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First day in CoC

So I started up in Clash of Clans yesterday and have been having a lot of fun. I still have yet to build my castle so I can join up with a clan, but I am getting there. Right now my gold storage is only 13k and I need to get to 40k to rebuild the castle. In the mean time, I have been running through some of the single player missions. They are not difficult, but it is hard to get 3 stars. One star is the basic victory scenario where you knock out their town hall. 2 stars seems to be where you take out all their resource buildings, and 3 stars is where you wipe out all their buildings. I can regularly get one star, but I need to refine some of my strategies to make 2 or 3 stars. I found a nice reference on YouTube That covers all the single player missions.

This one shows the basics of the first mission which is not too tough, but later missions require a good choice of minions to throw at the goblin bases. I tend to have to use all my units so far since I am not sure about pathing and what works best against what buildings. On the 6th video, I did learn a thing where you try to group barbarians and archers together in a certain way to take out the cannon. I think these are pretty good resources for beginners so far. We'll see how they work when I start building defenses and have to fight off attacks.

So after a busy day, I have 3 Elixir Collectors at levels 3, 4, and 5 so I think I am doing pretty well generating that resource. For gold, I have 2 mines at levels 3 and 4. My Town hall is level 3 and my barracks is building to level 4. I think I have a decent start and should be able to tackle some more goblin villages tomorrow.

#CoC #ClashOfClans

 

 
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Trying Out Clash of Clans

Syncaine over at Hardcore Casual has been writing about Clash of Clans on the mobile platforms for a while now, and I figured it was time to give it a little try. He is running a clan called Suprme Cream and if I can build up fast enough, I just might be able to join in. Apparently you need to build a castle to gain access to clan warfare, so it may take a bit.

In the mean time, I did the standard starting things…building up a few resource buildings – you can only have 2 gold mines and 2 elixir collectors, so I built them and got them to level 4. They still seem to be generating resources awfully slow. I also built and improved my barracks to level 3. I can generate Barbarians, Archers, and Goblins who get the job done in the starting campaign. They do seem to be pretty mindless though and get killed a lot, so I built up my Army Camp to level 2 so I could station 30 troops in there.

One thing I am finding odd is that when I attack, whatever troops I use, I automatically lose regardless of if they survive the battle or not. I'm gonna have to look into this as it doesn't really seem right. Anyone that survives I would think can run home for the next battle. In any case, it is a real resource sink as it costs elixir every time I want to go on an attack.

I'll keep at it though and see if I can make it high enough to join the clan before I get attacked.

#ClashOfClans #CoC #HardcoreCasual

 

 
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My Top 6 Shows for the week ending September 26, 2014

This week saw the season premiers of a number of shows, but I did not watch all of them. I recorded them in hopes to watch them this weekend or sometime soon, but I did watch a few. Because of these new seasons, I am covering 6 shows this week since I think Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and The Blacklist ended up a virtual tie for 5th place.

Number 5a

Marvel's Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. (ABC) – S2E1 – Shadows (B)

This was a good start for the second season and covered all the expected bullet points, including someone with real super powers – Absorbing Man, Carl Creel. Along with Creel, I enjoyed the tie in to the history of S.H.I.E.L.D. and seeing the origin of what looks to be a critical '084 object of unknown origin'. By presenting the scene from 1945, I feel the show is playing to its strengths in the link to the Marvel Universe. It gave me a sense that they might have a better plan for this season – last season seemed to be more of a forgotten stepchild of the Captain America movie. Hopefully this season will have more direction and vision so it can remain as one of my favorite shows.

Number 5b

The Blacklist (NBC) – S2E1 – Lord Baltimore (B)

This episode seemed to take off right after the events of last season and did not seem to miss a beat. I thought the mechanism for keeping Lord Baltimore's identity secret was interesting, but I thought they could have drawn it out a bit more. They seemed kinda rushed to get everything in this episode to fit in an hour – I would have preferred a two-parter. Then there was the 'Deus Ex Whatever' where they seemed to send the B team to protect Red's wife, but they neglect to take her away from the one place the bad guys know she is. I enjoyed this show, but maybe it should not have made my top 5, I don't know.

