Category Archives: Assorted Geekery

Magic: The Gathering and Poker seem to mesh in interesting ways. Screen shot from Wizards.com

Magic: The Gathering and Poker seem to mesh in interesting ways. Screen shot from Wizards.com

Most of us know that playing Magic: The Gathering (MtG) is a ton of fun but it’s a fair bet that most of you have no clue that the game can actually help prepare you for a career. The long hours put in during MtG games and the problem-solving nature of the game can help many later in life.

One path that some MtG players are taking is that of professional poker. The reason is because the money is good.

Depending on who you ask, David Williams or Brock Parker are considered two of the most successful MtG players who have transitioned to the world of professional poker.

David Williams is a poker pro who burst onto the scene in 2004 after finishing 2nd in the 2004 World Series of Poker Main Event behind Greg Raymer and taking home $3.5 million. Since that time, Williams has added multiple poker championships including a World Series of Poker (WSOP) bracelet and a World Poker Tour (WPT) title. He also finished first at the 2012 MtG Grand Prix at San Jose California. His career earnings are over $8.4 million in tournaments so far.

Brock Parker has actually been playing pro poker longer than Williams, but it wasn’t until 2009 that he became a household name. He won two bracelets in the summer of 2009 at the WSOP in the same week and has went on to win several titles since that time. With over $2.5 million in total earnings, his success at the tables has influenced other MtG players to try their hand at poker.

Another well-known MtG player to successfully move to poker is Gabriel Nassif. He has two Pro Tour titles, numerous top 8 finishes, and a Player of the Year honor in 2004. In this interview with MtG champ Gabriel Nassif, he talked about how he got introduced to poker and how he plays dozens of events at the WSOP.

Of course, most MtG players will tell you that the game isn’t about money but about the challenge and the fun had while playing tough opponents. With that said, the fact that millions are up for grab each year in the game of poker make transitioning from MtG a tempting choice for many. Williams even said in an interview that as time passes that more and more MtG players will make their way to poker. It seems that the money card is the most powerful of all.


Over on Massively, they recently asked about our favorite fluff items.

This was supposed to be my response:

Well… if you had to ask me about a few of my favorite fluff things…

*music is cued*

 

Raindrops on roses and whiskers on  kittens,
Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens
Pillows with chocobo feathers and string…

These are a few of my favorite fluff things!

Head of Onyxia and jump jet boot thrusters
Gygax Dice, Golems, and Tauren-made mustard
Golden guns, Furniture, Scepters of Kings

These are a few of my favorite fluff things!

When the dogs bite, when the bee stings
When I’m feeling sad…
I simply remember my favorite fluff things,
Then I don’t feel so bad!


Over on the official blog for Digital Content Provider Green Man Gaming, there’s a contest where folks can win a copy of the Dawnguard expansion for Skyrim if they can prove themselves creative enough to earn one.

They’ve set up a scenario that you must face armed with a bunch of random objects, and it’s up to you to creatively get out of a castle or hilariously die trying.

THE SCENARIO!

You are deep within the dark depths of a castle. This castle is inhabited by a Vampire Lord. By sheer dumb luck, mysticism and/or divine intervention (or Daedric if they were bored and wanted to see you squirm). You find yourself cornered in one room, crouched down behind some barrels, with the Vampire Lord nearby. He’s not seen you yet but if you try to sneak or run away he’ll spot you.

Within reach you find the following things (chosen by the workers of GMG with no knowledge of what they’re for) :

A Smurf
A Penrose Triangle
My Beard (it is bristly to the touch, and for the sake of the scenario, assume it’s not attached to my face)
A Flamingo (a living one, not a lawn ornament)
A Star-Nosed Mole
Some Mince Meat
A Batarang Lockpick
A Zombie Tooth
A Flatwhite
A Beach Ball (because Arun is going on holiday)

My submission to the contest:

“I am trapped, and I have all this to aid me?” I asked myself silently while shaking my head. “The Powers that be must truly want me dead.”

Crouched behind a stack of barrels, I know my end is coming near. A Vampire Lord seems to be laughing, as if he can sense life, but is playing with the thought of eating me. The smurf, mole, and flamingo begin to stir from a deep sleep, and so I must reason quickly and risk death in the attempt.

Seeing a bloody beard that appears to have come from a rugged fellow, I slathered the smurf in the blood, blinding him and quieting his protestations by gagging his mouth with the beard. I push him out into view, and watch him nearly trip over himself.

The vampire lord seemed amused at the flailing smurf.. “A bloodied, little blue man,” he mutters, as he picks the smurf up, “is the source of all that life? Amusing…” He spins around, admiring the smurf in light of a fire. “No matter, food is food.”

