Thursday, January 30, 2014

I hope that I can continue to be healed.  I hope that the dreadful feeling that seems to have gone away, stays away.  I think I may have felt a bit of it today, which is ironic because I just said and noticed last night that it felt like it went away.  I really hope it stays away.

Deadlines at work!  Pushing through, just a little bit more and hopefully I'll be home free.  This weekend is the Born of the Gods prerelease!  I guess that means I shouldn't stay up too late on Friday.  I think I'm going to do two prereleases...which is quite a lot, actually.  Prereleases are always way more draining than they should be.  Sigh.  Good fun, still, but hey, where is my free time, hello?

Have one more project to get finished up next week.  Wish me the best of luck with it, okay?

Did you know that I was starting to cry yesterday at Deca rehearsal?  Haha, it wasn't even because of anything that happened during was  I think it was some Owl City song or something, haha.  I don't even remember the lyrics or anything, which is funny.  I mean, sometimes songs get to me just because the atmosphere is so amazing, the textures and the harmony and everything.  That's the case for things like Picolescence and Depth Perception.  Then there's songs that get to me because of their lyrics, like Thousand Years.  And there's songs that get to me because of their emotional connection with past Sixpence None the Richer songs, or this song from the Tower of Heaven OST.

But none of those were the case this time.  I didn't know the song, didn't know the lyrics, didn't have any emotional connection with it, I don't know at all...I just heard it and I just wanted to start crying.  That's music for you, I guess.  Silly, isn't it?  Wonderful.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Today is the day...all of the posters are about to come down!  Let's do this~

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

I went on my third Journey wasn't afterwards that I started crying.  I think this is actually the first time I've actually started crying because of Journey, though surely the emotions were strongest before when I was experiencing it for the first time ever.

I got connected with a newbie redcloak this time, and was super excited to help them out, but they seemed to be...well, not that responsive, and slow to move.  I kept on trying to signal them to go places but they seemed to be intent at going at their own pace and not really communicating back either.  I wonder if they thought I was just an NPC?  Surely not...I mean come on, I even know how to faceplant! xD

I ended up staying behind as they left to go to the next level.  As they walked through the corridor to the next area, I pressed start so that I would sit down and meditate, watching them go and signaling to them that I wouldn't be following.  I felt such mixed feelings at that moment.  Was I doing the right thing?  Should I be letting them go?  Should I be staying with them?  Surely if I had kept going with them I would probably have gotten impatient and just left them behind at some point in the future, right?  Yet, I still felt a pang of guilt at letting that newbie go off on their own.  Well, hopefully they found another companion who was better for them.  Or...maybe they're just fine on their own anyways.  Who knows...

I ended up meeting up with a whitecloak instead!  So exciting!  So fancy!  They didn't seem to know any fancy tricks or anything, but we just went through and took a normal Journey, with nothing too exciting happening, though I brought them along with me to go see the Flow secret (which I'm assuming they probably already got, but hey what the heck, right?).  I also got caught by a war machine in the last possible place that you can get caught by one--in the middle of the snowstorm, I was just short of making it to cover when the war machine spotted me and hit us both.  Ahh, I felt so sorry!  Well, I guess scarf length doesn't really make a difference at that point anyways, but still...

Come to think of it, I don't think we went through that route when I was taking my second journey.  I can't remember what we did instead, but I guess we just avoided the war machines altogether when I was following the redcloak from last time?  Hmm...

They really did such a great job on the feeling of movement in the game.  I think you have to play it to really know what I'm talking about, but the way that it ties into the rise and fall and rise of the story is really really well done.

Music is wonderful.  Music is love.  Love music.  Music is amazing.  Inspirational.  Emotional.  Epic.  Cheerful.  Sad.  Crying.  I feel like somehow I've forgotten just how powerful and helpful music can be.  Thanks Aivi & Surasshu :)

Sunday, January 19, 2014

My Second Journey

Well, I finally got around to it!  The first time that I played Journey was way way back in summer, at the end of July, and boy was it an amazing experience.  I was just a plain old first-timer who didn't know how to do anything at all, didn't know anything about the levels or what anything meant or anything.  I don't even think I realized that I was meeting different companions until the end of the game (I think I had like 3 or so?).

This second time was much different.  Of course, emotionally the story was less poignant, less heart-wrenching because I knew everything that was coming, but it was actually still really emotional.  The first time through is really special I think, because you really are fully immersed in it and you are really "taking the Journey" yourself, so to speak, but really the emotional impact is still there afterwards's not really anything to do with shock value; it's just...very beautiful and amazing.  I really can't sing enough praise for this game.

