Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Brauny?

Hi everybody.

So over the last few years--since I moved back to Wisconsin, really--I've become more of a sports fan. I discovered that the Milwaukee Brewers weren't terrible anymore (in fact, they reached the playoffs for the first time since I was 7 years old). A few years later, I met my now-girlfriend, and she got me more interested in baseball again. That was 2011, and the Brewers went on to win their first Division title since I was a kid, and came within a couple games of going to the World Series. A major factor of the Brewers' success was the offensive production of their extremely potent 3-4 punch in Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder. It was very exciting.

Then Fielder left for free agency. And then it came out that Braun was facing a suspension for testing positive for exogenic testosterone (or something like that). Braun fiercely maintained his innocence, and I was one of the many Brewers fans who bought into his stories. I was willing to give him the benefit of the doubt, that there was something going on that explained the positive result.

But MLB kept going after him. There was the Biogenesis thing, which had made a couple of cryptic references to Braun, and then MLB cut a deal with the former owner of the clinic. Then rumors came out that a suspension was imminent, anywhere from 50 games to a lifetime ban. And now, it's official: 65 game ban, effective immediately.

Braun issued a generic apology, which basically amounts to "mistakes were made." As a fan who has been lied to repeatedly for the last year and a half, I'm not satisfied. I believe pretty strongly in second chances and in redemption. Lord knows how much shit I've got on my soul over the past 38 years of imperfect existence. But I also believe pretty strongly that you gotta own up to that shit.

Braun, the Brewers, and MLB seem to be content to leave it at "mistakes were made," and that that should provide enough closure for us to "put this whole thing behind us." But I don't think it works that way. What exactly did Braun do? What did he take? How much and for how long? Why didn't he come clean sooner? Why did he lie to the press, to his fans? Why did he throw the MLB tester guy under the bus? The more of these questions he can answer, the more willing I will be to forgive him and move on.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Update, February 2013

So, uh, I haven't really kept up with this, but I'm going to try to post more often than biannually. :/

Anyway, here's a rundown of what I've been up to:

* Been playing lots of Magic: the Gathering. Easily my #1 hobby now. The last few months I've been paying more than ever. I keep growing as a competitive player, which is both good and not-so-good. Good because I like winning, and I like being good at something that I enjoy doing. Not-so-good because not winning hurts more than it used to. I had fun at the Gatecrash prerelease events recently, but after going 1-3 in both events and not getting any prize product. I've since bounced back by going undefeated in my last two Standard events.

* I met a woman, who quickly became my Serious Girlfriend. She's a geek/dork/nerd tri-brid like myself, and we're really good for each other. Things aren't perfect, for reasons I'm not sure I want to get into in this public venue, but ... We have a very good thing.

* I got bit by the "modern console gaming" bug. It started when visiting my girlfriend's friends over a holiday break, and he showed me the glory that is Skyrim. So when I had a couple-three hundred bucks, I splurged and dove right in. Then I got into MLB 2K13, which was the first baseball video game I've played since the days of the NES/SNES. Then I started playing Mass Effect, a series I had heard of but didn't know much about. Once the story of the first game got me hooked, I pretty much dropped everything not related to work or Magic and plowed through the whole trilogy over the course of the next few months. And yes, the ending sucks.

* I still listen to quite a bit of video game music and chiptunes, but perhaps not quite as much as used to. I had a lot of fun at the two Magfests I've been to. I'd love to start a video game music cover band, though. It'd be less metal and more prog-rock. Like if Genesis time-traveled from 1976 to start a VG music band.

* Speaking of prog-rock, I got to attend the final NEARfest. It was glorious, and so much fun. I found myself just smiling to myself walking around the venue, taking in the scenergy (unintentional portmanteau there). And the concerts were [mostly] fantastic. Aranis was loads of fun, and despite the clear Univers Zero influence, they almost instantly became one of my favorite "new" bands. Unfortunately, I was a little underwhelmed by Anglagard, both by their new album, and by their performance. It felt like the passion was just gone, and the new album felt like more of the same. I was looking forward to UK, but I was so tired by the end of the that I couldn't keep my eyes open. Also .. I like the new Rush album a lot, and I look forward to seeing them live when they roll through the Dairyland this summer.

