Wearing dice on my head since 2008 Programmer, engineer, scientist, critic, gamer, dreamer, and kid-at-heart. Randomly amazed.

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Flash Preview of Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney (tags: flash games) Kotaku -- Work and Play: A Peek Inside the Lives of Gaming's Greatest I like looking at shots of people's desktops. It feeds my geek envy. (tags: games industry screenshots)  

Despite it’s age, I’ve only recently gotten around to loving Advance Wars: Dual Strike on the DS. It’s just the sort of game I enjoy: challenging enough not to bore me but not so difficult that I give up in frustration and has enough extras to keep me coming back. A bit of a learning curve though, and probably not for casual gamers. I beat the normal campaign last week (just barely – winning on Day 28 of a 28-day target), and I’m hoping I can finish the hard campaign before the release of Advance Wars: Days of Ruin next week.

Family

I was too tired to post over the weekend – too busy. But seeing as how this is a log, I need to note significant events that happened over the past weekend: a. Saturday (Jan 12) – Younger brother got married. Had to give a best man toast. It went well, but I got hit by birdshit. b. Sunday – early morning road trip to Batangas, for a paternal-side family reunion.

Tournament was at January 5 2008 in Robinson’s Galleria. I only found out the day before, so I brought the only deck I had – Mannequin. Round 1: 0-2 loss vs UG Faeries Round 2: 0-2 loss vs BGW Doran Round 3: 2-0 win vs BW unknown deck Round 4: 0-2 loss vs UG Faeries Round 5: 0-2 loss vs BG Tarmorack Ugh. Terrible way to start the year. My own fault for bringing an outdated version of Mannequin to the tournament without even any testing.

New Year Noise

It surprises me sometimes. Living in a country such as this, where many people complain of extreme poverty, harsh economic conditions and the like, one can only wonder how we can celebrate the New Year so extravagantly. These were the thoughts running through my mind as I watched the fireworks display by our neighbors in the subdivision. It’s not like these guys are rich, they’re middle class folk like me who probably balk at the cost of food or furniture or appliances but are now burning away thousands of pesos worth of fireworks, all for a single midnight of revelry.

I’m not sure why I keep trying to get the Ubuntu + XP dual boot thing working. I don’t really need it, I can do most of the things I want to do in XP. And I can’t really play games in Ubuntu (I don’t really want to bother with all the crap Wine puts you through). Still, every so often I’m hit with some sort of geek envy where I just want to have an Ubuntu installation handy so I can try out some cool stuff like Compiz or whatnot.

Pack Rat Mentality

Every year I do an end-of-year cleanup of my stuff. (I try to at least) Somehow there always seem to be so many CDs/DVDs/books/comics to sort up and shelf or sleeve or whatnot. I’m growing tired of it all. The other day I was planning to backup everything on my computer to DVD when I realized I was just adding more to the pile. I’m not sure if there’s any important reason to backup all the episodes I’ve been watching to DVD when I’ve already watched them all.

I believe that this year, I have managed to improve my Magic-playing a bit (despite the abundance of embarassing mistakes).I also believe I’m slightly better at Limited than I am at Constructed. TO back up these beliefs, I could point to my DCI ratings. But as a programmer who loves stats, I compiled additional stats for my own pleasure: My Playing Stats . A bit of background: I’ve been playing Magic on and off since Revised, but only gotten into the tournament scene seriously in 2006.

A couple of weeks ago, just before the last PTQ of the season, I was thinking of quitting Magic. Not because I’m tired of it or anything, but because I’ve run out of people to play with. Unlike last year where we had enough players in the office to occasionally have an 8-man draft, this year most of the Magic players have either switched to WoW or moved to a different company/country.

The last qualifier in the Philippines, held last December 16. I wasn’t able to attend the Gold Rush the day before due to prior commitments, so this was my last tournament for the year. I opened a pool with a lot of removal: 1 Herbal Poultice 1 Briarhorn 1 Moonglove Extract 1 Fertile Ground 1 Bog Hoodlums 1 Immaculate Magistrate 1 Boggart Loggers 1 Kithkin Daggerdare 1 Colfenor's Plans 2 Lace with Moonglove 1 Dread 2 Lignify 1 Exiled Boggart 2 Sylvan Echoes 1 Fodder Launch 1 Timber Protector 2 Footbottom Feast 1 Warren-Scourge Elf 1 Hornet Harasser 1 Woodland Changeling 1 Hunter of Eyeblights 1 Island 1 Marsh Flitter 1 Shelldock Isle 1 Prowess of the Fair 1 Vivid Marsh 1 Scarred Vinebreeder 1 Adder-Staff Boggart 1 Skeletal Changeling 2 Axegrinder Giant 1 Spiderwig Boggart 1 Blind-Spot Giant 1 Thieving Sprite 1 Faultgrinder 2 Weed Strangle 1 Fire-Belly Changeling 1 Amoeboid Changeling 2 Lash Out 1 Aquitect's Will 1 Lowland Oaf 2 Deeptread Merrow 1 Rebellion of the Flamekin 1 Drowner of Secrets 2 Tar Pitcher 1 Faerie Trickery 1 Hillcomber Giant 1 Familiar's Ruse 1 Judge of Currents 1 Merrow Reejerey 1 Kinsbaile Balloonist 1 Mulldrifter 1 Kinsbaile Skirmisher 2 Ponder 1 Kithkin Greatheart 1 Protective Bubble 1 Kithkin Harbinger 1 Ringskipper 2 Kithkin Healer 1 Whirlpool Whelm 1 Lairwatch Giant 1 Sentry Oak 2 Springjack Knight I built some deck with Goblins and Giants:

