Thursday, September 28, 2017

Hearthstone

I still love Magic and always will. But I eventually had to give it up because of the cost of Mythics. I moved on to a game called Hearthstone. Maybe you've heard of it? Here's a video I did for Ira "Wonderboy" Beaver explaining the differences and how to move to Hearthstone.


The Best of All Possible Worlds

And now for some deep thoughts: The Best of all Possible Worlds.

I believe that we are living in the best time period there will ever be. It is quite easy to empirically prove that this is the best time humanity has ever experienced. More education, less starvation, lower child infant mortality rates and best of all, toilet paper. That’s all good stuff.

But what I am saying is, that this, even counting the future, is the best time to be alive. In fact, if you are under 30, the best time to be alive, well, I’m sorry but you missed it by … that much.

The thing is, people my age, have lived through a period of change that I do not think the world will ever see again. I grew up with three television channels. The Atari 2600 was the greatest christmas gift there will ever be on Christmas day for a child. You could get today’s child a new Alienware gaming rig worth three grand and they might be kind of excited. But honestly, kids these days have grown up with computers, iPad’s phones and wonders the like we could not have imagined when we little. The greatest electronic wonders of the age are “nothing new” or special to anyone anymore. Much less kids who get their first iPhone for graduating kindergarten.

Now, I know many people are thinking “Well, but won’t people that are now young, when they are fifty think they are living in the best possible time, or all time, even the future? I don’t think that they will because I ask you - What is left to discover?

Interplanetary travel? Admittedly, that is, of course where the next frontier is. But do you really want to go to another planet? Do you really want to leave Earth? Do you want to leave your loved ones behind and go to cryosleep for 20 years and wake up somewhere else and be a pioneer?
I don’t want to be a pioneer. Do you know what pioneers lack? Endless toilet paper. And wifi. And cheap energy. And supermarkets. And the next Avengers movie.

In the future, the only thing we are going to see, is faster, better, cheaper, glossier, cooler stuff - that we already have.

Tell me, do you want to be more plugged in than you already are? Are implants that keep you plugged in all the time so you don’t even have to wear google glasses or hold a tablet or phone really that revolutionary? Is that leap in technology going to hold the same wonder as going from a Nintendo Gameboy to an iPad? Is that leap in technology going to anywhere near as exciting as going from 256kb floppy disks to one terabyte USB sticks? As exciting as going from EGA graphics to high def?

What will come down the line for books? nothing as exciting as Kindle, I promise you. What will come next for televisions? The next huge leap will be holographic TV, which I admit, is probably the most exciting thing I can think of. Will that be better than going from 3 channels from my youth to On Demand movies, Game of Thrones, Top Chef, the best 3d movie ever made in Avatar or the other technological leaps in viewing that have occurred in our lifetimes?

Think about it. If you were ten and had already experienced the internet, iPad’s on demand movies, the clean energy revolution that is still picking up speed, and all the modern conveniences - already at your very fingertips - can you imagine your future changing as much as someone who has been alive the last fifty years has experienced?

Sure, you could say, well, what about the people who were born in 1900? Look what they have experienced! True. But those people were not comfortable with the changes that happened when they were fifty and less comfortable with the changes that happened when they were 80. From social changes to technological changes. All of it was scary.

The information age is the greatest age of humanity, and a lot of those people were terrified or didn’t understand it.


I submit that we are living in the most interesting time period of all time. In the future, things will be easier, better, cleaner and we will continue to advance. But all of those advances will not make as much of a change in the average first world person’s life as all that has happened in my lifetime.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Why my Genesis Deck is better than your girlfriend.

Odd title right? Well, it is a nod towards my beautiful wife's blog www.wendytellsall.com


We'll get to the Magic in a minute. First, an update since this is my first post in two years. I'm sure the other Jamie Wakefield's out there hate me since I have the url and haven't done anything with it for a while.


When we got back to the states, I had a job waiting for me in Rutland thanks to my good friend and former boss, Patricia Aigner. I was a computer tech again and while I do love that, I did not enjoy the environment nor the two hours of travel every day. I longed to be back at my home town's high school (MUHS) being a tech there. In the meantime, an opening appeared at Middlebury College and I aced the interviews and the meeting with my soon to be boss.


But, luckily, Dan Callahan saved my bacon once again. He told me about a network admin position at my home school district (ACSU.) I applied for the job but had cold feet. I knew little about servers and didn't relish the responsibility of keeping an entire network up and what to do if it went down. I actually applied for the job, then withdrew my application due to fear. Which is bad.


Dan convinced me to come in for the interview and I did pretty well at it. They offered to train me, pay for courses online and offered me the job. With much trepidation I took it. Possibly a mistake?