* Speaking of not-prog-rock, I've rekindled my childhood love of Weird Al Yankovic. I hadn't paid a lot of attention to him or his music since .. well, 20 years ago. I knew he's been active, but I didn't realize that he still "had it." I once saw him say in an interview, "What I do never gets old," and it's really true. And he's a master. I got to see him in concert this year, and it was definitely the most FUN concert I've ever seen. I think I was smiling and/or laughing for the entire show.

My mental and emotional state 3-4 years ago was not that good. I was in turmoil after separating from my [now officially] ex-wife, struggling to keep my head above water and find something to keep living for. It's amazing how just finding simple joys and pleasures can lead to sweeping life changes. Rediscovering old hobbies. Making new friends, acquaintances, relationships. Trying new foods, traveling to new places. Suddenly, life isn't all bad. Then, somehow, life regains some meaning that you never knew was there. Funny how that works.

Moving forward, I'd like to try to keep up with this thing. It's not that I have nothing to [a-]muse about, it's just that I don't get around to posting it to this thing. For I've decided to start a new, separate blog for my Magic-related thoughts, including detailed tournament reports. (EDIT: here it is!)

Okay, that's it for now. Thanks for reading!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Top 10 of '10!

It's a new year, so, as a music lover, I'm required to give my annual Top 10 list. Of course, I think these Top 10 lists are bogus. I mean, how many musical projects were released in the past year? Thousands? Millions? And how many of them did I hear? Only a very small non-zero fraction of them. What are the odds that I've actually heard the "best" release of 2010? Very slim. So I guess to be more accurate, this would be a list of my favorite 10 musical projects released in calendar year 2010 that I was able to hear in calendar year 2010. So, in no particular order, here's my list:


1. Hey Champ - Star. Learned of these guys through an animated gif of a lady with dolphins for boobs, which turned out to be extracted from a music video from this band, which turned out an album's worth of excellent dreamy synth pop. Ear candy.


2. Wizwars - Telstar Arcade. 2010 is the year I really "got into" chiptunes. I discovered the genre in 2008, but it wasn't until this year that I really began to appreciate it for reasons other than novelty. Wizwars is a regular over at The Shizz (my Internet hangout of choice lately), and after falling in love with his Game Boy Rock! Special Edition CD, I became a bonafide "fan." He writes catchy, dancey chiptunes, generally on Game Boy target hardware. Lots of funky sounds and beats and catchy melodies. Telstar Arcade is his latest, and is quite a bit darker than most of his previous stuff I've heard, which isn't at all a bad thing. Still groovy, just .. darker. I like it.


3. B.o.B - B.o.B Presents the Adventures of Bobby Ray. 2009 is the year I first started getting into mainstream hip-hop of the modern era (that is, post-early-90's), and B.o.B unleashed this ambitious debut on us this year, led by his awesomely catchy hit single "Nothin on You." The album runs a pretty wide gamut of stylistic blending, from old-school R&B, to fuzzy pop-punk, to whatever you call the trippy "Fifth Dimension," to good old fashioned straight-up southern rap. Lots of fun stuff, but also just plain very creative and enjoyable, with moments of poignancy.


4. Various Artists - A Chip off the Shizz Block, Volume Two. Okay, yeah, I know I was part of this .. but I still really like it. Actually, now that I think about it, it was listening to this in my car that really cemented my love for the chiptune genre. The quality of some of the stuff on here is kind of spotty, but the good stuff is really good.


5. Marina and the Diamonds - The Family Jewels. I was pointed to this talented young lady by the folks at the Progressive Ears message board while debating the merits of Lady Gaga. She's young and pretty, which is probably part of why she's gotten as far as she's gotten, but she writes and performs catchy piano-driven pop music with enthusiasm and quirkiness that I like.