With his back turned to me, I found myself even luckier than I anticipated. I pushed the flamingo out into the open, and heard it cry as it ran in terror of me to an opposing corner of the room. The Lord turned around at the sound, perplexed at the creature, a miniature leg dangling from its mouth

It was time for the mole.

I stood up and threw the mole at the Vampire Lord’s face. The mole connected, struggling for something to hold on to while scratching the Lord’s face in the process. The Lord was distracted, grabbing the mole and hurling it at a stone wall.

With all my might and speed, I ran to the Lord and tackled it to the ground.

Raising the impossible Triangle of Penrose above my head, I set to work gouging the monster’s eye out with the impossibly swirling, sharp tip of the Triangle. The dead smurf caught in its mouth muffled the screams he made as I mercilessly robbed him of sight. With my would-be attacker incapacitated, I stabbed him in the heart, hoping the legends were true. The monster flails as I rend his undead flesh and sunder bone.

His heart, beating yet unliving all the same, required more force than a triangle could muster. I reached in, ripped it from the creature’s body, and crushed it with the flat end of the Triangle.

The Vampire Lord lay dead in front of me.

I was free to head for the door.

The startled flamingo kept its distance from me as I walked to the door. I grasped the handle and attempted to turn it.

The handle would not budge.

I felt for the lone lockpick in pocket, and took it out. “I wish I knew how to use these blasted things,” I said to myself, putting the lockpick back in my pocket.

Walking back to the barrels, I took stock of my new possessions. I took a swig of the flat white and lured the flamingo back to my corner with some minced meat. Petting my new friend, I rolled the beach ball at him, and he pushed it towards the wall playfully.

“It is going to be a long wait for an adventurer to come along,” I thought.

The ball, the flamingo and I were going to be fast friends indeed.


I’ve been looking for a way to discuss why I’m unlike most other bloggers. This is in the sense that I often write without taking sides on a particular issue, or in other cases write something simply to point out inconsistencies or other points of view that I can think of related to that particular topic.

Then my friend Bianca emailed me a link to this 18-minute video from TED Talks, which I think everyone should watch.

Go ahead and watch. This post will still be here when you come back.

 

Done?

 

Okay.

 

Now it would probably seem appropriate now to make an assumption that I write without taking sides because I accept that there’s often more than one side to a story and that people can oftentimes have both categorically correct, reasonable points, or categorically wrong, unreasonable points in their rhetoric.

You would be correct in that assumption… 49% of the time. If you’re wondering about the other 51%, it’s a matter of the exact opposite idea.

Approximately 51% of the time, I write without taking sides because I do not wish to be wrong. By not taking sides and accepting that most things are relative or free to interpretation, I can write opinions without having an opinion and without getting objections to my ideas.

Of course, I could be wrong about the percentages: I do not stop to count which write-ups I’ve done have been made out of acceptance of opposing views or the fear of being wrong, but I can be sure of one thing: I am also uncertain of that uncertainty, as strange as that sounds.

It’s also highly possible that I write the way I do because I see both the fear of being wrong and the possibility of more than one side having merit, but cannot determine how much of the mix is there when I write. In fact, thinking about that possibility now, it seems to be the more likely bet.

That said, I’m writing this post to remind myself that it’s okay to take a side and to be wrong. I just have to accept my misconception, learn from it, and improve myself in the process.

The problem, I would suppose, is that not everyone is as open as regards being wrong. Without naming anyone, I do realize that some people are set in their ways. Still, there’s no reason to become enemies over differences in opinion, so long as everyone can learn to mellow out and talk diplomatically.

It’s alright to be wrong folks. Just saying. :)


While this is specific to America, it does set a wonderful precedent for video games in general. Icrontic reports that the National Endowment for the Arts has added “digital games” as a form of art that will be eligible for grants from the US government.

Here’s the pertinent portion of the text from the link Icrontic got:

The Arts in Media builds on the success of The Arts on Radio and Television. All project types that were previously eligible remain eligible. In addition, the expanded category now includes:

  • All available media platforms such as the Internet, interactive and mobile technologies, digital games, arts content delivered via satellite, as well as on radio and television.
  • Media projects that can be considered works of art.
I could think of a couple of ways this could work out, but Icrontic already mentioned some of the most important ones:

What does this actually mean for developers? It means that if a developer wants to create games for people, doesn’t want to charge money for them, but still wants to be able to eat, there is an option. One can apply for a grant, and potentially get paid by the government to be a creator, just as painters and sculptors have been able to do for many years.

