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Topics - Queensryche

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Sports Discussion / 2018 World Cup
« on: June 05, 2018, 07:56:22 PM »
The World Cup is quickly approaching, beginning one week from Thursday. It's gonna be a bitter pill to swallow not seeing the US in the World Cup, but then again, The Netherlands and Italy didn't make it either, so at least we weren't the only ones that embarrassed themselves in qualifying.

So considering the US is not in, and given that the majority of users here are American, my question for you is this: who are you supporting? Me, I'm backing England. Yes, I know it's an exercise in futility, but there's five Tottenham Hotspur players on the England squad, and backing England means I back Spurs in a sense. I can also look past the fact that Danny Welbeck, Gary Cahill, and Ruben Loftus-Cheek are on the squad, unlike some folks in England apparently.

If you don't have a team to support but want to back someone, post here and I will draw a random team for you to back in the World Cup.

Rants Forum / SquareEnix's Tournament Rules Are Stupid
« on: May 28, 2018, 08:34:12 AM »
I'll acknowledge that this rant is kinda dumb, but after some information I found out last night, I need to just say how dumb SquareEnix is in regards to their major tournaments.

SquareEnix is intent on having Swiss rounds go as quickly as possible with their tournaments for the Final Fantasy TCG and is willing to disregard any other concerns there might be. It's an admirable goal, but the rules and regulations in place are instead screwing over other players.

First is the fact that in Swiss, if a match goes to time, there aren't any tiebreakers and the match isn't a draw. If a match goes to time, the players have five turns to determine a winner. If there is no winner, it's a double loss. Just for emphasis, I'm going to repeat that and put it in bold and all caps: IF THERE IS NO WINNER AFTER TIME AND TURNS, BOTH PLAYERS LOSE.

This is already a horrendous rule, because instead of giving an incentive to win, it instead gives an incentive for a player who isn't going to win to screw over his opponent. Mike H, one of the local players here got screwed out of making the Day 2 cut at the FFTCG North American Nationals last year because he would've made it with a win in the last round of Swiss, as well as his opponent. The match goes to time, and his opponent is behind and has no chance, while Mike has a chance to win and make the cut. His opponent decides that he's going to take Mike down with him, and stalls out enough to force the double loss and eliminate them both. This has occurred in other SquareEnix FFTCG tournaments, and it's screwing players more than helping them. Even worse is that there's an easy tiebreaker: whoever has taken less damage wins. Baring that, whoever has more cards in their deck wins. Baring THAT, then either do sudden death (next damage wins) or, if you really want to move things on, flip a coin.

I had decided that I wasn't going to be like that. My plan for the Crystal Cups at GenCon was that if I was in a situation where a match went to time and turns, if my opponent was ahead, I'd concede to give my opponent the win and give them the credit for a good game. I am not one to screw an opponent over, and if I'd been in such a situation, I'd rather someone come out ahead, even if it's at my expense.

Well, I told Mike H my plan and he quickly told me not to do it. I asked why, and he then stated that according to the official tournament rules, conceding a match is considered cheating, and is grounds for an automatic tournament disqualification AND a competitive ban for a length of time at SquareEnix's discretion. Yes, that's right (again, emphasis): I COULD GET BANNED FOR CONCEDING A MATCH, NO MATTER WHAT THE CIRCUMSTANCES OR SITUATION. Conceding a match is considered collusion by SquareEnix, and they do not want collusion of any kind. I also could be in trouble if I was in an unwinnable situation and played through to let my opponent win. That also would be considered collusion and would get me and the other player disqualified.

Not being able to concede a match is some of the biggest bulls**t I have ever heard. Their assumption that conceding is an act of collusion is very flawed and leads to uncomfortable situations. I didn't want to screw an opponent over. Now I find out the rules give me no choice and I HAVE to screw someone over if it comes down to this.

I, along with other players, have voiced my concerns about these rules, feeling them to be counterproductive and a tool for tournament griefers to screw over people determined to compete and win. I don't know if SquareEnix will listen, considering the fact that other suggestions by players have been ignored. But either way, these rules are really, really dumb, and inevitably, players have been and will continue to be screwed.

General Chat / Promotion Celebration Postwhore-a-thon!
« on: May 22, 2018, 03:25:57 PM »
I recently celebrated two years of employment at Vanguard. Now I've got something else to celebrate regarding them.

For the past year, I've been in the Retirement Center, dealing with complex retirement accounts and the issues associated with them. My year of service came on April 9th, and I applied for a position in Flagship. Flagship is the division that handles high net worth clients, and is considered to be the best department to be in if you want to advance to management or to a specialist expertise role. Three weeks ago, I had my interview. It went well, and my team lead got very good feedback from them. This made me hopeful, but they said it'd be a while before I heard back.

I got word today. The recruiting manager called me and informed me that I had been chosen for the role in Flagship. She formally offered me the position, and I accepted. My training for the new role begins on June 4th.