Number 4

Boardwalk Empire (HBO) – S5E3 – What Jesus Said (B+)

So far this season, I think this was my favorite episode. I enjoyed the tension and resolution of the Chalky story arc. He is definitely one of my favorite characters in the show, and I'd really like to see him come back and get rid of Narcisse, who by the way, I had hoped we were going to be done with last season. In any case, the Dr. is still around and I have a feeling the writers are somehow going to try to make us like him this season as I can foresee he and Nucky having business together against Luciano.

Speaking of Nucky, in the current timeline, he is getting into bed with Joe Kennedy (which can't be good in the long run) while he is getting to know his first wife in the childhood timeline. I am enjoying the childhood timeline, but wish they would have included some of it in previous seasons. I really wish the writers of True a Blood had talked to the writers of this show before their respective last seasons. As opposed to True Blood's cameo appearances of everyone in the final season – Alcide shows up to die, Sam shows up to run away, etc this show is integrating everyone so far into the story to make it more compelling and interesting. I am liking it.

Number 3

South Park (Comedy Central) – S18E1 – Go Fund Yourself (A-)

This series is always a fount of witty criticism and social commentary and this episode is a perfect example of this. Tying in some of the major headlines of the day, the episode covers Kickstarter, the NFL – both Ray Rice and the Redskins, ISIS, and the trend in today's youth to expect to make money by doing nothing. Every season of South Park has at least a few episodes that are so good, they can be watched many times and this is definitely one of those. I think Trey and Matt really hit this one out of the park and they set a high bar for the rest of the season.

Number 2

The Knick – S1E6 – Start Calling Me Dad (A-)

This was an enjoyable episode for my for a number of reasons. First,this episode finally sees Drs. Thackery and Edwards move towards acceptance. When Thackery recognizes the advances in technology and procedures that Algernon can provide his reputation, he finally accepts him as a member of the staff which I think is the turning point of the season. The other reason I enjoyed this one is the Typhoid Mary resolution. Learning the beginnings of epidemiology and how early medicine dealt with these types of epidemics is one of the things that has me drawn to this show. I also liked the parallels between Dr. Edwards and Cornelia as the two struggle to overcome their race and gender, but where we see Algernon moving a bit towards respect, we see Cornelia being treated despicably by her soon to be father in law.

Number 1

Manhattan (WGN) – S1E8 – The Second Coming (A-)

I felt this episode was the turning point of the season. I really enjoyed when Isaacs came to Winters to tell him of the problems with Thin Man. The thing I am realizing with this show is that it is a slow drip of fact and documentary wrapped in a huge portion of soap opera. My favorite parts of the show are when they are covering the actual Manhattan Project and we are seeing the depiction of how things progressed during that time. All the soap opera stuff can get tiring after a while, but I think this episode seemed to glide through those scenes. Even the revelation of Liza's polygraph troubles was interesting in this episode. I hope this is a turning point in the series and the show builds on this episode. Considering we now have the two characters (Isaacs and Winters) with drive on the 'same side', perhaps this will be the case.

#Manhattan #TheBlacklist #MarvelsAgentsOfShield #TheKnick #SouthPark #BoardwalkEmpire #TV

 

 
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Week 4 and Another Loss

Another week, another loss. Well, this time I have no players for Monday night and my opponent has one left. Still, I only grabbed 58.5 points this week and he's already got well over 100. Another pretty poor showing by my team.

This week was hopefully my last bad week. Many of my starters were sitting on the bench this week as 4 of my regulars had a bye week. Technically, it should all even out, but I think I may have used some sub-par substitutes as replacements.

If this were fantasy baseball, I would have to say their WAR (Wins Above Replacement) was pretty bad. Not sure if Fantasy Football has an equivalent, but essentially the statistic is a measurement of how well a player performs above a 'replacement' level player. By replacement level, it means someone who is called up from the minors or from the bench to fill in for a regular starter. Very typically, they are not as good as an everyday starter.

Well, this week, my replacement players were not that good. My defense scored -10 points for me which was a pretty big difference from last week when my normal defense scored my only touchdown. Note to self…don't pick the Falcons defense ever. Stafford decided to play this week, but he could not carry me – if he had done as well last week, I might have been able to win. He seems to be hit or miss – perhaps I should only play him on even weeks.

