Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Slappers and Punks

A time the rules of brotherhood were broken was when my younger brother, Tyler, taught me how to play the card game Slap. Slap is a two player card game that revolves around playing cards in order incrementally up or down on two separate piles. The game gets it’s namesake from the slap rule. If at any time both stacks of cards have the same number card face up the first person to slap the piles becomes a slapper. The slapper’s opponent, now called a punk, must then pick up all the cards in both piles, flip them face down, and add them to their deck. The first person with no cards in their deck and hand wins the game. Big brothers are supposed to be slappers, and younger brothers are supposed to be punks. Tyler was forcing me to break that rule. I wasn’t going to let my little brother beat me at a simple card game.

It was shortly after dinner one day that Tyler had decided it was time for me to be initiated into the proverbial fraternity of slappers and punks. It was not long before two threes were face up on the table. Tyler’s hand came thundering down. Before I even knew what was happening he was pushing both piles of cards my way. I was a punk before I even really understood the rules of the game. This was going to be a long game.

The important cards in my hand read two, three, and four. The suits and colors did not matter as cards get played in order by their value. An opportunity presented itself when one pile of cards had a face up two, the other a face up five, and Tyler couldn’t play any cards.

Down went the four on top of the five! Down went the three on top of the four! I halted as Tyler hovered over the piles waiting for the two I was not about to play. I needed to be absolutely ready. He made me a punk earlier, but now it would be down to the fastest hand. If only his concentration would break.

I refilled my hand to the maximum of five. Tyler was going to be a punk, and it was sealed when he suddenly blinked. Down went the two and cards flew across the table as our hands impinged atop the face up twos. My hand lay firmly below his!

“You’re a punk!” I exclaimed as a wry smile crossed his face.

“It’s not over yet.” He picked up the cards and the game went on.

There comes a time for all big brothers when they realize their little brothers aren’t so little anymore. The same brother that I had taught to play Go Fish, Monopoly, and a dozen other games as a child was now teaching me. Not only was he teaching me, but he was beating me. I started out not knowing the rules, but in reality I knew the one rule that counted. You never let your younger brother win. You never let them become the slapper.
Note: This is a cut and paste of a paper I turned in for my English 101 class. Hope everyone enjoys it.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Reality Check: I suck at English!

I received a wake up call today in my ENG 101 class. I suck at grammar. Give me a list of vocabulary words and definitions and I am king. Give me a test asking me to identify subject/verb agreement, comma splices, or improper verb use and you mine as well shoot me in the face because it will be far less painful. 52% (or a big fat F for you uneducated folks) is what I received on my grammar assessment test today.

One more thing I will have to work on if I plan on achieving another 4.0 this semester. Who said this college thing was easy?

Monday, January 22, 2007

Two Weeks = Many Victories

Well I haven't been gaming a ton lately due to school and a busy real life. It is amazing what can get in the way of gaming! Damn roof leaks! Anyways the little gaming I have done has taken place at my local game store; Reality Check Games (the premier gaming hangout in upstate South Carolina).

The Spoils TCG

The past two Sundays have featured Invitational Qualifier (IQ) tournaments for The Spoils TCG. I took home first place in both tournaments and received an invite for the Invitational being held in March. I am still debating whether I will pursue competing in The Spoils on a more serious note and attend the tournament. There will be a free pre-release for 1st Edition: Part Two at the invitational so I would come away with some cards regardless.

Dreamblade

I have participated in two Edge tournaments for Dreamblade in the last two weeks. Included within that was a post release sealed tournament for the new expansion set, Chrysotic Plague. It was a three way tie for first at the sealed tournament so I technically finished first! I was actually in possession of first leading into the final round where I lost (again) to Andy who I just can't seem to shake a win from!

The prior constructed tournament brought me my first win against my good friend Dave. It's always nice to beat the person that taught you a game. I finished second overall which was my highest placing to date.

World of Warcraft TCG

I have played very little of the WoW TCG lately. I just can't bring myself to pay the outrageous prices to be competitive in this game. The rare, epic, and then legendary card distribution is just a turn off. On top of that there are so many good cards in Onixyia Raid deck loot packs that you really can't compete without them. An Onixyia Raid deck costs $30 a pop and you are probably only going to get one or two cards you can use. With decks requiring anywhere from 2-4 of the better cards it can get expensive quick.

However, I do still play the game online via OCTGN. It allows me to test any deck build I can think of and that has kept my interest in the game. There are better strategies coming out week by week so it has renewed a bit of my faith in the game. It is a fun game, but the card distribution just forces it to be a "rich man's game".

World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade

I have not bought the expansion pack and plan to wait a few weeks before doing so. Every passing day makes me want to resub my account though!

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

World of Warcraft : The Burning Crusade is set to Launch!