I've never had a harder job.


At the Middlebury Inn, I used to work an eight hour shift as Manager or sometimes just front desk clerk and then work through the night as the night auditor. That sixteen hour shift was easier than what I am doing now.


On the other hand, despite being hard, I am certainly not stagnant. I have learned more in the past two years than I have learned at any other time in my life. I feel like I am in an intensive college course that never ends. And, we have a great tech team which is so important. We all get along, we're all friends, we all work our asses off and we all support each other.  I love the atmosphere, the teachers and the four mile drive to work. While I wish the job was a little easier, I wouldn't want to be anywhere else. I am just stunned that I had this five year adventure in Spain and then was able to come back to the job I love.


Wendy has moved into a new stage of her life (read her website from the link above) and I know she is going to be a huge success at it, like everything else she has attempted. She redesigned our dismal, poorly lit house into what we now call Wakkafield Palace. And it is a palace. It is insanely wonderful. I have a man-cave with an Alienware computer with two screens, a wall o junk filled with various paraphernalia, most importantly, my Magic "Competitor" badges that I got from going to five Pro Tours. I have my framed original artwork of Timbermare, my favorite books in my bookcase, a Thor Poster and other awesome things from my life. It is incredible.


Magic? Yeah, I got sucked back in by a simple little thing called Duels of the Planeswalkers that was ten bucks on Steam. That led me back to Magic Online.  I'm not a huge fan of Standard right now so I've been playing a ton of Modern mostly because of the deck I'm playing.


15 Forest
2 Kessig Wolf Run
2 Stomping Ground
4 Acidic Slime
4 Arbor Elf
4 Primeval Titan
4 Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx
4 Utopia Sprawl
4 Scavenging Ooze
4 Garruk Wildspeaker
4 Leatherback Baloth
2 Voyaging Satyr
4 Genesis Wave
2 Thrun, the Last Troll
1 Overgrowth


Sideboard
4 Krosan Grip
4 Summoning Trap
4 Essence Warden
3 Choke


This is based off of an article on StarCityGames.com but is a little bit different. The original list had 4 Burning Tree Emissary and 4 Eternal Witness. I have swapped those out for Acidic Slime and Scavenging Ooze. There are some other minor changes but those are the most important.


The Eternal Witnesses were to get back Genesis Wave, but I've found if I get one off, the game is over, I don't need to cast it again. When I tried the original list, it was super impressive to almost deck myself and put my whole deck on the board, but it was overkill.


The Burning Tree Emissary's were like a lottery ticket. They allowed for staggeringly broken openings, but did nothing late in the game. The deck is more impressive 1/10th of the time that it works perfectly with them, but loses more when you draw them outside of your opening hand.


The Scavenging Ooze and Acidic Slime have both been so good, so game winning, so amazing, that I would never take them out. I am unsure on the Thrun, Overgrowth and Voyaging Satyr.


Anyway, I have to wrap this up. It is Sunday and Wendy is ready to quit work and do something together for the rest of the day. Which is fine by me since I have won my last three matches in Magic, walked doggies, watered plants, done laundry, converted ten DVD's to AVI and updated my blog for the first time in two years two months.







Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Comment replies

Leigh said...

Pal, we're just happy you're home.

Thanks man. It’s good to be home. I look forward to many, many hours of your company.

Anonymous said...

So, since you are now back in the US, settled in and doing well, is there any chance we will see more MTG blogs from you? I'm hoping so, because I always found your writings to be insightful and fun.

I regret to inform you that I believe I am done with Magic. Sorry about that. Unless I win the lottery and no longer need to work, I just don’t feel I will ever have the time to be good at it. And it’s not fun for me or my readers if I’m not at least adequate at the game.

Eleven said...

Sweet! Looking forward to (hopefully) regular posts (also hopefully) soon.

Me too! It’s been crazy. Hope to get more adjusted soon.

Tom Darling said...

I was clearing out my old gmails and found yours from when you got married. Went to the blog and found you're back in Vermont! Wow!

Welcome back.

Thanks Tom. It’s good to be back. I would love to see you and Cathy some time and catch up. You are the originator of one of my favorite quotes. Something along the lines of “Someday, all your precious memories and mementos will be sold at an estate sale for five dollars in a box lot.” It’s helped me clean out a lot of stuff from my closets…

Mr. Fantastic said...

Random question: any plans for playing the Boston area PTQs?

Sadly, no. See above. Which is a shame because I'd love to meet you.

Laurie from Indiana said...

