Monday, 30 September 2013

NHL Predictions for 2013-14

After the heartbreak of the Canucks losing the Stanley Cup Finals three years ago, I've really cut back on the amount of hockey I watch, and the attachment I have to the game.

Of course, I still watch some games and still enjoy hockey. While I don't write about the game like I used to, I figure I might as well throw out my predictions for the upcoming season.


The new conference and division alignments have broken up a few old rivalries, and changed the complexion of the NHL.

For the past few season, our hometown Canucks preyed upon a very weak division. Last season, especially, the Canucks had a good record simply by beating up on the Crapalanche, fLames, and Coilers. This season, the Canucks will have it tougher now that they have to play San Jose, Los Angeles, and Anaheim more often.

Here are my predictions for the final standings, with the bolded teams to make the playoffs.

ATLANTIC - Strong on top, very weak on the bottom

Boston - Still the cream of the crop
Montreal - A good young team on the upswing
Ottawa - Losing Alfredsson will hurt, but they have one of the league's best coaches
Detroit - The core gets older, but they are still a competitive club.
Toronto - Most of the 'smart' fans realize the Leafs fluked out last season, as they were out-shot and out-possessed quite often. They don't quite suck, but I can see them falling back to Earth.
Tampa Bay - Stamkos and St. Louis will score a ton of goals, and then the rest of the team will let in a ton more.
Florida - Tim Thomas will help the goaltending situation, but this club is still the Panthers...
Buffalo - The bottom has fallen out

METROPOLITAN DIVISION - Toughest division, overall.

Pittsburgh - Losing Vokoun hurts, but this team outscores everybody else
Washington - Need to shore up their D if they are ever want to win it all
Rangers - Vigneault is a good coach, he just got stale here in Vancouver
Islanders - Will be a tough battle for them, but I have a soft spot for them
Philadelphia - Their goaltending reeks and the defense is a bit shaky
Jersey - I should know better than to bet against them, but I think this is the year they will fail

Columbus - Bobrovsky was the sole reason they had a shot at the playoffs. The Dinner Jackets have no chance with such a thin roster.
Carolina - Never seem to be the sum of their parts, and their defense is incredibly poor

CENTRAL - Weakest division of them all

Chicago - Unlike the previous cup win, this club's core is still around the season after
St. Louis - So much promise, so much heartbreak :(
Minnesota - Yeo is a terrible coach, but they have a lot of good young talent
Winnipeg - Some talent exists, but lazy blob Pavelec has been a huge disappointment
Colorado - We see just how valuable Craig Anderson was to this club, which has failed to really develop the past few seasons
Nashville - They can only keep losing so much talent before it catches up with them
Dallas - What happens when you refuse to rebuild? You get the American version of the Calgary Flames

PACIFIC: This division will be tight at the top

Los Angeles - Still cup favourites after a hiccup last season.
San Jose - They might have an old team, but they are still competitive
Anaheim - Last season was flukey, but this is a solid team
Vancouver - Meh...

Phoenix - Tippett is a magician with this club, and they are always the wild card

Edmonton - Lots of young offensive stars, but the D is terrible
Calgary - They'll fight with Carolina and Buffalo for the #1 overall pick

Thursday, 26 September 2013

S.H.I.E.L.D.S. U.P.

Tuesday night saw the debut of the much anticipated TV series, Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.. As expected, it garnered a lot of viewership.

Set in the Marvel universe, the show is focusing exclusively (for now) on the CIA-like S.H.I.E.L.D. organization, and plays off the of the popularity of Agent Coulson's character from previous Marvel movies.

Since we're nerdy enough to have read some comic books and watched many of the Marvel movies, my wife and I watched the series, to see what the hype is about. I know many of my other nerdy friends likely watched the show, too :)


After watching the premiere episode, here are my thoughts and first impressions.

1. Polished - The series obviously has a large budget, and the whole aesthetic is extremely polished. The world has that unusually clean look about it, including the characters, machinery, and settings. You can tell that the powers that be have put in a lot of their chips into this bet.