Dec-2, Sunday. Lorwyn Sealed. The usual location of course, NG Galleria. _ I find your lack of socks… disturbing _ I played a couple MTGO drafts the day before but did not do very well, I hoped my luck would be better this time. But my day did not start very well as I found that I had forgotten to bring sleeves to the event. I had to buy some rough-backed Ultra Pros.

Yeah, I post these late, I’m a busy man. But I want to have a record so here we go. Same deck as [ the last time]1 , except I removed the 2 grim harvests from the board and put in +2 sudden death (to improve the pickles matchup) Round 1: My opponent had a BUw Mannequin deck, splashing for O-Ring and Blink. He obviously put the deck together at the last minute though.

The first step is admitting you have a problem. I’ve thrown away games because I played spells without thinking and attacked without thinking. I go on autopilot far too often. It has got to stop. What’s the preventive measure? I’ll count to 3 before making every decision.

_ “Robert suggested we create Facebook accounts, I think in an effort to establish that we were “down” with whatever “new jives” the kids were flexing on the mean streets. I refused. Gabriel buckled, and the bullshit that ensued verified my initial assessment: that maintaining Facebook would quickly constitute another job. Of which I already have several.”_ — Tycho, Penny-Arcade I never really bought into social networking (because I am of course antisocial) But lo and behold!

I don’t particularly care one way or another whether Gloria falls out of power or not. I suspect a lot of people don’t. And a lot of people probably don’t give a hoot about Trillianes either. I am however of the opinion that he is an idiot. What exactly did he hope to accomplish yesterday anyway? The only difference between now and Oakwood a few years ago is that since then he’s gotten the pity vote to actually be able to call himself a senator.

My single greatest problem with Magic Online is the fact that it’s on a computer. Which means that unlike a real draft where I can focus 100% on the draft, in Magic Online I could possibly be doing several other things such as coding, blogging, random surfing, IM, etc. that may cause terrible misclicks such as a first-pick Faultgrinder (true story) I should stop writing this post now and maybe try to salvage the draft.

Tournament was last Sunday, November 18. Format was Lorwyn Sealed. I open a pretty good sealed pool this time. Notable cards include Mistbind Clique, Profane Command, Mulldrifter, Cloudgoat Ranger, Oblivion Ring, Shriekmaw and Silvergill Douser. Haven’t written up the sealed pool yet, will probably do so later. I play major blue, minor black and white. Round 1: 2-0 win vs BG Goblin/Elf Round 2: 2-0 win vs UB Faeries Round 3 vs merfolk, things start getting interesting.

Tournament was on Saturday, November 10. Format was Standard. I didn’t have any good deck ideas this time around (some would argue I never do!), so I played a netdeck. I played the Mannequin deck that originally appeared in US States, as reported by BDM here. I had to change the board around a bit, I went with: 4 Nameless Inversion (to help kill black/artifact critters) 3 Vesuvan Shapeshifter (get random tricks off pickles, and kill legends)

WoW, Hacked!

gaming

2 days ago: My brother Alvin and Brian report suspicious activities on the computer in their room. Random Chinese popups appearing, mysterious processes in the taskbar. As needed, virus scans and adware scans are done. Trojans are identified and quarantined, but keep reappearing. Brian plays WoW on the machine despite the issues. Yesterday: Alvin decides to reformat the machine and begins backing up. Brian plays WoW on the machine in my room instead.

The format is Lorwyn Sealed. Note here that I they had a shortage of boosters and had to split tournament packs into 3 boosters to be able to accomodate all the players. Decklist/Card pool later, I’m too lazy to type it up. Unfortunately, I failed to learn from the previous mistakes as I got blinded by the shiny again, thinking I could actually cast Horde of Notions, so I went with an almost-five color build, major red-blue-and-green.

