actual bye to get in some games while waiting, managed to win one and ran out the round time before I could finish the second), and I won the last match to just barely qualify for a prize. GB -1/-1 counters sure was a fun archetype to play, with a lot of interesting decisions. I didn't end up with the most powerful cards in my card pool, but I did have a lot of synergy (though I didn't get so lucky as actually to draw the ultimate first three turns of Festering Mummy, Hapatra, Plague Belcher).

Eristic improvements: Playing fetch, throwing a ball, imitating the sound of words more closely, imitating snippets of song (the first line of the alphabet song specifically).
l33tminion: (L33t)
A Death in the Family: Julie's grandfather died two weekends ago, at the age of 99. No matter how much time, it's never enough. It seems this has been a really rough year for Julie's mom. We're going to Lubbock to spend some time with the family this coming weekend.

Some Ingress Travels: Also two weekends ago, we went on a brief New York trip with some Ingress teammates, taking part in a challenge associated with the latest series of game events, challenging players to visit points of interest they haven't visited before. It was a fun trip, and we managed to return home unexploded.

There was an Ingress live event in Toronto last weekend, and while we didn't make it out to that one, we helped out from Boston. There's one defensive mechanic that can be done at a distance in Ingress, and while the mechanic itself is the boringest gameplay ever, it does help those teammates who actually made it to the event win their battles (on the defense, anyways), and it's something that can be done while you hang out with local teammates and spectate.

Extended Family: Uncle Marvin and Aunt Anita were in from the other coast, so I had the chance to introduce them to Erica. Got together with extended family and celebrated my cousin Amy's engagement to her long-time boyfriend Josh. Many congratulations to them!

A Bit of Magic: The prerelease for the latest Magic: The Gathering set, Kaladesh was last weekend, and I played in one of the prerelease tournaments at Pandemonium Books and Games in Cambridge. Fantastic set, with a great setting and very interesting mechanics (a lot of surprises on that front, the mechanic I most confidently expected did in fact appear on one cycle of cards, but that ended up being a small (though really cool) part of the set). The games were very fun, and despite a few blunders I won three of my four matches.

Eris Meets Baby: Another infant has started at Erica's daycare. She seemed to be acting friendly towards the baby when I've seen them together, but I heard reports that the first week or two involved some pangs of jealousy, especially when the new kid was receiving a bottle of milk or was being held by the caretakers. They tell me that Erica has been very vocal By coincidence, the new kid's dad works at the Wyss, so he's one of Julie's colleagues.

Roof Repairs: The building across the way had its 30-year roof repairs last fall (shortly after we moved in). The same for our building was planned for this year, a bit of emergency repair (though not in our unit) was required last winter. The work was completed last weekend. Really glad to have that done before the winter! The work wasn't too much of a bother (and was never too loud inside the building), but there was one day when the workers were running a really loud compressor outside and Erica really didn't like that sound. (The only other noises I've seen bother Erica that much were a cheering crowd and those high-powered hand dryers.)

Eristic Improvements: The kid now has an insatiable drive to explore. On the plus side, that means she can spend hours entertaining herself while I get chores done. On the minus side, that means she's finding new ways to get in trouble. She's really energetic, up until the moment when she's suddenly super-tired and super-cranky. Seems to have some renewed difficulty falling asleep: She wants to stay up and play more, plus teething continues. Starting the toothbrushing routine.
l33tminion: (Jon Stewart)
Last weekend: Just about perfect. I got in some relaxation, played To the Moon (a charming little indie-RPG, very light on gameplay mechanics), went to the latest Magic: the Gathering prerelease (and went 4-0!), and Julie took me out for a special dinner at Bergamot.

This week: Nothing eventful. Mostly just trying to stay out of the heat. It's been extremely hot, and as a result I've been extremely tired.

This weekend: Olin summer party in Somerville!

In the news:

The RNC happened in Cleveland, and I was glad to hear that went largely without incident. The Republicans are officially the Party of Trump now, it seems. Cruz showed up to emphasize that he wouldn't endorse Trump to his face (2020 guyz!), while many former presidents and current legislators were conspicuously absent. Most notably, Governor Kasich didn't show up to the RNC in his own state (though evidently he put in an appearance at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame down the street).