For the purposes of Vanguard's organization, this is a promotion, which means I'll be going up a pay grade. My training will take two weeks, after which I will be ready to perform.

Because of that, I'm posting this up to celebrate. +1s to everybody!

General Chat / For those who watch Game of Thrones.........
« on: May 19, 2018, 06:55:30 PM »
For those who watch the HBO series, there's some cool news regarding one of the actors in the series.

Hafthor Julius Bjornsson, who plays Gregor "The Mountain" Cleagne, is a professional strongman. Two weeks ago he won the World's Strongest Man competition organized by IMG, which is the oldest and most prestigious strongman competition in the world.

But that's not all. Earlier in March, he won the Arnold Strongman Classic. Yes, the event Mark Henry won in its first iteration. It's now behind only World's Strongest Man in prestige, because while WSM requires a blend of strength and athleticism, the Arnold Strongman Classic is all about raw power. And then Bjornsson also won the Europe's Strongest Man competition. He's not the first to win all three, but he is the first to win all three in a single year.

So there you go. The Mountain is now officially the World's Strongest Man. He joins Jon Pall Sigmardsson and the awesomely-named Magnus Ver Magnusson (You can translate that as "Greatness, Son of Greatness" or "Big Man, Son of Big Man". Awesome either way) as winners hailing from Iceland.

Gaming Discussion (Everything Else) / The All-Purpose GenCon Thread
« on: May 05, 2018, 05:02:05 PM »
For the first time this year, I will be attending GenCon. I am going primarily to play in the Final Fantasy TCG Crystal Cup tournaments there, hoping to qualify for US Nationals. I'm posting this up because I know that folks on this site go and attend, for Raw Deal and other things. I wanted to know what your schedules looked like so I could hopefully meet up with you some time during the event.

As it stands right now, I will be playing in the Opus VI Sealed Crystal Cup on Thursday, and then on Saturday playing in the Constructed Crystal Cup. I'll be available Friday. As for Sunday, it's possible I could be playing in the Crystal Cup Top 16, which would take up that day, but I'll just have to play it by ear.

Also, a little anecdote for everyone: I was speaking with a client at work and doing some things for him. While I was going through everything, I noticed that the client resided in Indianapolis. The following conversation ensued:

Me: "Hey, I noticed you're from Indianapolis. I should mention I'll be coming your way this summer!"
Client: "Oh! When are you coming?"
Me: "I'll be here August 1st through 6th."
Client: "Ah you're going to GenCon!"

He first asked if I had my badge, flight, and hotel, and after I confirmed I did, said it was good I'd gotten those in advance. He then thanked me for attending because the con is a huge economic boon for the city and local businesses. According to him, for many businesses, it's their best week of the year. He then recommended I check out Fountain Square and Massachusetts Avenue for their shops and restaurants. He specifically suggested a German beer garden called Rathskeller on Mass Ave because he knows the owners and also because it's a really good beer garden (reviews seem to check out).

General Chat / May The Fourth Be With You
« on: May 04, 2018, 05:27:22 PM »
Just posting this up to make everyone aware that today is Star Wars Day!

For those who are here, those who couldn't be here, and those who are no longer with us, May The Fourth Be With You.

Sports Discussion / It's okay to jump on the Golden Knights bandwagon
« on: April 18, 2018, 03:58:57 AM »
The Vegas Golden Knights are now setting the bar for first-year expansion teams. They kicked off their inaugural season by not only making the playoffs, not only making it with a winning record, and not only WINNING THEIR DIVISION, but also winning a playoff series, as they booted the LA Kings in a sweep with God Mode Marc-Andre Fleury and a stingy defense. Right now, and years from now, people aren't going to be wondering how they did it, but why the other clubs in the NHL allowed the Golden Knights to pick up so many quality players in the expansion draft. Jonathan Marchessault, Riley Smith, William Karlsson, their deep defense, and so did their respective clubs conclude guys like that weren't worth the time? HOW??? Credit to George McPhee for realizing the quality available and constructing a club that's a legitimate threat to win the whole thing.

My relatives in Las Vegas weren't huge hockey fans, but they were going to support the team anyway because it's finally a major league team for Vegas and because owner Bill Foley built the arena with his own money. Well, that's changed now, to the point that they're tuning into other games to see who the Golden Knights might face and to keep track of the playoffs as a whole. My Uncle Frank in particular has gone to several games and goes to watch parties to see the team in action.

Back to the thread title, I'm of the opinion that jumping on the Vegas Golden Knights bandwagon is nothing to be ashamed of. They're a first-year team, and wanting to see history made is a worthy reason to jump on. If it can't be the Flyers, then I'd rather it be Vegas.

Rants Forum / No Mom, My Sister's Going To Give You Grandchildren
« on: April 02, 2018, 05:50:23 PM »
Alright, this is something that's been incredibly frustrating to me. No matter what I say, my mom won't listen. Maybe you guys can help me get my point across better than I can.