Anyhow, here I was, setting up for my second game...this time I created my own PSN account so that I would be using my own username instead of my brother's (using his PS3 to play).  That took a bit, and then I was in the middle of the sand dunes for the second time...

Sometime in the middle of my extended break from Journey, I had stumbled upon the official Journey forums and had become super fascinated with the forum culture, the community, and all of the accumulated tricks and knowledge and fantastic experiences that existed there.  It was mostly this that motivated me to go back and take the Journey again--along with learning about the symbols, white cloaks, and all of that that I never knew anything about on my first playthrough.

One thing that I had also learned about during my brief skim through the forums was the faceplanting move--if you run in a certain way, you actually cause your character to fall over and faceplant in the sand, which is amusing by itself, and apparently great fun to do once you've got a companion.  (the forum members also use it as one of the ways of differentiating forumgoers from non-forumgoers)  I couldn't quite remember how to do it, so I looked it up online and got the hang of it.  Because of the whole nature of Journey and passing down experience and secrets and everything to newer Journeyers, I actually don't want to spoil very much for myself, and instead prefer to find it by wandering around and experimenting, or just by having my companions show me...but I was really really excited about the faceplanting thing so I let myself have an exception for that.

Anyways, I went on my way and then lo and behold, as I was working with the bridges in the first area I connected with somebody!  I didn't know that it was possible to connect that early in the game--during my first playthrough I remember going significantly further while I was still alone.  So I ran over and we started going through the game together; he or she seemed friendly enough.

One thing I did notice was the ease at which I settled into the "follower" role when I was with them.  I think this happened on my first playthrough as's just so natural for me to let them decide where we're going, what we're doing, and just let them walk ahead.  I think part of it of course is my inexperience with the game, but it's also just a part of my personality, I think.  Journey probably enhances this more because of its lack of communication--I don't want to try and argue with the other person, and there's no real way for me to say "sorry" if I screw up either!

So I did that for this companion too, and it was working just fine.  I got a much better insight into how the chirping works and how it recharges your companion's scarf if you chirp loudly while they're near...we actually did a bit of what I presume is called "tandem flying" (?) by chirping at each other while in the air to keep each other charged felt wonderful!  Of course, it also helped that I had a longer scarf this time. :)  I had taken my time through the very beginning of the first area, and found an extra symbol as a result.

I noticed quite early on that this companion liked to wander around a lot.  I couldn't really decide what to make of it at first.  When I really noticed this was after the history lesson at the platform that you reach via one of the dragon scarf animal things...instead of walking forward and continuing to the next area, my companion went the opposite way and started wandering around to various places in the desert.  Because of the way that they showed me one or two of the other glyphs/symbols, I kind of thought that they were more experienced than me (I didn't yet know the difference between red cloak designs) one point I remember thinking to myself that maybe they were just an old veteran (maybe a former white cloak?) that was playing around and wandering around the levels to sightsee.  I really couldn't tell--all I knew is that we spent quite a bit of time wandering around in that level, pushing into wind currents that blocked us from proceeding further, etc.

At one point we returned to the platform with the meditation circle, and my companion stood over the pillar corresponding to the one symbol that we had yet to find, chirping at me.  I understood the message, and was ready to follow them in search of it...

However, I was also a bit anxious at this point because of an issue on my end--the PS3 controller that I was using was signaling to me that it was low on batteries, and my brother wasn't home, so I had no idea where the charger was.  I wasn't sure whether it would last through the entire playthrough, and I was REALLY afraid of suddenly having my controller cut out and being unable to communicate with my companion at all as to what had happened.  I texted my brother and he told me where to look, but I needed to notify my companion that I needed some time to deal with some things.  I stopped, chirped like mad, then pressed start to pause the game (your in-game character sits down when you do this).  I didn't actually end up finding the controller charger, but I did find another usb cable that would work, so I quickly found it and returned to the game, breathing a huge sigh of relief when I found that my companion was waiting patiently for me and that all would be well.  (I also contemplated the fact that I was supposed to be meeting a friend at some point, and if the Journey took too long, I would need to signal to my companion that I really wouldn't be coming back....*sweat*)

We eventually found the last symbol, along with the Flower secret.  I remember joyously chirping and chirping when we finally saw that symbol and collected it.  Actually...I chirped like mad in appreciation every time my companion showed me any of the symbols ^^;  I felt so silly, missing some of them that were almost in plain sight, but at the same time I was grateful to have someone pointing them out to me.