6. Rush - "Caravan" b/w "BU2B". Rush is currently in a 3-way tie for my favorite band at the moment (with Camel and Anglagard), and this is their latest effort, a little preview of an album their working on, called Clockwork Angels. Maybe to be released in 2011? Who knows. Anyway, they released this as a digital download, and I guess you can mail-order a CD or something. I like it .. it seems right on par with the best stuff from their last album, Snakes & Arrows. I look forward to hearing more.


7. Sunstroke Project (with Olia Tira) - "Run Away". Lol wut? Okay, so I got completely hooked on this song via the EPIC SAX GUY Internet phenomenon. The song is cheesy and the EPIC SAX GUY is completely ridiculous, but dang the song is catchy. Well worth the $0.99. I think.


8. Norrin_Radd - Anomaly. Chiptune death metal from another fellow Shizzie. Well, chiptune death/prog/tech-metal. With sci-fi lyrics. Very busy and dense. Well done, but I'm not sure it's really "my kinda thing."


9. Jake Kaufman - Shantae: Risky's Revenge OST. Aka "virt", Kaufman has been a busy boy in the video game industry doing sound design & music & whatnot. This is the soundtrack to the long-awaited follow-up to the Game Boy cult classic "Shantae." Kaufman did a very memorable (and equally cult-classic) sountrack to the original, and he did a very nice soundtrack here as well. I'm not sure it stands out quite as much compared to the original, but it's still pretty good. I haven't really had much of a chance to absorb it yet.

...

Huh, well I can't think of any other 2010 releases that I actually heard this year, so I guess I'll have to stop it at 9. Hey, it's better than the ~3 I got to in 2009, and the 1 I got to in 2008! Maybe I'll have a whole 10 at the end of 2011. I know I'll have at least one, the latest chiptune collection from Disasterpeace entitled Rise of the Obsidian Interstellar. Spacy, proggy, intricate .. good stuff. And released JUST TODAY. See how relatively cutting edge I am? lol

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Update, December 2010

Life progresses. I've made some pretty big strides since this time last year. Here are some highlights:

Dating

I had a full-on OMG-Girlfriend for a couple months earlier this year. Strange experience. It was nice, but ultimately it wasn't meant to be. She was kinda leery of having to deal with some of my issues about depression, having some of her own depressive tendencies. Plus, although it was lots of fun at first, the proverbial "spark" died pretty quickly after a short while. Oh well. Live and learn.

I took a couple of excellent "growth opportunities" from it. First, another exercise in dealing with rejection. It's getting much easier. I'm not taking it as personally anymore. I'm learning how to chalk it up to "not a good fit," versus defaulting to "I'm a piece of shit." Those feelings still come up, but I recognize them for what they are, ignore them (or at least don't act on them), and within a day or two I'm fine. The other thing was (and is probably related to the first thing), I've still got some "patterns" to overcome from my failed marriage. OMG-Girlfriend had a few (legitimate) complaints about some of my behaviors in our relationship, which were entirely addressable, but at the time it felt very overwhelming. Like, this is way too much, I can't handle this, I'm so f-ed up, I'm a piece of shit, etc. I didn't handle it very well, and I got pretty "low" about it. I think that was the beginning of the end of the relationship. Had I handled it better ... well, I don't wanna get into "what if"s.

So I took a few months off. I found that I was starting to lose touch with myself anyway. Not playing as much Magic, doing music, etc. So I took the summer & fall off from dating and ... well, played lots of Magic. And some music too. Oh yeah, and trying to get the whole divorce process rolling (rofl'ing?).

But now that divorce is imminent (the process was started last month, and looks to be finalized by the end of the year), I'm looking ahead. I've been enjoying being single, but ultimately it's not going to be for me. I hate saying that I "need" to be in a relationship, because I think I can "survive" without being in one, but long-term, I'd be pretty disappointed if I had to be single for the rest of my life.

