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Sunday, May 31, 2009

All common series - Legacy

This Sunday on 31st of May an All Commmon series tournament was held in Usti nad Labem and four people from Prague decided to attend the tournament. Raptor, Sammy, Stepan ("Mr. Mind's Desire") and me.

16 players entered the tournament.

I was pretty exhausted from the whole week and even the Saturday and I was too lazy to finish my deck or look for something like a sideboard (even though that with a little bit of searching for the cards I could have actually win against Affinity and Drain life decks, I would beat goblins as well...but well)

What I encountered at the tournament and was quite surprised by it were two facts.
1. White played often (with artifacts and affinity or BW)
2. quite a bog amount of players actually played uncommons! and this also in many times resulted in the games being won by those people.

The tournament wasn't DCI sanctioned BUT I find this outrageous as it's the players responsibility to check their decks. No decklists were written and submitted. If they would be submitted at least 3 players would need to be disqualified.

Anyway I played a green-white sliver deck splashed with red (for removal and affinity hate). I know that this wasn't a best choice for 1-on-1 tournament but I was too tired or whatever to realize that I still have my legacy RG deck somewhere in my house. I did not expect to win anything anyway so it was fine.

First Round
I played against a monoblack deck that was killing with Drain Life, Consume Spirit and Corrupt spells. I somehow managed to get my slivers in play and kill the opponent before he managed to do anything. In the the second match though (he sided Dark Banishings) my opponent cast Duress throwing away my Rancor enchantment. In the second round it was Hymn to Tourach to annoy me even more (gemhide and thrill of the hunt). Already this was a fatal blow...in the third round Duress+Hymn to Tourach. What else I can say?
In the third round I wasn't lucky either and lost to 2 corrupts and drain life.

Second Round
It was two Prague players against each other. I was too slow with my slivers and the game ended quite soon. Actually I think it was more about the 3 armadillo cloaks on some lovely creature

In the remaining time I played with my Naya T2 deck against extended faeries. The game started with two ancestral visions and continued pretty smoothly for the faeries.

Third round
In the third round I encountered one of the 2 (or 3?) Affinity decks. It started quite innocently. But as soon welding jars started to appear on the table I was afraid of few Enforcers coming to play and it happened. Frogmites, Enforcer and now all that was left to make me grin and shake the opponents hand was - Cranial Plating. I did not expect it could be worse...but when an old ornithopter was "cast" along with cranial plating I was just hoping to stay alive for a while. I could make my opponent sacrifice all the jars but I did not have enough removal for all the creatures.

So the lovely Ornithopter killed me.

Fourth round
This time it was my slivers against slivers and everything seemed quite fine till one uncommon card ended up on table and I bombarded by Goblin Bombardment. The second match seemed fine for me as well. I took my opponent down to 5 lives but he managed to get 6 goblins in play (again with uncommon cards). After this I was just hoping for ONE thing and that was a single mountain (or gemhide sliver). On my hand I had 3 lightning bolts and two heart slivers. The last card I hoped would be a mountain was - Lightning Bolt.
So being beaten by uncommon cards at All-common tournament I just waited for my last place.

Fifth round
A blue control is what I encountered in the last round. I tried to cast about 10 spells just to see them countered by mana leaks, condescends and counterspells. I was slowly counting the spells... 4 mana leaks in graveyard, 2 condescents, 1 counterspell... etc. Finally my opponent cast a condescend tapping all his islands in the process. I was so happy of that and finally cast my Sinew Sliver I had on my opening hand from the beginning, Rancor followed. Few more turns later I won^_~.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Expansion Set Symbols

Yesterday I needed to work on 3 different assignments and as usual I wasn't really motivated to do that. Especially when I wanted to open InDesign and Illustrator and it told me that the grace period has expired. My work continued on my notebook where everything crashed once in about 7 minutes.

I started working on assignment no.1 and finished what I wanted. But it was annoying, taking a lot of time and I was simply distracted. Starting to work on a second assignment did not help either and let's say that I forgot about the third and that's where Raptor came.

He suggested that what he needs for his shop are Magic: The Gathering expansion set symbols so I said ok...why not try to make few? I started with Alara Reborn and went to the past (up to Mirrodin).

Here's one for a show^_~.


Everything is done in Illustrator and I learned few tricks and stuff. ^_^.

The rest can be found (will be found) =>
http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=126887&id=577015560&l=2e08502371
(if by a chance you would want to use it, send me an email ok?)

