Booster Blitz

So I did three ""serious"" tournaments yesterday at the GP, two today and then there was an even neard the end of the day called "Booster Blitz." I wasn't entirely sure what it was, but I signed up for it.

Six ten minute rounds. That's right. Ten minutes. Now, if you're American (or maybe somewhere else, I don't know the exact way these things happen) you've probably heard of Pack Wars. You and your opponent open a pack facedown, shuffle it up, draw two cards and play. Infinite mana, you can deck, and any land card can be cycled for free.

It's fun and sometimes the winner gets both packs, sometimes it's just a more interesting way to open a box without having to do everything a draft entails.

This Booster Blitz is something I've only encountered in Japan.

Rules are you make four three-card decks. Since packs come with lands now, that's 14 cards to pick from. Sometimes you get lands, but you don't want those. So you make four three-card decks and whoever finishes deck construction first goes first.

You and your opponent each point to an opposing deck and that's what gets used. You have all three cards in your hand. There's no decking, you each have five life that's that. First to two wins takes the match.

Now you'll notice there are four decks. Sometimes you use two, sometimes three, sometimes all four. Because drawing is common in this format. You and your oppnent had equal amounts of threats and answers and a blank board is left were you can't do anything. Game's a draw, move on to the next one.

Now this is something people do for fun with packs. Making it into a six round tournament, with a cut to top eight made it really interesting.

My trip was a bit of a roller coaster. Lose, win, lose, win, lose, win. You need three wins to earn two more packs. Anything else got nothing. So eight packs for the $30 entry fee is about retail price for packs so that's not super value, but I got some decent rares and, hey, I had a real good time.

That's worth thirty bucks.

Also, one time I got Izoni, Thousand-Eyed and a Ledev Champion, so I made infinite tokens and got infinite life before my opponent did anything. One time I had Inescapable Blaze, which yes, that would let me win even if I was going second, but my opponent luckily didn't pick that deck.

It's good to remember Magic can be silly fun.

On the train to Nagoya

I am currently on a train to Nagoya. Not the fast one. I could have been to Nagoya by now. But whenever I take these trips to play Magic for a weekend, I like taking the slow route Thursday after work. I sit on trains for a bit longer, but I get to play games, listen to podcasts and exiast in a different way than I do most days.

There’s something about being in a public place yet still being private that is oddly... Relaxing? Freeing? Focusing? I translate faster on a train, that’s for sure. Less distractions. Well, more distractions, actually, but I have to conciously tune them out which means I focus more. I don’t know. There’s probably some science behind it all.

I am a bit sad that I don’t have a team for this Grand Prix. I’m not playing in the main event, instead I signed up for the “Constructed Fanatic” package, which if I play my cards right, will save me nearly ¥7000 and let me play a lot of Magic. Which is the point of the weekend.

But I’m sad that I don’t have a team because it makes me think. Am I not friendly enough with the people I spend lots of hours playing Magic with? Am I too bad of a Magic player for them to want me on their team? Am I a shitty person?

That’s Depression talking. I hate that fucker. Shut the fuck up, would you?

Who knows. I didn’t ask anyone. Well, I did ask a group chat but it either wasn’t seen, was ignored, or was a bad time. Or some other reason. Point is, I didn’t get a team. But that isn’t going to stop me from going out and trying to have fun.

I worry something like Magic might not be the best for someone like me. There’s a reason I’ve never smoked nor gambled. They have these raffle like things at the store booths at Grand Prixs in Japan and I’m ashamed to say I’ve “gambled” on them. I always say I won’t next time, but then I do again. Although I manage to cut back a bit. I guess? But there’s a thrill there. At least I’m not spending money I don’t have. I’m not putting myself into (further) debt. Is that a piss-poor excuse?

I get frustrated, but I do have fun. Otherwise I wouldn’t be doing this. I am sitting on this train to Nagoya, a literal train on a literal path to Nagoya Station, and I wonder if I’m off my rocker for traveling for a weekend, spending a bit on a cheap AirBNB, just to play a card game. I could do it at home on my computer.

But there’s something about getting out. Something about doing it in person. Even if I’m too shy to talk with many people, too concerned about sounding like a fool when I speak Japanese or English, that I become a bit of a recluse even in public. But I’m trying to work on it. I guess? It’s hard. Magic’s hard. Life’s hard.

