Well, it isn't bad

Final Fantasy Fifteen opens up (Gasp, spoilers.) with the main party pushing their car down the road. If this does not summarize the past, fuck, ten years(?) since the game’s “”announcement"" then I do not know what does.

I like the game.

So far.

I think everyone (Okay, I am just talking about one person: me) was expecting a total disaster, and it is not. It is a fine video game. Is it the exact Final Fantasy I want? Well, no. But that hasn't happened since... FF10? I mean, 11 and 12 are disasters. 13 and its sequels were fun enough, 14 is another fuckstorm, but this is something. This I can play.

Thanks to the Bravely games and I am Setsuna I have had that good-good RPG feeling. Even my foray into the Trails of games has not hurt. Fifteen is hitting the spot of a modern-isa game to play right now. Plus those Final Fantasy bits that get my bits all hot and slash or bothered.

That’s four hours in. We will see how it keeps up.

A Long, Hot One

Doing my business in the bathroom during my free period, some other teacher came in and did theirs. Then as they left they turned off the lights. I sat in the dark, alone, for a few minutes as I finished my, ahem, duties and then left the room.

Habit on their part. I would wager. Saving electricity. I do not mind, actually. Bright lights tend to bother me. I think it is the blue eyes? I read that somewhere.

I saw a headline the other day for an article about how lonely people replace human touch with long showers. Makes sense. Might not be true. Might be. Oh, life, how coplicated you are. Science is always at work.

It is getting cold. I am worried that this medicine for my anxiety is making me sleepy. I slept for eleven hours yesterday. Why does the idea of a “twenty minute nap” seem so appealing at 8pm? Maybe because “I can get up and brush my teeth after the nap!” and “I don’t have to get up, I just have to yell at Siri to remind me to get up in twenty minutes!” I have a vague recollection of the alarm going off. Then I have a the solid memory of waking up at 7:30 in the morning. Whoops.

I still have not played World of Final Fantasy. I am scared to. What if I do not like video games any more? I have not played many in the past few months. Been out playing Magic. But it is not always easy to make it somewhere where there is a tournament. There are none in driving distances outside of Friday Night Magic and Sunday tournaments. Otherwise I gotta ride that train and that money adds up. But who likes staying at home alone every night? Some people, I guess. I envy them.

It is time for a long, hot shower.

Getting Bye

I won a Grand Prix Trial on my birthday.

That's a hell of present.

My mind is too much of a blur to remember much, but Death and Taxes is an uphill battle. Jund is a pile of fuck that I hate dealing with. And Delver BUG is annoying. But when they have no green mana and you blind-call Tarmogoyf with Cabal Therapy? And not only are they are holding two of them but three Abrupt Decays? Well, you can’t help but let out a sigh of relief. And then turn cards sideways and smash face.

After the tournament was four of us played a little game where everyone opens a pack then picks eight lands. The packs get shuffled together. Everyone is at ten life and gets four cards. The remaining cards go in the center. You can play lands you draw from the pile or cycle them. If you don't play a land from your hand you can pick one from the pile. But when there are no more Islands there are no more Islands. So choosing those eight lands is important.

We each bought two packs and used them as the prize pool, along with the rates and foils from the packs. Holding a Nissa in hand all game, unable to play her, and knowing I was not going to win sucked. But I have my play-set. I cannot complain.

After that I got some curry for dinner and drove around for a while. Picked up a copy of World of Final Fantasy. But I was not in a playing mood. I listened to some podcasts, drove around. Browsed some shops.

Right now I sort of feel like I wasted my evening, but perhaps it was necessary. Maybe the mental strain of all these Legacy tournaments got to me. Maybe the open road and some podcasts was just what my brain needed.

Right now I feel tinges of regret, but also a bit relaxed. So perhaps I made the right choice. Grand Prix Chiba is in less than three weeks. I have two byes. World of Final Fantasy awaits me tonight.

Things are not so bad.

Happy New Year

Happy New Year, everyone. You know, because I was born today and so my actual year begins today intead of January first. Oh how clever.

How's that working out for me? Being clever. Christ, Fight Club is a shitty movie. That is a good quote, though.

If 70 people read this, there is a 99.9% chance one of you has tody as your birthday too. If so, happy birthday. Treat yourself. Read some Wikipedia, maybe? Good facts, you know. Wikipedia is never wrong.

Had some bad Magics yesterday. Round one in the GPT was against Miracles. We went to time and I just could not draw anything to take the dude out. Sure kept his board clean, though. Terminus fucking sucks. Round two Merfolks smashed over me. Oh well. Dropped, went and got a late lunch. Then I drove to a store that was doing a 7pm Legacy tournament.