So my local games store is going to be holding a women's gaming night. Great idea in my opinion, which lets women know the store is welcome to them. Well, some GameGated ManFortress on Saturday came in and asked why there wasn't a men's gaming night. Me being the unrepentant smartass I am, replied "Isn't that the other 364 days of the year?" He goes and calls me a traitor to my gender (best compliment I received that day) and leaves in a huff. Andrew, the store's owner, asks that I be present that day because I'm supportive of the idea and also because he thinks I would make other GameGated ManFortresses think twice about starting crap.

I tell my mom this yesterday and immediately she thinks I'm going to hook up with someone. I explain to her no, that's not why, and tell my story. But she doesn't listen and throughout the night she's giving me tips and stuff. If this was 10 years ago, I would've snapped at her. But being a much more mature individual (I think), I just nodded my head and agreed with her.

Simply put, I have no interest in any sort of relationship with a woman beyond friendship. I value my solitude and my experience tells me I wouldn't be able to live with anyone else. My mom however doesn't seem to get that though and thinks I'll find someone. I'm not interested in women like that. I'm not interested in anyone like that. I like things how they are now. I even went on a couple "dates" with a woman from work who I eventually realized was interested in me (Why she was I can't figure out). I told her that if she was looking for a relationship, she was looking in the wrong place and explained my side of the story. She was fine with that and we agreed to stay as friends. I haven't told my mom this, because I'm certain that she'd take it the wrong way.

I don't know how to get across to my mom that I am not interested in anything beyond friendship with anyone. Can someone help me out?

Gaming Discussion (Everything Else) / FFTCG Opus V
« on: March 24, 2018, 07:46:31 PM »
Opus V came out for the Final Fantasy TCG this past Friday, and now that I've had time to digest, I've got some thoughts.

-Earth easily is the big winner of this set, because they got a TON of new tools to help them out. Momodi (give Brave to a Forward for free each turn), Miner (retrieves a Backup when played, has an ability to retrieve a Forward), Gabranth (Sacrifice to prevent damage to you), Mobius Mog (Search for a Forward), Carbunkle (Pump a forward, if its power is 9000 or less when you pump it, it goes back to your hand), and more finally give Earth some aggression as well as helps with the high Crystal Point curve Earth cards tends to have.

-Fire on the other hand got the short end of the stick again. Everything it can do, another element does better. Lightning trumps it in Forward removal. Wind trumps it in speed. At this point it's at best a complimentary element. Its Legendaries are also nothing to write home about. Palom in particular is garbage, being a weaker L Vivi.

-Kam'lanaut has the potential to be a meta-changing card. It's a 9000 Power Dark Forward for 5 CP which searches out another Dark card and can change its element. This is important because Kam'lanaut can't be targeted by Summons or abilities of its element. Put it against a mono-element deck and suddenly that deck has problems. Against Mono Water? She thumbs her nose at Leviathan and Syldra. Mono Lightning? Odin and Raiden don't scare her.

-A bunch of cards came out with "Choose X of the following" text. Most of them are very useful and going to see play in decks. The only element that didn't get anything like that was Fire. Yet another reason Fire's become weak.

-With Wol and the FFIII Warriors of Light, Warrior of Light decks now might be a thing. Already I've seen ideas thrown around for Earth/Water Warrior of Light builds.

-Orphan, one of Ice's Legendaries, is stupid powerful. You dull two Forwards when it comes into play, and if you have five or more Ice characters (Forwards/Backups/Monsters), you freeze them as well. And when it attacks, you freeze a forward of your choice. The fact that it's a big body at 9000 power is a bonus. Well worth the 6 CP cost.

Tomorrow I'll be playing in a local tournament with my Earth/Water Suicide deck. The idea is to take damage early, then come back with stuff like Opus 2 Dark Knight and L Tidus, using L Wol to protect him when I Blitz Ace. Hopefully I'll find that the concept works and can improve it.

General Chat / Spring Snowpocalypse
« on: March 21, 2018, 08:01:04 AM »
So, who else is home due to the massive storm rolling through the East Coast?

I'm only two-and-a-half miles from work, but the roads are awful right now, and yesterday I found that I need new tires on my car now rather than in 1500 miles. So I called out and am chilling at home right now.

So yesterday, Nintendo announced the "Octo Expansion" for Splatoon 2. This is likely going to be the thing that'll break my crippling addiction to Stardew Valley, because among other things, we're getting:

-New Single-Player Content
-New Gear
-New Stages

The video hyping up the single-player expansion can be viewed here.

But in rewatching the videos, I noticed something seemed familiar about both Pearl and Marina (the characters focused on from 0:38 to 0:46). I looked at it again, and then, to make sure it wasn't just me, I did some Googling, which confirmed my suspicions:

(Credit to @MexicanLuggy on Twitter)

After seeing this, I've come to the following conclusions:
-Inklings = East Coast
-Octarians = West Coast
-The Great Turf War between Inklings and Octarians was really a massive hip-hop beef
-DJ Octavio (Single-player final boss) is the one ultimately responsible for the Great Turf War, because he's the Splatoon version of Suge Knight, who sowed discord between Inklings and Octarians for lulz and profits.
-Pearl and Marina are going to die in drive-by shootings which will never be solved

Mind. Blown.