But we all keep on going, right?

What do I get at the end of my life for having spent these weekends going to play Magic? Stories, I suppose. Those of bad luck, scrubbing out, but also those of good luck and triumphs. Small and “pointless” as they may be. And I get to look back and smile.

I don’t like traveling. But here I am on a train to Nagoya. The AirBNB guy messaged me to say there’s a festival going on this weekend. He hopes I get the chance to check it out. I hope it doesn’t interfere with me getting to the tournament site on time.

Maybe I just want someone with me. I kind of feel stupid for wanting a significant other who shares a hobby with me. I’m not going to “hit on” anyone I play the game with or at a place where I frequent. That feels gross. Although I don’t tend to “hit on” people in general. My last few relationships just grew out of circumstance, so perhaps I’m just waiting for circumstance to happen again.

My youngest brother just got engaged. The story, as my father told me, was that on their first date my brother asked his now fiance what one thing people would find surpsing to find out she has interest in and one hobby she has as a guilty pleasure. Or something like that. She answered, and the ordering of these answers is both unimportant and a bit lost to repeated tellings of the storty, WWE and Magic. My brother and his fiance seem to get along quite fine.

That’s not to say I’d be in a perfect relationship if I found someone who liked Magic. Maybe it’s someone who likes RPGs with overly complicated battle systems, books that are too long for their own good or someone who just has a deep and intense passion for something beyond their day to day job. Just an intense passion to do something. Wanting to do it all the time. Someone with a love for a part of life that doesn’t matter but doesn’t care that it doesn’t matter.

Maybe I need to love myself first. That’s hard. Like life and Magic.

Train’s about to stop in Nagoya. This is my first time in the city. I’m going to go play some Magic. You all have a nice weekend.

Missing the Obvious

I finished up a Legacy Compative League I started last week when I was still playing Canadian Threshold. I had extra stuff I wasn't using to put together Grixis Delver, but Grixis Control requires some stuff on the pricier end of Magic Online's prices and I don't feel like picking up those copies of Jace, and so on.

Although I do like playing Grixis Control. I'm wondering if I could hock some of the stuff from Canadian Threshold and pick up the pieces for Grixis Control. Anyway. I have Delver. Going to practice that tomorrow night and then decide which I want to run in the side events at the Grand Prix this weekend.

But first there was finishing the League with Canadian Threshold.

I ended up 3-2. I was 2-0 going into tonight where I faced UR Delver, Grixis Control, and Lands. I made slight misplays against UR Delver and Lands which cost me the game. It's funny to me that I beat the deck I want to be playing, but that's Magic sometimes.

The thing about both of my losses is that it was subtle things that caused them. Forgetting to take the fourth Thespian's Stage with a Surgical Extraction led to my eventual demise against Lands. Not that I was in a good position with Choke and The Tabernacle at Pendrell Vale making me unable to do anything, but having removed Punishing Fire and Thespian's Stage, had I done it correctly I could have probably run my opponent out of time.

But one little click. I might have lost anyway but I gave my opponent the chance.

I also cast Force of Will when I should have cast Daze against UR Delver and that cost the match. I don't know why I did it. Too fast. Not thinking through the plays. But these little things solidified my losses.

And that's part of what makes Legacy so difficult and so enticing. Now I am sure if I kept playing Canadian Threshold I would find myself playing it better and winning more, but after this weekend's tournament, Grixis is just where I want to be. Delver or Control I'm not entirely sure, but I have more fun playing those decks and I think that's what I need to focus on first and then slowly getting those small details as I continue to play.

First time with Legacy Grixis Control

I wasn't feeling good about Canadian Threshold. It wasn't bad per se, but I either didn't get the playstyle or my meta isn't great for it. I don't know. Magic is hard.

Today was the 100th KMC event. Monthly Modern Masters was also going on at the same time, but since I have Storm built on Magic Online I figured I'd get reps in with Grixis Control before playing in the side events at next week's GP.

Although Canadian Threshold had treated me well, I realized I had Grixis Control and decided to put it together. I took the second place deck from this and replaced the maindeck Pyroblast with Bitterblossom. Considering that out of seven rounds only in two did I not side in Pyroblast/Red Elemental Blast, yeah, I guess I can see why the maindeck copy has begun to show up.