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Yamato Drummers

Few years ago we attended Japan Week which hosted Taiko drummers. Soon after this Yamato drummers arrived to Prague with their Taiko/Wadaiko performance. This year the Yamato drummers came back to Prague to play and we went to see them.

The show was full of energy and the choreography was also fun. You could see that the drummers love what they are doing and that they also know how to make the public have a good laugh.

The speed and strength needed for all this is something I can't really grasp. I think I would enjoy doing something like this if I would have a sense of rhythm (that's probably the thing I won't be able to understand. How so many people can be always on sync?).

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Malazan Book of the Fallen

It is really difficult to write something about this series by Steven Erikson.

This series consisting of ten volumes is an epic fantasy. The plot is changing often and skipping from one group of people to another. There are many characters from many places all around the world and that makes you wonder who is going to be the new introduced character and when all those really different characters with different stories of their life will meet each other. Death also does not really mean death and characters you fell in love but 'died' might show up in one of the next books (even though it might be under different name).

Personal Rating: 4.5/5

Agents of Artifice - a Planeswalker novel

This book for me could be easily described as 'take everything from Magic: the gathering I don't like (or even hate) and put it in one single book.' And this sentence would probably include the foil image of Jace on the cover.

Anyway the book starts with a prologue where we see two planeswalkers talk about something in the blind eternities. Later the book starts in "Dissension" Ravnica where we meet our principal characters - Liliana and a person who is something between a blue control mage and expert warrior. Later we find out the truth about this mysterious person. The book goes back in time and a majority of it is retrospective.

In this part we learn about the life of Jace (the whole book is about Jace so...um). First his wandering in Ravnica and later working for the Infinite Consortium now coordinated by Tezzeret (his name makes more sense now after reading this book).

The book goes back to the present (in which Jace ran away from the Consortium) later on and we read about Jace and Liliana kind of trying to take the Consortium down. We learn more about the mysterious necromancer Liliana and her 'secrets' even though the reader is left alone with all his presumptions about the secrets. Now I would fancy a book about Liliana where her secrets would be unveiled.

Anyway I expected the book to end with well some undecided position for all the planeswalkers (as they are still alive now in "Alara") but I did not expect it to end like this. (you have to read the book yourself - not going to tell you).

There are few funny quotes and stories. One notable fight is 'Desolation Angel' vs some elemental in Ravnica. I just can't imagine the solemn angel flying literally THROUGH that nasty sewer/fungi aberration that was summoned to kill the principal characters.

Jace sitting on a sphinx is also quite a nice imagition^_~.

The best expected funny quote was when Tezzeret was talking to Jace about Nicol Bolas. I was waiting for Tezzeret to mention the very fact about Bolas that he is actually a dragon^_~. I had to read the whole conversation through to finally read it with my own eyes as this was the last thing Tezzeret said to Jace. Was quite fun^_^.

Anyway that's about the book...um for now

Personal rating: um 2/5

Conclusion: Even though I give this book 2 out of 5 it surely does not mean that the book is bad. Actually the book is well written, with good twists and good flow. (ok it starts a bit too slow for me but accelerates and gets far better). I simply could not stand Jace and Tezzeret...But the fact that I hate Jace after reading this book is a sign that the book is good.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

FNM

This Friday seemed to be a bad day. I woke up feeling really bad, had to run at my top speed to catch the bus as I left the house in 33 and the bus leaves at 38 (and I usually take 11 minutes walking). At school I found out that the teacher's not there and would come in more than an hour. We got new assignment.

After that I kind of slithered to Andel where I tried to get some steamed vegetables for lunch (as my stomach was already on strike that day). After the vegetables it was continuing to act up so I tried a melissa infusion to calm it down^_^ Hopefully it worked.

Later I went to Outpost. I did not even consider going there the day before but as I was in no state going home I decided to stay at the game store. I got two decks on me so and a book so I had stuff to pass the time. (the rest I left at home)

In Outpost I felt that my body is gaining weight or something. It felt like made of concrete. I couldn't even stand up, I started to feel dizzy ... and well a storm came^_^. (I always feel like this when storm is coming). I don't remember much from the time spent in outpost...I know I played Magic but that's about it^_^.

After the storm we went to Ecostyle/Esoteric/E...? Exhibition and went through it. My aunt has a stand there with her drawings. As I did not really want to head back home we went back to Outpost. I started to feel better finally.

Friday Night Magic
FNM registration was taking place so I just registered (hoping 4 rounds would be played).

1st round. I played against an esper deck that was probably trying to win with Glassdusk Hulk but it did not really work out well for him. He was for sure a casual player.

