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I’m Surprised with my Team

Week 8 and I am still winning. I am so surprised that my success has continued, but I don't think it'll go on much longer – I have some tough competition coming up and some significant bye weeks.

Actually though, I did pay attention this week and follow my match on my iPhone app. And it was pretty fun. I was down by 30 headed into Monday's game but had my QB, a RB, and my kicker going in the game and then they even went into overtime. I will say that Andrew Luck sure seemed to try to lose for me as he kept throwing interceptions.
7-1 should be 8-0 sure feels good. Too bad I can't do so well in League of Legends.
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Reading, Gaming, and Some Great TV

Well I didn't do much for Halloween this year even though I ended up with a three day weekend. Things have still been pretty busy in my life and so I didn't get much gaming in, I didn't hand out candy to the kids coming to the door, and pretty much didn't get a lot of the general leisure time recently. I think that's OK because as I mentioned in a previous post I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. I did get a chance this weekend to do a slight bit of reading, play a couple games of League of Legends, and watch a wonderful episode of The Leftovers.


Gaming over Analysis

In League of Legends I've been all over the place in my gaming performance. I really haven't had any time so the only thing I've been able to do is play a few games – I haven't taken the opportunity to review any of my games for places where I can improve. This has resulted in me being very inconsistent in what I'm doing in the games I'm a part of. I've fluctuated between climbing the ladder to being in promos for bronze 1 to being down at the dregs of bronze 3, where if I lost one more match I'd end up in bronze 4. Right now I sit at one game away from promos for bronze 2 and I'm not sure if I'm going to put in the effort before the season is over. I probably will actually, but I'm just a little frustrated and haven't had much time to assess my gameplay.


The Stand

The little bit of reading that I've done has been to start reading Stephen King's The Stand. It is no longer the Book-of-the-Month since it's November now, but I started anyway and even though I read it a while ago I'm enjoying it so far. I'm only a few chapters in but the story has really come flooding back to me and I remember quite a bit of what took place. That's a testament to how well the book is written I think. Characters like Stu Redmond and Larry Underwood are still in my recallable memory over 20 years later. Even though I've read it before, I'm enjoying it, and with a book of this size, I'll feel a sense of accomplishment from reading it again.


The Leftovers: s2e5 No Room At The Inn

This was probably one of my favorite episodes of television this year. It was truly a work of art as it seemed to hit all the right notes and evoke many different emotions. The whole story of Matt, the preacher, is such a sympathetic one only superseded by his wife, both of whom were the centerpiece of this episode. It was both a heartwarming episode and a tragic episode generating so many emotions it was truly wonderful. Once again Damon Lindeloff scored a hit with this episode.

I guess I'll say spoiler alert because I'm going to touch on some of the things that happened in the episode.

The opening montage of Matt waking every morning taking care of his wife, playing the same music, making the same food, going to the same store every day and kissing her good night every night was absolutely wonderful. It was almost Groundhog Day type of repetitive series, and this was truly touching and demonstrated the love that Matt has for his wife. Christopher Eccleston played the role so perfectly

And then things started to happen. The Jamesons head out of town to the doctor for some tests and discover she's pregnant. Good news – they had been trying for ten years prior to the departure to have a child and failed…bad news – no one has seen her outside of a comatose state since the departure. This begs the moral and ethical question of – did Mary really wake up for a few hours and then fall back into her coma as Matt has claimed in previous episodes? Did someone so devoted to his wife, someone so faithful to God, someone the audience has so much empathy for actually have a mental breakdown and rape his wife when she was comatose?

That's the big question to be addressed down the line and we put that aside as the rest of the episode has enough tragedy to fill a Homeric epic. On the way back to town the Jamesons attempt to assist a stranded motorist only to be attacked and have their wristbands – their only way back into Miracle – stolen by a desperate father and son. They are denied entry to the town without the bracelets and when he asks Kevin for help getting back home, they have a run in with 'the fireman' – John Murphy – who refuses to believe in anything supernatural despite the complete disappearance of millions of people around the world. While initially appearing to want to help Matt and Mary, John demands Matt never tell his story about Mary waking, and instead tell everyone how he raped her in a moment of weakness. This doesn't sit well with Matt and he goes preacher on John asking him what made him such an angry man – I think this is one of the main questions this season and unless Lineloff wants to piss people off like he did with Lost, he'll answer this one.