Lost round one to Lands. 0-2. Smashed. The deck really need something to hedge against this matchup. It just feels impossible. I talked to a friend who went 6-1 playing Grixis Delver and he lost to... Lands!

Round two was against Death and Taxes and Dread of Night did some work. Take that all your X/1s. I get to push through with Gurmag Anglers and other stuff. Wee.

Round three was against BUG Delver and I was just able to take the advantage and push it. Not a real spectactular match, just really had to work for it.

Round four was Sneak and Show and while my notes show two victories for me, there was lots of me doing my best to keep them at low resources. You know you're in a good spot when they have to chump block with Emrakul.

Round five was Show and Tell and I messed up here pretty hard. I should have fought Show and Tell on the stack, instead I let it resolve knowing they'd get Niv Mizzet, Parun out and I had a Pyroblast. Uh. Why not just fight the Sneak and Show and then they don't get all those draws and pings from Niv Mizzet? Worse case scenario, I tap them out and hope they don't draw a Force of Will for my Jace which can just bounce Niv Mizzet. Silly. Plus Niv Mizzet turns Brainstorm into a Lightning Bolt that can target three thigns and that's just stupid.

Round six was against Bomberman, and this was my first time playing the deck. My opponent seemed worried about having to explain the deck to me in Japanese, but I basically knew the deck even though I had never played against it. Game one I kept him from comboing and pushed through with the zombie fish. Game two was a bit slower but I managed to get Liliana, the Last Hope to ultimate, and with a Pithing Needle on their main creature whose name I forget already, I was able to win. (They goofed and tried to combo and I just pointed to my Needle. Whoops.)

Round seven was versus Grixis Delver and I was lucky they mulliganned twice game one and then game two I was just able to get them with Hymn to Tourach and well timed Pyroblasts and Hydroblasts. Boom.

A friend went 6-1 with Grixis Delver. They also lost to Lands. I'm not sure if I want to go to Grixis Delver. I kind of do because I like Delver. But right now I think I'll stick with Grixis Control. I like having those basic lands since I saw several people packing Assassin's Trophy.

Twenty-third place out of 133 players. Not too shabby for my first day with a deck. I'll take it.

I coded today

Little steps.

I had some time today before some translation work came in and I was too tired to do anything else and I just coded. It is a little project, neither of the two "big" ones I am working on. But this little side project is letting me work on different things that I tend to find to be my weaknesses when it comes to coding and game design. So I did a little bit of grunt work that needed to be done for the game engine today, but I made progress.

Honestly, since this is a game of much lower scope that some of my other projects, I am slightly confident in thinking I might be able to release it within the next few months. Of course things can change, but being able to get something done felt good. Yes, I only worked on it for an hour today, but that is an hour more of work than I have put into this sort of thing for the past few months.

And that feels good.

A whole lot

I played nine Guilds of Ravnica prereleases. That’s a lot. Let’s not think of the money. At least I I budgeted for it.

Sealed has a lot more variance than constructed or draft. This is obvious. But the Guild Pack really made it for some pools I saw. Some people couldn’t play their selected Guild due to a mediocre Guild Pack and rares for other colors. Oh well, right?

But coming off of M19 and Dominaria before that, it was fun. I’m looking forward to a sealed PPTQ next week.

I am not looking forward to Standard because it seems like it’s going to be a weird mess. I wish Amonkher wasn’t rotating.

Why

I’m not feeling well.

I was really exited for the prerelease weekend, but my perfectionism is getting in the way of my joy.

When I was playing? Fun. When I was done and looking at my results? Well, they weren’t perfect, so I have to feel bad, right?

Well, of course not. But my brain sure wants it that way.

They don’t teach you how to control your own head. I don’t think that means there is someone to blame. It’s probsbly not sonmething you can easily teach. I don’t know. I only took one class on psychology and it was just reading and taking a test each week. If you passed on Monday you didn’t have to go to class again until the next week. I didn’t go much. I can take tests.

But that’s the cliche I am. I did what people would consider great in school. I graduated third in my high school class.

I still feel like a failure about that.

