Fucking flash

Riddle me this.

You're using Flash-based software on a really old Windows PC to teach an English class. The images displayed during a song lag. What do you do to fix it?

If your answer was "Click on the roleplaying section, close it and then play the song." Your answer is totally correct.

I am wracking my brain here to figure out why this would work. Is there some part of the code where closing out the roleplaying section releases some memory the application was using and lets the application run better? Mind you, this works opening and closing any of the various roleplaying sections, and it works even if you never touched the roleplaying section while using the app. Just if the application happens to slow down, you can speed it up again by opening and closing this one section.

It has to be a memory thing, right? The app isn't managing memory right and yet there is a bit of code in closing the roleplaying section that does manage it and lets it behave better? Maybe it loads the roleplaying section(s) when you open the app an that causes the slowdown on some PCs?

Holy shit, I hate this software. There are new textbooks next year and I worry the software will somehow be worse than this shit.

Grixis Midrange: A quick hot-take

So hot!

I had the deck mosly built in my MODO collection. Just needed two Chupacabras and some lands.

Didn't feel good about it.

White enchantments are going all over the place and Grixis just does not deal with enchantments well.

Harnessed Lightning was still good. I rarely felt like I lacked enough energy to use it effectively.

Whirler Virtuoso defintiely was cramped without Attune with Aether and Rogue Refiner bulking up the Energy reserve. I was wrong on that one.

Glint-Sleeve Siphoner was good. Filled up my draws.

I never got to cast or activate The Scarab God tonight. Don't know if he was just shy, or what, but goodness, that was frustrating.

Probably going to try out a Sultai shell next.

I stomped the fuck out of Merfolk, though. That deck did not seem great.

Irrational fears

I had some time this afternoon to play Magic Online or another video game. But I didn’t.

I’m scared to.

I know it’s stupid. Very stupid. But I’m afraid. Something in me clenches and so I go to my bed instead. I am so afraid of games right now.

I could be practicing new decks in Standard because I am actually excited about the bans and the changes to the format.

But I am scared to play games. And I can’t figure out why.

I'm getting too old for this

Woof.

I didn't feel it on Sudnay, but I feel it today. Not sleeping from Friday morning to Saturday night (save a few moments of putting my head down between rounds and I got a good twenty minutes of physically having my eyes closed while sitting down on a train) has me feeling beat today.

How many times during my first year in Japan did I stay out all night on Saturday and then just have a fine work week?

Well, I am thirty-six this year. Goodness.

On the other hand, it is something I do, what, four times a year? If I can't allow myself to have these little stretches of fun, what's the point, right?

Still. Feeling super tired after teaching today. Probably going to get a "nap" in which turns out to be me sleeping longer than I should.

After a weekend of sealed RIX

Well, I pulled some of the "bigger" cardsd. Two Phoenixes and two Blood Suns. Nothing that I think I am going to use any time soon. Everything hinges on the bans coming in a day or so.

We'll see when Magic Online gets RIX. It's supposed to be the 15th, but I assume that's like 9 AM Pacific or something? I'll be checking tomorrow just in case, but just like the ban annoucements, I am likey going to have to wait until Tuesday to do some drafts/sealed online.

I'm really not sure where Standard is heading. Everyone at the shop today seemed to be getting pieces together for Vampires, Merfolk or Dinosaurs (No Pirates. Hm.) but they were mostly making them for fun, Vampires seeming like the only one that might have something actually going for it.

If Energy is banneed hard, I might mess around with the Drake Haven deck I built, although I don't see much that RIX adds to it. Maybe a Nezahal in the side for mirrors/control matchups? I kind of want to find a home for Dire Fleet Daredevil, but we shall see about that.

Slow creep

If I haven't said it before, and I am sure I have, I hate driving.

Yesterday I was greeted with a snow-covered car, today it was just solid ice. The roads were also terrifying what with the ice and the cars dropping their snow remnants from yesterday.

It was an icky drive.

