Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Scry Some More!

Imagine the TF2 Heavy said that. Or don't. You may not even know who he is.

So Bayfest happened at some point in the past. I grabbed a rock weekend pass but skipped out on the Scorpions because the weather sucked and I was not terribly excited to an entire set of songs that are just variations on "Rock You Like a Hurricane".

Rush was on the Friday. I was late getting there so I missed out on some of their first set. The first one being the one they played before the second one. There were no openers apparently, just Rush for about four hours. So I caught a bunch of songs from their first and then they took a little break. The sun set, I stood around wondering if Geddy Lee was my real father and, eventually, Rush made it back to the stage. The show was fantastic, the highlight for me being Neil Peart's drum solo. The man has a beautiful kit and know how to put it to good use. His reputation as one of the best drummers in the world is well earned. Another thing that interested me was that vocalist Geddy Lee is also their bassist. Huh. Rhythm and melody. That's pretty cool.

The Saturday show was headlined by Weezer and opened by Crash Karma and Sam Roberts. Crash Karma put on a good show, pulling from the members' other bands as well as their own originals. Hearing them go into songs from Our Lady Peace and the Tea Party was neat and Edwin belting out "One Last Astronaut", a song from his days in I Mother Earth was fantastic.

Sam Roberts was... Sam Roberts. I am not a big fan but he put on an alright set.

Weezer's set was exactly as expected, which is to say excellent. When comparing it to Rush, it is difficult to say which was better. Rush is something like a very good and profound movie; you just find a spot and passively let the experience wash over you. Weezer, on the other hand, encourages interaction. The 60's style poppy hooks and aggressive play style makes you want to get into the fray and get moving (the crowd actually acts as a safety mechanism, preventing you from falling over as you flail about). I am very fond of this kind of concert environment. Of special note was the first encore in which they played covers of MGMT's Kids and Lady Gaga's Poker Face.

In between the two shows was Magic 2011's Prerelease. I have played a few events with the new set and in addition to telling you my that I have generally done terrible in the new Limited environment I can also tell you that Scry is a fun mechanic.

In my first draft experience, I built something just blew through my deck with planned card draw and then recyced everything with Elixir of Immortality. I went 0-3. Perhaps I could have used some kind of finisher?

I did have some success with a red deck that ran on Goblin Balloon Brigade and Volcanic Strength. Several copies of each helped with that. The idea was to be quick out of the gate and to use the optional flying to get past blockers when I needed to.

That is all. You are dismissed.
Travis T.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Head Full of Steam

It's summertime, a time when the outside world becomes a hellish furnace and we are assailed by such dangers as bees, open water and even attacked by our light giver, the sun. But how are we to avoid the outside world?

Well, Steam's big summer sales are over, so the rest of you are probably screwed. I, however, had the foresight to capitalize on this so have eliminated most reasons to dare venture into the perilous exterior of my house. And by not letting myself buy anything that cost me over $5, I've managed not to bankrupt myself. Here is a sample of what I've gotten around to playing.


This game is a riot. Summoning up a veritable horde of minions and laying waste to all that oppose me was an appealing premise from the start. And the minions are quite the characters themselves. The game does an excellent job of conveying the absolute chaos of the horde and their squeals of delight make me feel good inside. The ability to crush friendly villager to increase your dark power is also nice. The elves are definitely going to die. Haughty buggers.

King's Bounty

I enjoy a good turn based strategy. Hexagonal tiles only seem to increase my fondness. I also like all the options the game gives you. There are a lot of quests that give you multiple means for completion hitting both the moral high and low grounds. The vast array of troops is also cool.

Beat Hazard

It's Asteroids meets Audiosurf. This concept was an instant hit. As much as I liked the way Audiosurf generated maps based on your music, I wasn't too taken with the gameplay. Incorporating it into a top down shooter somehow made sense to me. It's so easy to play this game for hours without realizing it.

That's all I've gotten to so far. Check out these games if you wish. They're not particularly mainstream so they still might be reasonably priced. The beauty of Steam is that you won't have to leave home to get them. Screw you bees!