At one or two points I actually remember my companion sitting down and pausing their game, and I briefly wondered whether they were actually just taking that time to reference a walkthrough of some sort, to see where all of the symbols were...

It was quite a different experience going through the above scene with a companion.  The entire sequence of sliding/skimming across the sand with the upbeat energetic music was actually quite different in feeling now that I had someone else there, as I kept on worrying that I would lose them, and I also kept on worrying that they would point out and get some symbol and I would totally fail to reach it...xD  They did end up showing me a symbol, and thankfully I was able to follow their path and reach it.

The above image is one of the most amazing moments in Journey, I think, but I actually think it was more emotionally impactful when I was going it alone.  Just me and the beautiful, amazing landscape...On the other hand, there were a few moments during that sequence where I just felt inexplicably happy to be with my companion.  I guess it's worthwhile to experience it both ways.

We ended up missing a scarf symbol in that level, actually.  We dropped into the darker bluer area, and at the end-of-area statue we chirped to each other, standing on the pillar that wasn't lit up.  We did find the picture thing to the left in that area, but apparently we had missed that symbol earlier on and it was too late for us to go back for it.

I took the opportunity to do a faceplant before moving on.

I was a bit anxious to go through the part with the war machines that attack you and make your scarf shorter, especially since I had gotten torn up pretty badly by them during my first playthrough (resulting in a pitiful scarf length when I came out of that area...), but my companion stuck to the far left of the level, out of most of their paths, so we were fine, and didn't even have to hide in the little tunnels.

It was during this level that at one point I simply lost sight of my companion and couldn't seem to locate them at all.  At one point we were both flying in the same direction, and then suddenly I had no idea where they were.  I saw the white glow at the edge of my screen a few times, but when I panned the camera, nothing was there.  Where were they?  I kept trying for a bit, but without any luck.  Well, that was really sad...I started thinking that maybe I would just hide in a corner or nook and pause/sit down, and finish the game at a later point after doing some other stuff, now that I had lost my companion, but just as I was turning back forwards to move onwards, I saw white pulses coming from the distance--it was my companion, who was sending out loud bells, like a beacon for me to find.  I was so happy!  I rushed over to them as quickly as I could, chirping like mad with excitement.

I had actually forgotten the sequence that happens near the end of that area, so I was actually genuinely concerned when the war machines started to go after my companion.  Haha, I guess some things still surprise you even after the first time...

Climbing the tower was fun--whenever we activated one of the wall drawings, I tended to stand up close to it and stare at it for a bit.  I think role-playing your character in games this way is just so awesome...and Journey is really the perfect game for it too, since you can't chat or anything! ^^;  My companion also showed me the Flow secret here, which was cool!  I was really confused when they first took me to it because I didn't notice it...

Side note, I had the idea even before I met my companion that I would try and do short chirps to the rhythm of "Shave and a Haircut", and see if they would catch on and respond with the "two bits" rhythm.  (This is the dun, dududun dun...dun dun rhythm.  You know...this one)  It's actually a little bit difficult to do it quickly because of the delay between pressing O and actually hearing the chirp--you can't rely on the sound of the chirps to be in time, so you just have to concentrate on your own tapping of the button.  I eventually got the hang of it, and tried to pitch it multiple times to my companion, but they never seemed to catch on.  I guess ideally I need to wait for an opportune time, when we had some downtime to "talk" to each other without much distraction, but they might just not have gotten it anyways.

Going through the snowstorm and all of that wasn't nearly as heart-wrenching as the first time, though the sense of -anticipation- that I got before that segment was a lot higher since I knew what was coming.  There was actually one point on the windy bridge where I confused my companion for myself and ended up being blown backwards before I realized what had happened, but my companion patiently waited for me, giving me some chirps for encouragement.

I don't actually remember the lantern in the middle of that level, though I did remember the secret wall painting in there because one of my companions had shown it to me during my first playthrough.  I like that lantern :)

Before we walked out into the final snowstorm, I deliberately stopped walking forward and did some to say, "this is it, my friend".  I still can't think of that sequence without being affected emotionally.  It was quite the experience. was even more harrowing the first time around, actually, because my companion at the time kept on drifting to the left for some reason, so it took longer and I was also really torn between following them and just pushing on straight forward.  Haha, I also remember trying to keep on chirping faintly in the snowstorm during my first playthrough...I was actually super touched when finally I saw a faint chirp back from my companion at one point.