So the dating has ramped up again recently. I had a nice date with a nice lady from Pardeeville (which is apparently not "Partyville" ha ha ha). Great conversation. But the attraction wasn't really there. Oh well. Another chance to practice getting rejected! And now I've got a couple of different leads that look promising in very different ways. As of tonight I'll have 2 dates with each one under my belt, and then I'll probably have to make a decision. What a strange place to be in ....

Meds

I am done with Anafranil. I successfully weaned myself off (with the okay of my new psychiatrist). I was kinda iffy for a couple weeks, but I've stabilized quite nicely over the last couple months. Nice! I'm hoping I can start thinking about Prozac next. That would be awesome. I'm still on my high-blood pressure meds, though, and I don't expect that to change anytime soon. I'll probably have to lose some weight and permanently cut out some significant salt first. Which will be a major challenge, given my love of food. Especially convenient food, which is rarely healthy in any conceivable way.

Magic

My draft game has kinda plateaued, I think. Rise of the Eldrazi draft wasn't very kind to me, and I rarely won more than one match in any given draft, and I never 3-0'd. M11 was much more fruitful, and I won a handful of the new Titans. Now we've got Scars of Mirrodin, which I'm finding to be lots of fun, but tough to actually win. I seem to do well when the Infect archetype is available, but pretty lousy otherwise. I started doing some homework on this format though, in the form of draft videos and articles from ChannelFireball, and I'm learning quite a bit. Mostly about valuing Metalcraft enablers like Replicas and Spellbombs.

In Constructed, I'm having a blast with my new toys, Grand Architect and Molten-Tail Masticore. I haven't gone 3-0 with the deck yet, but I've come pretty close, and I'm pretty consistently 2-1 with it. Elves is still pretty strong, thanks to not really losing a whole lot to the rotation, and with the addition of a new (third!) Elf Lord. It's actually a little more competitive now than it was last year at this time, but I've grown slightly tired of playing it lately. It's kind of limited in style these days, whereas the blue/artifact deck has lots of stuff going on, with different ways to cause shenanigans.

I also caved in and shelled out some big ca$h money for 3 more Jaces. I'm not really proud of that fact. But the card is just so dang good and so much fun to play with.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Great Health Care Debate

I recently participated in an ad-hoc discussion about the "health care overhaul" thingy that was recently passed by Congress and signed into law by President Obama. I put some thought into it, and I figured it would be with sharing to an audience beyond my friend's other Facebook friends. The following is a summary of what I think...

First, some background on my own political philosophy. It's changed over the years. A LOT. As an illustration, I have voted in 3 of the 4 Presidential elections I've been legally able to do so in. The one I didn't was because of .. time concerns? Laziness? Something like that. And each of those 4 elections, I voted for (or would have voted for) candidates from 4 different political parties.

In 1996, I was in college, and all about "independent" stuff, and I gravitated toward the various third parties out there. I was drawn by the Greens, but was more impressed with the rhetoric of the Natural Law Party, who put emphasis on implementing government solutions that have been proven effective (they also had a Transcendental Meditation under-platform, but I ignored that whole thing).

By 2000, I had become a big Rush fan (the band, not Limbaugh), and by extension, a moderate admirer of Ayn Rand (e.g., "2112"). I was all about free society, free economy, all that stuff. I was also in excellent physical, emotional, and mental health, with an very well paying job. I was well off, and I wanted more of the same. So I voted Libertarian.

The early 2000's were a shitstorm for me personally. I won't go into it, but suffice it to say that I emerged from the crisis with a new found spirituality, focused on Evangelical Christianity. I was interested in all matter of Evangelical stuff, including the national Evangelical media (e.g., Focus on the Family). I was looking for a candidate who shared my orthodox Biblical worldview, and I found a willing partner in George W. Bush. (In retrospect, I see how I fell for the Bush campaign's strategy of leveraging people of faith, without necessarily exploring the totality of the Bush's policies as they related to Biblical principles and values.)