Rivals of Ixalan comes out next week, so it is pre-release time. I'm too old for this shit, but I still am going to a midnight pre-release because some kind of fun like this every few months seems warranted. Although I know it is going to have me feeling not so hot at the beginning of next week. But hey, carpe diem, right?

I am actually quite hoping for some ban next week because Standard is just getting boring with all the energy decks. I played a little tournament the other day and everyone was on an energy variant. I don't think I saw a single Ixalan card, either. Maybe one of the reprinted lands?

I loves me some bans. It's so interesting how one card leaving a format can shake things up so much. Reading through the Rivals spoiler, I can't see anything that will really mix up Standard as it is right now. Unless Attune with Aether, Rogue Refiner or Whirler Virtuoso (Probably the true culprit of these dull matchups.) get the axe.

Maybe nothing will happen, though. Then even though I have been trying to make Sultai work, I should probably just go 4C Energy because it's a stupid good deck that wins, and I would like more wins.

Must we let it snow

Well, Xmas is over and thus Winter 2.0 is in full swing. It snowed for the first time today. My car was covered and I made it to work just in time. Had to be safe. Thankfully, it wasn't too bad and stopped soon after I arrived at work.

The students really liked playing in the snow.

I just feel really, really cold.

Last night I played in a four-person Magic tournament but just lost every single round. Going 3-0 wouldn't have done anything for my yearly status, so it doesn't matter, but wow did it feel bad to just compeltely lose. It made me feel inadequate as a human being.

Now, it's just a game. Let's put that aside, though. I did something and did not do well and it made me feel bad.

Part of it was luck. Round three my opponent used up his hand at the end of my turn and drew the exact card he needed for lethal damage. I had activated Glint-Sleeve Siphoner around five times but never saw a Negate. Died with plenty of lands in my hand, though. I was fighting an uphill battle. Had I not attempted to kill one of his creatures and get the Blossoming Defense out of his hand then I would have still be in a bad position. And he topdecked Larger than Life, which was enough for lethal. What could I have done differently? Had I not attempted to use Vraska's minus ability on his Longtusk Cub, and instead just held back with one removal spell that Blossoming Defense was going to get anyway, I really don't think I could have done much else. So it goes.

Okay, so I could go into details on the games themselves deeply, and perhaps I did make mistakes. Or perhaps it was bad luck.

I just see people happily losing at the game and I want that. I want to take things in stride. I don't. So here's the thing, do I learn to do that or do I accept my emotions and let them be what they are?

Mistakes made

During winter break I was informed that after teaching my adult English class in the morning I was to rush over to on of the more rural schools in the "city" in which I live and teach.

Okay. No plans, no schedule, no nothing. But I've had worse days.

So I arrive and one of the other English teachers is there as well. She shakes her head. Apparently there was some mistake where I was written down for today and she was put down for the 19th, the day I am actually supposed to be at the school. A bit of confused chatting goes on and we eventually find out the teacher in charge of this school's scheduling switched our names on two dates. But it was too late.

So I ate lunch, did not actually have any classes, and then hung around until it was time to go home. I cannot complain.

In ten years of doing this job (holy shit) I have had mixups like this three or four times. That's a pretty good record. But it is a weird way to "start the new year". Except this is the third semester and the new year starts in April.

Argh.

Organization

I took to the task of organizing some cards today.

It's relaxing.

It's also really time consuming because I started around four in the afternoon, took a break for dinner and then realized it was around eleven. But I got a lot of stuff put in order, got a good chunk of stuff set aside to donate or sell and my apartment is slightly more organized.

Although I didn't play Magic Online like I had planned. Boo that.

But there's some more space in my apartment and I am honestly exhausted from some housework. It kind of feels good.

Table talk

I made some people mad on the Internet. That’s not hard of course but I had no idea my opinion was so disliked. When I win a round of Magic I say nothing except perhaps I thank the opponent for their time.

I’m not opposed to talking to people. I often cut my opponent’s deck in a funny way and depending on their reaction I have a good idea of what level of seriousness I should have expect from them. Silence, and I know it’s gojnc to be a quiet match. A laugh, and I make small talk.