Then it was off to paradise, where I....lost my companion again.  If I remember correctly, the same thing happened during my first playthrough...maybe it's just a tendency in that area that makes it hard for me to follow the other person?  I'm not too sure.  If I remember correctly, I didn't even see a companion in the beginning of this area during my first playthrough, which actually made it much more relaxing, as I just took in the wonderful sights and scenery without worrying about being left behind or anything.

This time I was a bit torn as to whether I should stop moving and try to locate my companion, or just book it to the end of the level, hoping that they hadn't already left me behind.  It's always distressing, not knowing where your companion is, really.  I decided to keep on moving forward, and was actually really disappointed when I reached the end and didn't see anyone there yet.  But I hung around there and after not too long, my fellow red cloaked Journeyer arrived and I excitedly ran up to meet them.  Before we walked into the final mountain, I stopped, chirped, and drew the best heart that I could in the snow there, tracing it around a few more times for emphasis. (I got the idea from a friend who had also played Journey)  After a few seconds, my companion drew their own version of an (admittedly wobbly) heart, which totally made my day.

We walked into the light, I let the credits scroll, and I immediately wrote down the PSN ID of my companion.  Yes, I had stayed with the same one for the entire game.

I got a friend request from them soon after, and accepted it.  I sent them a super enthusiastic thank you for my second Journey ever, and we sent a couple of messages back and forth...mostly me saying thank you for everything, apologizing for the times that I screwed up, hoping that my faceplanting was amusing (apparently they didn't know how to do it), and expressing my gratitude for all the times they waited for me and were patient with me.  They echoed the thanks, and said it was too bad that we missed the one symbol in the sandsurf segment--they were going to go back there and get it so that they could get their white cloak.

I also thanked them for replying to my heart at the summit...they (or should I say, she) said that their boyfriend had actually stolen the controller away from them at that point and just started drawing it, and initially she had thought that he was drawing something phallic....ahahaha, but no, it turned out to be a heart. xD

All in all, a wonderful, wonderful second Journey, and I can't wait to take the Journey again and meet new companions.  Just hoping that I can remember all of the things that were shown to me today! *sweat*

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Quarkgames Theros Draft 1/15/14

We did an 8-man THS-THS-THS draft at work today, and I took pictures of each pick decision!  I'll be going over all of my choices and the rationale behind them--follow along and see what you think!

There's a Wingsteed Rider, and a Leafcrown Dryad, and a Horizon Scholar.  But none of them beat Arbor Collosus which is a 6/6 reach for 5 which becomes a 9/9 on the following turn for 6.  Yes please!  I'm expecting the people to my left to be swayed into W or G because of the Wingsteed Rider and the Leafcrown Dryad, so hopefully I can cut green here.
My pick: Arbor Collosus

Ordeal of Heliod, Leafcrown Dryad, and Polis Crusher.  Ordeal isn't as good as the other two, and I'm fine with passing White to my left neighbor so I don't have to fight for it.  So now I'm given the choice between taking Leafcrown Dryad and staying open, or take Polis Crusher, which is definitely the stronger card, but only if I can play R/G.  It's not the kind of card I like to splash, though it's worth noting that it's easier for G to splash things due to Nylea's Presence.  In the end I go for the stronger card--who knows, green might even end up being cut and I'll have to jump ship anyways.
My pick: Polis Crusher

Here's the first really hard decision of the draft.  It's clearly a choice between Fanatic of Mogis and Griptide, as none of the other cards are comparable.  There's a rare and uncommon missing, which doesn't really tell us much.  Normally I would say that Griptide is the stronger card here, so I'm tempted to take it.  It's always a good play, and saves your ass sometimes, whereas Fanatic of Mogis sometimes isn't what you need.  I also don't like red in Theros unless I know it's open, since a lot of the commons are sort of mediocre.  However, I do want to play my Polis Crusher, so I might want to cut the flow of red here for that reason.  And, I know that the person to my right doesn't know the set very well, so I'm guessing he's undervaluing Griptide, and therefore I shouldn't take it as a signal that blue is open.  If anything I'd expect him to like the Fanatic better.  So I'm going to try and stick with red here and see what the next pack brings us.
My pick: Fanatic of Mogis

Aaand this didn't really help us out much.  We're not playing Chained to the Rocks, so it's between Prescient Chimera and Ill-Tempered Cyclops, which I would say are relatively even in power level.  And of course, one is red while one is blue.  Argh!  I decide to stay the course here and go with the Cyclops.
My pick: Ill-Tempered Cyclops