2008 was another shitstorm year for me, from which I'm still recovering. My life was a stereotypical country song--I lost my wife, my job, even my dog (though I was fortunate to retain possession of my motor vehicle). My parents were willing to take me in, so I moved back to Lake Mills to be with them. In the meantime, I was questioning a lot of my values, both spiritually and politically. I found myself undergoing sometimes daily shifts to the left. I was becoming less and less convinced of the truth of Evangelical doctrine, and of conservative politics. I went into the election season election with an open mind, and found myself utterly unimpressed with anything McCain said or advocated, and very impressed with most of what Obama said and advocated. I think the deciding moment came during the "forum" style debate when John McCain took a question from a young African-American man, and told him some background about the financial crisis, naming companies like Lehman Brothers, Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac, and telling him, "of course, you've probably never heard of them before." It so embodied the gulf between older white men in power, and the increasingly complex face of America's younger generations. I voted for Obama.

Okay, so that was longer than I intended. Sorry about that. Anyway, on to 2010, when this "historical" health care has been debated, and now passed. I've developed some pretty strong opinions, and they go a little like this:

My (current) general philosophy is that of community responsibility, which comes in part from life experience, and stuff I've gleaned from various academic sources over the years. I strongly believe in individual freedom, both socially and economically. But I also believe that "freedom isn't free," and that society should make sure that its disadvantaged are taken care of. Individual freedom precludes equal outcome, but does include an attempt at equal opportunity. Ideally, I believe any random human being born in this country should have a chance to make the best life for himself or herself. Hard work should be rewarded, but circumstances beyond a person's control should not hinder him or her from becoming the person he or she is.

In practical day-to-day society, we rely on public institutions for this kind of thing. For most of us, that means the government. There are other resources available to some, such as family, friends, church, and other organizations, but government is what is available to all of us. As a leftover from my libertarian, I generally support a free economy and a free society. Where I differ is when it comes how one's actions affects others in society. I'm not allowed to do whatever I want to do, because doing so can harm myself or others. Economically, I'm not allowed to enter into certain financial contracts (such as involuntary servitude), because doing so can harm myself or others.

In my Economics 101 class in college, I remember a principle that we learned about taxes. Part (or most, or all) of the point of taxes is to provide financial disincentive toward economic activity detrimental to society as a whole--a disincentive that otherwise wouldn't exist within a free market. One example given was public transportation. It's a fact that everybody wants to drive their own car. But if every worker and an urban locale commuted in their own car, the city is negatively impacted by pollution and traffic density. An individual car driver has no incentive not to drive to work. So the local government can (and usually does) subsidize a public transportation system. For every 20 people that take the bus, that's 20 cars off the road, 20 less cars to pollute and create gridlock.

I've seen this principle used elsewhere in public policy, such as public roads, police force, military, and education. These are all things that our society benefits from, but that we would otherwise probably not support as much individually. We benefit from our educational systems, because then kids can learn how to become productive members of society. (Unfortunately, the inverse has also been proven to be true.)

So what about health care? What is it? I happen to view it similarly to education. It's something that everybody needs in order to maintain a certain livable standard. If I'm sick, I can't be productive. Sometimes I can't get better on my own, so I need some help. Where am I going to get that help? That's where I believe government should be stepping in. I think we would get a similar public benefit from public health as we currently get from public education. People would get a chance to get up on their feet and have a shot at being a productive member of society. People who would otherwise not be able to.

I support some kind of public health care system, similar to our public education system. Public schools aren't the greatest, but if you can afford better, you're free to get private schooling. Public health should be the same way. Provide some minimal level of coverage available to all. Preventative care (e.g., regular screenings & physicals) for all, and specialists for those with special health needs. If an individual can't (or doesn't want to) wait for the public doctor to see someone, then they should be free to shell out the $$$ to see a private doctor.