This look does bother me a big, since the real world, even in fantasy, is a lot dirtier and gritty than what we were shown. Everything was just too pristine and sparkly. A little more realism, please.

2. Beautiful People Syndrome - The one thing that bugged me was that almost every character was cast from a modelling agency's catalogue. Looking at the IMDB entries on most of the lead actors, it seems most of them don't have a lot of experience. From watching their stiff performances, I can see why.

Obviously not cast for his looks. 

We know Hollywood loves to cast beautiful people quite often, but many good TV series will cast fairly regular looking people. This series? Ugly people just don't exist in the Marvel universe, apparently.

This is after she ran a 30-hour marathon.

The worst example of this is the character of 'Skye' (pictured), the computer hacker who helps out S.H.I.E.L.D. in the first episode.

This character lives in a tiny little van with no bathroom, and yet her makeup is *always* flawlessly smooth, her clothes are fashionable and well ironed, and she never has a hair out of place?


The only character who doesn't look like a model is one of the nerdy, male scientists. Even the female scientist is impossibly hot.

This isn't enough to make me not watch a series, but it does just make me shake my head in disbelief. Such lazy casting.

3. Debut Expectations - Like most any show's debut, the writers try to shoehorn so many things into an hour of TV. The introduction of characters is done quite hastily, and there isn't a whole lot of deep character building.

I can't hold that against the writers, though, as they need to capture the attention of the masses and get all of the characters known to the audience. I expect most debuts to feel rushed, safe, and a bit hokey.

4. Agent Coulson - Why in the hell is he so smiley? His character jokes a lot more than I remember, and just seems a lot different from what I expected, and a bit 'off'. Maybe it's because of his 'death'?

I do like the snarky version of Coulson, though, and appreciate that he's not just another humourless FBI-drone. He's not nearly as bland as the pretty boy agent.

5. Intriguing - At least the debut episode is enough to get us invested in watching more of the series. Given that this is a Marvel vehicle, they are bound to get more leeway than most.

I like the idea of this shadow organization trying to create superheroes, expose the government (shades of the real world NSA), and potential of other Marvel universe plotlines to enter the series. There were a lot of names dropped, so there is a lot that could happen.

Until Game of Thrones and/or Sherlock are back, this is likely our series of choice in the near-term. 

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

MTG: A Few More Thoughts on Theros

After playing in two pre-releases this past weekend, and reading lots of different things in the Internet tubes, here are a few more thoughts on Theros.

1. The limited format is not nearly as slow as I thought it would be.

Despite the fact that this set has a lot of big monsters, and expensive bestow costs, there were quite a few decks that won simply by having a good curve, or by being ultra aggressive.

The UB Erebos deck I won with had a lot of great bombs and loads of synergy, but also had a very good curve. Turns 2, 3, 4...I was constantly dropping threats, or doing things to the opponent's board.

This is the same for most formats, but even more important against decks going for the slow game.

In the second pre-release, I played a very slow UW deck with two of the Shipbreaker Krakens. I had a lot of haymakers, but was stuck with very few early drops to jab with.

I went a putrid 1-3, and lost because I had few good early game plays. One deck, in particular, beat me by simply having one or two cheap Heroic guys, backed up with a bunch of pump spells.

With the lack of removal in the set, it's easy to overwhelm an opponent before they can get their game set up. There is less fear of having your army wiped, so feel free to drop those early creatures.

2. The pool I opened on Saturday morning (above) was insane. Anybody could have won with this deck, so I can only brag about my pack luck. :)

One thing to note, as I mentioned above, is that my curve is really mostly at two, three and four. If the format was as slow as people thought it would be, the curve would have tilted a bit higher. As it was, the curve of this deck was pretty much similar to any sealed format.

Not only did I get Erebos, God of the Dead, the rare devotion land, Hero's Downfall, and two Griptides, but I also got a bunch of devotion-to-black cards.

Devotion is a very powerful ability, and I'll definitely be building a casual deck or two around it.