Professional Wrestling Discussion / WWE Featured in Bloomberg
« on: February 25, 2018, 12:18:11 PM »
Bloomberg recently did an article on the WWE. The gist of the article is about how most entertainment companies are struggling, but WWE is bucking that and instead growing. Part of this is because of the WWE Network, a massive risk in a risk-averse business that ended up paying off big time. WWE is now making more money than they ever did when they were on Pay-Per-View.

However, the big thing in the article that would get peoples' attention here is that WWE is now being seen as an acquisition target, with Disney and Comcast among the possible buyers. I've heard about this for months, and the figures being thrown around are in the tens of billions. Here's the question: does everyone really have a price, or is there just no way Vince would sell the company? Stephanie is quoted in that article saying that to outright dismiss a sale is foolish. Will it have to wait for Vince's passing, or is it possible that Vince could get an offer which even he would realize would be madness to turn down?

Gaming Discussion (Everything Else) / GenCon Help
« on: February 09, 2018, 10:06:51 PM »
Alright, so I'm talking with a bunch of guys in my area about organizing a trip to GenCon for reasons I stated in an earlier topic. However, I just realized something: I've never been to GenCon and have no idea how far ahead I should make reservations/plan things.

So with that in mind, I've got three questions:

1. How far in advance should I book my flight/hotel/etc.?
2. How far in advance are passes for the con sold?
3. In general, how much should I expect to spend before I get to dropping cash on merchandise?
4. How many days in advance should I arrive to GenCon?

Any help would be appreciated!

Gaming Discussion (Everything Else) / FFTCG North American Circuit
« on: February 08, 2018, 06:58:23 PM »
Last year, the Final Fantasy TCG was an instant hit in North America. So much so that SquareEnix was caught completely off-guard and thus had no contingency plans for an organized competitive circuit. This resulted in Nationals being open entry..........and also limited to 200 participants. Needless to say, a LOT of people were unhappy. The fact that it was open entry also probably explains the poor performance of the four guys that qualified from North America at Worlds.

Thankfully, SquareEnix figured out that they REALLY need to organize things and today announced the competitive series for the game.

Details can be found here.

My thoughts: YES!!! GENCON!!! I've been wanting to go to GenCon, and now I have the means to be able to do so. Thing is though, I wanted to go provided there was a good enough reason for me to attend. With there being two Crystal Cup events, the reason is there. So as of now, I plan to attend GenCon and enter in both of the events. Maybe I can meet up with some of you guys who are attending.

Regarding the Local Qualifiers, I know my local store is trying to get one there. Considering that we're the hub for FFTCG in the Tri-State area, I think we'll get it. I do plan on attending that too.

Some of you may remember the (godawful) movie The Wizard starring Fred Savage. During it, there's a scene of him talking about someone scoring 50,000 on Double Dragon. That game was one of my favorites as a kid. And when I saw that it was available on the Nintendo Switch this past Thursday, I had to get it. Now I could play the game from beginning to end without having to constantly feed a cabinet quarters.

I buy the game, and then in reading about the controls, I see there's an Elbow Smash move. The controls explained that pressing jump and punch simultaneously would let you throw an elbow at an opponent. To top it off, the move was also hardwired to ZR, meaning I didn't have to time simultaneous button presses.

I begin playing, and then discover that Elbow Smash breaks the game wide open.

The AI in Double Dragon is programmed to have enemies approach you when your back is turned, to back off when you face them, and, when there's multiple enemies on the screen, to try and flank you. Smart move to make it difficult to beat the enemies. But there's just one thing: Elbow Smash attacks BEHIND you. So you'll have your back turned to an enemy, they approach, and then you throw the Elbow Smash, which they walk right into. EVERY SINGLE TIME.

Furthermore, when you Elbow Smash the enemy, even though you attack behind you, the enemy is knocked FORWARD. Meaning you can just move a little bit so your back is to them, then they get up, walk to you, and you throw another Elbow Smash. The game is also programmed so that if there's a weapon on the ground, enemies will drop whatever they're doing to walk to it, pick it up, THEN approach you. So with a little bit of maneuvering, you can basically have the enemies walk into your Dusty Rhodes Bionic Elbow Smash repeatedly. It NEVER picks up what you're doing. Not that you'd expect it to, it's a game from thirty years ago, and programming back then wasn't what it is now. But still, this game bedeviled me as a little kid, and now I'm much older and see that it's pathetically easy.

On my first playthrough, I managed to get to the final stage on one credit. Due to cheap death traps and the fact that the final boss has a machine gun and WILL shoot you (causing you to instantly lose a life), I had to use a continue. After a bit more practice, I managed to beat the game without continuing. A bit more saw me do a no-death run.

So now I know how to score 50k in Double Dragon: Go all Dusty Rhodes on their asses. In fact, I managed to top 80k by doing so, and if not for the fact that I killed some enemies by knocking them into pits/water, I could've reached 90k.