Five played in that. Twelve were playing Commander. I have not even seen that many people playing Commander. But they sure seemed to be having a good time. Well, the folk who were making infinite combos going off seem to be having fun. The others just kind of sat there. I wonder about that format. But lots of people were playing. So I think they might have been having fun.

I'm off the Stifle version of Grixis Delver and am now playing the Cabal Therapies. I'm not sure. But it seems to be the more standard version which may mean it is better, which may mean it is more well known. But I was still able to pull off some wins in the five-person tournament last night. Lost against Tin Fins. Got kind of grumpy as I just could not seem to grab any counters. He was not even ripping them from my hand with discard spells. I just didn't have them.

Beat some WU deck I cannot remember the name of. Stoneblade? Was it WUR? Memory getting fuzzy. Then I tied against Eldrazi. That was annoying. Games just went long. I could stablize, but then just could not finish him off due to his big ass things. Well, game one was real long. Game two I locked him down and pulled it off right after they called time. Whoops.

Gonna spend today at another Grand Prix Trial. Last chance to get those two byes. If not, a long day of Magic awaits me. Or not if I lose real quick, but then at least I will be in Chiba, near Tokyo and friends and can do some stuff. Should be fun.

Spoiled myself with a steak dinner last night. Might spoil myself with World of Final Fantasy tonight. Or a box of Battle for Zendikar. I mean, that chance of an Expeditions is pretty sexy. Plus Gideon is rising in price like crazy. But nah, no box, I think. I mean, playing Magic itself is enough of a gamble. Why bust all them packs when the chances are so low?

Wish me luck at the GPT!

I have an Apple

This one is a little less of a bummer.

When I was a freshman in 1997 I wrote a Quick BASIC quiz as part of a class assignment. The theme was mocking how stupid Macintosh computers were. My programming teacher was a jolly, vest-wearing man. As he took the quiz he laughed, passed me and said "You just haven't used one yet."

In my daily life now I use:

  • A 2015 MacBook Pro
  • A 2013 iMac
  • A small iPad Pro
  • An Apple Pencil
  • An iPhone 7
  • An watch
  • An tv

I sat for way too long trying to decide whethere I needed those a's and an's.

That is a hell of a lot of Apple products. I am often called a fanboy. Okay. Sure. But I have to say I haven't had many problems recently. None. And I do quite a bit.

Every work day I am hooking up the tv to a projector or TV and using AirPlay from my iPad to teach class. The kids sure enjoy the Pencil. I use that same iPad for translation work when I'm on the train or out and about. You know, when I don't feel like carrying around my MacBook Pro. Which I use for my translation work as well as developing apps which I use in class on said iPad and tv. Also, I make games which development goes on both the MacBook Pro and iMac. And the iMac I stream on. I do have to boot intoWindows

I don't think I have to explain the amount of use my iPhone and watch get every day. It's a lot.

So I'd like to think I do a lot of work with it. So it weirds me out when people say "If you don't have problems you don't do a lot of actual work."

Hm.

Well, I guess some problems include Siri not being great with foreign names. So if I want to listen to Ana Ng I just have to say "Hey Siri, play Lincoln by They Might Be Giants". Being in Japan, I tend to reference people by their relationship to me instead of their names. That is quite Japanese, so it works out. Siri just does not play nice with some names.

But I log every single yen I spend. Every single one. I want to make sure I'm spending them yens the right way. Lifting up my phone and saying "Hey Siri, open Drafts." Tap that little microphone button. "680 new line curry dinner" and boom I just have two taps to add to my spent file.

So I'm happy with all my Apple stuffs. Maybe I am a fanboy. Maybe you have problems. I'm sorry. That sucks to hear. I hope things work out. I am getting lucky with a little bit of life. That makes me happy.

Loneliness

This one might be a bit of a bummer.

I usually have Saturday plans. I did not this week. So my Friday Night Magic was a bit of a choice. I could go to the close place, maybe grab dinner afterwards with some of the folk, go home and sleep. Sleep in Saturday, go to a Grand Prix Trial, go home. Or I could have gone to a store a bit further out but would have given me three tournaments to play in. Cheaper tournaments, worse prizes, and I'd be getting home real late. Parking is a little pricier though. Would have gotten home around 3 or 4 am. But I had no solid Saturday plans.

I went to the close store. Hardly anyone showed up. Ended early. No one wanted to go out for dinner. I went home. Finished watching Donnie Brasco. That's a rough movie. The idea of overworking to the point of damaging relationships and your own psyche hit hard. Although I haven't hit any women. That was a rough watch.