3. Griptide is just a mean limited card.

This card is instant-speed removal, and very powerful in a set with lots of enchantments and pump spells.

Not only is the spell awesome, but it is very mean against a mana-screwed opponent. I know I kept getting one of my dorks bounced back on top, and couldn't draw the fifth land I was looking for.

4. Shipwreck Singer is a hidden gem.

This is one of the best cards in this format, and most people forget that she has flying, too.

Not only can you force your opponent into bad attacks, but you can shrink all of their attackers. It's a good two-drop, and could be worth putting into some of my casual decks.

5.  Gods Willing is a very annoying counterspell.

Despite the text you see, the real wording is "LOL, Counter Jes's Removal Spell!"

Given how little removal is in Theros, having a one-mana trick to counter a 3-5 mana spell, especially when you can also trigger Heroic, is quite powerful.

Ugh, I hate this card.

6. As Mark Rosewater's comic points out, Fblthp should be in Theros!

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Vancouver Rants: Are Vancouver Women Too Unfriendly?

(This post will seem like "Bitter Male" ranting. So be it. I don't need to worry about the dating scene in Vancouver, but I still have scars.)

Vancouver has a reputation of its citizens being very cold, unfriendly, and shallow. Don't ask me what time it is, you filthy hobo!

I can't say that I'm the warmest person out there, and I'm loathe to talk to strangers, but I've always been an oddball. I wouldn't consider my personality to be the norm of any culture.

Back when I was single (ie. most of my life), I found the online dating scene to be incredibly hard. Even if I sent good messages out, I'd either get ignored, or receive a very brief reply. I'm so very fortunate that I found my wife's profile on Lavalife, after sifting through 100s of uninteresting ones.

It seems that I'm not alone in my personal views on the subject.

Are Vancouver women too picky when it comes to dating?

A new survey from an online dating site has ranked Vancouver women as the pickiest in Canada and the least likely to respond to a man’s message online.

According to, Vancouver men have the hardest time getting a date through online dating sites than any other city in Canada.

Montreal women were ranked second and Ottawa came in third.

Now, I have no problem with people being picky about who they choose to spend their time with. I'm extremely picky, my wife is picky, and we picked each other :)

That said, there are two main gripes I had about the online dating scene.

1. Most women's profiles are the exact same. Here's one I stole from a reddit thread.


Hi there! So um I'm not really too sure what to write here, so I'll come back and write more later. But for now, here goes! I'm an easy going, laid back kinda girl who loves to laugh and share a fun evening out with the girls! Of course, I love to stay in on a rainy day and watch movies in my sweat pants from time to time, too!

I'm a young professional who has a lot on her plate, and am looking for the right guy to top it all off. I love my friends, I love my dog, and family is very important to me. If you're just looking for a booty call or to hook up or whatever, don't bother messaging, I won't respond. Oh yeah, no smokers, either.

I love to travel, do yoga, go hiking (just climbed the Chief!) and to cook, and I also like to keep fit - I'm running my first half marathon in October, so excited!

So if you think you share some of the same interests as me, send me a message and we'll see where it goes!


 Like 99% of the profiles I encountered, Vancouver women...

  • Love to hike (Everybody says this, yet few actually do it)
  • Love Yoga ( cliche)
  • Love spending time with their family and friends, as if anyone would say, "I don't enjoy spending time with these people!"
  • Are all young professionals (Hint: Money and status will be important)
  • Love the outdoors, BUT, they also enjoy a lazy night in (Who the hell doesn't?)

Typical Vancouver couple

2. Most profiles tell you very little about the person, and do little to differentiate them from the typical Vancouverite. Thank you for saying absolutely nothing.

Looking at the 'profile' above, how in the hell are you supposed to start any sort of communication with somebody so generic? "Uhh, I like stuff, and stuff...yeah..."

If you have an online profile, you have a chance to actually sell yourself and say exactly what you want. Do you want a guy who is a corporate climber? Say so! Do you want to have kids in the future? Do you like to protest pipelines? Is there anything interesting about you?

