Christmas 2014 Events

I’ve been putting off my post about Christmas for awhile. I was busy spending time with my family during Christmas break and didn’t set aside time to write then, but I am now!

My wife and I went home to visit our families. Her parents and mine live in the same town, so its easy to see both families when we have a break. We stayed with my family this time and brought our cats, Lucky and Carmelita, along.

We got to spend some quality time with both families, chatting, going on walks, playing minigolf, and playing card games.

The big news of the break was that my wife’s uncle (my uncle-in-law? Is that a thing?) is moving to Taiwan. He’s a doctor right now. He’s in his late 50’s, but he doesn’t have any kids. It’s likely that he’s saved enough for retirement at this point, although he isn’t calling this retirement. He plans to work on something else in the future, but it isn’t clear what that is.

His wife is from Taiwan and they’ve gone there plenty of times to visit her family, so it makes sense for them to move there. She works over the internet which she can do just as easily in Taiwan as she can in the USA until she chooses to retire.

The crazy part of this whole plan was that they plan to keep some sort of residence in Nevada even though they currently live in California. It was a little confusing to us, but it seemed to be for tax reasons.

And of course the most important part of any Christmas break, WHAT PRESENTS DID I GET?!??

First, we got two huge bags to carry all the loot in, one for my wife’s stuff and one for my things. We got a decorative glass apple which we’d like to display once we move to a place with more room. Our space for decorative items is filled up in our current apartment.

We got an ice tray specifically made to produce long and thin pieces of ice to put into travel bottles. A lot of candy, some candied popcorn, and my favorite, a chocolate orange.

I got two movies, one is a favorite of mine, Forgetting Sarah Marshall. The other is Pirate Radio, something my dad claims I said I wanted a while back, but I have no memory of. It has a lot of my favorite actors in it though so I will most likely enjoy watching it.

I got a new iPad keyboard which I am using to write this post. It’s amazing and I love it. I got the Villainy board game that I played at Fake Chinese New Year’s Eve. I got an Imagine Dragons CD. I got a cool book, On Killing, that was recommended in the Harcore History podcasts. It’s about the costs and methods of training people to kill in modern society (soldiers mostly, but it touches on the media influence of other forms of violence as well).

I got an electric razor to give myself the 5 o’clock shadow shave that I’ve been wanting. I got a pair of bacon and egg magnets for my fridge. I got a Snow Wars t-shirt. It shows Han Solo and Chewbacca having a snowball fight, only they are illustrated in Calvin and Hobbes art style as if Han Solo is Calvin and Chewie is Hobbes.

I got a puzzle and a new pair of scissors (I did want these things). I got a new lab coat to wear at work. I got a hand blender due to a mixup on my Amazon wish list (might still use it!). I got all of the Hardcore History podcasts that are no longer available for free on iTunes (Awesome!). I got a cookbook solely for making stuff in the microwave. I’ve looked up recipes like that in the past and I’m very happy that there is a whole cookbook devoted to microwave recipes.

My wife got us a pair of shirts to wear. She got me a bread knife. I also got her a bread knife. There was a miscommunication. She got me Percy Jackson’s Greek Gods which I’d been wanting for a long time. She got me a ton of funny hats as well. I now have a pizza hat, a viking helmet, and a Poro hat (Poros are cute and fuzzy League of Legends animals).

Soooo many presents. Fortunately, most of them are small and I was able to find places for all of them. Let me know what presents you got! Or just your favorite one!

-Mister Ed

League of Legends Meta

I'm the blue one in the middle on the right. Yeti to the rescue!
I’m the blue one in the middle on the right. Yeti to the rescue!

My previous post outlining League of Legends was forever ago. I posted League of Legends Map Part 3 on March 22nd.

Today I’m going to talk about the League of Legends meta.

In the everyday usage of the word, meta means something that is self-referential. But meta means something different when you’re talking about video games.

The meta of a video game refers to specific strategies used to play against other people.

The meta of a game evolves out of the rock-paper-scissors mechanics that most games use.

The meta can shift so that more people are playing rock than any other symbol, but if that happens then inevitably more people will start playing paper because paper is good against rock.

Or maybe the game designers will notice that scissors is losing more games than it should on average. The designers give scissors a buff for fighting the other symbols. The buff results in more people playing scissors and then more people playing rock because it counters scissors and on and on and on.

So what is the meta of League of Legends?

Like I said in my previous posts, League of Legends has three different lanes that shape the map.

Each lane has a set of resources that give gold, the enemy minions. Killing minions gets you gold.

There’s also the jungle monsters inbetween lanes that give gold.

So four places to get gold, but five people on each team. Not quite enough to go around.

The jungle, top, and mid lanes are what you’d expect. One person in each collects resources from that lane.

In North America the current meta is a large champion who can take a lot of hits in top lane.

