So ... this weekend I played in a Dominion tournament. I played a 4p game, against one extremely good player, one quite good player, and one decent player. I was in the low end, in terms of rating; not completely out of the running, but likely to win one game, if any.

I won all four.

I literally spent half an hour going, "what the hell just happened? what the hell?" I beat a player ranked 42 four times in a row.

I ... was more than a little bit stunned. To be fair, I had some awesome luck; to start off, none of the spreads had devastating attack cards, which favored me greatly, as I hate those cards. So, I had a lot of experience with the cards and the best players didn't buy many of the attack cards that were available (i.e., Fortune Teller). And then I also had other types of luck: for instance, in two games, other players could have ended the game but didn't because they either would have lost the game or tied (with me!), and I managed to get to 8 in time to buy the last Province—obviously I played well, but I also got lucky. It wasn't that I necessarily that I had good shuffle luck, or always got 8 and never 7 or 9; but that my opponents didn't end the game because they just happened to have a tying score, that sort of thing. Subtle, but somehow it ended adding up to me having four wins. Yay!! It was awesome, I must admit, even though I didn't really deserve to play in the semis!

On the other hand, when I played in the semis, I got crushed. :P Not that it was unexpected; and I certainly learned a lot. I also shouldn't have been crushed quite so much—there was a mix-up with turn order that resulted in me playing 4th position twice, and another player in 3rd position twice; but, neither of us had any chance of moving on in the tournament, so we all agreed that it didn't matter. That mix-up resulted in changing the results of the last game we played, such that I would have done slightly better than I did; but I still would have been a distant last.

Anyway, it was a lot of fun, and I'm glad I got to play even though I didn't have any hope of going on to the finals! I will certainly look over the logs for the final match, though. Maybe next year ...

In other news, I went to Boston to see the tall ship show. I almost didn't get to see it, because I thought I remembered from two years ago that the docks were all swarming with people and that it was really obvious that there was an event going on. But this time, there wasn't anything anywhere until the fish docks, and there weren't tons of people, so I got really confused. But! I got to see a ship from Ecuador, one from Brazil, and one from Indonesia. I didn't go on the Colombian ship because it was extremely crowded. :P The one from Brazil was probably the coolest, although the Ecuadorian one had pirates on it, so.

That's about it. Back to obsessive counting! And I'm going to try to find out if I can apply for an NSF grant to fund my research next year—someone in my house did that for the summer, so I'm going to ask her how/what she did.


Mar. 12th, 2012 03:07 pm
I had a meeting with my whole thesis committee (what, me? a COMMITTEE?) this afternoon, and I think I might have annoyed the retired member of my committee because I didn't actually have my data all finished. Oops. I knew I should have gotten a little farther, but seriously, I spent six hours counting slides this past weekend; I don't feel like I've been slacking too much. I will, however, finish counting the rest of my slides before Wednesday afternoon, at which point I will (hopefully!) generate my first pollen diagram. Ooh, exciting.

On the other hand, I now feel like I have a ton of work to do, because once I actually get a chance to play around with my data, I will have to spend LOTS AND LOTS OF TIME looking at it. This is my biggest problem when it comes to class projects—I spend all the time getting the data (seriously, ALL THE TIME, by which I mean probably fifty or sixty hours) and not enough time actually looking at it and understanding it. This is triply sad because I spent so much time getting the data, enjoy playing with the data the most, and deprive myself of that opportunity precisely because I spent so much time getting it in the first place.

I won't do that with my biogeography project, or my linguistics project, or my thesis, I won't!

Also, I did so much work this past weekend—I counted three slides, I read six articles, I cleaned out all my emails, I sent a bunch of emails I didn't want to send, I saw my father, I walked 31,000 steps, I inquired about summer internships, I read Other Me's story, I started to read the Hermit's NaNo, I didn't watch very much TV, I didn't play very much Dominion. And then this morning I counted another two slides, had two meetings, studied for my linguistics exam, and am now taking a break. But it won't last long! I've decided to be productive in my life, and here I am, being productive!