If you want a blank slate, go to a club or bar.

As an aside, I'm sure most males on these sites will have profiles that are fairly similar, too. Few people really want to throw themselves out there, for fear of looking 'weird'.

I was extremely fortunate that my wife was the exception, and was probably the only woman who said she liked RPG's. Yes, she had a very well-written profile that mentioned actual hobbies and geeky things!


Here's a common complaint about Vancouver Men, saying we don't know how to approach women or are just lazy, poorly dressed, with no plan in life.

Hmm, I wonder why many men here are scared of pursuing a relationship . If we're to be judged so harshly, and given nasty looks for even trying to strike up a conversation, then why would we even make the effort? For somebody with my low level of self-esteem, it didn't seem worth the effort. 

I've had friends or acquaintances that dated almost exclusively Asian women (the ones here for studying, mainly). Why? These women tended to be much more open to conversation, and even seek out chances to talk and practice their English. 

To paraphrase what one such friend once said to me, "It's not that they (Asian girls) are easy, it's just that White girls never even talk to me!"


I'm very thankful I don't have to deal with any of the Vancouver-area dating scene, as things certainly haven't changed over the past few years. From this guy's perspective, many women around here certainly do their best to give out the unfriendly, shallow vibes. It's no small wonder that so many people here are the same, generic Yaletown Yuppie types. Be anything else, and you get snubbed. 

Friday, 20 September 2013

Ramblings: Five Things I Don't Understand

Just a simple list of five questions lurking around in my brain ...


My wife and I have a strong aversion to strong smells; perfumes, colognes, spritzes, etc ... If you wear Axe Douchespray, you won't be allowed in my apartment until you are hosed, fumigated, and whipped.

It irks me, to no end, that so many of these products have to be injected with enough smells to wake the dead. Laundry soaps, body washes, sprays, antiperspirants... they all seem to have very strong smells attached to them. It's amazingly hard to find low-scent/no-scent products, even with 100s of products available.

Fabreze is a notable culprit. When it came out, Fabreze was supposed to be an odour neutraliser, and actually did a pretty decent job of lessening the "Bachelor" cloud in my apartment. Fabreze had a scent, but it wasn't strong.

Now? You are just spraying a crap load of bad perfume smell to cover up another smell...ugh...

Am I really in the vast minority for wanting my stuff not to bloody stink of artificial flowers and lemons? You'd think there would be a lot more of us...


My wife, and her family, really love stinky cheeses, especially Stilton.

If you've never had Stilton, it tastes and smells like dairy death. The odour can strip varnish off of furniture, and should be eaten in controlled environments.

It's so bitter and veiny that it might as well be named Montgomery Burns.

I enjoy a strong cheddar, but I'd rather not eat something that tastes like it should be stored in a nuclear waste container. The aftertaste lingers for hours, which each taste bud punishing you for the mistake you just made in eating rotting bacteria.

Strangely, my wife just gives me a nasty glare when I offer her my used gym socks to munch on...


Almost every time I see a motorcyclist riding around the Lower Mainland, especially on the highways, they are going about 30-40 km/h over the speed limit. I've never actually seen a motorcyclist pulled over for speeding.

I get that motorcycles can weave in and out of traffic, given their size and mobility, but is there an unwritten law that allows them to ride that far over the speed limit?


This does not look good.

I don't know if it is just a recent trend, but I've been seeing more and more city dogs with their tails cut off (aka 'docking').

Why does it matter?

Well, dogs communicate with their tails, and the lack of a tail can make other dogs feel as if tail-less dog is more aggressive. Imagine if your lips were cut off, as that is pretty much what happens to these dogs.

Apart from some exceptions (real hunting dogs, or medical reasons), a dog should never have its tail cut off. Not only does it handicap them, but it looks STUPID. If this is being done for aesthetic reasons, it's pretty much having the opposite affect of what the owners want.

Yes, a Doberman with a short stubbly tail is pretty normal these days, but a Border Collie without a tail? It looks terrible.