Phew!  It looks like we made the right choice!  There's nothing notable in blue here, and we have 3 solid red playables!  I don't really like Rage of Purphoros, because it's a bit slow and there's a surprising amount of stuff that it can't hit (Nessian Asp, bestowed creatures, guardians of meletis, keepsake gorgon, etc.), so it's between Borderland Minotaur and Ill-Tempered Cyclops.  Borderland Minotaur is nice, and it gives us extra red devotion for our Fanatic of Mogis, but I'm pretty sure Ill-Tempered Cyclops is the better card, and better at closing out games, so I'm sticking with that.  Also noteworthy is the Satyr Hedonist, but I don't really like that card enough to take it over something solid like the cyclops.
My pick: Ill-Tempered Cyclops

And now I'm really glad I didn't try to get into blue. :D  There's nothing good here at all, so I just take the Destructive Revelry as a nice sideboard card that might make the maindeck if I'm short on good playables.  Instant speed enchantment removal with upside for 2 mana is not bad at all!
My pick: Destructive Revelry

Uh oh...this is a really late Observant Alseid.  This pack really had me worried, but I was willing to just chalk it up to the other drafters being inexperienced and not realizing the value of the cards here.  The advantage of drafting with people who are inexperienced is that you get to pick up free goodies, but on the flipside it's harder to read signals (though inexperienced drafters also tend to lock into colors much more easily, I feel).  I'm not willing to jump ship to white at this point, so I'm taking the Sedge Scorpion, which is a very solid green card and should tell me that it's still fine to be in green.  Portent of Betrayal is okay, but definitely not worth taking over scorpion.
My pick: Sedge Scorpion

(The black card covered by my hand is a Scouremark)
A pick 8 Observant Alseid???  Now I'm really having some warning symbols go off in my head.  But looking over my packs again, I still can't really justify switching over to white, especially knowing that I've passed a Wingsteed Rider, an Ordeal of Heliod, and a late Observant Alseid.  I actually took the Akroan Crusader here, thinking that I wanted to be really aggro.  In hindsight, I don't think that's quite the right pick as R/G doesn't really have enough early drops to be aggressive right out of the gate like an R/W heroic deck does.  I guess the only other cards worth taking are the Fade into Antiquity for sideboarding, and the Alseid.  Hmm...maybe taking the crusader is right after all, if only to signal that I'm definitely not in white.
My pick: Akroan Crusader

Nothing in this pack.  I could take Spellheart Chimera in case I open some blue bomb or something, but here I'm just going to take Anvilwrought Raptor.  Maybe it'll come in handy if somebody has 4 guardians of meletis or 4 vaporkin or something like that.

More weird stuff going on...There's a God's Willing and a Prescient Chimera here, both of which should not be here this late.  I pick the Gods Willing here...for some reason I thought it was more likely that I'd shift into White if I open some sort of white bomb (fabled hero?) and then build some R/W heroic deck.  Keep in mind that the only green cards I've drafted so far are Arbor Collosus (which I definitely want to try to play), Polis Crusher (same), and Sedge scorpion, so although I really don't -want- to, it's conceivable that I could switch out of green (maybe splash the polis crusher?).  I like pairing white with red much more than blue with red.  Also God's Willing is more scary to play around than Prescient Chimera since it's a combat trick, so I don't mind hating it.
My pick: God's Willing

I'm quite happy to see this Satyr Hedonist here.  I'm not a huge fan of the card, but R/G ramp is a thing and we've already got 2 Ill-Tempered Cyclops that can make good use of the mana ramp we get from him.
My pick: Satyr Hedonist

Pyxis of Pandemonium!  I don't think Setessan Griffin is worth hating, so I'll take the second Destructive Revelry.  Maybe someone will have a crapload of nymphs???
My pick: Destructive Revelry

Wow, almost too good to be true.  I guess no one else is in RG!
My pick: Satyr Hedonist

Okay, sure.
My pick: Fleshmad Steed

Pack 1 recap
Okay, I'm doing very good here.  Those last two picks especially assured me that RG is open and that I should be set up for the next two packs.  I didn't see a lot of good green, so at this point I should be -slightly- worried that I'm being cut from it, but even if so, I should still be hooked up with good green in pack 2 anyways, and red seems open (or the guy to my right just doesn't know what he's doing).  I don't have any ways to interact with my opponent's creatures, so a lightning strike or time to feed would be a priority here.  I also have zero 3-drops right now, so that's also a priority.