2nd round. Here everything started. Almost all non-basic lands costing more than my whole deck, first card played against me Wrath of God and it continued that way. I being completely silly in the first match still won it. Third round was pretty interesting as well (having seen so many rares in a deck yet^_^).
(last time I saw this style of playing was at PTQ Honolulu so...that says probably something).

Anyway the last round was probably a road to hell. Each round I was starting with one or two mulligans and still it wasn't THAT bad for me. But in this round all I managed to get was half of the plains in my deck on the table^_~. In the second match my opening hand was ok and I thought I could at least stand a chance for a while. But no....

1st Cascade = Kitchen Finks
2nd Cascade = Kitchen Finks
3rd Cascade = Kitchen Finks

Even volcanic fallouts did not help me. I wonder if the fourth cascade would get the last Kitchen Finks in play. *grin*

Anyway I think it was a nice diversion for the players there because they have probably never seen a deck like this played at a tournament (with all (almost) basic lands, hihi^_^). And for me it was quite a nice experience too as this was nothing compared to a type 2 tournaments here in Beroun.

When I was leaving I still heard people talking about me. Hope I made a good impression^_^.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Terese Nielsen

At school we have to produce papers on different art movements or particular artists of the particular area. It's here that I got the chance to find more information about artists like Alphonse Mucha and Gustav Klimt recently. When doing research about these artists I found a really interesting link. I know that internet search engines sometime find a really weird sites to look at (usually something completely impertinent). That is how I came to Terese Nielsen official home page. I had no idea why Alphonse Mucha, Gustav Klimt or Art Nouveau returned me this page (I later found out why). Anyway Terese Nielsen being one of my favorite artists (maybe the most favorite one) I clicked on the link. I got to a blog and went through few Magic Alters, later I decided to click on her Bio and read through some of the information. I found many interesting things so I'll share some of them with you. (for more please check her official page at http://www.tnielsen.com/)

She was born to farmers in the small town of Aurora (nice name for a city) in Nebraska in 1966. She has a twin brother and an older one about whom I might speak later. Her older brother is Ron Spencer and that is I did not expect at all^_~. Living on a farm was a hard work for all of them and as there were no other houses in the proximity they often spend the time together. Doodling and later far more serious drawing was one of their pass time activities that became far more than that for Ron and Terese.

Terese wanted to study in a medical field of study but failed because of the complexity of maths. She still loved drawing and continued in it though. In 1984 she went to study art at Rick's Collage, Later, she entered Art Center College of Design in Pasadena. That's also where she realized that the field is male dominated and female's are not really that welcome even when talented as her. This did not stop her and probably it is one of the things that made her do her best and show that 'she can do it'.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Skinner by Neal Asher

Someone recommended me this book at International Book Festival/Exhibition or whatever it was exactly. I decided to finally read this book and I had no idea what to expect. What would you expect from a tagline 'Welcome to Spatterjay, where sudden death is the normal way of life?'.

I had no idea what this meant till it was partially described in the book. I have to say I like the idea, the way it is written but don't make me imagine even a single scene from the book. And I thought that some scenes from The Gap Series would have stayed the worst ones for me (in terms of imagination).

So what is the book about?

Imagine an ocean planet, where in the water dwell monstrosities you can't even imagine. Amongst them leeches which transmit a virus that forces regrowth - thus the leeches won't run out of food. Not just animals can be infected, humans can get the virus too. Some human colonists - the Old Captains - have been infected and stayed alive for centuries. By eating human food they manage to stay human rather than turning into a monster that knows only survival. One of the Old Captains though became 'native' (inhuman thus) and his head was severed from his body. The head being confined in a box on board of one Hooper ship.

Other 'characters' that come in play are
- the AI policing Spatterjay (the Warden), its subminds.
- One submind (Sniper) which got its own personality.
- Human ECS monitor Keech - a 700 hundred years dead person who still wants to kill all those people involve in an old war.
- Erlin, who comes back to the planet to question herself if continuing in her life is a good thing
- Janer, human working for Hive mind intelligence that has its own plan with the planet

Later in the book we find out that an alien - Ebulan - fearing that his acts from the war won't be forgotten wants to destroy the planet. What started 700 hundred years ago is now coming to an end. Maybe?