Why? What does that get me?

The Panic

I went to a gaming “industry” meet up last night. I put that in scare-quotes not to diminish it but because it's not like the event is limited to gaming industry people only. I mean I’m allowed to go.

(Is it fucked up that I have released five games and I still don't consider myself part of the gaming industry?)

While I was waiting for people to show up, I was doing Shadowverse’s equivalent of drafting. People started coming in and I chatted with them, but I wanted to finish the Arena best-of-five that I had started.

Plus there were people there.

While I know it was rude to keep playing the game while chatting, my panic was starting to hit in hard. I don't get it. I knew at least half of the people there, and the new folk were friendly enough. But I just started to fear for my life.

I tried to calm my nerves with pizza and booze. It didn't help. I just remember sitting at one point, conversations to the left of me, conversations to the right, and here I am in the middle just paralyzed without a thing to say. I eventually interjected a bit into a conversation about localization, but after that I just slowly looked at the clock and decided to head out.

I was a bit early for my train, but that was okay. I played some Shadowverse on the train. I got home, exercised a bit and went to bed.

I could have stayed home and played games but I don't think I would have done that either. I was exhausted from work - and it wasn't even a hard work day! But I went out and didn't feel it either.

I’m feeling lost right now. Not sure where I am heading in life or with any of my hobbies or interests. Which is funny because this morning I recorded my daily video and was pretty pumped for Guilds of Ravnica. I guess I still am? I’m just scared of life all of a sudden and not making any moves.

Who am I waiting for permission from?

Trying something new

Guilds of Ravnica pre-release is this weekend. This means Magic Online went down today and stopped doing leagues at a certain point. Arena is down for the big Open Beta switch.

So I could have played one of the many video games that I have but instead I loaded up Shadowverse on Steam which I had been messing with on my phone.

I ended up playing it most of the day.

I took all the free stuff they gave me for signing up and turned it all into the in-game card crafting stuff so I could build a competitive deck I found online for Luna, one of the characters I liked.

I played through her story, and it was pretty good. Fucked up in a few ways, but fun. Then I took the deck onto the competive versus ladder and did fairly well, even though I'm still quite ignorant about the game. Trial by fire. I moved up from Beginner to the D0 rank, so that felt good.

Of course, I really knew nothing about the game and apparently a new set is launching today. Well, while I sleep. And the rotation takes with it one of the important cards to the deck I put together. Oh well. I had fun and some people on Twith were telling me that I picked a fairly good thing to make anyway, and shouldn't have much trouble making a good deck after rotation.

Of course, I'm more interested in playing Magic once that digital stuff comes back online, but until Arena gets some mobile versions, I think Shadowverse might be a thing for me to mess around with on my phone.

I should also get around to trying that Eternal game. I've heard good things.

Fuck you

You belittle me.
You tell me I’m worthless.
Fuck you.
You tell me not to try.
You tell me there's no point.
Fuck you.
You tell me there’s nothing but failure.
You don't let me see light.
Fuck you.
You scream until nothing else can be heard.
You tease until I’m frayed to bits.
Fuck you.
You are in my head.
You will never leave.
But I don't have to listen.
Fuck you.

Getting there with practice

Made top 8 of a little tournament today with Canadian Threshold.

Second place actually. Then I lost to the guy I beat round four in the mirror match. Things just didn't go my way that time. Oh well.

It's funny to me how much Legacy doesn't tilt me like Standard and Modern does. Maybe I'm just bad in that way, but I always feel like I have more control in Legacy. Maybe that means I have lots to learn for Modern and Standard. Well, especially with how fast those two formats change.

I am happy with Canadian Threshold but I feel like playing it is holding me back a bit. There's probably just a better deck out there. Or maybe I have more to learn playing this deck as well.

I dunno. Magic's hard. But I feel like I did well today. And that feels good.

Setting up

I’m writing this on my new iPhone XS while my shitty internet chugs away at downloading apps.

This was my first time updating entirely from iCloud. I’ve always used hard backups before. I’m surprised how well this is going other than my internet sucking ass.

1Password’s integration is amazing. Logging into apps is stupid easy now. After all the hubbub I heard about FaceID, I’m surprised how easily it gets my mug as I lay on my bed translating and slowly checking all my apps.