And for the public it means that we may begin to see some video games of the ‘public’ works’ variety, games which are released for the world to enjoy, which may have good production values, but which are also not part of the commercial video games world. What these games will look like, we have no idea at this point, as it’s a completely new thing. The projects that receive funding are chosen by the agency, and there are not many guidelines or descriptions for what kinds of projects will be accepted.

Of course, that means that while grants are available, video game proposals may still not get chosen. The point, remains, however, that it is a step towards having society see video games as a new form of art, and that should give us pause.


[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ME3Qs0HlseM]


I’ll keep this simple and straightforward.

Part of the list of things I want to do in my life is to record a song and to make a podcast… even just a one-shot.

I’m partway through that goal, as I’m learning how to record and use Audacity for my needs.

My problem is that I personally think my voice needs a lot more work for singing, though that hasn’t stopped me from trying. I just can’t hit super high or super low notes very well.

Anyway, below are links to two short songs I’ve recorded.

The first, which has already been listened to by a couple of folks on Twitter, is called Reach Through the Screen and Punch His Lights Out, and is basically a dramatic re-singing (does such a thing exist on the internet?!) of the opening line of Beau Hindman’s write-up on Massively of Star Trek Online.

The second song is actually an excerpt of a four minute song that I have the instrumentals to called Heart Breaker, performed by Maki Ohguro and Koji Kikkawa. It’s been repurposed (for lack of a better term) to talk about bloggers and readers and is now titled Blogger x Reader, though this excerpt is the blogger side of the song. When I improve my recording techniques, I’ll go and release the second half or the whole song on Mediafire.

After the break are the lyrics to Blogger x Reader Part 1. Enjoy! :D

(more…)


One of my Google searches for upcoming games in 2011 had me stumbling back into the NSFW recesses of Sankaku Complex, where one article they had was a huge 1.2 MB picture of a list of multiplatform and exclusive games to the PC, PS3, Wii and Xbox 360. While Sankaku Complex said it asserted the dominance of the PS3 over the two other consoles, it seems fairly evident that the PC would be the place to go if you really want a lot of games.

I can’t seem to find the original author of the picture but I’m guessing that this listing is perhaps incomplete to a certain extent as well, seeing as it’s a day or two old and something new must have happened between the posting and now that would require a minor update.

Added to the picture above is a link to a blog by Adrian Werner, who also has another extensive list of PC-specific games to look forward to for 2011 and beyond.

Anyway, the point of this post is that there are a ton of great games to look forward to, and it’s an exciting year for me, for a lot of reasons. I’m hoping 2011 will be much better than the year before it, and I pray that good things happen to all of us, regardless of our gaming preferences.

As Stargrace of MMOQuests would say, “Happy gaming, no matter where you find yourself!”


[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uTysXITBCmk]

Here’s a little dose of awesome for you today, courtesy of the Overly Positive blog. The man in the video above, Ted Williams, used to be a homeless man.

According to this report on the Today Show, it seems someone representing the Cleveland Cavaliers has offered the fellow a job and a house as a result of the above video going viral.

Definitely some good news. :)

EDITED TO ADD:

More Ted Williams coverage-

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KIWWbsT43o8]

Full Playlist of the Ted Williams Interview: http://www.youtube.com/user/Bunomous


This is an automatically generated post made by the code masters on WordPress for the benefit of average joes like me who don’t know how to read web statistics and who have no clue regarding the stats behind the Taj Mahal.

The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads Wow.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

About 3 million people visit the Taj Mahal every year. This blog was viewed about 34,000 times in 2010. If it were the Taj Mahal, it would take about 4 days for that many people to see it.

 

In 2010, there were 323 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 385 posts. There were 49 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 5mb. That’s about 4 pictures per month.

The busiest day of the year was November 29th with 713 views. The most popular post that day was Mount and Blade + Mount and Blade Warband Steam Sale Gives Wrong Key?.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were twitter.com, Google Reader, everquest2.com, biobreak.wordpress.com, and ffxivcore.com.

Some visitors came searching, mostly for ffxiv level cap, dante’s inferno beatrice, arcade gannon, recettear tips, and ffxiv updates.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.

1

Mount and Blade + Mount and Blade Warband Steam Sale Gives Wrong Key? November 2010
17 comments

2

FFXIV Updates Include Hardware Mouse, Level Cap, and a Video September 2010
4 comments

3

Beatrice Portinari is Not the Whore of Babylon January 2010
1 comment

4

Square Enix: Making Playing FFXIV More of a Hassle Since 5 Minutes Ago August 2010
31 comments and 1 Like on WordPress.com,

5

FFXIV Updates: Market Wards to get Changes September 2010
6 comments


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