It's bad enough that the male dogs have their nuts cut off...leave their damn tails alone!


A very common advertising trope is the "Stupid Male". The Stupid Male (usually white, as not to offend any others) is as dumb as a rock, can't follow directions, and must be corrected by the "Smart Bitchy Female".

Somehow, it's become safe to insult males as stupid. If you dare have a "Ditsy Woman", you'd have howls of outrage and sexism.

This commercial is a perfect example. Somehow, the Stupid Male cannot pay a credit card or buy milk.

Why would any guy support a company that thinks the whole gender are a bunch of bumbling idiots? I mean, I have a dirty, dark sense of humour, but nothing about this commercial is even slightly amusing.

Buying a puppy instead of milk? Who in the hell laughs at that?

This trope is lazy, tired, and not funny. There are many idiots in the world, but not simply because of their gender. Why would these women marry these men? Derrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrp.

Thursday, 19 September 2013

Ramblings: Where are the Female Sex Symbols?

My wife and I had an interesting, albeit random, conversation while watching TV a couple of nights back, with some reference to George Clooney spurring us to talk about celebrity sex symbols.

Eventually, we were naming names, and then asking out loud, "Who are the current female sex symbols?"

For the males, it was pretty easy: Matt Damon, George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Johnny Depp, Will Smith, Tom Cruise (apparently still popular overseas), the Hemsworth's, and up-and-comer Channing Tatum.

"Damn, I'm sexay!"

For the females? This is where we got stumped.

(Keep in mind I am no pop culture expert, so I'm not in my element, so to speak. Still, allow me to be Shallow Jes for awhile.)

Now, I'm talking about women that are very well known and popular primarily for their 'beauty', such as Pamela Anderson, Cindy Crawford, Cameron Diaz, Selma Hayek, Jennifer Aniston, Jessica Simpson, Farrah Fawcett, Angelina Jolie, Marilyn Monroe, Jessica Alba, etc...

Given how shallow our society is, it is obvious that the male sex symbols have a lot more staying power (pun not intended). Since women tend to be objectified more, there are always way more women sex symbols, and much of society seems to always be looking for hot, young things. The women have more competition, in that regard, and don't seem to retain their fame and status for nearly as long.

Look at the list of males, and many of them have been around for a long time. These fellows still command a lot of money, swooning, and fantasies.

For the ladies?

Jennifer Aniston - Still pretty good looking, popular, and good for the 40+ crowd. She's not the A-lister she once was, but she is still kickin' it.

Angelina Jolie - She looks like a living skeleton now that she's lost 100 pounds, and hasn't been in anything of note in years.

Jessica Alba - She couldn't act her way out of a paper bag, and has been invisible since her role as the Invisible Woman.

Megan Fox - Got herself kicked off of the Transformers franchise, and then had hideous plastic surgery. Why, Megan, why?


The only three names I could come up with, after some thought, were Scarlett Johansson, Kim Kardashian, and Sofia Vergara. Either I don't follow pop culture enough, or things have changed.


ScarJo isn't really an A-lister, but she is hot, part of the Avengers franchise, and seems to be one of the few current actresses that most people will know easily as a sex symbol. I haven't seen Vergara in much, but her name pops up often enough as a celebrity crush of many men. Kardashian has been a master of capturing media attention, even if many people simply want her to be run over by a septic truck.


Now, society hasn't really changed all that much. Men and women are still as shallow as they always have been, and many celebrities, especially women, are evaluated on their looks more than anything else. Hey, I am the same way with my celebrity crushes. Kristanna Loken, aka T-X, isn't on my Top 5 list these days!

(She's not happy at being kicked off of the list)

I can think of a few reasons for the shortage of these symbols.

1. Franchises / Ensemble Casts - So many movies now are part of franchises, or have so many sequels, that having A-list talent isn't nearly as necessary. With the Avengers, you could have easily cast any women in ScarJo's role, and it wouldn't have affected attendance. With so many ensemble casts, the women don't really stand out or carry a role like they used to.