Was Kasich really offered the VP post and was that offer really worded the way anonymous Kasich adviser claims? I don't even know what to believe at this point.

Trump's actual VP choice was unexpectedly uninteresting, Pence is a sitting governor and seems to be a good public speaker. Clinton followed suit by picking Tim Kaine, not a surprising pick, but a reasonable one.

Most interesting bit of convention reporting: This essay on a convention party hosted by gay anti-feminist and professional troll Milo Yiannopoulos. Most interesting thing about the convention itself: Trump's acceptance speech, mainly in thinking about what a Trump presidency might actually be like. Best moment in general: Jon Stewart's guest appearance on Stephen Colbert's Late Show.

Next week: Wikileaks (and everyone else) will try to shake up the DNC.

Level Up!

May. 17th, 2015 12:28 am
l33tminion: (L33t)
Another busy week at work!

Now that it's public within the company, I can say: I got that promotion! There were celebrations this week, a cake with my name on it and everything. Relieved that my hard work paid off, and that I don't have to contend with that process again for at least a few years.

I also made it to the top-eight in the office's M:tG block limited tournament. I'm really enjoying the new set and the twist it puts in the block format (a good way to transition to the new two-set blocks).

This weekend has been relaxing so far. Caught a bit of Porchfest (a Somerville-wide outdoor music festival) and did a bit of spring cleaning.
l33tminion: (Pwnt)
Last weekend, made it to the Magic: the Gathering prerelease tournament for Journey into Nyx, the last set in the Theros block. First time I've attended a prerelease in a while. I won two rounds 2-1 and then lost two 0-2 and 1-2. The format was interesting in that there was a choice of promo cards and you could include the promo cards in the tournament deck, which made the deck-building a bit more focused than usual. Saw some interesting plays with Ajani (a lucky inclusion in one of my packs) and Hero's Bane (the green promo card), I lost the last game when one of the latter came down on me for 272 damage.

FTL Advanced Edition is pretty cool, but I have not had time to play it yet. Super Hexagon is awesome and I even managed to beat the easiest difficulty, which is insanely hard.

Spring has arrived and the blossoms are beautiful, though it has been rainy this week.

DJ's wedding is this weekend. I am excited!
l33tminion: (Caffeine)
Back from Cleveland and, since I was at work late and unable to resist the sweet allure of late-night iced coffee, up late. As usual, there are lots of things I want to blog about, but so little time, so mini-stories with links, GO!

Here's a video about expected value, why people are bad at estimating it and therefore bad at making rational economic decisions. But the guy misses something big when discussing the lottery, namely the Kelly Criterion, highlighted in the article Do Not Play the Lottery Unless You Are a Millionaire. Basically, if you're gambling with a good expected value (say a coin flip where you win twice your bet when you win and lose your bet when you lose), you shouldn't invest too much of your money. Obviously, if you bet 100% of your bankroll, you're flat out of luck the first time you lose. When applied to the lottery, it means that the answer to "when you should play the lottery" is not when prize times odds is more than the cost of a ticket, it really is never unless you're already exceptionally rich.

Two very different musical YouTube links: One on a young piano virtuoso (next Mozart is probably overblown, but it is awesome) and one... well, just watch it.

About GM, now a subsidiary of USCo, evidently (which is giving the Republicans a stroke): It seems that this crazy variant of Chapter 11 bankruptcy is going to be heinously expensive and probably just a stalling measure... but possibly a more effective stalling measure than Chapter 11, which could be good, a rapid collapse of GM would really ripple through the economy in a bad way. More interesting is the question of what the reorg means for (more) fuel-efficient cars (summary: it's decidedly mixed). But that may be missing the point a bit, are Americans going to be really gung-ho about buying new cars en masse anytime soon, Congress's proposal to throw more massive amounts of money at the problem aside? (I'm not sure whether to be horrified at that one or hopeful because at least some dramatic options are being considered, although there's no chance in hell the government will use it's influence to convert that spare industrial capacity to making windmills or trains or something crazy like that.)