This science fiction book is written in a quite slow pace that accelerates to a really fast narrative. At the beginning of each chapter we get a bit of information about the food chain of the sea monstrosities. With each page we find out more about the everyday horrors the inhabitants of this planet have to stand. In all this harsh and gory environment Asher managed to put a lot of humor in the book. Scenes with the war drone Sniper will make you laugh. Especially when Sniper gets 'eaten' by a molly carp and has to wait till the natural biological process gets him out of the intestines (at least he got some time to charge himself^_~). Windcheater is another interesting and funny character in the book (a sail^_^ not really sure how to describe this species... they worked as sails for lumps of meat... until Windcheater with an intelligence augmentation showed up).

I really appreciated to read this book. Thanks to the unknown person who recommended it to me. ^_^

Personal Rating: 4/5

Students collecting money

We have a kind of tradition here that the graduating classes collect money in the morning of their last class (or whatever, it's in May) and if you don't pay (usually even if you do) you are sprayed with water with vinegar or some perfume. I was usually the target of this at our school because older people knew me and they were doing this for fun. It stayed in the boundaries of the school and no one bothered the people in the streets or the rest of the city.

Now, ok I admit that I'm upset the worst way I can be already so seeing these students was more of a nightmare. I continued on my way to school (should have at least put my book in my backpack). They asked for money not allowing me to go. I told them that I don't have anything AS I DON'T EVEN HAVE MONEY TO BUY MYSELF A COFFEE (and I need one as I feel like crap.) And well they start to be naughty and mean. I think ending up all soaked and smelly is already good punishment isn't it? No they have to comment on it and say that I'm a bad person etc. They don't care that I don't even have money for myself.

EDIT: hopefully I did not start reading the Planeswalker novel.

I hate people who don't have a bit of respect for another person. I hate that.
So I'm soaked, wet and crying and I really would go outside and beat them up.

Vector Art - Dragon tattoo design for the second time


I used a self-timer to take this photo as my mother couldn't figure out how to take a sharp photo. I managed that somehow but I'm still not happy with the composition and my hair being all over the place and I don't speak about my glasses....

Monday, May 11, 2009

Bus trip to Prague

This day prepared another surprise for me. This time being really unpleasant. I managed to get to the bus station on time (x.38) but the bus was already full and left without taking all the people. I told myself: "It's ok another bus is coming shortly". The bus came but was as well packed with people. So all of us at the bus stop we waited for yet another bus. That one arrived late but was able to take some people in. We managed to squat inside somehow. We then headed to Vraz and Lodenice where something completely not understandable (to me) happened.

There were people who got on the bus and paied for the ticket (which is the normal way of things). But there were also people who just managed to fit in and don't pay. That I might have been ok with that if those people wouldn't be complaining about it all the time. That they won't pay for such a service and that the bus is full, that the temperature is high, the air is not breathable etc. I'm trying to survive this each day. I have to stand in the bus, balance all the time which costs me my precious energy. I can't breath and the temperature rising with each minute ranges from 28-40 degrees celsius. I still pay the full price and try to be polite even though my mood is closer to one of a berserker on a killing spree.

As I was thinking about this...we arrived to next stop on which one more black passengers got on the bus. I went like 'WTF' and tried to concentrate on my book and to all that I had to listen to some loud girls chatting about nothing of an importance when not complaining about the rising temperature.

Surprises?

On this date...23 years earlier...I was born. When I was at high school this was the day I had to hand in all the important research papers and that's why I never looked forward to this day. This year something similar happened and again I did not really want this day to be. But ...

Today was full of surprises. First one was...I actually managed to get on the bus to Prague. There were too many people for the bus and I was already 7 minutes late for it when I left the house.

The second one was an unpleasant one. The lesson we were supposed to have was cancelled. I worked on some of the assignments thus. A storm came and heavy rain was falling for some time. I was glad that I can stay at school. Later I left the school building. I met Squop on the way and he gave me my first birthday present today and that was the third surprise.

I got a book. But what kind of book was it I wondered? I hold it in my hand and felt that it's not really heavy but still it was a hardcover book (I'm used to getting/reading American paperback books). I unpacked it and foil Jace was staring at me from the cover of the book - Agents of Artifice by Ari Marmell. Yeah, I'm looking forward to this story about Jace, Tezzeret and Liliana.

At 14:20 we went to see Star Trek XI. I really enjoyed the movie. It was really good movie I think and it was loads of fun even though there are scenes that are not really fun (are pretty much serious). Dr. Bones was the one with the best quotes even though I did not really like the actor. It was also difficult for me to get used to Zachary Quinto's voice. I know his voice from Heroes and it incites a completely different personality than the one of Spock in me.