Lastly, my brother's girlfriend got in to Harvard, and was uber excited. She was so excited, she was shaking. I think it is her life's goal to go to Harvard; I'm sure the program there is good, but unless it just so happens to be the best in her field, she seems a little overexcited. Perhaps I have just gotten over the awe of Harvard a bit, but she is way too invested in one school. The Juggler was much more relaxed about it, and aware that there are other programs that might even fit her better; but Harvard has the great advantage of location, which is the main reason why it is still on her list. I don't know, I probably shouldn't mock my brother's girlfriend, seeing as I too will probably want to go to Harvard when I decide whether I want to do ecology or social psychology, seeing as both departments have people who do almost exactly what I would want to do. But I sincerely hope I won't be shaking from excitement, that would be way too pathetic.
Wow, this weekend was long. Friday night the Roommate, Fortitude, the Tower, the Juggler, and I all played Bananagrams and Dominion for about four hours before the Roommate and I pleaded exhaustion and kicked them out. It was really fun, though; more fun than watching Sherlock or Merlin together, I think, so I wonder if we're going to watch any movies at all this year.

Then, Saturday, I spent pretty much the whole day doing readings for this week. I literally read seven articles on Saturday, I think, and another four on Sunday morning; I haven't been this efficient in quite a while. It was awesome to just be finishing everything.

Saturday night we went ice skating, which we've been meaning to do for a long time. It was really fun, but also quite painful, because I fell down three times. The first two times I knocked my funny bone, once on each arm, and then the third time I got the wind knocked out of me a little and started to feel faint. At that point, I decided I'd had enough and the Roommate and I quit; everyone else stopped ten or fifteen minutes later, and since we'd already been on the rink for about two and a half hours, it was fine.

Sunday morning, the Roommate and I met with the Emperor, which was interesting. She showed up late after having "not made it" to church, and then left half an hour later to go to the lab. She told us about her life, and then asked what we'd been doing; I got a few minutes through ... something, I don't even remember, when all of a sudden she just had to up and go. She clearly didn't care about the Roommate's life at all, and only marginally about mine. I don't know why we even try, but I guess she's a friend?

Then Sunday afternoon, I spent a long time hanging out with Other Me, who was having a rough weekend, even though she seems to be doing better over all.

Sunday night, all of us except the Roommate went over to the engineering and physics building for an astronomy lab, where Fortitude and the Juggler got us into one of the astronomy lab sections for the evening. We went up to the roof and looked through telescopes and saw constellations and Jupiter and Mars, and learned how to use a star chart. It was awesome.

Phew. It was fun, but long, and now I am covered in bruises and tired. Also, I did nothing on my thesis, which I had been intending to work on; so now this week is going to be exciting.
Today we went to Nagoya Castle. It was pretty cool, though a little cold, and since most of the signage was in Japanese, I didn't get quite as much out of it as I could have. But the castle itself was really cool, and the paintings very pretty; I have lots of pictures of the Nagoya skyline, too, because the castle was seven stories tall. We also walked around the gardens for a little while, which was nice, though it got really cold.

After, we had to find a place to withdraw money from so we could pay for our Kyoto hostel place, which took forever. The Family Mart allegedly had an ATM that took Visa, but it actually only took Visa that was issued in Japan. So, we finally traipsed around and found a 7 Eleven that took Visa, and possibly also took 50,000 yen more from my mom's card. Oops. (しまった!) Hopefully that didn't actually happen. Anyway, it worked out, after a bit of stress, so.

Then we started playing Dominion and creating a Doctor Who Dominion set. Yay! I am so totally making this happen! Which means I need to learn how to use Photoshop, but whatever!
My brother and I got back to North Carolina on Friday night; the flight was actually pretty bumpy, but I don't mind. It was good our mother wasn't there, though, because she would have been panicking. We nearly missed our train from Providence to Boston, though, because I went to the lab right before leaving to put away my centrifuge tubes, but the person who was supposed to be working in the lab all fall was there, and I hadn't talked to him, and he started to give me a lecture on laboratory safety. But we made the train with about 2 seconds to spare, and got to Boston fine.