In any case, I need to work on my team to get better for next week. I hope these loses don't become a habit that I can't break.

#FantasyFootball

 

 
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Stuck in my Relaxed Gaming Mode

I'm a little sad about my current gameplay in Eve Online or lack of it. For the last month or so, I haven't really been doing much more than skill flipping in the game. My alliance has taken some property in Null Sec, but I am not feeling the excitement I had last time I was there and I am not sure why. Perhaps it is the ships we are flying now or some of the tweaks CCP has thrown in, but I am not as enthused.

With the changes to industry, I feel like I have to learn a whole new game to make money. I used to have a little business on the side where I would crank out ships needed by my corp and alliance, but now I shy away from that since I know how long it took to learn the 'old' way of doing things. Don't get me wrong, I think the progress CCP is making with the game is a good thing, but it makes me feel like all my investment over the years has to be remade.

I think it goes back further than that. When they redid all the scanner and probe mechanics, I was excited but felt like I had wasted a lot of time learning something that was of no use anymore because things were changed – all my hard work to understand the arcane gameplay and now they made it easy to do. I mean, I applaud CCP for making things easier for new players to get involved in the game, but I guess I am a bit of a snob in that I enjoyed playing a game that was hard and complex.

Eve is by no means a simple game now, but I think the learning curve is more approachable. I hope it brings new players in and lets them enjoy what I consider one of the best SciFi MMOs on the market. In the mean time, I've gotta get out of my funk and go on some roams through Null Sec and get my mind back into the game. No other game gets my adrenaline pumping except maybe some of the horror aspects of The Secret World – another game I want to get back into.

Perhaps I have just been in a relaxed gaming mode lately.

#Eve #TheSecretWorld

 

 
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Complacency and Facebook

Couple thoughts today…

I was filling up my car with gas this morning and as I was finishing up, I noticed one of the attendants standing slightly off to the side of the garage smoking a cigarette. Now, I am sure they feel safe smoking at a gas station, but I certainly didn't. I figure the first few times they smoked at the station, they might have had a slight concern and tried to be careful about where they flicked the ashes and such, but they did not look at all concerned or worried that they were putting a smoldering stick of tobacco to their mouth within yards of gasoline tanks and fumes. How many times does it take for something bad NOT to happen before someone starts taking it for granted that it is never going to happen?

Compare this to Null Sec in Eve Online. When I first started flying around in Null Sec, I was pretty nervous. I would constantly be on the lookout for hostile activity. Now, unless there is anyone in local chat, I have no worries. When people do show up in local, I still get that nervousness, but unless I am at a gate, I do not get to the level that I used to. Particularly if I am in a fleet with my corp. I have a much better sense of what we can handle and what I can do in my ship now, but I still get that initial rush. And now that I have spent so much time in Null Sec, I even get that feeling when travelling through High Sec – at least until I get used to the fact that people are not tyically going to attack me in High Sec.

In League of Legends, I think the analogy could drawn to ganks and invades. I used to fear invades in almost all games I played. At the Bronze level, they don't happen often, but they can be devastating – hell, even in Championship play you can see some major game changers before minions spawn (as in the SSW vs AHQ match I linked prevoiously). Invades can be rough, and usually, as Morgana, I hold off on taking a spell until after I am sure there is or isn't going to be an invade. If there is an invade, I'll grab Q for Dark Binding, but if there is no invade, I take W (Tormented Soil) because of the AOE damage and spell vamp. I also don't usually fear an invade anymore unless the opposing team has Blitzcrank, Thresh, or Amumu. I don't see as many invades without those champs. Another area of complacency is face-checking bushes, and this is an area I need to pay attention to. As I play a few games in a row, I have a tendency to stop worrying that there might be someone in the bush, and sometimes that comes back to haunt me. I need to stop losing my fear that someone may be in the bush, especially when I am squishy.