After the movie we went back to Outpost and there were two people playing WarZone. I just couldn't believe my eyes. So we watched Imperial soldiers fight Brotherhood 'brothers'. It was nice to see this miniature game after such a long time...the time so passes fast.

At 11pm I arrived home. I almost fell asleep during classes and I almost did not manage to get off the bus in Beroun. But now I'm here and two more surprises awaited me here.

First one is a gift from Xsoft (Yuna Gunner pad) and the second one...(I would post a photo but...too exhausted for that)

- Sliver Queen

The card was in the Planeswalker book I got from Squop. Now some of Squop's "babbling" actually makes sense.

Now it's really time to sleep...

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Rebio restaurant

At Brno's Velky Spalicek shopping mall there is a vegetarian/healthy (fast) food restaurant called Rebio. I had the chance to visit it and taste some really great meals and now I wish there would be one Rebio restaurant in Prague^_^.

There is a wide variety of meals you can choose from and they all taste good (salads, main dishes, desserts). For the time being the price is more or less 21CZK per 100g.

What is the most awesome thing is that you can get meals not containing gluten. The meals are well balanced for vegetarians so there's no problem going there every day. You'll get all what your body needs.

You can also get some bio desserts (not containing eggs) if you like. That looked great.

Drummania Achievements

At AnimeFEST convention I played some songs ranging from level 40-60 and you know what? I managed to clear The least 100 sec on BSC. I know it's on BSC but still it's an achievement for me! Yay!

(idiot that I did not get a photo of it...I passed it half asleep at like 11pm or something on the second day of the con)

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Gathering Dark

I finished reading Book of the Malazan dead and I wanted a book I could read when on my way to school and back. And that's where Squop comes in with The Gathering Dark, Ice Age Cycle Book.

Reading the first page I realized that I know this author and checked if it really is Jeff Grubb who wrote it. He wrote this book and I was quite happy about it and continued reading.

When the protagonist was introduced I was sure that this guy would be 'white' and I was a bit disappointed by that. His teacher was Red though so I was wondering what good will come out of it^_~. When our hero cast his first spell Jeff Grubb uttered one really nice quote. 'Now, feed the fire while I finish preparing the hares. Unless your little display brought them back to life and frightened them in the process.' I just imagined the scene where the protagonist would have revived the hares and they just run away... hihi 'Dinner on the run!'

And it wouldn't be the first dinner on the run as later there was another funny scene with food. One mage animated a turkey and wanted to have some fun. In defense another mage animated rolls and sent them to fight the turkey. A third mage was commenting all this. 'And the death-turkey goes in the middle of the dinner rolls! Their buttery insides are no match for blazing silverware, and the poultry-geist is carving them to pieces! Oh there are crumbs everywhere! But wait, the long loaves are now in position, and they are raising up like cobras and slamming themselves down on the reanimated turkey! They are striking it againand again not giving the bird a chance to regain its breath! Yes, Yes! It's all over, everyone! The baked goods have carried the field.'

The story of Jodah our white mage (soon to be planeswalker I guess^_^) continued and I was already in the middle of the book wondering what it's going to be about. As it is with white mages I was also irritated from time to time because of his sense of justice and righteousness (omg correct spelling? whoa). But later in the book it seems that he's going to be a Boros mage or maybe even something more 'rainbow mage/planeswalker' as the spell needed to get him to Phyrexia probably needs black mana.

There were some awesome scenes with Jodah and Sima, a blue mage that tried to taught Jodah magic. Yeah, that's how I imagine blue control 'mages'. hihi (poor Jodah)

Well, I finished reading the book the next day so I'm left with nothing to read once more.

Personal Rating: 3.5/5

Friday, May 1, 2009

Golf Course Beroun

Today the Golf Course (just the course itself! the official opening of 'everything' is on 22 May) was open to the public. So we went there to explore the course.
(my first impression follows)

The holes 1, 6, 7 and 18 have water obstacles and I have to say that I haven't seen so much water surface on a golf course yet^_~. Your first drive will be across a big water obstacle. If you can do this one well, then the rest should be fine. Hole no. 2 is a par 5 with some really nice bunkers. But still it's fine. With number 3 things are starting to get quite interesting. It's perpendicular to a downhill slope which is quite steep. Same goes to no.4 which is par 3 and looks quite fun actually. No. 6 has its green in the middle of a three water areas. Awesome^_^

Holes 11 and 12 are in the forest. Number 12 has a neat gullet and trees everywhere. Also you are playing uphill that is quite steep. (getting from 12 to 13 is quite fun).

(The fees are 1800CZK on weekdays and 3000CZK on weekends)