Otherwise, I have mostly been trying to work on my Bulgarian project, but playing Dominion instead. It should be okay, though; I'm mostly just worried about not having enough time to do a good job on my thesis introduction, which I told my professor I would turn in by Tuesday. Yeah ... the next couple of days are going to be fun.

We cooked carrot soufflé last night, which was great; the brown sugar definitely made it a lot better. We also made macaroni and cheese, and I went on a walk where I got really lost. It was exciting.

Now, I need to work on my Bulgarian project.
I have a ridiculous amount of work, but instead I am watching Warehouse 13 and writing here. :P Mostly, I am attempting to procrastinate; but since I discovered the Chrome extension that lets me block websites, Dominion is currently off-limits until 9pm tonight ... sadly, I haven't yet figured out how to make it block Netflix, which is why I am still watching Warehouse 13. Nonetheless, I have been getting some done.

I have a take-home midterm due tomorrow at midnight, which is great because I have an essay due tomorrow that I haven't started. Yeah ... I was totally supposed to read this book for my anthro class, but I haven't, which is pretty much the definition of being behind. I haven't exactly done any of the reading for this class, so it's pretty amazing that I am passing it—but alas. I should really go work on that instead of watching Warehouse 13 ...
Okay, so every once in a while I feel like gloating over an awesome game I just had. This time, I bought all 10 Highways, and using Golem and Wharf (with a few Nobles thrown in) managed to Remake coppers into Colonies through a whole bunch of dumb luck. I have never actually Remade coppers into Colonies before ... it made me exceedingly happy. :) On the other hand, my opponent clearly wasn't too happy with the situation, which is totally acceptable—but I enjoyed it!
For my evolutionary bio sections, I've been a little disappointed at how little people talk—I try to ask what I think is an interesting question, but then no one responds; or if they do, they think there is a right answer and that they'll get the question "wrong". Most of the time, I just want them to think through the question with evolutionary logic.

So today, I decided that it was stupid to ask questions that everyone was too intimidated to answer, so we broke up in to groups and had people talk individually. It wasn't exactly brilliant, in the sense that if I'd been a little more on top of things I would have tried this earlier; but, it worked so much better. The same people talked who always talked, but there were a couple of people new people, too. We didn't exactly stay on target the whole time, but that's okay—and everyone was actually talking and thinking about evolution. So yay!!!! We're definitely going to this next week, too.

In other news, I am proceeding along with my pollen. Given how often we get set back, I think I might not actually finish before Thanksgiving is over; but I'm still going to try. This weekend is going to be hellish because I want to finish making my character matrix for my plants project on the Santalales, I need to study for my plants midterm coming up next Tuesday, I need to catch up on my NaNo (25,000 by the end of the weekend, I think ...), I need to plan my class with the Roommate for Splash next weekend, I need to read an entire book for anthro because I have a paper to write for it that's due shortly after Splash ... is that it? It's also our model UN conference this weekend, which means that a whole bunch of New Hampshirites that I know will be coming in to town, and on top of having games night with the gang tomorrow and movie night on Saturday, I am going to try to get lunch or dinner with my old social studies teacher.