In any case, John refuses to help and Matt needs to find another way into the town. This leads to romp through the carnival atmosphere of the refugee came outside Miracle. I'm not sure why shows need to do this in their later seasons, but there seems to be a trend – American Horror Story, Heroes, and others – keep wanting to put a carnival into their shows. I don't think it has worked out very well for any of them and I don't particularly like it. Anyway, in the camp Matt finds a guy to help them get into town and he has to got through a series of trials to get money and try to sneak into the town until his sister, Nora, finally finds him and smuggles them back home.

That would be enough for any normal television show, but The Leftovers goes beyond. As the group drives Matt and Mary home, they run across an accident – it's the father who stole the wristbands and he's dead. Matt takes a bracelet back for his wife and well, you'll have to watch it to see how Matt deals with the surviving son and then leaves town to save some others. Such a good episode.

I'd like to think about the first season on a scale of 1 to 10 for the level of depression that it represented and it had to be at least a 10 if not beyond the scale. This season, the depressive level is much lower and I would say maybe it would be a six or seven, as there seems to be much more hope. This season seems to be more focused on the mystery and the spirituality of what's going on. While we do have some more people that have vanished, we have so many more of our characters living day to day with everything that's happened. We really don't have a scenario like last year where everybody or half the cast was in the Guilty Remnant cult that didn't talk and just sat around being depressed all the time. And I am very glad to have a release from all that depression and despair.

I'm really digging the mysteries that they have introduced this season with the new girls who vanished, with the question about what happened with Kevin's son, and does he truly have magical healing powers, and it'll be interesting to see how the rest of the newly formed family deals with everything that's going on. I also really love the way Matt is being portrayed. He has always been one of my favorites as a character and as an actor, Eccleston, really hits it out of the park with this episode.


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Nami might get me to Silver

Nami is my favorite champ right now. She is rarely if ever banned – I really don't think I have ever seen her banned actually; she can handle things pretty well as a support in bot lane; and people don't usually have a problem if you ask for support in solo queue. I actually feel that I make my ADCs play better as Nami. It's really fun right now as I am slowly climbing the ranks with her as my main.

Her ult is great. Tidal wave can be used for initiation or for disengagement, and can often catch everyone on the opposing team. It can really change a team fight, and can give a Yasuo a huge game.

My favorite ability though is Ebb and Flow. This gives you healing when cast on friends and causes damage when targeted on an enemy. And it bounces between friends and enemies up to 3 times. I'm think I am starting to get the hang of this spell and getting at least 2 bounces most of the time. If I go in front of my ADC, I can zone the enemy and usually hit them with Ebb and Flow and and it heals any damage I take getting in range. It's pretty cool to damage the enemy and almost immediately have any lost hit points restored. If I decide I want to hang back behind my ADC, Ebb and Flow has a very good range since I can hit my ADC with a heal that then jumps to cause damage to the enemy – pretty cool.


With Nami as my current main, I am hoping to gain a few ranks and maybe even get up to silver, but we'll see. I'm not even sure when the season is over.


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Another Winning Week

Now I am really surprised and I don't expect that I'll continue performing this well, but my team is 6-1.

The main reason why don't expect to stay at the top is because of my points against. Right now I have the lowest points scored against me, and that's not because of my defense. Somehow, people seem to have a bad week when they play my team. There are 4 teams in the league that have more points scored than I do, but somehow when I've played those teams, they don't score much. I've had 60 points fewer scored against me than the next nearest team. We'll see how it goes, but I fully expect to lose a few games soon.