I checked Twitter and the store I decided not to go to was "popping" as the kids may say. Seemed like I made the wrong choice. I did get some sleep, although not particularly satisfying sleep. So now I am on a train full of people heading to a tournament. I hope I play my best. I hope I see some people I know. I like people. Some people. They make me feel less lonely.

There has been this "trend" on the Internet to post these little images saying "You are important. We love you!" and if these things make you happy, I am glad a thing made you happy. I find them insulting. They are a stinging reminder of lonliness. Sorry, Internet Stranger, I know you mean well. You told someone they are important! Maybe you made someone feel better! And I think you did. I think you made yourself feel better.

Which is fine. We all do selfish things. But lonliness stings a little harder when a gif of a piece of glass says "You are not alone! I'm with you" Thanks, Internet Stranger, but I am. And you're not.

Learning to Fall

I slipped this morning right before exiting my home. My laptop bag dropped to the floor and my book  bag containing my Magic decks slammed against the wall. "My legacy deck!" I thought, before realizing the hard plastic case would likely keep it safe. Safer than my poor laptop which got a good jostle.

The Legacy deck is worth more.

Laptop is working just fine. Not a ding. SSD, baby. Ain't got to worry about none of them datas, not that they aren't all backed up via Backblaze anyway. (I first typed Blackblaze. If you get that joke, you are a special kind of nerd.)

Grand Prix Trial yesterday went pretty good. I suppose. I placed fifth. That's not first, so I feel bad. It's not last so I should feel good even though there's a little demon in the back of my head that says otherwise. Fuck that guy. Although the prize for top 8 was a single pack, which feels like a bit of a "fuck you".

Six rounds is a lot of Magic. Rounds 1, 3 and 4 were combo decks. Sneak Attack, Tin Fins and Eureka. I won all three, but they sure were grinds. Deny them their resources and pound away. One game versus Tin Fins was luck. I think he drew twenty one cards and could not find a single Lotus Petal. So it goes.

My loss was to Elves, which I am 1) inexperienced against and 2) thus made mistakes. I bolted the wrong thing once. I also left an Underground Sea open instead of the Tropical Island. I could not gain life with the Deathrite Shaman that had to block. I would have been at 3 instead of 1. Not that I was about to win but I might have had chances instead of not having chances. So it goes.

Round 5 was versus Shardless BUG which I feel like I am getting better at playing against. Handle the Goyf, get the advantage. Round 6 was an Intentional Draw into top 8 which worried me a little because I don't ID much. I suppose that's a thing as you start placing higher.

I enjoyed some curry and then went back to play. Game 1 was a bunch of stupid mistakes. Game 2 I got lucky and blasted away with two Delvers. Game three I mulliganned into a questionable hand which a Thoughtseize ripped apart. I never recovered.

The pack was crap. But the entry prize was a 21% discount coupon. So I picked up something to complete a play-set. Who knows how decks will change.

I ended the night by heading over to a store where there should have been a small Legacy tournament. Only one other player showed up. He was playing Mavericks, which I had never played against. This surprised him. I knew of it, just never had the pleasure. Or displeasure as it turned out as he beat me five out of six games.

There's always more to learn.

Legendary

I bought into Legacy kind of hard. I do not want to discuss the prices. You can google them. But my Grixis Delver deck is in my bag now and whenever I get to jam out some Legacy games it feels so good.

I was at a small little event last night and went 1-2. Lost first round to some WUR Goodstuff™ where he just seemed to drop an answer to everything I had. "Your Delver is flipping? Pyroblast in response. Swords to Plowshares your Deathrite Shaman after it comes into play."

I was feeling unpleasant. He said good game. I said I hope that he had fun. I felt like a dick afterwards, but Brainstorming into two lands when you're trying to get rid of two in your hand might do that to a man.

Next round was versus a guy who I would guess is half Japanese? Japanse last name, spoke perfect English. We bantered back and forth. He was playing Aluren. I need to read cards I am unfamiliar with. He got me good with the flash part that I totally missed. Then again I had already made him discard two of them with a Cabal Therapy. Sometimes you draw cards. I did beat him one game, and learned a lot about another "combo" deck.

Third round was versus Miracles and the first time I actually beat Miracles. Delvers can go a long way. Of course, if they don't, then it's a long, long game and I brainfarted once knowing that he showed a Brainstorm with Counterbalance but then cast Deathrite Shaman into it. Whoops.

I need to play a little slower is what I learned. Take a second, breathe, think about the play. Not too slow - I've had some players ask me to speed up at moments, but hey, I'm learning and Magic is a difficult game.