Goodness. I'm getting tired just thinking about it. I need to stop playing Dominion and read about Santalales.
A new Dominion expansion pack must be coming out soon, because isotropic has been releasing Hinterlands cards two per day for the last few days. So far, there are six cards out (in no particular order)—Fool's Gold, Crossroads, Trader, Border Village, Mandarin, and Nomad Camp.
  • Fool's Gold:  Aptly named, this is the ultimate (so far) card that only does well when you buy a ton of it.  A whole slew of Fool's Gold gets you some serious buying power; you just need to have some helper cards (most notably, Wharf, as it gets you a +buy as well; also Lab), but it can be really powerful.  The reaction allowing you to trash it for gold is probably more useful for me, since I'm not generally good at spamming cards (I stop too soon).
  • Crossroads:  This seems like such a good deal when I buy it, but doesn't actually help you very much.  Better in the late game when you have more green cards.  Great in combination with the hybrid green cards (i.e., Island, Nobles, Great Hall, Harem), but a little too tempting for me to actually use well.
  • Trader:  I don't like silver.  Trader gets you WAY too much silver.  I don't think I will buy it much any more, even if it is the only trashing on the board.  Perhaps occasionally useful.
  • Border Village:  I see this card as good in two circumstances:  1) if there's Wharf on the board, and 2) so you can Bishop/Salvage/Apprentice it away.  I see little to no reason to buy it in order to obtain Bazaar (why not just buy the Bazaar itself?), but it could help you if there are a lot of terminal actions on the board and no other source of +actions, but then that's not saying much about it beyond that it's a village.
  • Mandarin:  This is an interesting card, in that it gets easy to get into a "buy Mandarins" phase, where you have 5 coin, buy a Mandarin, then put all that coin back on your deck to buy another Mandarin.  That is nice if you want multiple Mandarins, but is a little annoying when I'd rather have a faster cycling deck.  But, the +3 is great, as is the ability to put a card back on your deck—kind of like a Courtyard, just getting money instead of cards.  I just keep thinking it has a +buy as well, and get a little disappointed when it doesn't.
  • Nomad Camp:  This seems like it could be a crucial late game-changer, in that if you desperately need a +buy for the win but don't have the coin, buying a Nomad Camp will let you play it immediately, rather than hoping it turns up at the top of your deck.  (Similarly for the first turn—if you can buy it on turn 1, and put it on your deck, you could potentially end up with 5 coin on Turn 2, rather than only 3.)  Otherwise, it's not terribly impressive—basically a Woodcutter.
I am not hugely impressed with this set, unlike my first introduction to Cornucopia; Mandarin is the only card that I feel like is really good.  Fool's Gold and Crossroads are tempting but dangerous, and Border Village doesn't seem to really get you much, though in a multiplayer game could be crucial.  Nomad Camp has a few specific instances when it's useful, but it's not generally more helpful than a Woodcutter.  I don't hate Woodcutter nearly as much as theory does, but I definitely wouldn't call it the best card in the set.

Anyway, as more cards come out I might make a new post or just add on to this one.

Both Tuesday and Wednesday this week were so extraordinarily long, it was hard to believe they were only single days. Yesterday was a little painful, too, because I was completely out of it for most of the day. We had a cool demonstration on Icelandic in phonetics, though, which I kind of remember most of. I pretty much decided to take the day off, since I wasn't exactly paying attention to anything; so, I finished Merlin.

I like Merlin! It's a bit childish, and I have trouble understanding why the Hermit likes Morgana (though perhaps it's in part because she hasn't actually watched the show), but whatever. I am seriously hoping that Arthur is not remotely surprised when he finally discovers/realizes/is told that Merlin has magic, because if he is surprised I will probably lose all faith in the show. Admittedly, Arthur is knocked out for pretty much every time that Merlin saves his life with magic; or, it's in the middle of a battle and not entirely clear if 1) anyone used magic, or 2) who used magic. So I can see Arthur being a little surprised, but not shocked. He is not that much of an idiot.

In other news, I now have a plot-like object for NaNo, it just needs serious fleshing out before November. I have no idea if it is going to be ready in two weeks, but I am going to try to get a good outline-like object this weekend. Very basic, but still.

And now I have to seriously clean up my life. Inboxes are overflowing, there are an innumerable number of bags on my dorm room floor and I have no idea how they got there, and I have to figure out what I need to do this weekend. Ugh. :P

Edit: Also, two new cards for Dominion's new Hinterlands expansion pack came out today—Traders and Border Village. Traders seems like a dangerous card, in that you could fill your entire deck up with silver; and I'm not very impressed with Border Village, either—it costs a lot for very little benefit, when you could just buy the card you would gain from the village. But it probably works well with City, Peddler, Conspirator, Wharf ... but it still seems relatively useless with a lot of cards that you'd want to spam, like Lab and Caravan. I guess we'll see, and it might go well with some other Hinterlands cards, once those are released.
MUCH NEWS!!!!!!!