A good example is Zoe Saldana in Star Trek. She's a good-looking woman, but she's just one little piece of that big pie. Any of the hot female actresses in the Game of Thrones series will have the same problem.

2. Reality TV - Let's face it, there is far too much attention paid to these garbage programs, and you get the likes of Kim Kardashian, Bethenny Frankel, and Paris Hilton focused on much more than the usual actresses. Most reality show fade in and out pretty quickly.

3. Choices - With so many more entertainment choices, the major studios don't control nearly as much of the viewer eye as they used to. When there were fewer channels and movies to watch, the big stars captured a larger percentage of the public's attention.


This whole string of ramblings hasn't been a statement of values (ie. "I want more objects of desire"), so much as an observation of what I see. Any other current female sex symbols I'm missing?

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

AdRants: Not Charmed by Charmin

While most advertising campaigns are forgettable, there are some that are so bad, annoying, or gross that it actively makes me not want to buy their products.

Charmin toilet paper has just such an ad campaign: A family of pooping bears that cares way too much about toilet paper usage. Case in point...

The Charmin ads don't just have these bears using toilet paper, dancing with toilet paper, sleeping on toilet paper, or making love while rolling around in toilet paper. No, the focus of this campaign is the First World Problem that certain toilet paper brands leave bits of paper behind after you wipe. 

Witness Mama Bear inspecting her child's ass for these naughty paper bits, much like Oberbefehlshaber der Kriegsmarine Karl Dönitz inspecting the German U-boats before their launch.  (Why the reference? It's obvious this bear family is German, given their love of poop)

My memory isn't what is once was, but I can't recall my mother ever looking at my anal sphincter to see if my butt crack was free of a paper trail. Yes, this bear family has a special inspection area you have to go through every time you dump a load.

Using cutesy animals in ad campaigns is nothing new, but WHY WOULD BEARS EVER NEED OR USE TOILET PAPER? Would this ad campaign ever fly if real humans were used? Of course not!

Whilst walking down the trails around Tofino, we came across a LOT of bear scat. Not once did we see any used toilet paper bits next to the piles of digested berries and fish.

I'm sorry, but seeing bears with fragments of used toilet paper on their bottoms is disgusting. When I'm eating dinner in front of the TV, I'd rather hear about feminine hygiene products than see this crap (pun intended).

Thus, I make a point not to buy this product, even when on sale. Somebody needs to pay the price for burning these haunting images into my head!

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Tuesday's Thoughts: Sep 17th, 2013

The wife and I saw Star Trek: Into Darkness this past weekend.

Given how many plot holes and lens flares were in the reboot Star Trek, my hopes were not terribly high. Still, I'm a little bit of a Trekkie, so I had to give it a shot.

Verdict: A solid, shiny looking movie that is fun to watch, but not very memorable.

One thing that did bother me was the character of Khan (Noonien Singh).

Khan is one of my all-time favourite fictional characters, and Ricardo Montalban (RIP) absolutely owned the role. Montalban's Khan just oozed everything you'd expect out of a 'super-human': Power, Charisma, Confidence, Intelligence, Strength...

Benedict Cumberbatch, owner of the most Englishy name ever, is a tremendous actor. His portrayal of Sherlock (BBC Series) is sublime. That said, I take great issue with his casting in this role.

First off, notice anything different between the two? Yeah, somehow Khan became a white (Anglo-Saxon) guy *facepalm*.

Apart from that, Cumberbatch's Khan just comes off as a very generic bad guy. Khan owned the screen, and you could see why people who either follow him or fear him. Cumberbatch's Khan? Just your ordinary bad guy with powers. Cumberbatch did well with what he was given, though, and turned a generically written role into a good performance.

Into Darkness should have just had Cumberbatch as one of the other super-humans that were encapsulated, rather than Khan. I know they've taken the canon of Star Trek and totally refried it, but this was nerd-rage levels of travesty. Ugh.


On another nerdy note, it seems Magic: the Gathering has its first explicit portrayal of an openly-gay couple.

