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.
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.
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.