(7:51:16 PM) Roy: I dug into the invasion box to look for fertile grounds (invasion common, reprinted in lorwyn) guess how many I found? (7:51:26 PM) switch: 1? (7:51:31 PM) switch: 0? (7:51:34 PM) Roy: zero (7:51:46 PM) switch: hmmm. that’s oddish (7:51:59 PM) switch: then again, it’s common in lor (7:52:10 PM) Roy: yes, but I wanted to play with Invasion ones! (7:52:33 PM) switch: oh well (7:52:34 PM) Roy: it may just be that we really didn’t have any at all – I didn’t even realize it was in invasion until I say it in gatherer

I still have no idea what to play for Lorwyn Standard, so I was eagerly awaiting this year’s States/Champs results. There are already partial results up at MTG.com, and I had some time so I did some of my programming hocus-pocus and extracted some fun data. States / Champs 2007 Card Counts The data is of course extracted from top eight decklists, so what we have here are literally the best decks this past weekend.

One of the qualities that I think make a really good software developer is the ability to solve difficult technical problems. Unless you’re the sort of software developer who just sells the same piece of software over and over again, at some point in time you’ll to need to find out how to implement some feature you’ve never tried before. Or you’ll hit a problem that’s not documented in any official docs and you need that critical functionality.

The Right Brain vs Left Brain test | PerthNow This is awesome. It's not a trick, and if you concentrate enough you can make the test go either way. (tags: cool psychology)  

Fear

I was in Galleria earlier today and suddenly the power went out for a few seconds. It came back up almost immediately, but of course everyone was a bit spooked given the recent bombings at Glorietta 2. Even I felt a bit shaken up I might add, even considering cutting short the tournament (I wasn’t doing well) I hate that. Being overcome by fear, even for a very short instant.

Ugh, I feel like an idiot. Lowryn Sealed card pool: 1 Runed Stalactite 1 Wanderer’s Twig 2 Bog Hoodlums 1 Boggart Loggers 1 Faerie Tauntings 1 Footbottom Feast 1 Hornet Harasser 1 Makeshift Mannequin 1 Marsh Flitter 1 Nightshade Stinger 1 Peppersmoke 1 Prowess of the Fair 1 Quill-Slinger Boggart 3 Scarred Vinebreeder 1 Warren Pilferers 1 Æthersnipe 1 Amoeboid Changeling 1 Drowner of Secrets 1 Ego Erasure 1 Faerie Harbinger

FMAHQ.com Full Metal Alchemist scans (tags: manga) Null -- This website doesn't exist! One Piece scans (tags: manga) Step By Step: Share a Printer on Your Home Network -- Lifehacker (tags: howto)  

The game was not as long as I had hoped, although I finished without completing stuff. (Only had 11 hearts when facing the final boss). I told a friend that the current Zeldas are too easy compared to the Zeldas of old . There are a lot more hints this time around on how to get past stuff, etc. He told me that the 3d Zeldas are even easier. One of the sacrifices they had to make to become popular I suppose.

I wasn’t too keen on playing, but that Dark Confidant kept whispering at me to give him one more chance. Rakdos again, except I removed Martyr of Ashes from the board and put in Avalanche Riders to help the terrible Angelfire matchup. Round 1: 2-1 win vs BWR Slivers I kept Hit/Run in the main because I thought he had Solifuges, he did not. Round 2: 2-1 win vs White Weenie

Can holding a stylus cause carpal tunnel syndrome? Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass for a few days now; the controls are purely-stylus driven so my wrist aches a bit after a few hours of play. Of course the game has been consuming a good number of my waking hours (I didn’t even play any Magic this weekend), but that’s not what this post is about. This post is about the original Legend of Zelda.

Unfortunately, I didn’t make it to the AM flights yesterdat, so I hung around Galleria for a few hours watching people play. A lot of people seemed to be playing blue or green stuff. There are people saying Needle Drop is good, what? Just because it cantrips? My flight manages to start around 4 PM, and I open the sealed pool I’m registering. The first two rares I see are Jace Beleren and Chandra Nalar!

Lorwyn prerelease in two days, and of course MTG Salvation is spoiler-complete. Some thoughts on cards: ** Thoughtseize ** – B Sorcery (Rare) Target player reveals his or her hand. Choose a nonland card from it. That player discards that card. You lose 2 life. ** My take: ** Undercosted cards that demand a 2 life payment are usually pretty good. (See: Shocklands, Char, Psionic Blast, Vampiric Tutor). Thoughtseize is widely anticipated to be the chase rare of the set, with starcitygames.

