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

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

4 Krosan Grip
4 Summoning Trap
4 Essence Warden
3 Choke

This is based off of an article on 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?”


“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.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Anecdotes, Reviews and Rambles

Why not start with thoughts about Steve Jobs? He’s the big topic these days. Here’s a quote from him about getting up in the morning.

"If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?"

Which is a great concept but I have a problem with the reality of that. For one thing, if you knew it was your last day, you wouldn’t plan for the future, you wouldn’t go to work in order to have money for rent or food, or a retirement. I can’t speak for women, but as a man, if I knew it was my last day on Earth, I know of a whole lot of hedonistic things I would do that didn’t involve making money or mowing the lawn or having a stable job. But those things need to be done if you think you’re going to be around for awhile.

Also, I think it’s important to realize you need to ask yourself that initial question throughout the day. When I get up in the morning, about the last thing I want to do is shut off the alarm, get out of bed, have some coffee, shower, and drive an hour to work. But around ten a.m. when I am fully awake, working on a complex tech problem or I've made some teacher really happy that I made things work again, yeah, I am pretty happy with what I’m doing today. My job is awesome. Would I go to work next week if I knew it was even my last six months on earth? No.

Now that I’ve got that off my chest, I feel like a pissy little bitch, because we all know what the real message is: Do what you love. If you’re not enjoying yourself, make a change. Like fall in love, move to Madrid and explore Europe for five years.

Speaking of my job, I love listening to the teachers and seeing their different styles. Some are dry and boring, others "good enough" and some are excellent. Yesterday I was working in a school for the younger kids and burst out laughing. The teacher was amazing.

“Joseph, why are you wearing your jacket? Are you cold? Yeah, it is a little chilly in here. Do you see my sweater? Do you notice that it’s really big on me?”

“Yes,” the kids all respond.

“That’s because it belongs to Mister Stevens. Pouting works girls, remember that. Purse your lips and furrow your brows.”

A few minutes later someone comes into the room, “Hang on kids, I need to deal with this. Why? Because whose it all about?”

“You.” They all shout in unison.

“That’s right, it’s all about me.”

I am laughing my ass off at this point. Now, don’t get the wrong idea. She was excellent, used humor to engage them, and it was clear they all loved her as a teacher. I was in there for forty-five minutes and like the kids, I just wanted to sit and listen to her talk.


The new 52 from DC confuses me. Why start all the comics over from number one, call it a brand new beginning, and then reference things that had happened in past continuity? Why isn’t every single issue a new origin story or a new take on the old origin story? Some are, some aren’t and it’s baffling. It’s like no one is steering this massive ship. Or more appropriately, it’s like a busy airport with no air traffic controller. It makes no sense and to top it all off, in general, the stories suck. Action comics, Justice League and Aquaman number 1 have been the only ones I’ve liked of the ones I’ve bought.

PS, Dear DC, your online digital distribution sucks.

In game reviews, Wendy and I have finally found a game almost as captivating as Carcassone which we have played to death and then beaten with sticks. We were given Dominion as a wedding present from our good friend Rod and we are having a great time with it. It’s a lot like Magic but for less than the cost of Jace you can buy the basic set and an expansion which will you give you hundreds of hours of fun. (Wow, Jace has fallen in price, when I stopped playing Magic he was over a hundred.)

Writing books is hard.Getting rejected by (literally) two hundred agents is almost as hard. Seeing over two hundred dollars deposited into my checking account each month for the last two months is easy. And fun!

I don't know what's going on. Self published books like mine usually sell to family and friends and then either stagnate, or on very rare occasions become runaway hits and make thousands of dollars a week until the fad fades (vampire love triangles anyone?)

I can only guess that my name has come up in a few Magic articles recently or some travelogue blogger actually wrote a favorable review on their website and people are actually buying my other book.

Anyway, it's a great feeling either way.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

And we're back... Sort of.

Just a quick update. I used to have a lot more time for blogging and I did it to promote myself and my writing career. My job used to be "Try to be a writer."

Now my job is "get up at 5:45, have coffee, shower, dress, get on the road, drive to work for an hour, do IT for eight hours, drive an hour and ten minutes home (traffic), fix the house, car, lawn, etc, sit down in front of the TV and crash at 9:30 or 10:00 and pray for sleep."

So, things have changed.

I love the new job after a two week painful learning-the-network process now this and last week am having a great time. Second best job I ever had. The best job I ever had was identical except shorter hours and a 4 minute drive not 60 and started later.

Anyway, I'm blessed to have a good job in this economy but my days are literally ten hours long and with errands, chores, delays, appts, etc, everyday is almost 5:30 - 5:30 before I sit down to relax for a big four whole hours with my wife before bed.

Yes, I know, some of you are thinking, cry me a river, those with babies or harder jobs have it tougher, but it's a major change for me. I'm slowly adapting. More soon.