Thursday, I went to choir with the Roommate and sang.  Yes, sang.  Hard to believe, because not only can I not sing, but also we were singing religious songs.  God is great, huh?  But it was fun, if more than a little awkward because most of the people there had the mass songs, at least, memorized.  I might go back, I might not.

Also on Thursday, Other Me and I saw Nate from my language processing class last spring, and he was really obnoxious, as usual.  He's one of those weird people who is not a jerk but is still obnoxious—he always corrects you if you say something that he doesn't think is 100% accurate, and puts in his own opinion.  He isn't mean, precisely, but he's very patronizing—he always sounds like he's going to teach you the right way to whatever it is that you're talking about.  Perhaps I will steal him and put him in a book.

Last night, the Roommate and I had a whole list of social engagements.  A list!  I am never doing that many social things in one night again.

First I went to a talk on the healthcare bill and whether it was constitutional or not, for our Constitution Day.  (Apparently, there's some type of federal funding for universities that mandates that universities that receive that funding hold a Constitution Day, where they talk about the Constitution.  Who knew?  Pretty cool.  They gave me a pocket Constitution, too.)  It was interesting, but mostly because the lawyers who were discussing the bill had been teacher-student in law school, so they kept arguing back and forth.

Then, the Roommate and I had dinner with the Magician, Fortitude, and one of their friends.  He was pretty nice, but really quiet, so there were some awkward moments at the dinner table. :P

Then, the Roommate and I went to BOP (opera productions), which was actually a lot better than I thought it would be.  Other Me was helping to organize it, and there were some pretty cool songs—not only Stars from Les Misérables and Think of Me from Phantom (though that one wasn't very good), but also some interesting foreign-language songs.  (Papageno/Papagena or something like that was hilarious.)  On the other hand, nearly all of the songs involved women pining after their lost men, which was annoying; and even Papagena/Papageno started off with (guy) "Are you really mine?"  (girl)  "Yes I'm really yours".  Honestly, haven't we progressed a bit past that by now?  If it were "Are you really mine?"/"Yes, you're really mine" that wouldn't be problematic (though it does sound a bit funny).

After that, the Roommate and I went back to our dorm and played Dominion with several people down the hall (E and Ke).  The Roommate didn't play, obviously, but she seemed minorly interested in learning, which was a first step. (I WILL CONVERT THE WORLD!!!!!!)

And then, finally, the Roommate, the Magician, Fortitude, their friend, and I all went to watch Twister.  None of us have big rooms this year, so we went adventuring to the engineering building, where we got a lecture hall and watched the movie.  Unfortunately, the bulb in the projector needs to be replaced or fixed or something, because it had this giant green spot in the middle of the bulb; but, for Twister, that mostly managed to make the tornadoes look even more menacing, like the whole movie was occurring at twilight or something.  It was pretty awesome, though next time we're going to bring blankets because it was cold.

Edit:  And this morning, I made the huge mistake of talking to Fortitude about the genetics class, which I now kind of want to take.  But I think I will not—I want to stay sane this term, and I don't want the course to convince me I should go in to genetics, because I really hate that kind of lab work.


Sep. 4th, 2011 10:38 pm
Today was long.  Reeeally long.  We had three hours of academic advice-giving this morning, first the deans, followed by us, the counselors; and basically, it was a complete waste of time.  Hopefully the new kids thought there was something useful in there, because it certainly seemed exceedingly boring and long to me.  We weren't even very funny (though one or two of us tried).  Then we had the scavenger hunt this afternoon, which was relatively fun.  One or two teams quit on us, but the rest seemed pretty into it—and one team even managed to find a copy of our school newspaper from last spring.

But then my energy died, so I spent most of the rest of the afternoon playing Dominion.  And now I am going to go to bed.

Chapter 5

Aug. 29th, 2011 01:05 pm
Posted Chapter 5!  I should contemplate doing what other people around here seem to do, namely post both on the AO3 and here.  But I'm not really sure I want people actually reading anything I write.