On a somewhat related note, I see Facebook is making assumptions and being complacent about its users. Specifically that the users are so stuck on using Facebook that they will stay with them even when they start taking draconian measures to ensure that people use their 'real names'. I guess they figure they have over a billion users, what does it matter if they piss off a few. What I think is funny is that they are doing this only a couple months after Google+ supposedly stopped enforcing their 'real name' policy. These big companies go around doing things until they strike a nerve in their user base, then they pull back – always testing the bounds of what intrusions people will tolerate into their privacy. Even the U.S. Government does not require legal identification when you go to vote, but Facebook is going to require you to use your real legal name.

Well, in my book, Google+ never got off the ground because of this stupid requirement. I was a beta user and was using it quite extensively during comic-con a few years ago until they told me that the username I had been using with Google for over half a decade was no longer acceptable and I had to use my real name on my account. This is the same username I had been using since the 90s, and now some big corporation whose motto is 'Don't be Evil' is telling me I have to use my real name. Well, I dropped Google+ rather than dropping my username.

I guess Facebook is looking for the same treatment from its users. I understand that supposedly they have had a 'real name' policy all along, but that hasn't stopped people from using aliases. Their defense of their new enforcement policies is that this standard “helps prevent bad behavior, while creating a safer and more accountable enviornment”. If they think they are going to control the behavior of a billion people, I laugh out loud. Accountability and safety are not provided by using real names. Community is not enhanced because people are using their birth names rather than something they chose for themselves. And some people will be killed for using their real names in some of the communities Facebook allows.

The bottom line is I think this is a dumb move by Facebook. I may not use their services much, but if they are going to attack me for using an alias, I will chose not to use their services at all and they can stop gaining data mining information from me. It's not like all their and Google's marketing, data mining, and privacy selling is innocent after all.

#LoL #LeagueOfLegends #Eve #Facebook #Google

 

 
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Experimenting with League of Legends

One of the things I seem to notice is that I play better at League of Legends when I blog about it. I think it has something to do with focus. As I focus on the game since I want to capture highlights – and I want it to look like I'm a good player. I also take the time to analyze everyone's gameplay afterwards and I think that helps me see where mistakes were made and were opportunities could have been abused. When I play a game I know I am going to blog about, I concentrate more on staying alive – it's kinda boring to write about how many times I died. So I am going to focus as though I am going to write about each game and analyze them afterwards to see if it helps my play.

Another big thing I am trying to make my gameplay better is to turn off the ALL chat. There really is no reason to hear what the other team is taunting us about. If my team wants to harass them, they can do it without me – I want to focus on my play, not messing with the other team.

We'll see how this experiment goes.

 

 
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Bragtoberfest 2014 begins in 7 days

So our wonderful gaming community is putting on another event. This time for the month of October and we are calling it Bragtoberfest. According to Izlain over at Me Vs Mystelf And I, the idea is as follows:

Bragtoberfest aims to make it fun to be a gamer again. We all game, and most of us also either blog, stream, vlog or podcast about games as well. Why not combine the two into a month-long event?

This event is another along the lines of Blaugust and the Newbie Blogger Initiative where a bunch of us gamers and bloggers get together and have fun doing our gaming and blogging. There will be events each week and he created a Nook for us like we had for Blaugust.

I for one, am looking forward to it. I enjoy grouping up with the other bloggers and tackling whatever game we end up playing. It was fun the last few times and I am sure it will be a blast again.

I hope to see you all there.

#Bragtoberfest #Blaugust #NewbieBloggerInitiative

 

 
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Played My First Ranked Team Game…

I almost missed my post for today, but I think I made it in time…

Today, for the first time, I played in a League of Legends Ranked Team match. It was pretty interesting. The five of us just met in a random solo queue match where I ended up playing Vi in the jungle. Weird since I only have 24 games with her and a 33% win rate – not my best jungler. In any case, I put up a decent 7/6/9 slash line so I suppose I did ok.

Of the others, Orianna, mid, was a monster. She threw down 24 kills with only 2 deaths and we had a real pro at Thresh who knew what he was doing with that lantern – I'm gonna have to ask him for some pointers. The team was filled out with a pretty dominant Volibear top laner and a Caitlyn ADC who knew how to stay alive in the thick of battle – only one death. We won pretty handily a 51/19/69 to 18/51/25 and we had a lot of fun.