But if I win, I don’t know how they are feeling. I’m not them. So I leave it all to them. I have had opponents quietly sign the slip and leave. I have had opponents say good game and that's all. I have had opponents laugh and sigh and say it was a hell of a match and they congratulate me on the win.

They lost. It’s not the worst thing in the world but it sucks. So I let them decide how much we chat post game.

I know there are times where I feel like I didn’t play. I’m trying to not let that bug me but it does. So I know I need a few minutes of silence and deep breaths. So I congratulate them sincerely and leave. Sometimes it was a real good match and I’ll feel chatty even through I lost.

Do unto others as the old adage goes.

I feel that if I win I don’t get to judge my opponent. If they want to be quiet, I respect that. As someone who suffers from depression I know my initial reactions can be not the best which is why I stay quiet sometimes other than the respectful congratulations when I lose. At the same time if my opponent gets screwed and doesn’t play the game I don’t say “Good game.” because it wasn’t for them. I think I owe that much respect.

Analyzing the loss

I went 3-3 today . Now, by default this means I did better than some people, but since I didn't come in first place, there is a part of me that is just so very angry and so very much putting myself in last place. That is not constructive, but there is a part of me that is just so mad.

Okay, so what losses did I have. Let's look at the papers from today. I played Sultai. Not the best deck, so maybe that was a mistake? Should I be on Temur Black, just going for the power wins or trying to play the field with a deck that feels good against the field. I mean, I did go 50% wins, 50% losses, right?

Round one was versus Ramanup Red. I lost game one to them just blowing me out. I mulliganned, and they did too. I didn't know what I was facing until a Bomat Courier smacked me for one first turn. I returned fire with a Push when their second card was exiled, but I didn't draw any more removal and they just kept killing my creatures and playing more threats. Games two and three I used lifegain from Vraska's Contempt, Essence Extraction and Deathgorge Scavenger to stay alive. It didn't hurt that he mulliganned down to five game three. That can be bad for me if he draws into lands for a Hazoretand makes lots of plays, but luckily I got through. Win.

Round two was against Temur Black. Lost game one to standard Temur rushing. Servant into Rogue Refiner into Chandra into Vraska. It was a beathing. Game two I remove their first few threats and then snag a Glorybringer off a Gonti. I was lucky enough to hit my land drops and fifth turn Glory Bringer was something they could not recover from. Game three we went down to the wire but I eventually got a Hydra going and pushed through.

Round three was a loss to Four Color Control. Everything but green, which kind of feels like the best color currently, but that didn't mean much. I kept a hand with some removal and creatures which was usless and countered/removed in that order. Eventually a Gearhulk resolves when I don't have an Essence Scatter and he follows up with Scarab God.

Game two I play a creature, attack until he gets rid of it, play another. Try to force a Fumigate with a Hydra drop, and he does. Here comes my first big mistake I think. I play Scarab God with no protection. I should have wated for a Duress or a Negate, because he just Vraska Contempt's my God. Then again, he just was gaining card advantage and I couldn't keep a Glint-Sleeve Siphoner alive to draw off of it. Maybe he would have had more counters by the time I felt safe playing my God.

Round four was Temur Black again. Game one I just have Pushes for his plays and eventually he forfeits. Game two goes on a long time with him getting a Search for Azcanta to flip, but not being able to pull out a River's Rebuke or Nissa to kill me as I slowly poke at him with Gonti.

Round five is the mirror match, only he is packing mainborad Torrential Gearhulks. I draw three Scarab Gods but he has Vraska's Contempt for the first two and Gearhulks the Contempt back for the third one. After beating my face in, he says "Wow that was scary. Three Scarab Gods." I quipped back "But look who won." I feel like a dick and should have kept my mouth shut, but seriously, I know I was lucky to draw the same big threat three times, but it did nothing but time walk me and gain him six life. Game I mulligan twice. I really don't know what I did wrong here other than he got a draw engine going that I wasn't drawing any of my answers to. He just kept draw cards, plucking me for two and then removing my threats with Contempts and Extractions. My plan, he just got to do it.