Hi Jamie,

I spent the summer of 2011 in Madrid, and I'm planning on moving to Spain in 2012.
A friend of mine just bought me a copy of your book for Christmas. My heart resonated with many of the things you said you loved about Spain. Thanks for sharing your story.
Oh, I experienced a weird coincidence while reading your book. In one of the early chapters you describe a party in Madrid, and you list some of the names of the people there, including a woman named Candy. After seeing her name, I paused for a minute. Last year I bought a book about moving to Spain that was written by an American woman named Candy. As it turns out, my book is written by your friend! I could not believe it when I read about her wedding in your book. What a coincidence!

Anyway, I wish you and Wendy the best of luck in your new adventure in Vermont.

Thank you Laurie, I’m very glad you enjoyed the book. Candy was/is a good friend of ours and her book is the first one we grab when traveling around Spain. She’s a hell of a writer and a hell of a friend. We miss her. Best of luck in Spain!

I hope this adequately illustrates my bizarre work environment:

Dan and Forrest have hooked up a Smartboard in which to draw out the network configuration. I swivel my chair around to watch, pretending I know what’s going on, but really just trying to learn. I’m sorry, my expertise lies elsewhere.

Side note to illustrate : The Assistant Principal stops Dan and I in the hall on the way to a job. “I’m sorry, non-work related question. Do you have a sec?”

“Sure.”

“I can’t get my iPhone to send mail. It can receive but not send using my school account.”

Dan goes white.

Me: “I can fix that for you.”

And I do. I’m now the iPhone expert. Go me. BFD.

Dan and Forrest (from my notes that I actually don’t understand as they draw shit on the whiteboard and I fail to comprehend:)

“The VNKernals are here (drawing.) “What if we took VMware and… gibberish, gobbledegook, gibberish... “

“Yeah but NIC1 is here…”

“ But look, the 1099 switch is..”

“Sure but management is here!”

“NO, Management is here on the other two 1099’s.”

Hmmm… deep thought…

“What if we build a separate network on the Sisco switches?”

“Or, what if we move a VM over to a blade?”

“How about two blades?”

….

Are your eyes glazing over yet? Because mine are.

Thirty minutes later we are all staring at computer screens. I spin around. “Hey, do you guys watch “The Big Bang Theory?” Last night we watched an episode that Eliza Dushku was on.”

Blank stares.

“Eliza who?”

If you don’t understand why this is complete madness, I envy you.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Life is great!

We have finally settled in. The new little dog, Loki, is finally potty-trained and is an amazing dog. I've finally gotten used to the commute, the hours, everything. Finally felt up to having poker night this Saturday and had nine adults and Josh's baby over for a great time. Most of the stuff from Madrid has been unpacked and incorporated into the house thanks to my beautiful wife. All the patio and porch furniture is down cellar and the lawn mowed a final time before the snow flew.

Life is good.

Soon, I might even be able to do some real blog posts.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Busy return home

As I mentioned before, I am essentially working a ten hour work day thanks to my hour commute every day. Add on top of that forty-five minutes to wake up, a new puppy who needs constant attention and care when I get home, a busted car, sleep, chores around the house and we’re talking two to three hours a day of free time. For instance: We moved back to Vermont to experience family, friends, and festivals; to be a part of the community and local traditions as well as work on making our home a blend of all of our travels and lifestyle.

Last weekend we had one plan. Dinner and walk through the production known as The Haunted Forrest with Hilary and Michele. Instead, we were informed of plans long in fruition finally bearing fruit. Our new puppy would be flown in and our shipping container from Spain would arrive. So, the weekend looked like this for me:

Friday: Work a ten hour day, do dinner and Haunted Forest with Hilary and Michele, return home at 12:30 p.m.

Saturday: Work around the house, leave at 5:30 for Manchester NH to pick up new little dachshund puppy. Spend a half an hour coaxing him out of his crate to get water and pee. Drive three hours home, get to sleep at 2:30 a.m.

Sunday: Wake up at 7:30 to put new puppy out, go back to bed until 9:30, get up and have coffee. Arrange the house in order to make room for new boxes. 12:00: Russian movers arrive. Unload and unpack boxes for five hours while taking care of new puppy that is freaked the F out by all the movement and noise. Into your crate. Sit down and relax for three hours and go to bed.

Monday: Wake up at 5:45 and get ready for work.

This weekend was of similar craziness: Rather than detail the entire thing out again let’s just say it was not a lot of sitting unless it was in a car driving, nights of very little sleep, and now a full week of work. Wendy and I have been home from Madrid since August 17th and I don’t think we’ve had a relaxing day yet. I got up this morning to find I haven’t had time to put away clothes that have been in the dryer for three days. I have unopened mail, a lawn that needs to be mowed, a puppy that needs constant attention… I could list twenty more things.

I really wanted to invite my old Magic friends over for poker night this week, but really, I’m just hoping to get some small chores done and finally feel like we’re home and having a day off.