And there's the lightning strike I asked for!  But...oh gosh, there's also a sedge scorpion, a Nemesis of Mortals, AND a Boon Satyr here!  Can I just take the whole pack?  Okay, so I don't want the scorpion, as that's the worst of the bunch.  I also don't quite need nemesis of mortals since I already have big stuff (arbor collosus, the two ill-tempered cyclops).  So it's between lightning strike and boon satyr.  I haven't had much experience with Boon Satyr, but it's supposed to be really good according to, plus I do have a big fat hole in my curve at 3 mana right now.  It also goes really well with my cyclopses--turn 4 cyclops into turn 5 bestow boon satyr gives you a 7/5 trampler which is quite awesome.  I'm still not 100% sure of this, but I ended up taking the Boon Satyr here.
My pick: Boon Satyr

I don't need another Ill-Tempered Cyclops at this point, and Spearpoint Oread is meh, so it's between Leafcrown Dryad and Voyaging Satyr, both of which are really good.  This one was tough for me.  In a vacuum I'd pick the Leafcrown Dryad, but I also already have a good number of 4-drops.  On the other hand, maybe I don't need the voyaging satyr because I already have 2 satyr hedonists for ramp.  At this point I was still trying to be "relatively aggressive", especially with the boon satyr I just picked, so I went with the dryad which is a more aggressive play.  I also don't yet have anything to deal with flyers besides the arbor collosus, so it's nice to pick up the dryad for that reason too.  Really this could go either way though, because jumping from 2 to 4 is really nice, especially since I DO have so many 4 drops.  This is a decision I'm still questioning.
My pick: Leafcrown Dryad

Aaaand this pack has all the green goodies in the world.  I don't want the centaur battlemaster, because I basically have no ways to turn it on.  So that leaves Leafcrown Dryad, Voyaging Satyr, and Nylea's Emissary.  I didn't think I needed another Leafcrown Dryad, so it was between getting a fatty bestow, or a ramper.  I ended up picking the Emissary here, hoping that I could make good use of the satyr hedonists to bestow it onto something early, but I think this is the wrong pick and I should have gotten the Voyaging Satyr here for early ramp.  I think I was still in "I want to be aggro mode" and I value the emissary a bit too highly--a 3/3 with trample is no better than the ill-tempered cyclops, and I don't really need another mana sink, as with that mana I could just make a cyclops monstrous instead.  Okay, so this pick was wrong.
My pick: Nylea's Emissary

Dragon Mantle is nice, but Nessian Asp is way better and fits right into our gameplan.  It's also at 5 mana, which is the sweet spot since Satyr Hedonist jumps us from 2 to 5 and we can get an asp out on turn 3, which is amazing.
My pick: Nessian Asp

The only cards here are Agent of Horizons and Deathbellow Raider.  I considered the raider for a while because again, for some reason I was looking to be really aggressive (why?), but in the end I decided it was too high variance, and would get outclassed too quickly.  I also still need to fill in my 3-drop slot, so I took the agent.
My pick: Agent of Horizons

Nothing here for us.  I could hate the Shipwreck Singer, but I took the Traveler's Amulet instead in case I open something worth splashing (sea god's revenge?).
My pick: Traveler's Amulet

Minotaur Skullcleaver is awesome for us, as we want 3-drops.
My pick: Minotaur Skullcleaver

Nessian Courser is even better!  I definitely expect people at this table to undervalue it, as it's "just a vanilla 3/3", but it's actually quite good in this set.  This is also a very late vaporkin...
My pick: Nessian Courser

Sedge Scorpion #2 is fine here; nothing else worth taking, and it'll help us a lot against aggressive decks (unless they have two-headed cerberus).
My pick: Sedge Scorpion

Could I conceivably play a second Akroan Crusader?  Maybe.
My pick: Akroan Crusader

I really don't need Pheres-Band Centaurs, so I'll take Shredding Winds as a fine sideboard option against fliers (wingsteed riders, harpies, or any blue stuff).
My pick: Shredding Winds

Late dragon mantle!  Great goodies for us!
My pick: Dragon Mantle

I'm not going to play Defend the Hearth, so I hate-pick Last Breath instead.  In hindsight, last breath doesn't really target any of my stuff so I should have hate-picked defend the hearth instead.  Whatever...
My pick: Last Breath

My pick: Coastline Chimera
I think one of the lands was a foil here but someone swapped it for a regular?  Whatever, don't mind this as it's all super casual.

Pack 2 recap
We did really good here! (aside from taking Nylea's Emissary over voyaging satyr)  However, we are still lacking any ways to interact with the opponent's creatures, so we REALLY want that in pack 3.