I now really wish I could go back in time and tell seven-year-old me to Elbow Smash for the win. I would've been a hero at the arcades.

Sports Discussion / Comparing English Football and NFL Clubs
« on: January 15, 2018, 04:10:41 PM »
So last week, it was announced that Tottenham Hotspur's new stadium would host a Seahawks/Raiders game. So that got me thinking.......what NFL team equates to which English club? After some thought, here's what I've got:

Pittsburgh = Manchester United: The most successful in their respective leagues and perennial contenders, and both having grating, entitled fanbases.

Kansas City = Arsenal: Two clubs that tease being contenders before flaming out spectacularly, with head coaches who are stubborn and loyal to a fault to their players.

Philadelphia = West Ham: Underachievers with fanbases that're far more dangerous than the teams.

New England = Chelsea: Not notable until very recently, and also incredibly shady with their dealings.

Oakland = Millwall: Both have teams and fans that are infamous for their propensity to violent behavior.

Washington = Newcastle United: Two historical clubs in long declines, with owners that are universally despised by their respective fanbases.

NY Jets = Tottenham Hotspur: Underachievers from the big city who everyone hates for some reason that isn't evident.

Green Bay = Burnley: Smallest of markets, with historical dominance in the 60s as well as fanbases that're bigger outside the city they're based in.

Dallas = Liverpool: Storied, successful clubs, with both team management and their fanbases living 25 years in the past.

Cleveland = Sunderland: Two clubs that have declined to a degree that should be impossible for them.

Minnesota = Aston Villa: Historically snakebitten teams who are far removed from their glory days.

Cincinnati = Stoke City: Clubs consisting of a collection of talented but dirty players, but with fairly sane fanbases.

LA Rams = MK Dons: Clubs with success in the not-too-distant past that were moved from their original homes by heartless, money-grubbing owners.

That's what I've got for now. And just so people know, Tottenham Hotspur is my club, so I'm being equal in ripping everyone.

General Chat / My Year In Review
« on: January 01, 2018, 06:49:53 PM »
So it's the New Year, and I've decided to post up here my 2017 and the major things that happened in my life, as well as changes in my personal life. I invite everyone else to do so here. I'll begin:

Two Yanks At White Hart Lane
At the very beginning of 2017, my dad and I took a trip to London for five days. We did plenty there, but the main reason was to see Tottenham Hotspur play West Bromwich Albion at White Hart Lane. A few years ago, my dad had given that for me as a Christmas present, and after some bumps in my life, I was finally ready to go to The Lane to see Spurs. The train ride itself was an event, because my dad and I got stuck in a car with a bunch of drunk West Brom fans, and one of them ripped a fart that would've put the culprit on trial for crimes against humanity. Also, they were bewildered hearing my American accent and asked why I chose Spurs. I said it was because I didn't want to support "A megaclub like Man United, or a s**t one like West Brom!" They gave me props for the banter. The match itself was wonderful. We were close enough to the pitch that we could hear the players talking to each other. Also, seeing The Once And Future King Harry Kane score a hat trick was amazing. Also, I blew several hundred dollars at the Spurs Megastore. Worth it.
(On an unrelated note, it turns out that the UK is actually now mimicking American beer culture, in presentation, beer types, and such. Also, I discovered that "true" IPAs aren't actually bitter beers. But they've taken to the bitter brand of IPA, calling them "American-style IPA".)

Getting Back In A Game
Shortly after my trip to London, I discovered Gamers Heaven nearby. They'd been around for a year-and-a-half but I'd been totally unaware of them until I somehow found it after Googling something else and decided to check it out. It's since become one of my favorite places to visit. On my first visit, I discovered the Final Fantasy Trading Card Game, which I had no idea existed. I was immediately interested, and then found out about the shortage. Eventually I did get cards and liked it enough to begin playing in the local scene there. It also turned out I was pretty good at the game: the first tournament I played in had promo Sephiroths up for grabs, and I finished 4th, good enough to claim one for myself. I've continued to have success, winning a couple tournaments and doing well overall.

But the big thing was how this game has introduced me to a new circle of friends, as well as make me closer to another friend. Regarding the former, I now consider myself a part of the scene at Gamers Heaven and have a circle of guys I play regularly and build decks with. Lately we've also been moving beyond the game and going more into our lives in general. Regarding the latter, I went up with my best friend John (Dilbert on these parts) to a Raw Deal tournament in Allentown, bringing my FFTCG cards to introduce the game to the players there. My intro went better than expected: the immediate reaction when I said I wanted to show them the game was "You have cards? Awesome!" Turns out that the Allentown crew had been interested but didn't know anyone with cards. I was literally the first person to show them the actual cards. As it ended up, I got Brian (BigPimpin) into the game, and he and I have gotten closer as a result. He was able to come my way for a tournament once, and I was able to come his way for a tournament later on in the year. Hopefully we'll have a few more meetings this coming year. His friend John Soto also wants to come my way too.