So after the game, we decided to create a ranked team and give things a shot. I have been on ranked teams before, but they never played a game for some reason. Well, this time we did play…and lost. It was not too bad, but the other team definitely out tanked us. We started out well, but when their tank kicked in, we were losing ground fast. It got to the point where Ashe's life steal was not enough to get through Nasus' regen fast enough to kill him. I have to question the match making system because this was our first fight and the team we were against had played 34 together and won 14. They definitely had better coordination than we did, but I think we held our own.

Based on the results, I think we need to practice as a team and come up with some team comps that will play to our advantages. If we get some experience behind us as a team, I think we can do pretty well, but right now against established teams, we were outmatched.

Hopefully, we'll have the time to play more together and get better…

#LoL #LeagueOfLegends #Ranked

 

 
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My top 3 Shows for the week ending September 19, 2014

I think the main reason I am having a difficult time with posting my top 5 this week is that I think I only have a top 3. This week, not only did I not watch much television, what I did see was not all that great. Shows like Hells Kitchen and Top Chef Duels were not even up to their usual entertaining selves, and then there was Z Nation. I really wish I had the time back from that one to watch something else.

I also spent a bunch of time watching sports this week. My Angels won the AL West and are headed to the playoffs so I watched a few games. I also proved my curse of fantasy football in that whenever I watch games, my players perform poorly. This happened way too much this week. And with the League of Legends World Championships starting this week, I spent time spectating those as well.

So the bottom line is that I had 3 shows that I would rate able to make my top 5 this week. Under the Dome, Manhattan, and The Lottery were the also-rans, but I can't rate them high enough this week.

Number 3

Intruders (BBCA) – S1E2 – And Here… You Must Listen (B)

This show continues to intrigue me. I am not really sure what is going on, but they keep revealing tidbits that are enticing. We're starting to learn that this has something to do with immortals and I think some kind of reincarnation. Apparently one of these immortals is now a little girl – Madison – and she's trying to run for her life now that she has 'awakened'. Amy is doing something in Seattle and is apparently one of these immortals and Richard is trying to kill them all. I am getting a little inkling of something akin to Helix and what may be the second season, but this is definitely a show worth watching so far.

Number 2

Boardwalk Empire (HBO) – S5E2 – The Good Listener (B)

I am enjoying learning about the relationship between Nucky and the Commodore, I wonder why they waited till the last season to bring it into the show. Perhaps because there is not much really happening this season. I mean, nothing much is happening with the older Nucky. Eli and Van Alden are running things for part of Al Capone's empire and that has been interesting to see, Luciano and Meyer seem to be double crossing everyone, and we get views into Gillian's current situation which I thought we were finished with last season. So far this season seems to be setup for the future episodes so while it makes my list because I like the acting and story, it has not been too exciting.

Number 1

Dr. Who (BBCA) – S8E1 – Deep Breath (B+)

This is the first episode with the new Doctor and I think it went pretty well. I grew a bit tired of the self discovery that he went through, but understand that as a freshly regenerated Doctor, there are some issues – especially since he regenerated more times that thought possible. Clara's uncertainty was a big part of this episode as she had been so fond of the previous incarnation. She plays this episode well, and it isn't until Matt Smith explains how hard it is for him, that she finally accepts Peter Capaldi as 'her' Doctor.

The 'trick' in this episode is kinda like the Angels episodes, but this one has more impact – you don't have to see to stay alive, but you DO have to breath. I enjoyed the steampunk stylings of the robots and their clockwork mechanisms, but the whole hot air baloon made out of human skin was a bit much.

Going back to Peter Capaldi, I think this will be an interesting tenure for the Doctor. I am definitely glad for close captioning as I needed it in some parts – getting used to this new accent will take a bit of time – perhaps binge watching a few episodes will set that straight. I was a bit concerned about his yelling at the dinosaur and his quirky commentary about being Scotish, but at the end of the episode, he seemed to mellow out a bit which was nice. (I wonder how things would be if Scotland separated from England this past week.).

In any case, any episode with Straxx and Vastra in it is a hit with me. I enjoyed this one and it made my Number 1 of the week.

#BoardwalkEmpire #Intruders #DrWho

 

 
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