This week my defense has a bye so I'm getting rid of them and trying to pick up the Vikings defense from the waiver wire. Since I'm in 1st place, I am last on the wire, so I very well may not get them, but I'll make the best of it even if I don't grab them. Right now I'm projected to lose my game by 13 points so this may be the beginning of my downfall.

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I am Thankful I can watch the Championship games on YouTube

Wow! Looks like the South Koreans are dominant in League of Legends once again, destroying the Europeans 6-0 over the weekend. And of course, I missed every match. Fortunately, they record them all and post them to various places. I grabbed these from YouTube and I put them here so I have an easy place to come to catch up on them when I get the chance. Hopefully before the finals next Saturday.

SKT vs OG Game 1

SKT vs OG Game 2

SKT vs OG Game 3

FNC vs KOO Game 1

FNC vs KOO Game 2

FNC vs KOO Game 3

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Defiance and Dominion to be no more

Just a quick note tonight since I haven’t been up to much in the way of gaming or anything, but I’m sad to hear that Defiance and Dominion have been cancelled by SyFy.

I have really enjoyed both shows and Defiance in particular. I felt it was pretty groundbreaking with the MMO tie in and I thought the story was interesting. I really have a soft spot for SciFi Westerns and this filled the bill. I am sad to see it go when I felt there were many more tales to spin.

Dominion was decent. I have the 2nd season on my TiVo so I may be part of the reason it is gone. I never started the 2nd season. I enjoyed the first and was looking forward to #2, but didn’t get the time…yet.

Oh well.

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Gamer To-Do List October 23rd 2015

Just wanted to look at my gamer to-do list and actually realized it was non-existent at the moment. I had put something together back during Blaugust, but that is woefully out of date and I am just gonna start from scratch with a little more focus.

League of Legends: With the end of the season upon us, I really do not see much chance of making it to Silver for season 5, but since I am sitting at Bronze 3 right now, I would like to attain Bronze 2 and make a decent run these last days of the season.

DOTA 2: I really need to understand the ranking / leveling system in this game, but I think I am around level 7 and would like to reach 10. I am learning Lina and Venomancer so I want to get better at both of them and figure out more about where they stand in the meta.

ESO: I started a character in Elder Scrolls on my PS4 with some friends and made it to level 6. I’d like to make level 10 and get through the beginning quests that I passed up to run with them – they were both in their 30s so they kinda power leveled me a bit. I want to at least gain a better understanding of the early areas of the game.

FFXIV: I actually put in a bit of time this past week with my Conjurer and made it to level 6. Unfortunately, I then proceeded to get killed by a monkey thing that was 3 levels above me and who was grouping with his buddies – they were ok for me to handle one-on-one, but when 2 or more got together, they just overwhelmed me. I haven’t played since, but I will get revenge.

Secret World: I really want to get back into this game, and for starters, my goal is to create a new character and get to the sheriff station in Kingsmouth. I figure that will at least get me started again.

As far as reading, I am starting up with Steven King’s The Stand. It is a monster of a book and I’ve read it before, but it is part of one of the many book clubs I am in this month. I don’t really think I’ll get it done by the end of the month, or maybe even by the end of next month, but I want to read through at least 10 chapters this next week and get a start on it.

For comics, I’ve got a graphic novel to finish off – I’ve read the first 2 chapters of Nailbitter and I want to get that finished this week for my comic book reading group. I also want to finish off the current Ultron story arc of the Avengers – I think it is only issues 67 and 68 so it should not take too much effort to finish.

In any case, I think that is probably too much since I’ve been so busy lately, I haven’t done much of any of these things in the past few weeks. It’s still good to have goals to shoot for…we’ll see how far I get.

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6 Levels of Separation

Taking a break from League of Legends, DOTA 2 has been a learning experience. While the idea of the MOBA is pretty much the same – fight in lanes taking down turrets until you reach the enemy base and destroy their nexus/ancient, the meta of the game is something different.