Magic: The Gathering is doing a major rules rewrite for Magic 2010 (their major core set change, core sets now get new cards, are treated as full sets, and are numbered by year). It's actually a pretty great example of game design. Interesting Only If You're Familiar With the Game )

Slacktivist has a long-running series deconstructing the Left Behind books, and this post is particularly good, because it gets at the curious subtype of the belief in "salvation by faith alone" (a sort of "salvation by faith in salvation by faith alone") that some American evangelicals seem to hold. Be very suspicious of anyone who quotes Ephesians 2:8-9 but not 10.

If you have more time to burn after reading the above, I suggest this game, it's good.
l33tminion: (Default)
Last weekend was good. On Sunday I went to the Lorwyn M:tG prerelease with some Oliners. On Sunday I went on a bike ride with Liz (Wellesley Laura's roommate, who is a much more hardcore cyclist than I), then chilled and consumed rice and milk tea with Wellesley people.

Since then, though, I've come down with the cold that's been sweeping through Olin (and, apparently, Babson). Blah. Moving in the right direction now, though, so hopefully I'll be back to normal in a day or two.
l33tminion: (Junpei)
I'm still insanely busy, but I want to write a bit about the Time Spiral prerelease that I went to on Saturday, mainly because it was fantastic. Time Spiral is the ultimate mash-up set, quite possibly the most creative (or even the best) set of Magic ever. Squee, etc. )

I did quite well at the tournament. I drew some great cards for my deck (my favorites were these two) and went 3-1 (enough for prizes; I was undefeated in the first two rounds, 2-1 in the second, and trounced in the last after a particularly egregious run of bad luck). A bunch of other Oliners went to the tournament, including some tournament first-timers (one of whom also went 3-1). A good time was had by all.

I'm going to head off to get my AI homework done. I think I'll write a bit about more work-related stuff later...
l33tminion: (Matrix Largo)
Last weekend, I met an old family friend, Barry, and talked to him about my travel plans for the spring. Barry's an interesting guy. He lived in Japan for five years, teaching English conversation, but he first went there to ride the subways. The guy briefly had the distinction of having ridden on every line of every subway in the world. When he was six, his parents let him ride the T on his own, and he had been to every T stop and on every bus line before he was seven. Seriously, the guy may be more of a public transportation fanatic than my dad, and that's really saying something. He suggested that I do whatever I can to learn some Japanese before the trip (which I am trying to do) and to take the homestay option instead of living in the dorm at IES (I'm still thinking about it).

The guy also does publicity for theaters in the area, which means I may be able to see more theater shows this year.

IES has recieved some of my application materials, but they apprently didn't get the form my advisor mailed in. I talked to my advisor about that, and the situation is being resolved.

I'm still insanely busy. I've got an essay to write for Social Relations in Cyberspace (and I have to interview three people for the essay) in addition to all my usual work. The essay is due next Wednesday.

I've memorized 20 characters of Hiragana so far.

I'm going to the Time Spiral prerelease tournament this Saturday (hopefully). The new set looks really awesome.

My copy of Kingdom Hearts II arrived from Amazon, so I played a bit last night after not playing all summer. That game is good stuff.

Some Oliners are trying to organize a few DnD campaigns. With any luck, I'll be in one of them.
l33tminion: (Junpei)
It's been quite a busy week. On the plus side, I recovered from my cold. On the minus side, I almost immediately got sick again.

Yesterday, Roberto (one of the Smash-playing frosh) and I went to a Magic tournament (the Dissension prerelease). The games were pretty exciting. I won six in a row, then got trounced in my fourth match (still, a record of 3-1 was good enough for prizes). Roberto had the same record, loosing against the same guy as I did. (We didn't play eachother in the tournament, but we played a match with our tournament decks after the tournament was over. I pwn3d.)

Other highlights of the tournament: Randomly running into one of the Olin pre-frosh and randomly running into Yutaro (I don't think I've seen him since high school, although I'm not sure).

Unfortunately, I have yet to do anything productive this weekend...

Long Day

Sep. 22nd, 2005 10:54 pm
l33tminion: (Default)
Spent most of the day tooling. Also started reading Wizards at War.

For the American Independent Film Co-curricular today, we saw John Cassavetes's Faces, which had great acting, but I still found it very tedious.

I was thinking about going to the Ravnica prerelease this weekend, but the tournament isn't at as convenient a location this time, so I guess I'll just skip this one...