Aaand our wishes are answered!  There's a sweet Karametra's Acolyte here, which I'm very sad to pass, and also a Time to Feed, but we really need this Lightning Strike.
My pick: Lightning Strike

Nylea's Disciple is the clear pick here.  I don't need Savage Surge.
My pick: Nylea's Disciple

And here's a SECOND Nylea's Disciple!  They definitely get better in multiples, so I'm taking that for sure.
My pick: Nylea's Disciple

There's a Centaur Battlemaster here, but checking over my cards, I have not that many ways to trigger it (boon satyr, dryad, emissary, dragon mantle, but emissary is really expensive...), and I'm lacking removal, so I'll take the sub-par Rage here.
My pick: Rage of Purphoros

For the same reasoning here, I'd rather have another Ill-Tempered Cyclops intead of the Staunch-Hearted Warrior.  It goes better with our Hedonist ramp too.
My pick: Ill-Tempered Cyclops

Whoa!  Borderland Minotaur, Dragon Mantle, and Sedge Scorpion are nice, but Karametra's Acolyte is starting to look GREAT now that we have two Nylea's Disciples.  We have PLENTY of uses for all of that mana (emissary, collosus, 3 cyclops, polis crusher, asp), so this is exactly what we want.
My pick: Karametra's Acolyte

Keep the red and green flowing!  Nothing is particularly exciting here except for Stoneshock Giant, which is yet another monstrosity outlet for our mana.  It's also a 5-drop, which is great with the Hedonists.
My pick: Stoneshock Giant

Another Minotaur Skullcleaver to help round out our 3-drop slot a bit more.
My pick: Minotaur Skullcleaver

This Time to Feed is a gift, and will help us out a lot.  Put down a big guy early, then use Time to Feed to remove their threats.  Awesome.
My pick: Time to Feed

I definitely don't want Akroan Crusader anymore, as I'm planning to ramp into big threats, not start with small ones.  It's between Peak Eruption, which I might side in against red as playable land destruction, and Fade into Antiquity, which I'd side in against any gods like Thassa.  I had a hard time deciding this pick because I really don't know how good Peak Eruption is--is it okay to use my 3-drop to not play a creature against an aggressive red deck?  I decided to just go with fade into antiquity instead, as I at least knew what situations I'd need that in.  If I was thinking REALLY awesomely (I wasn't) I would have taken the Peak Eruption because I passed a Chained to the Rocks early on in the draft.
My pick: Fade into Antiquity

Spearpoint Oread isn't that great, but it's certainly awesome to see it this late.  It's not bad in our deck either--gives us yet another mana sink.
My pick: Spearpoint Oread

What to hate here?  Not sable.  I chose to hate Returned Phalanx because it might hinder us early on when all we have are 3/3s.
My pick: Returned Phalanx

I don't want the Staunch-Hearted Warrior, so I pick the Sandals here.  Maybe in case someone has a whole crapload of walls on the ground or something?
My pick: Fleetfeather Sandals

My pick: Bronze Sable

Pack 3 recap
So we got exactly what we needed (lightning strike, time to feed, rage of purphoros), and even more than that (nylea's disciple x2, karametra's acolyte).  Awesome!!!

You can see the deck I built out of the pool and some comments on it here:

Pretty much the only thing I regret is taking the Nylea's Emissary over the Voyaging Satyr.  Satyr would also help me with my double mana costs, and the triple green for the Arbor Collosus.  Going from 2 to 4 would actually help me out a LOT and allow for many more explosive starts for me.  Oh well, so I didn't do perfectly...

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Things have been alright recently...really well, actually!

I've been busy...mostly with work, but everything else too--lots of things were going on this week.  I took care of a good number of them though, so hooray.

I'm moving!  After about a year and a half at my current place, it's time to pack up and move to somewhere new, later this month--really soon, actually!  I'm pretty excited--I'll be moving into my own place, hoping, hoping to replicate the same "atmosphere" that I had back when I was in Munger during my 5th year at Stanford.  My room at that time was my "sanctuary", and really accounted for much of my happiness throughout that period of my life.  I'm not exactly sure just how my new place will feel, but it will certain be nice, that's for sure (and expensive...T_T).  I'm really looking forward to having my own space, to just come back home after work and just relax and be myself, with the whole place to myself, instead of one bedroom out of the entire big house.  It'll be nice to have the fridge and kitchen all to myself again too!  Ahh, just thinking about it really brings back great memories from the times at Munger...

I haven't yet decided what to do about all of my decorations; I really haven't.  That will definitely take some thinking.  It's not so simple anymore, you's not like before, when it was simply a matter of "where should I put everything?"  Because you see, I'm not sure that I want to put everything up anymore.  I'm really not sure.