Irene turned out to be a dud where we were.  A bit of rain, for a while, and a little bit of wind, but the lights only flickered once or twice (though while I was playing Dominion, which was a bit scary—I hate being forced to resign from bad internet!).  We were really, really lucky, though.  There were towns half an hour away that were completely flooded, and the parking lot of the malls was apparently under several feet of water at one point; I saw pictures of the JC Penny's, it was pretty spectacular in the sort of oh-my-God-is-that-real? type of way.  But at least for Penny's, it looked like they had removed their wares, so hopefully not much was damaged ... except the building obviously was, so that's not much of a comfort.

A friend of mine (the Hanged Man ... kind of an unfortunate title, I suppose; perhaps I will go with Hanged (Wo)man?  Except it's a little weird to refer to people my age who I know as women.  I'M NOT THAT OLD YET!!!! ... Right, and "Hanged" is probably not terribly good, either.) had an incident with a tree branch that put a dent in her car and cracked on of her mirrors, but other than that no one I know (except, perhaps, the High Priestess, who I still have not heard back from) had any serious damage from Irene.  The Hermit lost power, and the Moon's road was closed, but that's about it.  The Hanged Man was freaking out about her car, though; understandably, as technically it isn't her car (it's still owned by her parents), but insurance will cover the damage.  It's a pain, sure, but it's not like she's going to be set back by $1000 because of a natural disaster.  Of course, she still doesn't have power, so it's still a major pain. :P

I had a tiny scare about the High Priestess ... she is farming in Brattleboro, which was basically under water from Irene.  There was a story about a 21-year old woman who went to look at the water and fell in near Brattleboro, and I very momentarily feared it might be the High Priestess.  But it wasn't, which was a huge relief (though still terrible).
Isotropic updated this morning—there are now FOUR lobbies, rather than one, which is awesome. \o/ I hope it means that the player cap is raised, too, because 300 at a time is no longer enough. But it's still great.

On a different note, I think Jon Huntsman has moved to the top of my list of Least Scary Republicans Candidates for President. Rick Perry has moved to the top of the Most Scary Republican Candidates list, though he might be tied with Michele Bachmann. According to Ms. Bachmann, all we have to do to solve the economic crisis is hold firm on the debt ceiling, cut spending, and—somehow not collapse into an economic meltdown, somehow create more jobs so that the unemployment rate doesn't go up from all the social service jobs that would get eliminated by cutting spending, and somehow still manage to find money to spend on the military.

According to Rick Perry, global warming is a hoax, evolution is a giant conspiracy, and all scientists are loony.

But I was talking about Jon Huntsman, ambassador to China under Bush and Obama, and now Republican candidate for president. Apparently, he tweeted (and said, and had his spokesmen say):

To be clear. I believe in evolution and trust scientists on global warming. Call me crazy.

It is a sad day when a candidate who TRUSTS in science is NOT at the top of the polls. And when he feels the need to defend himself by adding in "Call me crazy." If Jon Huntsman were at the top of the Republican polls, and if he were nominated, I would not be quite as afraid of the future of the US. And I confess, it wouldn't be all bad to have a president who actually knows something about China.

Post #2

Aug. 18th, 2011 05:14 pm
The weather today was wonderful. It was a bit hot, but under the trees and the shade it was cool and breezy and not even too buggy. I went for a walk around the hospital again, in the BlairWitchWoods, and since I wasn't thinking about werewolves this time, it wasn't even remotely creepy. (Last time I managed to freak myself out a tiny little bit because I was working on Teddy while I was walking, which meant that I was contemplating Fenrir Greyback.)

Otherwise, mostly played Dominion; I didn't feel much inspired to work on Teddy, today, as I am still stuck on the first scene in Chapter 3 and can't get out of it. :P Oh well ... Probably another walk or two through around the hospital will fix it all up. ^^

I had a nice Navigator—Stash combo going at one point, which was pretty awesome. Worked great—I think I went 6/2 on the Provinces.

Ha, see?! I posted twice!

... Does it count that they were right after each other?



July 2012

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