My Sister Gets Married
This past June, my sister Carolyn got married to a guy I've gotten close to. He's an Israeli-American dude named Jonathan, who's a really cool guy and also someone I was glad my sister fell in love with. Two weeks before the wedding, I took Jonathan to a day trip to the shore because he'd never been to the Jersey Shore previously. The wedding itself was a lovely event, and when it was all done, my sister said it meant a lot that I accepted Jonathan as quickly as I did and the effort that I made to make him welcome. I'd been distant from my sister previously for no reason in particular, but now we're starting to build up a strong brother/sister relationship.

Visiting Israel
A few weeks after the wedding, I went on a week-long trip to Israel to both visit various sites and also meet Jonathan's relatives and friends. It was overall a fantastic experience. I visited various historical sites (City of David, Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the Dead Sea) as well as see what daily life in Jerusalem is like. About the only unpleasant experience I had was being in a car on Saturday that had rocks thrown at it because it was the Sabbath, and for some folks there, that's sacreligious. It also really opened up my eyes to the conflict going on there and how incredibly complex an issue it is. During the party to celebrate my sister and (now) brother-in-law's wedding, I ran into a family friend of Jonathan's........who happens to be a Chelsea fan. We went at it over our respective EPL clubs, but it was all in good fun. Also, spending a day at the Dead Sea was an experience. It was almost like an alien landscape there. It was also really hot (105 degrees Fahrenheit), but honestly not too uncomfortable. It is true that you literally cannot sink in the Dead Sea. It's also true that going in there after you shave is going to be very uncomfortable.

Becoming A Homeowner
Literally the day after I got home, I saw a condo up the street from my apartment was up for sale. I went and took a look at it and after some thought and negotiation, had an offer accepted to purchase it. Quite honestly, the whole process was quick and free of any snags. I applied for my mortgage, and was approved in quick order. After a couple weeks of preparation, I finally moved in at the end of September. At first, I thought I was fine staying where I was at, but then realized that the condo would be a better place to live, as well as better for me in the long-term. Overall, I'm glad I made that decision. I'm enjoying my condo, and wish I'd done it sooner. Also, I left on good terms with my landlord: he was so impressed with how well I cleaned up the apartment after I left that he not only refunded my security deposit, but also threw in some extra money because he didn't need to spend as much as he thought he would have to in order to clean it.

Moving Up And Forward At Work
Late last year, I began an "internship" at my employer in their Retirement Center, handling issues specific to various retirement accounts. After working through tax season, management at the Retirement Center was impressed enough to ask me to stay permanently, which in effect was a promotion and raise. After being hired, changes began. Eventually, several members of my team left, and my boss also left the company for reasons unknown to me. But eventually I got a new boss, and she's been great so far. I'm able to apply for a new position in April, so I'm going to be looking at where I should go next.

Those were the big events in my life in 2017. Hopefully 2018 is as eventful.

Sports Discussion / Move over Ronaldo and Messi..........
« on: December 26, 2017, 07:32:33 PM »
-56 goals for club and country in 2017. The first player not named Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo since 2009 to lead all of Europe in scoring.
-39 Premier League goals in a calendar year, breaking Alan Shearer's 22-year-old record of 36 Premier League goals in a calendar year.
-Six Premier League hat tricks in 2017, a new record for hat tricks in a single season.
-Eight hat tricks total for 2017, six more than anyone else in Europe.

All hail Harry Kane, the King of Europe.

LoadingReadyRun did an event involving Unstable, the third and most recent Un-Set in Magic history. During that event, M:tG reached heights it can't possibly reach again.

The height of Magic went as follows:

-Wedge, in response to Cameron's Very Cryptic Command, pays eight life to use Spike, Tournament Grinder's ability. It lets you take one banned or restricted card you own from outside the game into your hand. Then come the greatest words ever spoken in Magic history: "Could you hand me the Shahrazad that's behind you?" Cameron's face says it all.
-A bit later, Wedge decides he needs some help and casts Better Than One, which lets him choose anyone from outside the game to be his teammate. He chooses.........Mar k Rosewater. Yes, Maro was present, and yes, he became Wedge's teammate.
-After some more nonsense, Wedge casts Shahrazad. The judge present then explains how exactly the card works, but not before saying that in his entire career as a judge, he's never had to explain the card.
-Wedge and Maro win the subgame, causing Cameron to lose half his life in the main game.
-Wedge and Maro go on to win the main game.

This historical match has thankfully been preserved for future generations. The fun begins at the 9:30 mark.

What could possibly top that?

General Chat / Listen to me on the radio tomorrow!
« on: December 14, 2017, 06:26:32 PM »
Tomorrow night, from 8 PM to 10 PM EST, I will be going back to my alma mater's radio station.