Magic 2011 Prerelease is on the weekend so I may do a bit of a report on that. Or not. Depend how I feel.

Capriciously yours,
Travis T

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Faster, Save Me

Picking up nails while listening to the Dear Hunter is quite pleasant. Not that I did that today, I burned through their discography a couple of days ago.

I am still jobless so I have been assigned a few tasks to keep me busy. One of those tasks has been cleaning up the nails left over from burning the irreparably damaged roof that has been sitting in our field all these years. It is actually quite pleasant and gives me an excuse to listen to my mp3 player for extended periods. Which now gives me an excuse to gush about the Dear Hunter. Lucky me.

I must say, I do quite enjoy their music. The juxtaposition of business and propriety against deep conflicting emotions is quite appealing. I suppose that may be common to any work about falling in love with a prostitute. It very theatrical. Kind of like Moulin Rouge. Except that I like it even better than Moulin Rouge.

I had a delightful time camping on the May 2-4 weekend. Highlights included some excellent games of Magic, absconding with 50 cent Pokemon figures from the flea market and some awfully bizarre negotiations for better gear in a D&D campaign that never got played. The figures look quite handsome on my desk. I think the Ivysaur is my favourite. Oh yes, and oatmeal.

Delicious, delicious oatmeal.

And now for some heavy handed exposition. I dislike alcohol. Now, I could leave at that and we could all go on our merry way. To each his own, right? Well I shall take it one step further.

I dislike other people drinking alcohol. Herein lies a problem as I cannot simply bask in a glow of smug superiority as my friends stumble around in a drunken stupor. This used to be the case but experience has brought that to an end. I am not amused by most drunken antics; I am far more likely to be disgusted, annoyed or uncomfortable. Getting smashed is not my idea of a good time, nor is hanging around with those who are. Being of age only exacerbates this problem as my peers do not even have to try to hide their consumption. I certainly does not help that the concept of moderation seems entirely lost on most people I have seen drink. I am sure somebody (probably Trish) will make a joke about me being a pansy for this or something. I assure you, I will not find it funny.

Hmm, that was awfully serious. Perhaps some comic relief is in order. Here is part of a log from when I was playing Crawl.

Ever so classy,
Travis T

Sunday, April 25, 2010

The Cruellest Month

Was Eliot in university when he wrote the Wasteland? It all makes too much sense.

Exams and final projects are done. I think I did alright. Should pass every thing, I think.

Recent events:

Rise of the Eldrazi is out for Magic the Gathering. I hit the prerelease and it seems to be a delightful set limited. I snagged two of those shiny Eldrazi promos and the FNM Bloodbraid Elf. It was a delightful event, much like all my other prereleases. Actually, much like most Magic events in general.

As I have said before, Pokemon is great. I still need to take out Red but otherwise main game is pretty much done. It has to be the game that I get the most hours per dollar on. Except free games, of course. Pokemon has a special place in my heart. I'm finally getting around to Portal too. It's a neat little piece of work.
EDIT: Red is down. Hello endgame!

As we approach the end of the blog, I'd like to draw attention to MC Frontalot's new release. Zero Day is a fantastic album. It's everything nerdcore should be. He even managed to clean up Better at Rapping so that I don't hate it anymore. Here's a sample:

Your charismatic leader,
Travis T

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

In Before April

Events have occurred. I would like to go in depth but I would also like my title to remain true. Let us see where this takes us, shall we?

At the forefront we have Pokemon. Soul Silver is everything I had hoped it to be. It did a much better job at evoking nostalgia in me than Leaf Green. I probably helps that Gold/Silver/Crystal was my favourite generation. It is a well executed remake.

Second, we have Chaucer. We just finished the Pardoner's Tale, which is the reason I took the course. What's his deal? Is he gay? I s he a eunuch? Is Chaucer pointing to something else? In any case, it is quite an enjoyable piece.