My Series 4 Watch is also blowing my mind with how much of an upgrade it is to the original Watch. I somehow botched the backup of my watch, but it seems all the data I wanted was saved in iCloud anyway, so setting it up as a new watch has caused me no problems.

So far so good. I’m surprised how quickly I forgot the home button was even a thing. Picking up my iPhone 7 and it already feels extremely old.

We'll see how I feel in a week. But first impressions are great.

In which I talk about butts

I’m constipated.

I believe this is one of the side effects of the depression medicine I’m taking. Another one of those potential side effects is depression, so we know we're dealing with the, as the kids say, “good shit”.

So I tried the things. Stomach massages. Lots and lots of water. Fiber. So much fiber.

I gave in and bought some laxatives today. Here's where it gets gross, people.

Oh wait, it doesn’t. Because nothing fucking happened.

I spent a whole ¥700 on medicine people on the Internet said made for good poops. If I can't trust the Internet when it comes to shit, who can I trust?

I was planning on talking about Guilds of Ravnica tonight, but all I can think about is my gut. And how Guilds of Ravnica is probably going to change Standard so radically that I am just completely confused and will probably just focus on Modern and Legacy until someone else does well with a deck I find interesting.

Looking forward to those pre-releases and maybe a Sealed PPTQ or two, though.

If that's movin' up, then I'm passin' out

Ugh. Health check.

Lucky to have health insurance, but I always dreaded this because I knew that once I hit a certain age, blood tests would become necessary.

Last year was bad. As soon as I found out that I was going to have a blood test I found myself sweating profusely an barely able to stand. I am pretty sure I passed out for at bit after the blood was drawn.

Today I don't think I passed out, but it was such a bizarre moment. They lie me down, all these other teachers are going around with their vials of piss and getting weighed, and here I am with a blanket put over me (I don't get why they put the blanket over me) and then of course the blood taker is alternating between arms trying to find a place to take blood and at this point I am sweating. Pure heat radiating from my forehead and then there's that sting.

And the draining. I can just feel the blood being sucked out of me. A few minutes pass and they ask if I can stand up. Time to be done. Apparently I have one more thing to do where someone sticks a bunch of stuff to my chest and check out my heart? The woman administering the test(?) asks me to relax and I can't quite get it across that the blood taking got to me bad.

All done. Wobble out to my car. See my boss. “You okay?” Not really, no. “You look bad. Be careful.” I sit in my car and drink half a liter of water and drive to work. Teach my classes. I made it.

Goodness, I hate having my blood taken.

The Anxious Moment

I turned in translation work on Monday. I didn't have any more lined up. I panicked. What would I do?

Work came in Tuesday while I was teaching.

How much time can we spend worrying about things? If I didn't get that job I would have to cut back on some frivalries. I've already cut back on snacking and that has made an impact on my wallet and my waistline.

But the worry can't be good either.

In fact, due to some worry about things I cannot control I lost a few hours tonight. I'll never get them back. It's 1:30 in the morning and I can't sleep because I am worried about something that ultimately shouldn't matter in my life. But here I am. And I have to live with that.

Mild Success

Three day weekend. Ex-wife took son somewhere or something. She doesn't tell me much. So I translated and played Magic. Should have done a bit more work on the Four Job Fiesta Infopicture for this year, but I at least got it started. I wasn't in the mood. I try to make that thing entertaining. Entertaining isn't something I feel right now.

So today was a tournament for the end of the year local big Modern tournament wherein you get a bye for winning. Pretty cool. The prize was also two Mox Opals (I literally just had to add Mox to my spellchecker which 1) makes me wonder why it took this long and B) makes me wonder where the word Mox came from.) which is a pretty big prize for a ¥2000 tournament. Sadly (?) I ended up second, which really I cannot complain, but the prize was an Aether Vial, of which I had four. The store owners said I could get ¥3000 store credit, which, not great but I’m up, right?

Plus I played Storm fairly well, I think. Round one was the mirror, and I think my opponent was a bit unlucky but I managed to squeak out the wins when the opportunity arose. Round two was a guy I’m used to being on UB Faeries, but was on UW control. He didn't see a White source until even after using a Field of Ruin to get UU for Vendilion Clique. So I was thinking Faeries, but luckily saw a Snapcaster Mage which made me guess UW. I was right, and unfortunately lost game two to more Clique beats and nothing but draws of air, but managed to pull out the win in game three with an early and pushed Empty the Warrens.