When I was at Millersville University, I was a DJ for their station, WIXQ. After I graduated in 2005, I didn't return until homecoming in 2016. When I was there, I went to a social hosted by WIXQ for station alums and found out they do a fundraiser every year. Station alums donate money to WIXQ, and in turn, they get to do their old show during Finals Week. I am taking part in this, and my show is tomorrow, 8 PM to 10 PM. I'll be doing my classic rock show, "Reelin' In The Years".

You can listen in on their website, 917 The Ville.

Hope you tune in!

Professional Wrestling Discussion / Gauging Interest for a Revival
« on: December 04, 2017, 06:18:40 AM »
So now that I'm back, I'm thinking of possibly reviving the Dungeon of Doom. For those who don't know, you can read all about it here.

What I'm going to do is post up three questions here. There is no limit to how many people can answer this round. If you have answers, post 'em! Here goes:

1. I saw this video of Elias Samson and immediately thought "DAMN this guy is a heat magnet!" However, I noticed that he seems to split opinion and some classify his heat as X-Pac heat. Is it legit heat or X-Pac heat, and why do you feel that?

2. You're Eric Young. One day, you get a voicemail on your phone. It's conspiracy theorist/radio nutjob Alex Jones. He actually believes that SAnitY is an anti-Illuminati paramilitary group and has extended you an invitation to his radio show to discuss your "work". At first, you're inclined to ignore the message. But then you think about it, and you get a wonderful awful idea to mess with his.............min d? (If you can call it that). How do you troll Alex Jones?

(Caveat: Dilbert, if you decide to answer these questions, you MUST give me the answer you gave me for this one originally. You already know the "correct" answer, so you're bound to answer how you originally did.)

3. A group of 1000 people in Cesena, Italy did a cover of "Learn To Fly" by the Foo Fighters and asked Dave Grohl to play a show for them. Pick a song for these 1000 Italians to cover. Why would your choice be awesome for them to cover? (Note: Dave Grohl responded and indeed did a show for them.)

You have five days to respond. Should there be enough interest, I could very well bring back the DoD.

Today I traveled up to Randolph, NJ to take part in a prerelease tournament for the Final Fantasy TCG. It was the prerelease for Opus IV, which is hitting in less than a week. Gamers Heaven has already held two, and the last one is tomorrow, which I am attending. However, after BigPimpin (again, the Brian in this thread's title) came down for the Pauper Tournament at GH which I previously told you all about, I told him I'd get him back and come up his way for a tournament. That happened today, when I went to All-In-One Collectibles in Randolph for the event.

Brian and I got there early and we played a game. I also played a game with his friend John Soto before we began the event. The tournament was a sealed tournament, with us being given nine packs of Opus IV, along with a special prerelease version of the Cloud found in Opus IV. We cracked open our packs and got down to business. In opening my packs, I got the following Legendaries (Ultra Rares):

2 Raiden (1 Foil, 1 Non-Foil)
1 Kefka (Foil)
1 Caius
1 Lightning

The two Raidens I pulled were in the same pack, by the way. As far as I can remember that's the first time I've ever gotten the same Legendary twice in a pack. After looking at my cards, after trying to come up with some coherent strategy, I just went "Screw it" and threw together a Fire/Ice/Lightning deck with all the best cards I pulled. Then it was off to three rounds of play. As it was, Brian and I did much better this go-round. My matches:

Round 1
I ended up facing Dan Covsillos, the guy who won the FFTCG Petit Cup event in NYC a couple months ago. So it was going to be a tough match. As it was, we traded damage until I came to a critical juncture: I had Raiden and a forward in my hand and I was on four damage. Do I dump my hand to play Raiden and clear his board? Or do I play more cautiously and play the forward? I chose the latter, and it cost me. Dan proceeded to get rid of both my forwards and then hit me for the last two points of damage he needed. Afterwards, I revealed I had Raiden in my hand. He asked if I minded hearing his take on what I should've done. I never object to that, so I told him to go ahead. He then said I should've played Raiden. I would've cleared his board and would've won because he would've had no way to recover. Lesson learned.

Round 2
This was against a local player whose name I forget. This match ended up going much better for me. He hit me early, but I was able to get back in and eventually level things. Then I drew Raiden again. Knowing to not waste the opportunity, the next turn, I nuked his board and attacked. While he was able to prevent damage from being done, he expended all of his resources, and the next turn conceded because he had no way to stop me. That got me to 1-1 heading into the last round.

Round 3
Against another local player. I believe her name was Rebecca. I ended up controlling this one from start to finish. Just as she would establish a position, I'd immediately undermine it. The deck I threw together worked wonderfully. I draw Raiden again, nuke her board, game over. I finish 2-1.

For my efforts, I came in sixth place, which was good enough to earn an alternate art Kain promo. Brian did even better: he finished third and picked up a promo as well. I don't know which one he got though.

After that, I went into some constructed play with Brian and John. It ended up being very helpful, because I finally got in significant play time with my recently-built decks and managed to deepen my understanding of them and get how they're supposed to operate.