Third is reading week. That was a long time ago. I bought books. I read. I finished Robert J. Sawyer's Flashforward. It is my favourite work by him that I have read thus far.

Fourth comes Genshiken. It is almost within my grasp. I am getting antsy.

Fifth is Magic. Game Day was fun. I got my Hada Freeblade promo and a release party promo Joraga Warcaller that they had left over. They are both highly prized pieces of my collection. Also, Rise of the Eldrazi is shaping up to be an interesting set.

Sixth: Electric Six. I saw them earlier this month. They are delightful fellows.

Delightful indeed.

I shall stop here. Perhaps I will elaborate on these points later.

Who cares about March anyways?

Travis T

Monday, February 8, 2010

Stemming The Flow

More on the title later.

First, recent events. A new Magic set has been released! Nick came by and we made it out to the Worldwake prerelease a couple of weeks ago. My record was 2-3-1 and I believe Nick's was similar. No prizes for us! Still Nick opened a Jace, which seems to be the money card of the set, and I made off with a shiny Admonition Angel. Here they are:

CTRL-A had a show this weekend. D-Grayman seems not so bad so far and the Disgaea sampler was everything I expected. The Full Metal Alchemist movie seemed a fitting end on Saturday and Baccano! continues to hold my interest. The yelling game they played during dinner break was also amusing.

And now to our feature. My birthday is tomorrow which brings with it, among other things, all of those Facebook wall posts.

Please do not send me one.

I hate to sound unappreciative but in this case I am. Receiving a "HAPPY BIRTHDAY!" follow by something along the lines of "Hope it's a good one!" elicits little pleasure in me when I understand that the likeliest reason I am receiving this message is because somebody saw it in their notifications. And even if this is the case, I could at least tolerate it if it were something more involved than the standard birthday rhetoric. There's also something inherently voyeuristic about sending these well-wishes through a means that is viewable to all others; almost as if the writer is compelled to make their own token effort (and it is a token effort) lest he/she be seen as the one who spurned me. I'd personally want no well-wish at all instead of these relatively empty words.

And if you should still like to wish me well? Optimally you should do so in person but I understand your absence if you are not living in Waterloo/are swamped with work. Second best would be to send me something engaging. Ask me how I am doing, even tell how you are doing. Open a dialogue rather than treating me like a receptacle for congratulations and cake. I personally find that one sided treatment of me insulting (though I will still accept the cake).

Anyways, that was my tirade against Facebook birthdays. Nick is coming over this weekend and then I have reading week. I'll see if I can convince my mom to let me stay for a couple more days before going home so I can see him.

Almost twenty-one,

Travis T

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

I'm Nocturnal Again

On the upside, my classes are always done before 1 PM so I have an entire afternoon to sleep through.

Recent News!

Let's see... I managed to squeak by in French with a fifty. I have learned my lesson and shall never think about taking another French course for the rest of my university career. My other courses went much better.

This term is shaping up quite well. Most of my courses are interesting; I'm enjoying the one on the Canterbury Tales in particular. The professor teaching both of my English courses is actually quite interesting. The only class that may not keep my interest is my political science course but I have been assured that it is quite easy.

In the leisure department, I recently acquired the Orange Box so I could play Team Fortress 2, which would be far more significant if I were not playing a certain dungeon crawler instead. Odd that I'd buy a bunch of games only to ignore them for a free one.

Also, I got my anime fix on the weekend at CTRL-A. This one really stuck out at me:

It's tough to adequately explain the premise because the show is very nonlinear and I've only seen the first three episodes so far but it involves a train, gangsters, a cult and supernatural powers. But especially a train. We'll be watching it all term but I'm already quite taken with it.

Lastly, Nick pointed me towards a delightful video of Fair to Midland playing in a shipping container.

Darroh's moustache surprised and amused me. Apparently they are actually going to make their way up from Texas to Toronto for April fifth. Good times shall be had by all.

I suppose this report is sufficient for now. Travis, I am still irritated with you.

Phasing back out of existence,
Travis T