Round six ended sadly. I'll do that first. Game two I had to mulligan three times, looked at the clock and just told him he could have the win. I really didn't want to play with a UB land and three green cards. I am sure I could have topdecked really good and had a game to remember, but sometimes you just want to go home.

So game one, I fucked up. Or did I? He has eight energy, a Whirler Virtuoso and two mana untapped. I plus my Vraska to 5 to make a Pirate, swing with Gonti to bring him to 8. Should I have left Gonti up until Vraska was higher? He used Harnessed Lightning on the Pirate, got 9 energy, made 3 tokens and then killed Vraska the next turn. Gonti got one more swing in before dying to an Abrade. He dropped a Hydra and that was game one.

With his energy so close to three tokens, I really should have protected Vraska, I am thinking. She is my constant source of creatures and removal at this point. Had I minused her again to take care of the Virtuoso, he would have to either live with two tokens, or kill Gonti with no energy up (Or he had the Abrade? I just didn't know.)

So I think haste got me in my losses today. Which again seems to be something I do when I start tilting. Which I have to get better aboute.

I went to another store I had some stuff to do at and ended up playing an Unstable League until last train. Those were some fun games. There's a promotion for doing five league games for a foil Unclaimed Territory, ten for a pack and thirty for a second pack. I've gotten in like thirteen games so far, and it's fun just jamming them out with Unstable's ridiculous cards. It was at least relaxing after a bummer of a tournament ending.

So think more about what the opponent might have. Play a little slower. Perhaps I should take a breath at the start of each turn and just look at things. Not take a minute or waste time, but just think about what is going on, what I can do and what my next card might let me do.

One on one

I didn't see the Twitter account for the one store I played Standard at a few times last month on Thursdays tweet about any tournament tonight, so I drove to another store that did tweet out about a Modern tournament.

There were two of us.

It was a ¥300 entry fee and I won so I got an Iconic Masters pack. It was a trash pack, but hey, they cost more than ¥300, so there you go.

There is a Modern tournament at Hareruya next Monday and I have the Saheeli Combo built and As Foretold Living End. I'm kind of leaning towards Saheeli even though I feel more comfortable playing control, but I think the surprise factor of the Saheeli deck should get me some wins. It did at the big Modern tournament I played in during December and I think it's a better deck now. But I should have some time to practice with both before Monday, so we shall see.

But what do I do with it

I got an amazing prize at an EDH tournament today.

An uncut sheet of the rares and mythic rares from Amonkhet.

Now, it's super sweet. I see lots of stores with uncut foil sheets as decorations but... I'm not one for decorating. So I guess I sell this to someone? But looking online it's not something that a price comes up for easily.

When I got it, everyone in the store went "Ooh!" and I just kind of was, well I was blown away because it is awesome, but even as a good problem to have, it is now mine to deal with. I mean, the store wasn't giving it away just because it's awesome. They had it as part of the prize pool for the tournament for a reason, right?

I kind of feel like a dick.

I mean, I'm trying to resolve getting a cool prize here that I can't really use and am unsure of how to go about selling it. It's like winning a car. Yeah, that's great, but what do I do now? I don't need a second car and it's not better than the car I have so I just deal with it?

It's challenging to be gracious and at the same time wonder about how something will impact you. I mean, it's not a big deal, I'm sure. I find a buyer for this. And I feel so lucky to win this rahter than getting the booby prize. But what do I do with it?

I'm so happy yet so confused.

I saw an apple

There was a young girl eating a candy apple outside of the station. It seemed weird to me, and I had to think about why.

That might have been the first time in my life I saw more than a bite taken out of a candy apple.

She had eaten half of it. I know I have had candy apples in my life, but it feels like I never got past the first bite. I don't care for them. Much like how I do not care for sugar cookies. I like sweets - just look at my gut, but something that is just pure sugar, like a candy apple, just feels like too much.