I'm worried about the approaching hurricane. (As usual, the doomsayers are alarmed, but so, apparently, is CNN).

(On a completely unrelated note, I want to share this article on Nintendo's strategy. Very interesting if you care about business strategy or game design.)
l33tminion: (L33t zombie)
This weekend was interesting...

On Saturday, there was Earth Defense Force (with humans, robots, aliens, and gratuitous simulated violence (yay dart guns)), which was fun, but a bit disappointing (I really like the more roleplay intensive games better).

In the evening, I watched Shaun of the Dead, which is best described by its tagline: "A romantic comedy. With zombies." Seriously, that was an incredibly awesome movie. Horror, comedy, realistic characters, vague references, implied social commentary, and hordes of undead. W00t!

On Sunday, I went to the Betrayers of Kamigawa Prerelease Tournament (Magic: the Gathering). The main event started before I arrived, and there was limited attendance because of the crazy blizzard (which made it a pain to get to the T). I didn't get to play in the tournament itself until late, and then played only one round (which I lost due to some technical misplays, despite having some excellent moments (like dropping an Eight-and-a-Half Tails the turn after my opponent played a Horobi, Death's Wail, seriously damaging their board position)). The second round I lost my sideboard (spare cards from the tournament) and I had a bye (a pass round), so I decided to just go back home.

Train service was rerouted as I was coming back (one branch of the Red Line was closed, and a shuttle bus leaving from the end of the other branch replaced it). The station had two platforms, and due to the reroute, some people were on the wrong platform (as they had trouble understanding the English-only announcements). I helped direct people to the correct location, and asked the operator to summon some transit police to do crowd control, which he did. I hope that everyone was able to get home safely, despite inconvenience from the snow.

Finally, I returned to Senior House for random conversation and cranberry juice. (Which was quite silly. When arguing against Patty's paranoia, I dramatically stated "There is no Cabal!", but could not resist adding "Fnord!")

I return to Olin tomorrow. (Okay, today...)
l33tminion: (Default)
For the last few days, tomatoes have been gone from our cafeteria. Apparently, a bad harvest has skyrocketed the price to $76 a crate, so our cafeteria is not buying more until the price goes down. After having tomatoes at practically every meal in Israel, I'm really missing them now.

On an unrelated note, I finally built a good T2 magic deck that is actually affordable enough for me to buy. It's a pretty awesome deck, I think...

Still making good progress on my Software Design project, not working enough on my Physics project, and working hard on my Design Nature project. Things are pretty good. (And winter break is soon. Yay!)

Still Busy

Dec. 5th, 2004 01:58 am
l33tminion: (Default)
Lots of work today...

There was a M:tG tournament at Olin in the evening, which was a lot of fun. The tornament was a Champions of Kamigawa draft, I created a U/G Zubera deck and won two of three rounds (loosing one to non-removal control and anti-spirit cards). The tournament was a lot of fun. Anyway, I'm off to bed.

In other good news, it looks like my plans for MIT-based niftyness over winter break will work out... still keeping my fingers crossed on that one, so to speak...
l33tminion: (Default)
Well, I missed the game at MIT today, but I still had a great day. In the afternoon, I went to the M:tG Unhinged release tournament, and I convinced Melissa to come as well, and we both had a great time.

In four rounds, Melissa ([livejournal.com profile] fantwurm) didn't win any matches (which is understandable as it was her first time playing limited), while I won one (and had three draws, which was incredibly frustrating). Nonetheless, all the games were incredibly fun and incredibly crazy. Notable moments for me included playing a creature before my first turn, playing through many turns in several games with the phases in reverse order, playing with one hand in behind my back, and tricking opponents into saying things that were to my advantage. I'm sure Mel has some anecdotes to share as well, but as to whether she wants to tell them... well, I'll just leave that to her.

Suffice it to say I'm much happier with this set than with the last set of it's kind, and I look forward to playing with and against it in casual games in the future.
l33tminion: (Default)
This afternoon, I was going to go to Boston with my advising family and then go to the Champions of Kamigawa Prerelease Tournament, but the advising family outing was canceled due to the rain. So I walked to the commuter rail in the rain. About two miles, or a little more, and it was pouring and cold. I got totally soaked, despite having an umbrella and a jacket. The Boston commuter rail is awesome (it's sort of like intercity Amtrak within the greater Boston area), and the ride was pretty comfortable and quick. I got off at South Station, took the Red Line a few stops to JFK/UMass (by this time it had stopped raining), and walked half a block to the tournament.