The full spoiler is of course now available at MtgSalvation; I’ll talk about planeswalkers first. Each planeswalker is rare and has 3 abilities: a normal attack, a special move, and a finishing move. ** Ajani Goldmane ** 2ww Planeswalker – Ajani +1: You gain 2 life -1: Put a +1/+1 counter on each creature you control. Those creatures gain vigilance until end of turn. -6: Put a white Avatar creature token into play with “This creature’s power and toughness are each equal to your life total.

My reading lately has comprised of Orson Scott Card’s excellent Ender’s Game series. I got a copy of six of the books from an officemate a couple of months back, and I’ve just finished the seventh book today. I don’t usually go through books that quickly, so it’s a sign that I’ve really enjoyed this series. (If I don’t enjoy a series, I typically lose interest before even finishing the book – I have a copy of Sword of Shannara around here to prove that.

I played at an FNM for the first time last Friday, in a cramped room at the back of the Neutral Grounds in Galleria. It was definitely… different than the usual weekend tournaments. I mean people playing Rhox different. Asking whether equip costs needed to be paid every turn different. Not that I’m picking on noobs or anything; it was all fun and refreshing. Everything was a lot more casual than the highly competitive PTQs or GPTs.

roytang on magic

meta

I’m planning to write more about Magic, so I created a separate space for that. All MtG-related posts are moved there.

Obviously, I’ve started playing a lot of Magic since last year. I’ve been a long-time player, having started around the time of Revised more than twelve years ago, but I’ve never seriously started playing in tournaments in such until I had a job, which meant more money to spend on Magic (also meant less free time though =/) As anyone who has immersed himself in this game knows, Magic is an addictive experience.

It’s my first time playing at BCI Greenhills. During deck registration, I open a Damnation and a Graven Cairns. If I got up then, I’d have gotten my money’s worth. But I didn’t come here to buy a Damnation, I came here to play. My sealed deck: Gemhide Sliver Thornweald Archer Thallid Germinator Citanul Woodreaders Giant Dustwasp Durkwood Baloth Tromp the Domains Dead/Gone Rift Bolt Orcish Cannonade Basalt Gargoyle Coal Stoker

When you get off at the SM North station, there are always a million people lining up at the entry turnstiles (where you insert your ticket before exiting the station). The outermost lines are always the slowest ones, because effectively three to four lines of people are trying to use that line. To save time, instead use one of the innermost lines.

This weekend was the first of three “Pre-Lorwyn Triple Treats” at Neutral Ground, featuring Saturdays with three tournaments: one each of Standard, Block Constructed and Legacy. I tried preparing a deck for block but I couldn’t come up with anything consistent enough. Lazily, I just picked up the Standard Rakdos deck the day before the tourney, tweaked the sideboard for the inevitable TarmoRack decks (-4 Bottle Gnomes +4 Dodecapod). I lacked a 15th sideboard card, so I toss in a random Seize the Soul.

Yeah, I actually did play at the Standard Open at Trinoma Mall a couple of weekends ago, but my performance was so piss-poor I didn’t bother writing a report. Long and short of it, I played Rakdos, but didn’t have time to look for Rain of Gores for the board. They would have really helped against the two Angelfire losses I got in rounds 3 and 5, including the one where the opponent drew all four Lightning Helixes :/ The decks record against Angelfire decks is something 1-3 I believe.

When at home or at the office, if I ever get a craving for something to snack on I can usually find some easily. At home I just go down to the kitchen and check the ref or the cupboards. At the office, there’s always the pantry or those people you know that usually store some snacks. If I need something, I can get it fairly easily. This is something of an abundance situation.

Back Home

My first day of work back home, and I’m immediately greeted by a powerful storm and terrible traffic jams. I love this country 🙂

I couldn’t sleep, so obviously, I had to start a new personal project. PyMTG I was inspired after forum-browsing lead me to look at existing MTG open-source software. I’ve been thinking of starting a true-blue personal software project for a while now, and the idea of PyMTG appeals to me for several reasons: (a) It’s related to one of my current hobbies (b) Allows me to become familiar with a new language (Python)

Check. Yeap, I turned 29 a couple of days ago. There’s a typhoon signal no. 8 over HK right now as I type this. For people in the Philippines, that’s hard to imagine since our local indicators only go up to storm signal no. 4. But it’s really a bit calm where I am right now, some wind but not much rain. I’m not inclined to go out though, I’m running out of clothes as it is.

The official title is quite long. Actually, the English Title for _ Gyakuten Saiban 3 _ is even worse! Ace Attorney is an awesome series, I finally got around to playing the second game since the third one is scheduled for an English NDS release in September. I started playing the day I arrived in HK – so I beat the game in six days. Justice for All is a more difficult game than the original, putting the title character in more difficult situations, and making it a lot more tedious to ‘cheat’ with the save file.