The mid lane usually has a champion that can’t survive a lot of hits, but can deal a lot of damage with their abilities.

A lot of different champions work in the jungle. The North American meta for League of Legends jungle champions has been shifting a lot lately, so I couldn’t say what really fits there. In the picture above I’m a tanky jungler who can take a lot of hits and slow the other team down by throwing snowballs at them.

The League of Legends puts two champions in the bottom lane.

Because there’s two in the same place, you can’t name the lane based on the position. Instead the two positions are called Attack Damage Carry (ADC) and Support.

The ADC is responsible for shooting arrows or bullets at people. They’ve got a lot of abilities that make their arrows or bullets hit harder or reposition themselves so they can keep shooting arrows or bullets at the enemy team, but that’s the gist of the role.

The support is supposed to keep the ADC alive and provide basic utility to the team as a whole.

For example, a friend of my is playing Nami in the top left of the picture above.

Nami is a mermaid support. Her abilities let her heal her allies, trap her enemies in a bubble of water, buff her ADC’s attacks to make them slow enemies, speed up her team, and create a giant tidal wave that pushes the enemy team away.

So if Nami’s ADC is jumped on by an enemy, Nami can trap that enemy in a water bubble to save her ADC.

If someone is running at her ADC, Nami can increase the ADC’s speed and allow the ADC to slow the running enemy with their arrows and bullets.

The support’s role is so focused around keeping the ADC healthy and alive that the support doesn’t even share the gold from minions in the bottom lane. It’s expected that the ADC will kill all of the minions and get all of the gold.

So that’s the meta in League of Legends right now. More League posts to come!

If you’re interested in playing League of Legends you can give it a try using this link. Feel free to message me in game if you want to play a little with me! My name is SoapySeahorse on the North American server.

-Mister Ed

Haircuts

I got the best haircut of my life last week. I tend to say this every time I go to a barber, but this time it felt objectively true.

In the past I have always chosen to go to barber shops for my haircuts. My parents took me to hair stylists occasionally but it never worked out. One of them pulled my hair and the other two I’ve seen operate out of their own homes which always seemed quite odd to me.

I’ve enjoyed the barbers I’ve seen in the past. One of them let me play Link’s Awakening on his old Gameboy Pocket while he cut my hair. Another loved hearing about what I’d learned in school lately. One liked to brag about all the famous people he was connected to, saying things like, “My friend knows the guy who wrote that book!” One had a Coke machine from the 1930’s that you could get a bottle from for only a quarter.  Another place had the shop filled with action figures for kids to play with and homemade wicker bicycles for adults to gawk at. A few others had a TV in the barber shop always playing the History Channel or baseball as if those were the only two channels in existence.

I’ve been to a lot of different barber shops, not because my family moved, but because I have zero loyalty to any of them. While many of them did nice things for me, I never felt a lasting  special connection to any of them. I did like the one who listened to what I’d learned in school, but I stopped going to that shop when he moved away.

Barber shops are traditionally located somewhere in a downtown area with that nice rotating pole out front to tell you what the shop is. They have the haircutting seats inside and a bench constructed from a row of old theater seats for customers to wait on. There’s a table or a rack of magazines and newspapers to choose from. If there isn’t a table or a rack, then the magazines inevitably occupy one of the bench seats. I have yet to find any exceptions to this stereotype despite going to around two dozen different barbers.

Recently, I have been visiting only Asian immigrant barbers. In high school I stopped enjoying talking to my barber when I noticed they weren’t remembering who I was. Why would I bother updating them on my life’s progress when they wouldn’t actually see progression over the different times I came to see them? I started going to barber shops run by foreigners because they didn’t have enough confidence in their English skills to initiate a conversation with me. Thus, I never had to politely answer the typical barber questions about my life as the Asian barbers wouldn’t ask them.

Which brings me to my haircut last week. In my typical fashion, I said I needed to get a haircut a month ago when my hair started getting in my eyes. I put it off as long as I could. I finally gave in by going to Supercuts instead of my typical downtown Asian barber because Supercuts is open until 8PM on weekdays, which is pretty convenient. Even better, the local Supercuts is also right by my grocery store.

I walked in  at 7PM and made an appointment for 7:15 with the cashier (I’ve never seen a barber shop with a cashier). I did my grocery shopping and came back in time for my haircut with the stylist. She sat me down and this is where it gets good.

She actually asked me how I liked my haircut. Not the typical “long or short” bullshit. She actually asked about specific parts of my hair. Do you like it long on the sides? How would you like your sideburns? How do you like your bangs? Would you like the back to be square or rounded? Is this the right length?

FINALLY! A haircutter who knew how to actually please me with the haircut. I didn’t even notice that I was starting to have an enjoyable conversation with her. I walked away with the exact haircut I had imagined in my head. I’ll definitely be going back there again and asking for the same stylist.

That’s all for today!

-Mister Ed