For some reason a candy apple brings back memories of night time, probably the Xmas season, and going to a shop of an acquaintance of my mother’s. There was something going on there and I had a candy apple. And was sitting in the van my parents had for many years until an accident totaled it. That and the half eaten candy apple are my go to memories for that food that I don't particularly care for.

Caramel apples might be okay, I suppose. But I don't recall eating one of those in my lifetime.

Goals completed in 2017 and goals for 2018

I’m looking at my goal list for 2017 and it was this:

  • Get divorced: Success. And I’m happier for it.
  • Travel to America (with boy if possible): Failed. Money issues prevented this, plus I totaled my car and had to get a new one.
  • Finish 20 games: Success: While I did do this, it calmed down by the end of the year. Nothing in August (Which is summer vacation…) Nothing in October or December. Lots of quick little games.
  • Watch 10 movies: Success. Thanks Netflix. And having a child who wants to go see stuff like Cars 3.
  • Read 5 books: Failed. Only read three. Dick Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency, How to Stop Worrying and Start Living (which did not help me do that), and Next Level Magic, which gave me some ideas but I am not sure if that helped my game that much.
  • Blog 183 times (once every other day): Failed. 131 blog posts total (including this one). January, April, and March were pretty bland for me. I got a kick mid August but just kind of petered out around December. I worry that I have nothing to say, and that writing to write is bad, although I suppose it isn't if you want to write? I did learn I should do it early in the day if i want to actually do it.
  • Stream twice a week (104 times): Failed. Only 68 times and definitely not twice a week. I learned that I am scared to stream. Or rather, I am scared to start streaming. Once I do it is fine, but there is a part of me (I’m guessing it's tied to the depression?) that makes starting a stream seem like an enormous task. Once I do it, though? I enjoy it a lot. So I need to remind myself to take the pressure off.
  • Add login to the Fiesta: Success. I did do this in time. I have more things I want to generally improve about the Fiesta page but let's not all be negative. I set one specific goal (Twitter login) and I did it.
  • Push EPIC to near complete: Failure. I barely touched the game. I did release another game when I challenged myself to make a game in one day. It's a text adventure and it was an interesting experiment. I did work on EPIC, but I just am at a point where I feel like the game is mostly finished engine wise, I just have to do the content. Which is hard.

So, four out of nine. One failure was due to unforeseen money situations. What can you do? The others? I made an honest try or learned something from my failures. So let's set up 2018.

Work Stuff

  • Keep applying to new jobs. Note that the goal is not to get a new job. But I want to keep pushing myself to see what I need to get hired somewhere.
  • Find another translation source. I have two companies I work for, and they keep me busy, but maybe they won’t next year. Can't blame them at all. Things happen. Freelance is feast or famine. I need to at least be able to say no to work instead of have no work to take.
  • Spend two hours a week on EPIC. My goal last year was too vague and led to not much. If my goal is to sit down and spend thirty minutes four days a week, that is something.
  • Finish secret project. I started another game and got it mostly done. I just haven't worked on it. Perhaps this is too vague. Let's say one hour a week on it.

Fun Stuff

  • Complete twenty games.
  • Watch ten movies.
  • Read five books
  • Travel to America (with boy is possible)

These three are the same for a simple reason: I want to make sure I have fun and expand myself in different ways. It is hard to be creative when you lack input. And I need the input. The America trip is looking likely, outside of a job change impacting that. My parents want to put money towards it, his mother wants him to go and help put money towards it, so this seems doable.

Output Stuff

  • Blog every other day (183 times). I almost got this, and learned that I write more in the morning than I do at night.
  • Stream twice a week (104 times). This also seems more doable if I wake up early and just do a little stream. Or just put it on a schedule because I found while I am scared of it, I can do it once I start. I need to step up.

Health

  • Get in the habit of getting up with my alarm. This is going to be hard because I have been in the habit of waking up and rolling right back into bed. I think this may involve moving my iPhone charging point so I cannot just turn off the alarm without leaving my bed.
  • Snack less. I have been in the habit of grabbing snacks after Magic tournaments. I get that my brain is eager for some stimulation, but I need to pick my foods better.
  • Keep up daily lifting and sit-ups. This has been pretty good due to the Streaks app, but sometimes I half ass it. Especially late at night.