Legacy is fun. I wish more people played. I get why Wizards (Hasbro?) doesn't want to get rid of that Restricted List, but goodness, how many people would pay $20, maybe $30?, for packs with the duals as Mythic Rares. Maybe not enough. "Oh my collection." people whine, but I'm always trading foils into non-foil versions and getting a little extra out of the deal. Some people like original and old shit.

Some people just want to play the fucking game.

Repetition

I stared at a printed worksheet for a solid thirty seconds wondering if I did it with the class already.
I hadn't. I did it last week at another school. And I did it last year with the students at this school who are now at another school.
So, things have been done and they will continue to be done. And I am oh so glad that I write down everything that I do so that mistakes are not made.

Of course, there is the moment of terror when a student goes "We already did this." but more often than not they are refering to the fact that we are going to first review what we did last week.

In nine years I have never repeated a lesson to the same students twice in a row by accident. And yet I constantly fear that I will. I'm not sure what exactly would happen if I did. The students get a bit more practice. I get a bit more practice. They would possibly think me a bit silly, but I'm convinced they already do.

Worst. Comic. Ever.

After finishing The Incomparable #314 I was prompted to boot up my Marvel Unlimited app and read X-Men: Worst X-Man Ever. It was pretty great.

There was a span of my life where getting any bit of X-Men triva that I could was a pure obsession. Looking at over-priced issues of the comics at shops in Philadelphia was a pure joy. This comic gave me that feeling again.

If you super-like the X-Men, you've probably already read this. But if you kind-of like them and haven't read comics in a while, by-golly this was a treat. I don't want to spoil anything, but it's about a mutant whose power really, really sucks. And he has to go to Xavier's school because of a reason that is going to get some sort of reaction out of you.

Get reading.

Not so strange things

During my three week trip back to America I kept getting recommended to watch Stranger Things. Everyone seemed to sell it to me on the idea of kids solving a mystery with the help of their D&D supplementary material, and instead I got a slightly less-weird Twin Peaks with Winona Ryder talking to a ball of Christmas lights.

I’m not complaining, I’m just saying.

I’m currently halfway through episode 6 (life calls, as it often does) and with two episodes left I kind of get that vibe I got from Heroes before it went on for Way Too Long. Knowing that there’s only about two and half hours left makes it a bit more interesting than seventeen and a half, so at least there’s that.

Beta Testing

For the past few years I have been installing the beta versions of iOS on my phone. It's not a good idea. I know this. Anything could happen.

Last week when I was in BitSummit, my iPhone kept shutting down. Really, really hot. I run the beta software and I think "Well, it's not impossible that the beta is getting into some sort of crazy loop and over heating and shutting itself down, right?"

So when I got back home I scheduled a Genius Bar appointment and went to restore my iPhone to 9.3.2 just in case.

"Please input your password."

Squeeze me? I do not remember putting the encryption on my iPhone. Some quick searching turns up that there is an option for you to save that's password in the Keychain. Phew.

Of course, it's not in the Keychain.

Palms sweaty, I start typing. This password, that password. Nothing. I look through my notes files in case for some dumb reason I decided to write it down in there. Nothing. 1Password. Nothing. I'm fucked.

Except there is iCloud Backup. I can do that. I do instantly and spend the next few days trying to remember that damn encryption password. But I got nothing.

Bring it to the Apple Store. Software tests checks out. The Genuis squeezes my phone and sighs. She thinks the batter is getting fat. Brings it to the back room. I'm not the only one who has gained weight over the past year. Free new phone for me. Should increase the resell value in September, especially since my old one had a big chunk taken out of the bottom right corner when I dropped it.

Get my new phone. It's iOS 9.3.2. Of course. So here I sit in Osaka, typing away on my iPad Pro while my phone downloading beta software over Apple's WiFi, me praying my iCloud Backup will work.

Passwords, people. Be careful with passwords.

Wash your hands

I woke up this morning. I went to urinate. As I was washing my hands I realized that for some reason I had not flushed the toilet this time. I flushed and with one fell swoop my hands turned towards the sink to apply soap and wash my hands. Such is the instinct in my body of washing my hands after flushing the toilet that I went to do it again without even thinking.

It is also my instinct to grab my phone manifesting itself as an alarm clock in the morning and then look at email, Twitter and then Facebook if for some reason the previous two items did not ruin my morning enough. People seem to be real shitty. I seem to be real shitty at times and I have to fight the urge to believe that I am being shitty because of the shitty mood I am in from others being shitty, but the shitty thing is that I am actively choosing to be shitty even if I don't think I am. A shitty situation.

But this instinctive washing of my hands was frightening. What else am I doing every day without even thinking before?