I think that on one hand, it is really cool how my room has always been--how the walls have always been covered in decorations, how it's all packed into grid-like patterns so that the entire wall space is full of Sanrio characters and anime characters.  But on the other hand, some of the stuff that I have isn't really that important--the things that I got back when it was just "anything is okay to have on the walls because I want more wall decorations, more!"  The random Naruto posters, the Sanrio phone charm backings--things like that.  And the posters that got laminated (unfortunately) are really heavy and a bit warped, so they aren't great at staying up.

I guess part of me is afraid of change; afraid of giving up what I used to have.  That resistance to change will always be a part of me, and I never wish it to go away.  I think that's part of it.  But I guess another part of it is just that I don't really know how else I =would= be.  What =would= I do if I didn't try to just put everything up?  Would I have bare walls?  Would I have mostly bare walls except for a few things?  Would I keep the living room clean but have the bedroom be full of stuff?  What about all of my shelf decorations?  I'm not really sure.

Work has been a mixed bag--I have a lot of work to do, and am fearing that I'll get behind/am getting behind, but at the same time the quality of what I'm doing together with my coworker is really excellent and I'm super proud of it.  It feels good to be a chief engineer on the project and making really thoughtful design decisions in order to make everything clean and sensible.  I'm really grateful for having such a good coworker to handle things with.  It's also great that I'm still able to chat with my former manager about things since she's really helpful with the kinds of support that I always find myself needing.

If you haven't heard, Match Girl got 2nd place overall and 2nd place for audio in Ludum Dare, which is awesome!  Read the postmortem here for more about that.  The soundtrack has been getting LOADS of buzz because of it, which is quite awesome--over 300 downloads already since Ludum Dare voting ended and I got a huge traffic influx.  People really seem to like it, which is great!  I even had to give people an alternate download link so that I wouldn't run out of Bandcamp free download credits so quickly.

I've been importing all of my old Xanga content into a wordpress site at, which is taking quite a while (thanks to it being split into many XML files with 100 posts each that have to be uploaded one by one)--I'll make an announcement when that's all done, though I doubt that it will actually mean much to any of you.  It's probably not going to affect me much either, to be honest, because unfortunately all of the permalinks that I have that link to the "quality" posts that I had are all still invalid since everything has new URLs now.  But it'll be nice to know that it's still up there on the web -somewhere-, at the very least.  Maybe once it's all done I can also use the search feature to look for specific posts that I remember?  Maybe...

Deca rehearsal started up again after our lengthy holiday break!  The first rehearsal was exhausting, but so fun too!  I'm so glad I get to be a part of the group, really.  There was this one point when we were waist-deep into learning our new choreo and I was really tired but trying to push hard anyways and suddenly I just realized how awesome everything was.  Maybe it was just me realizing that this is exactly what made Marching Band and Winter Percussion so great as well--just drilling the same things over and over again until you're really tired...sure, it drains you, but it's also so rewarding...

I'm mostly through watching Higurashi (1st season) for the second's really odd watching it again.  I didn't really think that much of it the first time, but it's different now.  Partly because of all of the things that my idol talked to me about it, and partly just because I have so many more experiences that I can relate it too.  I guess personal experiences just make everything more vivid in that way because it evokes more feelings in you.  It's the same thing with, I dunno, seeing hugs and tight embraces in movies--things like that, you feel it much more after you actually understand what that kind of thing feels like, emotionally.  And same thing with Wreck-It Ralph and the sense of nostalgia too.  The climax of Frozen actually hit me really hard because it evoked some memories of Journey in my mind, and Journey was a super-emotional experience.  Which reminds me, I still really haven't gotten a chance to get in deep with that game and interact with the "community", but I really hope to.  Soon, soon.  I feel a little more confident that I actually will carry through with that now that I've actually seen FEZ and Mega Man 10 to completion.  Good times...

I spent/wasted a bunch of time this week browsing through videos of this year's Awesome Games Done Quick, which features speedrunners going through games as fast as they can, and getting donations for charity.  I think the way they have the event set up is super super awesome, and can't believe that I haven't heard of this before.  Some of my favorite speedrun games are on there too--Super Metroid and Metroid Zero Mission, for example, but they also did GoldenEye and Perfect Dark, mega man games, and a whole bunch of other things that are just great for speedruns.  They even played through IWBTG and IWBTGG!

It's been a while since I've made a blog post of any substantial length...actually, I kind of sucked at this one because I didn't even finish it in one go, which is really weird--I actually saved it and then picked up later.  Weird...