The tournament was a lot of fun. As far as the set goes, I think insane is the operative word. In Limited play, this set made the game a little more luck based (because of some of the insane creatures in the set), which is both a good and a bad thing. I was pretty happy with the deck I made for the 32 Player Flight (a R/G (splash U) Spirit Deck), but I didn't manage to win anything. I dominated in my first match (against a W/G deck), but faced what was basically an Anti-My-Deck Deck (W/B anti-Spirit deck) in the second round. After two close games, (barely a win for me, then barely a win for my opponent), my opponent got all his anti-my-deck cards in his hand right away and I got ownzed. The third round I played against someone with a B/R spirit deck, and, after two close games, made a critical misplay in what was already a bad situation, losing the third game. I also played a Booster Draft. I made a deck I thought was good (a mono-green (one blue card splashed) mana acceleration / Spirit deck, but I still lost. Not all my fault, though. I got very strange draws (drawing far too many lands (far above the ratio in the deck)) both games, and faced all kinds of bad luck in the draft itself.

Despite this, it was, all in all, a very good day. And, since I was overdue to buy some new cards anyway, it was an okay value ($45 dollars worth of tournament included $28 worth of cards).

It wasn't until I got back to South Station that I realized that I had lost my umbrella. *facepalm* I have no idea where I left it... (although I know I had it until I got to the Needham train station... it's hard to loose an umbrella when you are actually in the rain). I probably put it down at the Needham train station, and someone took it...

The walk back to Olin was quiet, and dark, and definitely a lot shorter than the walk to the train station. I wonder if the theory of relativity has an equation for distance in terms of rain...

And I arrived back at Olin just in time to see it taken over by pirates (who were busily replacing the Olin flag with the Jolly Rodger). Because it's National Speak Like a Pirate day. Arr...


Aug. 24th, 2004 07:17 pm
l33tminion: (Default)
Lazy days, the last few days of vacation.

Nothing much is going on. I finished the "Ukiah Oregon" Series and started on the Da Vinci code. I'm addicted to FF IX now (that game is so good).

I still can't wait for college. (Only a few days left...) And I'm so glad I applied to (and went to) ISSI (thanks Xave), because it makes me feel so much more confident about being able to live on my own (or at least without my parents). I hope I can manage the work at Olin, but I know it will be fun...

I hope DnD will be able to continue over the internet...

I need to get to bed earlier, as I want to be on a less nocturnal schedule for school (I got to sleep at 4:30 AM last night, and I've been getting to bed at 2:00 or 3:00 all week)...

Oh, and I made yet another Magic deck (this one much more reasonably priced, yay "Building on a Budget"): Spiky Hat Affinity (and the slightly improved, but much more expensive version)

That's all for today's rambling.

And from the journal of [livejournal.com profile] icebratrpg comes this:

DDR is love.

Yay DDR!

(Wow, there's a whole community for these things: [livejournal.com profile] colorbar_love)
l33tminion: (Default)
Yay Final Fantasy IX. I borrowed the game from Rene a while ago, but I couldn't play at first because I needed a PS1 memory card to save my game. But I got one, and the game is a lot of fun.

Also, I've been working on Magic stuff: I updated WitSec Deck and made a new deck, Big Red.
l33tminion: (Default)
I saw "I, Robot" again today. Melissa wanted to see it, so I went with her. It was good, even though I was seeing it for the second time.

Made another Magic deck, today: Mono-Red Control
l33tminion: (Default)
Another lazy day...

Tomorrow, my family will be heading to Centauri Summer Arts Camp in Wellandport, Ontario (near Toronto) to pick up my little sister and brother and watch their final performances. I'm looking forward to seeing them again.

Found something hilarious:
Official "Unglued" Card Rulings
Includes the interaction between the "Double" cards and non-magic games, proxies for "Blacker Lotus," the rules regarding "Elvish Impersonators" and their effect on hamburger eating contests, rules for the card "Handcuffs" if your opponent does not have two hands, and much, much more...
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