Read the flavour text, and then look at the statues.

It's an incredibly subtle, but bold statement from Wizards of the Coast. I like that they just slipped it in (That's what she said!), rather than making it a big "OMG, WE GOT GAYZ!!" fuss. It's just a normal relationship, after all.

Besides, knowing how the Greeks (especially SPARTA!!!!!) loved their buggery, it fits the mythos of the set perfectly!


It seems Magic Deck Vortex was hacked by Turkish nitwits, and the owner is MIA. I know the site was pretty dormant, these days, but it was nice to have a place to do reviews and writing about casual MTG. Most MTG sites cater to competitive players. Those with a casual place either already have a (better) writer, or focus on EDH/Commander.

I'll still blog about MTG topics, but I likely won't do any reviews of Theros cards like I was for Ravnica.


I'm one of the 'lucky' folks that was chosen to be a Compass Beta Tester for Translink. I got a compass card loaded with $100 of fake money, and I simply swipe in and out when I take the SkyTrain (or bus).

So far, I've had no issues with the card, itself. Obviously, the gates are always opened, so we haven't seen how quickly that transaction will take.

My biggest worry, all along, has been the number of gates at each station. Brentwood has only 3 gates for the entire station!

There is going to be a huge bottleneck of people during rush hour, so people will need to adjust their commutes and add a little extra time. Still, this card system was well overdue. The fact that they installed SkyTrain without fare gates is just baffling.

Friday, 6 September 2013

MTG: Thoughts on Theros

Before we go on vacation, I just wanted to share some thoughts on the cards for Theros (Magic: The Gathering's upcoming set) that have been spoiled.

Innistrad was a huge hit, and I have an even bigger flavour-boner over this Greek-inspired set. Despite my competitive nature, it's always been the art and flavour that brought me into the game.

What's got me excited? This dude!

There is usually one card in every set that makes me jump up and think, "I have to have that!"

Snapcaster Mage was one such card, and I identified it as a card that was going to be a huge player in all formats. Luckily, I jumped on a playset for about $10/apiece, before they doubled in price. Sarah and I also got Jace, the Wallet Sculptor, for about $17/card. We just wish we had ordered more!

*End bragging*

Purphoros gives me the same shivers, but I wasn't fortunate enough to get them for cheap. They sit at $25 each right now, and I can't justify spending $100 on four single cards for one of my many casual decks.

Given each of your creatures the ability to Shock the opponent is huge, and indestructibility is what pushes it over the edge. "Naturalize this, bitch!"

If/when I do get these, I've always got a very nasty deck to build around it.

The Bestow mechanic is genius! All too often, Enchantments and Auras are scary to play because of the risk of being two-for-oned. Enchantments should be more previlant than they are, and bestow helps solve this.

Even if the creature is nuked before this hits the battlefield, it'll simply revert into a creature. I like that kind of risk mitigation.

The other powerful god, this thing will also help you win games while never becoming a creature.

Scry 1 each upkeep? Gold.

Making your creatures unblockable? That wins games.

I'm not going to pay big bucks for this card, but will happily stick it into any creature-based deck with blue.

I'm know for loving me some Sign in Bloods, and this lets you not draw the two lands you don't want to.
Yes, it costs one more mana, but having a single black in the mana cost can make it easier on some of my decks. You can bet I'll be stocking up on these.

OK, I'm not really excited to play this, but if I do, I'll be sure to shout out: "FUCK THE POLIS!"


The Heroic mechanic is interesting, and I may consider a white-blue deck built around it.

Instead of going the enchantment route, I'd go for cheap flashback spells like Artful Dodge and Defy Gravity to get the heroic effects without card disadvantage.

So, those are my musings on the spoiled cards. I wonder what the rest of my group(s) think.

Thursday, 5 September 2013

Slegr is Back (For good, this time!)