I guess I've spent the past year learning how things work in LoL so I shouldn't be surprised that I know what I am doing there but not in a new game. Hell, I never even figured out Heroes of the Storm and that game is simple in comparison to DOTA. In any case, you have 3 lanes and a jungle just like LoL, but you can actually shoot your own minions. Why? To deny the enemy from getting experience. And it seems like experience and leveling is the main difference between LoL, DOTA, and HotS.


In HotS, everyone on the team shares in the experience gained by anyone on the team. So there is no individual levels, but a team level. This makes for a fairly even fight. In LoL, for the most part, leveling is pretty even though I've seen some differences of 2 levels maybe 3 between champions in mid lane and those sharing experience in the bot lane. In that game, each lane generates experience, but pretty much, if you are in lane, you get it.


In DOTA, it seems there are dramatic differences in leveling because of a number of factors that I am not sure I fully understand. First off, you have to be near the creep when it dies to gain the experience. Secondly, if the enemy kills their own creep, they deny you the experience. Third, and this doesn't seem to happen much in my noob games – you can “drag” your creeps into to the jungle to attack mobs there and if they die, once again, the opponent is denied experience. Tie this all together with what seems like a very large map in comparison to the other two games, and I've seen many level differences between players of up to 4 and 5 levels. In my last game, there were two guys on my team at level 22, I was at 17, and two of our opponents were at level 16. That's 6 levels! Wow!


6 levels in any game is pretty dramatic – many times meaning the difference between an ult at 2/3 power verses a full powered ult and full supporting skills. And this makes a huge difference. In HotS, when one team gets their ult, the game takes a major turn in their favor particularly if the other team takes a while to catch up. Many times, by the time they catch up, it's too late.


In DOTA it makes a big difference too, but on a more personal level. This game seems to be full of snowballing champs that can really start to pull away from everyone else. They don't always carry the team to victory with them, but they just seem to dominate and get way too many kills for my taste – I never seem to pick these champs for some reason.


In any case, it is real interesting, the differences amoung the games. They all have their pluses and minuses, but I am enjoying learning them all.

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Who Are You on Back to the Future Day

While everyone is talking about this being Back to the Future day, I am still focused on the great trailer that was released for Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Yes, I am disappointed that we don’t have hoverboards, but I really don’t wear shoes with laces much these days to desire self-tying shoes. I thought that movie was great and was really pulling for the Cubs to win the World Series this year, but apparently the Mets don’t like storybook endings. But as I said, I am still ecstatic about the Star Wars trailer.

Who’d have thought the diversity of cast would be more akin to the Republican debate crew than the old farts at the Democrat debate? That’s something people should be boycotting, not the fact that a fictional story actually has a variety of people from different planetary backgrounds that may not all be white. But protesting a movie because it is too diverse is just silly. I think the cast looks great and can’t wait to see more.

One thing that concerns me though, is the soundtrack. I absolutely love John Williams and his original Star Wars score, but from the trailer, I am worried that they are trying to mashup the great Star Wars orchestration with the droning, repetitive Inception sound. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed the Inception soundtrack the first time I heard it, but when every movie since 2011 has had the exact same musical style, it really got old and tired. And I fear I heard that droning, repetitive style tied in with the grandeur of the John Williams score during the trailer. I certainly hope it was just there for the trailer and was not indicative of what we’ll hear when the movie comes out. We’ll see.

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5-1 in Fantasy Football…so Surprised

I am really surprised by my team's performance in my fantasy football league. I pretty much don't pay too much attention to the game, though I know the sport well and have played fantasy sports (primarily baseball) for numerous years, I never expected to be 5-1. I know it can easily become 5-5 before too long, but at least this far, I am feeling good about my team.

That's my team on the left.

I was really surprised that I did well this week after Jamal Charles fell to the injured reserve. He was my star. After he got injured, I tried to get his back up off waivers, but since I've been doing so well, I had no chance and had to pick up Daniel Herron from the free agent pool. He didn't do so well, but I didn't need him to do great, just kinda take up space.

I seriously doubt I'll keep up this good run, but it's fun while it lasts.

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