Overall, it was a fantastic day out. I was able to fulfill my promise to Brian to come by his way, and in the process I got to play a bunch of FFTCG, get some Opus 4 early, and then win a promo on top of it. I want to thank All-In-One Collectibles for hosting this event and for being a fantastic venue to play at. Also, they sprang for pizza for us, which was awesome. It was nice to meet John and play some games with him. Finally, it was great to see you again Brian. I'll let you know when the big monthly at GH is occurring in January.

To conclude this post, I have some pictures. These are photos of players holding the cards we were happiest to get.

John Soto with his foil Onion Knight

Steve Molnar (A local who'd come down to GH for the Pauper Tournament) with his Opus IV Lightning

Brian with his foil Opus IV Lightning

Me, dual-wielding my Raidens

General Chat / Can't help myself, I need to boast
« on: November 24, 2017, 08:21:32 PM »
I've been paying much more attention to the markets and I've also dabbled into investing. Besides mutual funds, I'm also investing in individual stocks. I've had temporary success (Community Health, which I bought low, more than doubled, and then dropped back down), poor choices (Chesapeake Energy, which has gone down, though not precipitously), and utter disasters (Teva Pharmaceuticals, which I bought at about $34 a share, and due to an utterly horrid quarter and dividend cut, is now sitting at around $13-$14 share). But I've had one overwhelming success and I cashed in on it partially today.

Earlier this year, I purchased 20 shares of Nintendo stock at $26/share. I bought it about a month before the Switch came out. I was looking at everything and I concluded that while it might not necessarily meet all the hype it was getting, that some of that hype was legitimate and that thus it was worth picking up some shares.

Then the Switch came out and Nintendo took off. It broke through its resistance levels big time, hitting $38/share, then getting up to $45 a share. For most of the past year, it's hovered around $40-$45/share. I held on, figuring that if Nintendo kept doing the right things and exceeding the hype like they did, it would break its resistance levels again.

A strong third quarter took it above $50/share, before it dropped back down two weeks ago. At that point, I acted. I put in a limit sell order on half my stake for $52, meaning that if the price at any point met or exceeded $52/share within the next 90 days, the order would execute at the point I set if it was met or exceeded. I figured that by hitting that point, I'd cash out half my stake, getting back my initial investment, and then playing with house money with the rest of my shares.

I checked the first price that came in today for Nintendo: $52.45/share. A minute later I got an email saying my order executed, 10 shares at $52.45/share.

Nintendo closed at $52.55 a share today, and my unsold shares are now at that price. But I got my money back and now can't lose any more than my initial investment.

As for what I'm gonna do with the money.............. I've wanted a Switch and some games. Now I can get them pretty easily. So in a sense, Nintendo essentially paid for my gaming. All in all, to quote Ice Cube, it was a good day. Nintendo's been pretty much the only thing keeping my portfolio in the green this year.

And lastly, I want to REALLY emphasize that the success I've had is not common. If a stock doubles in price, it's usually over the course of several years. Investing carries a LOT of risk. Investing in individual stock is basically like playing the lottery, only in this case, thanks to data, you're making educated guesses and hoping your analysis is correct, rather than picking blindly and hoping for utter pure luck. If you want to invest, you need to do homework to decide what stock makes sense and what stock is too speculative for your tastes. Also, starting with mutual funds might be a way to get in and mitigate risk.

Gaming Discussion (Everything Else) / HYPE! FFTCG Opus IV
« on: November 09, 2017, 05:27:43 AM »
More spoilers are coming out for Opus IV, and what I just saw got me HYPED.


My initial thoughts:

Setzer - Pricey, but being able to search for an FFVI character and his mini-Rinoa ability make him useful
Sabin - WOW. THAT is going to see TONS of play in aggro decks. The first ability alone is amazing. His second and third abilities are more situational, but I could see Rising Phoenix enabling you to set up a quick board wipe.
Gau - .......Eh. Kinda expensive, and I am not sure you'll ever get to use Rage all that often.

Gaming Discussion (Everything Else) / The Music of Mick Gordon
« on: November 07, 2017, 06:30:05 PM »
Since this involves video games, I figured this should go here.

I'd had praise for video game composer Jake Kaufmann for his awesome work on Double Dragon Neon and Ducktales Remastered. There's now a new star in video game music, Mick Gordon.

What really made him stand out for me was two things. First, he did the soundtrack for the rebooted Killer Instinct. And WOW is it awesome. Some of the highlights:

As soon as the main riff kicks in, it takes you WAY back
Swedish never sounded so badass
Japanese never sounded so sinister
When the singer belts out the chorus, I fully believe she's capable of backing up her threat
So awesome supporters of Panathinaikos FC in Greece sing this one during matches

Then he did the soundtrack for the rebooted DOOM. And holy s**t is it amazing! Highlights:

A classic, brought into the 21st century
Part of the instrumentation is a CHAINSAW
"I played this for my cat. It's now a lion." - YouTube comment
"Doom is a survival horror game. Only the horror is trying to survive you." - YouTube comment

Needless to say, this guy's work is awesome. And personally, I think it's worth paying for (I've certainly done so!).

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