Battle stations! Blizzard is preparing to launch The Burning Crusade expansion pack for World of Warcraft! If the Internet dies tomorrow we'll know why. Good luck to all the players that will be attempting a launch day login. Good luck to any of them that actually make it past Authenticating. Last, but not least: good luck trying to make it to the Outlands!

Personally I am going to wait about two or three weeks before resubscribing and picking up the expansion. I have too many other fun things to do with my time currently and unlike eight million addicts I can wait to get my fix.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Meet the New Everquest 2 Community Manager

No, it's not me! It is my good pal Grimwell!

Here is the official post.
I work for Sony Online Entertainment. I'm the new EQII Community Manger. No, really, I have proof! It's a great opportunity to fill some very big shoes and jump into an established and cool community. Obviously I have lots to learn there, and despite some people thinking that SOE is an Evil Empire(TM), I've yet to meet a bad person in the company, or do anything evil. The dark spot in my heart is almost dissapointed.
Congrats go out to Grimwell for a job well done. He deserves the position and I'm damn glad to have been a volunteer for his site. I've known about his new position for a while and I glad to finally be able to share it.

Even with my dislike for SOE I can only wish the best for Grimwell.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Tag: Five Things You Don't Know About Me

If you haven't noticed the whole "tag... share 5 things about yourself" game has been going around the blogosphere as of late. It was just a matter of time before I was tagged to share something about myself. Thanks Chris, who is the owner of my local game store; Reality Check Games (the premier gaming hangout in upstate South Carolina).

Five Things You Don't Know About Me

1. The aircraft I worked on while in the active duty Air Force, the C-17A Globemaster, sent me to the ER a few times for stitches, almost cost me an arm, knocked me unconscious, and almost killed me. Without going into details let's just say that $180 million dollars worth of aircraft can be very dangerous. The good news is that I'm still standing with all limbs attached :)

2. As a child I almost hung myself climbing a tree. For some reason I tied a rope around my waste in a slip not. The thought process was that the rope was going to save me if I fell. Well I did fall and the slip knot acted as a noose and nearly got the better of me. Fortunately my mother was watching me play and quickly saved the day. Watching your kids in the yard while they are playing is so overrated these days.

3. I haven't bought a music CD in years. I really got into music after I found Napster. Never in my life had I bought as many CDs or listened to as many bands as I did when I had Napster. Sure I had tons of songs illegally downloaded, but I turned around and bought tons of CDs for my collection instead of burning them. Since Napster's shut down I have pretty much gone cold on the entire music industry. The industry complains about illegal downloading hurting the $bottom line$, but at the same time I turn the TV on at night and have to watch how the latest gangster rapper just bought another multi-million dollar house with twenty cars.

4. I want to write a book. Sci-fi or fantasy probably, but I have a ton of other ideas as well. Ironically I have very little schooling for either English or Writing. I originally wanted to join the Air Force as a journalist, but was unable. Most of my writing skill just "exists". I don't know definitions of terms or proper sentence structure, but I have been nicknamed "a human dictionary" and fair rather well as a self editor of my own stuff. I usually get compliments like "thanks for the easy edit" when I submit articles to various websites. Someday this talent will take me somewhere... or maybe not.

5. This will be a big shocker for everyone. I am not nearly as good at the games I play as many people believe. I was once a terrible sport about losing and still throw a tantrum every once and a while when I lose in an online video game (I swear the computer is cheating for my opponents). In real life I tend to be a bit more mellow around other gamers when I lose.

I am ultra competitive and can turn the most friendly game into a competition. Ask any of my D&D groups and they can tell you how "competitive" I can make my characters. I'm not about outdoing other players. I just like to win and win consistently which I haven't really done in many games I've stuck around to play for any period of time.

I wouldn't say I'm a rule Nazi, but I definitely take pride in interpreting rules correctly. I hate "gray area" rules in games and demand clearly stated rules. I usually will let my opinion about rules be known out loud regardless of whether it is a popular opinion or not.

My skill set for games is varied. I can play a lot of games well, but I can play no game superbly. I can pick up games fast, but I lack the ability to really master them. This is true of both video games and card/board/etc. games. As fast as I pick up stuff in a classroom and am able to apply it logically to situations you would think I would be a wiz at mastering games the same way. I am not though and I truly have to work at it if I want to compete in any game I play.

Nowadays I've come to the conclusion that gaming is about fun with competition being second. I can have fun regardless of wins or losses. In the end I am better at writing about games than I am at playing them and I find that writing about them is sometimes the best way to get better. Regardless I am not giving up gaming anytime soon!

Time for me to tag some other people: Ethic at Kill Ten Rats, Brent at Virgin Worlds, Rollie from WarcraftRealms, and Dizzarian, Amokk from Dizzarian.com.
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