Round three was humans. It ended a draw. I think I did two Gifts Ungiven piles wrong. I forget exactly what I messed up game two, but game three I really needed it to be four pieces of removal, but I went for Past in Flames and he had a Meddling Mage. He couldn't finish me off when we went to turns though.

I got paired down so I faced off against Bant Eldrazi instead of KCI. I won, but the Humans player lost to KCI. I don't know if the breakers would have gone my way if I was tied at ten points with the Humans player. I’d guess not since I got paired down twice in the tournament. But it didn't matter since the KCI player won, and took the tournament. Still, I got some more reps with Storm. I’m still feeling a bit shaky, and it was hell against Eldrazi with Damping Sphere out, but with two Goblin Electromancers I managed to squeak out a win. Playing under that is a bit of a headache, and I had to apologize to my opponent and write out some math to makes sure I could do what I wanted to do. It was a bit intense, involving first casting a Pyretic Ritual into a Desperate Ritual with another spliced onto it, cast the spliced one, Grapeshot, make ten goblins, swing with my two Electromancers, and then my opponent drew for his turn and scooped.

Doing this all under the Sphere was intense. I had a similar match online today where my opponent on Elves had three Spheres out but I managed to get the win because a flipped Thing in the Ice made it impossible for them to build up a defense. Unfortunately, this stream isn't showing in my Twitch history, so I cannot make a video of it unless it somehow shows up. But it was a good match.

So lots of good Storm today. A few mistakes, but I’m still learning. Taking second isn't bad. This was no PPTQ, but people did come to get those Mox Opals, so I can't complain about how I did.

Only one more Modern PPTQ this season as far as I can see, and it kind of bums me out that I only found a deck I actually like this late, but hopefully it sticks around or at least gets some action to stay relevant and I can keep playing it for a while.

Learning

I made lots of mistakes with GIfts Storm today, but I learned a lot.

Land orders matter. You have to think about these. I may not have won the game, but I didn't have a chance because I put a Stream Vents into play tapped instead of a Spirebluff Canal and lacked enough mana the next turn.

I could have won round 3 if I paid attention to my opponent's mana and realized that he was tight on blue and my Wipe Away could have bounced an Island end of turn and Cryptic Command wouldn't have prevented me from winning on round five of turns.

Devoted Company is hard, but I have to try to trade for their early creatures as fast as possible so that I can get the chance to combo.

Mono Red Prison is mean. I think I just got bad beats there.

A 2-4 is not a great record, but I sure learned a lot playing the deck today. And that feels good.

First and Last

I played in two Magic tournaments today.

Well, three if you count the PTQ on Magic Online.

That's a lot of Magic. The Modern PPTQ was a disaster. Only eight people showed up which meant that it was single elimination. Through the Breach got me in two games before the match next to me really got started because of a judge call. Okay, I might be exaggerating. But it was done real fast. It took me longer to get there.

So I was bummed out. Okay, it happens, but whatever.

Then I drove to a nearby store that was doing a Store Championship. Another small tournament, but I crushed it. Turbo Fog did it this weekend. Control and mirror matches didn't hurt, but hey, I had bad varience an hour earlier. Then I won a tournament. Not one that gets me close to my goal of playing on the Pro Tour, but a confidence boost that I can win tournaments.

Then I did another sealed PTQ on Magic Online. 3-2 instead of 2-3! I pulled a Vaevictis Asmadi, the Dire and was so, so, so tempted to build around it, but my Red and especiallly my Green weren't exactly there. I did have two of the common dragons and a Dragon's Hoard, but I just wasn't confident enough and my white looked a little bit better. So I went White Black and after losing game one, round one, I through to gether the Vaevictis deck I was thinking about during sideboarding and it just crashed to mana screw hard. So I think it was best that I registered the White Black deck. I was lucky to get a bye round three, but my deck did what it was supposed to do rounds four and five. And that's six packs, which is 18 out of the 30 tickets the tournament cost. Selling the junk from my pool grabbed me another two tickets, so it was ten for some practice with sealed.