Readers of my old hockey blog know I had a weird man-crush on defenseman (and former Canuck) Jiri Slegr.(Here is my old tribute)

Slegr was an offensively talented defensemen that never quite got his due, yet remains one of the few players to have won gold at the Winter Olympics and World Champions, as well as a Stanley Cup.

In 2010, Slegr decided his playing days were behind him, and went into the 'wonderful' world of politics. He did play a few relegation games during his time in parliament, but never lost the itch to play.

With his term up, Slegr was sick of the corruption he dealt with, and decided to go back to 'The clean world of athletes'.

So, at 42 years of age, Slegr is back on the ice as a member of Litvinov: 
You can bet I'm pretty stoked, considering most of my old favourites are either retired or dead :(

It's Litvinov's 55th straight year in the top Czech hockey league, and it might as well represent the team's average age. With Martin Rucinsky back for another year, the Litvinov bench is going to need oxygen tanks. Slegr's back is, as he admits, pretty creaky and often sore. I wonder how many games he'll actually be able to play.

For my friend Camille, here are a couple of memories of Slegr in his younger years!

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Please, Verizon, Come Back!

Yes, this is the day that I write about wanting a soulless American corporation, with crappy customer service and disdain for its own workers, to come to Canada.

Despite the fact that Canada is one of the most developed nations in the world, we have some of the highest cell phone costs.

Yes, even random African countries get a better rate on their data plans than we do. I pay about $70 for my fairly basic plan, which I had to lock in to for three years in order to get the phone for $0. Ugh.

As their failed "Fair for Canada" propaganda campaign highlighted to Canadians, ROBELLUS (Rogers, Bell, Telus) controls almost the entire Canadian market place. More consumers were alerted to the fact, though this campaign, of just how closed the system is.

Yes, 30+ million Canadians have just three real choices for cell phone coverage. Even these 'boutique' firms like Koodo and Fido are owned by ROBELLUS. Without any real choice (Wind Mobile is about it) of alternatives, we're basically forced to take it up the tailpipe.

It was with some anticipation that we heard of Verizon wanting to come to Canada, prompting ROBELLUS to crap their pants.

Sadly, for lack of a better word, Verizon has decided not to enter the Canadian marketplace.

Verizon’s decision to stay out of Canada deals a stinging blow to the government’s efforts to make the wireless market more competitive and consumer-friendly, say industry experts. 

“Without someone like Verizon, what will end up happening is the Big Three will win,” says Walid Hejazi, a professor at the Rotman School of Management.

The Big Three -- Bell, Rogers and Telus -- have a combined 90 per cent market share. They have spent much of the summer telling consumers through an ad campaign that Verizon’s entry into the wireless market would be “unfair” and cost Canadian jobs.


I had no real intention of joining up with Verizon (unless they gave me the best rate), but I was hoping they would make an impact. The only way we'll get reasonable rates is if we get some real competition. If Canadians firms can't do it, then let the Yanks in until ROBELLUS is scared straight.


Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Growling: "The Fruit of My Loins"

Although this litte rant is on a topic that doesn't affect me, personally, it's still something that rubs my rhubarb the wrong way.

Today's Topic: Narcissistic men who name their sons after themselves, like John Smith, John Smith Jr, John Smith III, etc.

Yes, I said men, because it rarely happens with women.

Ken Griffey Jr and Sr.

Now, if you belong to a royal/noble family, or were living in the 17th century, I could understand. In modern times, it's just plain vanity.

"What shall I name my son? Hmm, let me see...

Do I let my son forge his own identity, and find his own way in the world?

Naw, I'll just name him after me! That way, whenever they say his name, and add the junior, they'll always think of me ME ME ME!!!"

Yes, this is the "Fruit of My Loins" Syndrome.

These types of men want to establish their legacy, and their kids will forever be their contribution to the world. Their sperm must be celebrated, and their kids must forever be "Their father's son". Ugh.

I'm amazed so many of these kids continue the tradition, or simply don't change their names to something other than their fathers. I would have certainly changed mine, if that was the case.

Women, if your man wants to name their sons after themselves, take a hint and find somebody who isn't so self-absorbed.