So how about the health care overhaul just passed? I think it's a step in the right direction. It's got some good stuff, and some not-so-good stuff. Obviously, I would have wanted some kind of public option to be in there. But I'm glad that there's at least something in there to help impoverished folks to get insurance. I don't agree with the "mandate" requiring citizens to get insurance--that goes against the individual freedom I value. I've also heard that there isn't much in the bill to get health care costs under control. Beyond that, I'm not familiar enough with the bill to comment much on it. From what I understand, I'm not going to be affected that much by it (if at all). So while I ultimately reserve judgment, I've gleaned enough from news sources (mostly NPR, Google News, and admittedly a smattering of liberal talk show commentary) to generally agree with the spirit of the current health care legislation, to move toward health care being more accessible to the general public.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Update

It's been a while since I've posted anything on here. I don't think I have any actual readers, so I'd feel kind of silly apologizing to a non-existent audience, so I'll just go ahead and post an update.

Magic: the Gathering

After a lot of frustration at continuing to lose at Friday Night Magic, I think I'm catching on again. I can thank the practice drafts at TCGplayer.com for helping me to learn about what cards are valued more, and how to read signals and stuff like that. I think I'm averaging a little under .500 in drafts now, which isn't too bad considering how atrocious I was when I first started.

Worldwake is out, and I think it's pretty cool. I did decently well in the pre-releases and launch parties, and won a free booster pack (for going X-2) in 3 out of the 5 events I attended. I didn't crack any Jaces, but I had lots of fun.

I attended my first Magic Pro Tour Qualifier this last weekend. It was a qualifier for Pro Tour San Juan, and the format was Extended Constructed. As of a couple months ago, I had most of the cards for the Eldrazi Green deck that's been making the rounds in Standard, and it wasn't much of a leap (or investment) to make an Extended Elves deck. It cost me a good $80 in single cards, but it's been well worth having a deck that's both competitive and fun to play.

The deck basically consists of a whole bunch of low-cost elf creatures that work together and with a couple of other cards to summon forth throngs of elves and attack for the win. The main mana engine consists of Heritage Druid and friends, with Elvish Archdruid providing support, Glimpse of Nature and Regal Force providing card draw, and Akroma's Memorial providing the kill condition (attack with all my Hasty elves).

I was surprised at the diversity of the opposition I faced. The Extended tournament metagame has been dominated by the Dark Depths/Vampire Hexmage and Thopter Foundry and Sword of the Meek combo decks, and Zoo decks featuring lots of fast, efficient creatures and removal. Strangely, though, I only met one Depths/Hexmage/Thopter/Foundry deck all day, and not a single Tarmogoyf. Maybe because I hung out mostly at the losing tables most of the afternoon, I dunno.

So I faced quite a few decks. Most of the decks I recognized (like the two Hypergenesis decks I faced), I lost to, and rolled over the ones I wasn't familiar with (e.g., a green-black Spore/Thallid deck). Probably the best match of the day was an extremely narrow loss to Faeries. All three games were fairly closely contested, and the last game came down to about the finest level of granularity of timing that exists in Magic. I had my board set up with a bunch of elves poised to combo off on my next turn, with a Summoner's Pact waiting to be paid off. I had a bunch of mana-generating elves, and four Forests in play, so I should have had plenty of mana to pay the Summoner's fee. But as I untapped and prepared to go into my upkeep, he Cryptic Commanded me, tapping all of my elves and returning one of my four Forests to my hand, leaving me with only three Forests to pay the piper. So I lost the game. Nice play! (Though now upon reflection I should have questioned the timing of fast effects and the emptying of mana pools between phases. Oh well.)

So I had lots of fun. It was competitive, but I didn't get my butt kicked every match. A good experience.

Dating

I've taken a dip in the proverbial dating pool, and I've had two adventures since I started last fall. The first one was in September, with a very interesting lady with whom I got along really well, but I revealed too much of my crap to her too soon, and it pretty much scared her away.