Magic Stuff

  • Play more Magic Online and Magic Arena. I put some money into Magic Online, but for some reason I am afraid of playing. Maybe it's fear of losing, fear of making mistakes. But that is the only way I will get better. I got into the Magic Arena beta, but I have only loaded it a few times because I am afraid of the outcome. I can't let this silly fear stop me. This is a game.
  • Tilt less. Yes, I seem to get “mana screwed” more than other people. (People have pointed this out to me.) Maybe I need to shuffle more or differently, or maybe I just need to stop worrying about it and play the game. This will be very hard.
  • Play slower, think more. This ties in with the last one. I tilt, then I just start doing shit and then the second I do realize what a mistake it is. If I play slower and think more, I should make more improvements.
  • Day two a GP. I did this twice in 2017, but I want to do it again in 2017. Especially with team events, so this will take practice.
  • Win a PPTQ. This might be harder as I generally don't get to many, but I want to win one and actually go to an RPTQ.
  • Play more casually. This ties in with social anxiety, but I’ll often be at a store where we are waiting for a tournament to begin or one has ended and we're just hanging out but I am scared to ask someone for casual matches. This ties into the Magic Online and Arena situation as well.

Miscellaneous:

  • Organize Magic collection. It has gotten messy.
  • Go through the closet of crap. Holy shit, I just started putting stuff in this closet and it is not good.

Okay, that's a lot, but typing it out has me feeling good. Let's see what I can accomplish in 2018. Best of luck to you, too.

The Top 10 Games of 2017

10. Magic: The Gathering (Frontier)

9. Magic: The Gathering (Tiny Leader)

8. Magic: The Gathering (Vintage)

7. Magic: The Gathering (Standard)

6. Magic: The Gathering (Cube)

5. Magic: The Gathering (Commander)

4. Magic: The Gathering (Draft)

3. Magic: The Gathering (Sealed)

2. Magic: The Gathering (Modern)

1. Magic: The Gathering (Legacy)


Cannot wait for next year. Looks to be a good one.

Post Xmas blues

I found out one of my opponents in a Magic tournament came down with Noro virus. Someone said I have 48 hours to not come down with it. Exciting.

The only time I ever contacted a radio station was to find out the name of a lyric less song.

It was Classical Gas.

I have no idea why that just popped into my head. But it did. I don’t know why I feel the way I do today. But it’s not a great feeling.

I know the holidays are usually not great for people with depression, but for me it’s not the holidays but the days in between the big events. There’s just something lost svjhr these days even if I keep myself busy.

Merry Xmas

Being divorced with a child is hard. I feel like I pulled a dick move in getting my son a gift he wanted so bad he mentioned it in his English presentation. But his mother didn’t want him to have it.

It was a 2DS.

I bought the 2DS and Super Mario 3D Land. The store had free wrapping. The joy he experienced opening that gift was outstanding.

But that’s not what I’ll remember.

Xmas isn’t as big a thing in Japan as it was to my family. But I still want it to be special with me and my son. We went and got lunch after he finished his Kumon.

I let him play the 2DS during the drive.

In ten years he’ll be worrying about high school. Maybe college after that. We may end up separated by oceans. Who knows.

But I’ll never forget that scream of joy when he cleared a stage for the first time. He was so happy. And hat was worth every yen.

A New Challenge Approaches

I am starting a new event tomorrow, located here. I am honestly a little terrified, becasue it's me trying something new but also familiar with a game that I love.

It might not work out.

That's okay. This is an experiment, as most of life is. I am going to keep on working on making the Fiesta site itself better as well as coming up with new little things to sprinkle throughout the year. This winter event is because my Patreon hit over $100 a month. That's really sweet of everyone contributing. It makes me very happy.

Well, everything is set to go live at midnight, and I'm hoenstly a bit terrified and excited to see what the response is going to be. But I hope you have fun. That is what this is all about.