I am tired of M19 sealed and probably should just wait until Guilds releases to do any more. But today was a pretty good day for me Magic-wise. A needed boost of confidence.

Upgrading

I bought my first Apple product in 2004. In the past fourteen years I’ve been mocked for being a fanboy, and perhaps the label fits, but I was the dork who in his first programming class wrote a “quiz” in QuickBASIC where every single answer was mocking Macs because I knew the teacher was an Apple fan, and hey, it was 1997.

I even picked up an old Macintosh... I don’t even know what it was, and set it up in front of my one friend’s dorm room and said “Look at me, I’m so and so! I use a Mac!” because he used an iMac. I was (am?) an asshole. But I still see him when I go to America, so I guess he’s forgiven me or it wasn’t that insulting to begin with.

But between seeing him use it, another friend who was in Computer Science and my Japanese classes using Macs and one professor who used Macs despite ever other single professor at the time using Windows or some sort of Linux, I got curious. And my Sony Vaio was one of the biggest pieces of shit I ever owned. And really, it was 2004, and this was a Institute of Technology so not having even a semi decent laptop to work on while waiting for classes was becoming a pain.

So I bought a MacBook.

I brought it to Japan that summer. My first time in Japan. The tech guy at the college in Japan said it wouldn’t get on the college’s network. I figure it out. I beat the shit out of that MacBook. I tore it apart to replace a dead hard drive. I gave it to my father and he used it until last year where it just got to the point where it wasn’t good enough. Still. That little fucker did some work.

But it also changed me a lot. Despite its flaws, I hadn’t owned a non-Apple computing device until I built a PC in January 2017 just so I could play Magic Online on something that wasn’t a virtual machine and I was tired of going into BootCamp. I hate that fucking thing, and even though everyone tells me that streaming on PC is easier, I constantly run into problems. But I’m not here to talk about Windows.

I bought a Series 4 Apple watch today. Yeah, pricy. Yes, I am lucky that I have the disposable income to buy it. But when I placed that order, I looked down at my wrist and thought, despite its, many, many flaws, I love the fuck out of my original Apple watch.

Much like I didn’t use Apple stuff until 2004, I didn’t wear a watch until the Apple watch. I tried, but it never stuck. But this expensive dingus with its stupid little rings that track my steps, exercise and how many times I stand a day got me thinking about my health more. I lost a lot of weight the first year I had my Apple watch.

I listened to a lot of My Brother, My Brother and Me while walking around my old neighborhood before I got divorced and moved because I wanted to fill those stupid rings. And I did. And I was healthier.

The divorce, well, it messed me up a lot. I got off track. But I still look at those stupid rings every day and at least think about it even if right now I’m not doing my best. But I did it before and I know I could do it again.

Could this Series 4 come and I have bad luck where I get a defective device and I bring it into the store time and time again and keep getting duds because sometimes you have bad luck with things? Maybe. Maybe it will be so great that I will love it as much as my original watch which is on my wrist as I type this. Maybe it will be a nice little bump and I’ll feel kind of silly for spending money on a new one.

But like that MacBook, I beat the shit out of this watch and it has been good to me. And in a week or so it’s going to go back into its box. Maybe I’ll sell it. Maybe it will stay in my closet until I move someday and I have to decide whether to trash it or sell it somewhere for a couple yen. Maybe I’ll stop being emotionally attached to things at that age. But for now as I await the new one, I look at the old and as stupid as it sounds, I have to give it my gratitude.

Practice and its makings

I did a lot of translating over the past day. Sixteen thousand characters. Woof. Brain is a little fried, but I still found some time to stream some Gifts Storm online. The more I play it the more I like it.

I only went 2-3 this league, but I definitely felt like I learned a lot. Sometimes it's necessary to cast Grapeshot before Past in Flames because you essentially double your damage. Or do a third and then the remaining two thirds. But I didn't think that way. Lots of math in this. It's so much harder in paper because you have to keep track of so many things.

But I'm learning and I'm having fun. I don't know if this deck is "better positioned" than Mardu, and I am kind of scared to take it to a PPTQ this weekend, but I should get in another league or two before I do and I think I might be ready to try. I'm excited to try, at least.