The second one was a longer thing, lasting a month, and progressing pretty deep into intimacy. She was really easy to get along with, good to hang out with, etc. There were things I didn't like about her, but there were more things I liked about her. Unfortunately, I was a casualty of the whole "just a friend" thing. She said she had a long talk with her male friend Sunday night, and they have a lot in common, and ... Yeah. Now she's seeing him. She initially broke the news to me over text message, but she called me later after I asked for closure. Whole thing sucks.

Meds

The Anafranil experiment didn't work. My mood kept dropping over time, and I was eventually encouraged to get back to 75mg, which I did. When things started progressing with date #2, I became concerned about certain side effects, so I was put on Buspirone, which is alleged to help smooth some of those problems out. It also helps anxiety, and I feel a definite boost in that regard.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Rocktober

Okay, this post won't have much to do with rock & roll, but it is October, and I do enjoy some good rock. Oh, actually, I've got something to review. I'll get to that next post.

First, my Magic game has significantly improved. I went 3-1 at the Zendikar release on the strength of a good Landfall deck, and a couple of Friday Night Magics ago, I won the whole thing (earning a Misty Rainforest and a Marsh Flats for my efforts, both $15-20 cards right now). So that was cool. But then something happened. I stopped doing as well. I went 1-2 at Zendikar Game Day, where my beloved Devour deck got easily dismantled by Vampires. The following Friday Night Magic, I went 1-2 again on a surprisingly weak red-white aggro deck. And I didn't take it very well. I was all grumpy and grumbly, and frankly, not a good sport about the whole thing. So I took a step back and looked at the whole thing. I realized, okay, I'm supposed to be having FUN doing this, right? So I need to have fun. I started letting competitiveness get in the way of enjoying myself. So last night, I took my homemade Landfall deck to the Standard Constructed tournament, and I went 0-3. BUT! I had a good attitude about the whole thing, and it helped that I was able to pull off a sick combo of Baloth Woodcrasher + 3 Harrows for 28 damage in one swing. I had what I guess is called a "Timmy" moment. I was all, "YES! This is why I play Magic!" I still got my butt kicked in that match by Vampires, but I had fun. :)

Then another funny thing happened last night. I forgot to take 50mg of my 75mg dose of Anafranil. And I had a surprisingly crisp mental day today. The great thing about Anafranil is that it boosts my mood and helps me to let go of unwanted thoughts. The not-so-great thing is that it covers up bad moods and stifles motivation, and hinders my ability to hold onto wanted thoughts. So today I found myself energized, awake, alert, motivated, and thinking more sharply than I have in quite while. And I didn't suffer any kind of "moody" effects. Win! I happened to have an appointment with my psychiatrist today, and I told her what happened. I also told her how my moods have been stabilizing, and how I'm not as concerned about stopping "unwanted" thoughts as I used to be, and how I've improved in a lot of my higher-level attitudes about stuff (religion, recovery, etc.). She was all "Good for you!" and gave me her blessing to come down from 75mg to 50mg. So I'm gonna do that and see how it goes. Neat!

Another funny thing has happened. My soon-to-be-ex-wife is getting hooked on Magic. I've been telling her about it, and she became curious, and she got totally sucked into it. Now she wants to buy all kinds of cards and build decks and play and stuff. It's funny. :) An interesting thing I've noted about all of this is how much "hobby" type stuff we have in common now that we've been separated for almost two years. We've both rediscovered music, exercising, recovery (in a non-co-dependent way), and now Magic. It's the kind of thing where it could easily make a guy jealous ("Gee, I wish my wife liked Rush and played Magic..."), but it doesn't even faze me anymore. Because I know that there's a hell of a lot more to relationships than shared interests. Shared interests are important, but successful communication and problem-solving are infinitely more so. Without the ability to work out differences, there's no room for anything else. So, I consider it a lesson learned.