Wednesday, 26 December 2012
Sunday, 11 November 2012
I took the day off work to attend the funeral with my mother, grandmother, Liz and Kaleb. We left pretty early in order to get to Pickering, Yorkshire in time (and hopefully without rushing around when we got there). Lucky we did as there had been a lorry drive off the other side of the motorway as we were driving up, which caused a bit of traffic (I think later on they closed the whole motorway to get a crane in, if so it's a good thing we missed that).
Saturday, 10 November 2012
The prerelease, at Chaos City Comics in St Albans, was a fun time. Liz had been out in London during the day, but came back with Kaleb to cheer me along. I thought I had a really good sealed pool (I had the Golgari prerelease box), with a Lotleth Troll, and a couple of scavenge creatures (plus the creature search thing), but only managed to win the first match. All other games were fun and close, which is the main thing. I think I've been out of practice for a while (not that I normally do well in sealed anyway).
At Hemel the other week, both me and Liz were there to draft, again with me having Kaleb on my lap. I opened up a pack with the red X spell with overload, so took that first. After that, I didn't get passed too much red, and got a couple of BG cards, so moved into Golgari. In the second pack, I opened a Niv Mizzet, which I took wondering if I could get enough cards to support him, but saw very little blue or red so didn't bother risking trying, and stuck with the Golgari plan.
In the third pack, I was passed an Underworld Connections (the opener taking a on-colour Mythic over it). I build my deck quickly so I could keep Kaleb amused before we started, I had a fairly low curve, but a fair number of scavenge cards, so did have a couple of things to be doing in the late game.
In the first game, I played Joel, where we had some close matches, and I was fortunate to win the last match with a pair of Giant Growths.
The second game, I played Liz, playing Rakdos, and we had some interesting games. The first looked like there was a bit of a board stall, I had some good defenders, and she had some big unleash creatures (who couldn't block, but would do a lot of damage on the swing back if I attacked). I won the first game, but lost the second very quickly due to a lack of lands of the right colour. She had a very aggressive start which punished me greatly...
I was able to win the third match, when she unfortunately had similar problems that I did (although could do more with less, so it wasn't as quick). Kaleb at this point had decided to go to sleep...
In the final round, I played Sam, who we hadn't seen for some time. He had the four mana Demon, but by the time it came out I had a big enough board that I could tap it and swing for the win. I did stall a couple of turns once he played a swampwalker and I kept a swamp in hand, casting my black spells using only a gate, until I was able to deal with it otherwise.
The set is a fun set, and I'm sure I'll play another guild eventually... I do quite like the multi coloured scavenge creatures, I had multiples in my deck and they seemed to work quite well. I did like the green hexproof dude, that worked well with the scavenge creatures. Removal seems a little light in the set, but the hexproof is always handy against what there is, and it makes the deathtouch creatures all the more useful, and giant growth a nice trick to help in combat. Hopefully a set I will be able to play some more in the coming future.
Thursday, 13 September 2012
I actually got to do a M13 draft the other week. We took Kaleb along to Hemel with us, to see everyone again and when we were about to start drafting, Kaleb had almost finished feeding, so we waiting so Liz cold join in too - she hadn't the last time we went with Kaleb.
As he was still awake, I conduced the draft with him on my lap, with seemed to go well, he just sat there chewing his hand as he often does. My first pick was the new Liliana planeswalker, which I took quite happily and went to get as many other black cards as I could. I had a choice between Cower in Fear and the black ring fourth pick, taking the ring, which I think was the right choice.
I hadn't finalised on a second colour in the first pack, but stared to move into green.
I built the deck fairly quickly, it had a pretty low curve but some nice finishers. Kaleb had started to get fractious by this point so my first round opponent kindly sleeved and shuffled my deck.
I won the first match and lost the next two,all the time having some very close games. I won a couple by casting Sign in Blood targeting an opponent at two life :-)
In all, I had a fun time,and it was great to see everyone again. The set is fun to play,and even has some hidden complexity for a core set. I once cast Rise from the grave on my green "Serra Spider", and started getting the bonus from the black ring because it was also black now.
Saturday, 25 August 2012
I took some time off on both sides of this bank holiday weekend, partially to spend more time with Kaleb, and partially to get as much unpacking done as we can.
So far, its going well. We've put a couple of bits away somewhere instead of just shuffling boxes around, and the conservatory has more room to walk around in which is nice.
We took Kaleb swimming too for the first time, as the designated baby/parent session is during the day while I'm usually at work. It took a little pre planning (mainly ensuring Kaleb had a feed an hour before we went in), but we got there in time for the start of the session, and slowly took him into the water.
Holding him, I sat down in the shallow end so his feet got submerged, then shuffled along until he got further underwater himself. His reaction was fairly neutral throughout. He didn't giggle and smile, but didn't cry at all either, so at least he doesn't hate it. I got him floating too; holding his head and bum, letting him lie on the water, then let go of his bum so that floated and I only held his head. Right before we got out, I let go of both for a moment so e could float on his own. A fairly successful session, the only crying I can remember was when we tied to dress him afterwards.
The second day was also swimming. It started earlier (and we woke up later) so we got there at the end of the session (it is general swim after so it didn't matter). Kaleb was more active this time, kicking his legs as I held his head so he could float. It did mean that he dunked his head under when I tried to get him to float on his own, but he was fine after a little cough and a cuddle (the latter being probably unnecessary as he didn't seem bothered by it at all). We got a couple of smiles out of him too.
Hopefully we'll be able to go swimming with him more often, we may have to find some time when i can come along too around work, probably in the general swim session.
I did spend the last two days thinking it is the weekend, so it is nice to have it only just starting. I think we'll be able to focus on unpacking a lot more now, and hopefully make some more good progress.
Friday, 10 August 2012
One of the common themes or memes about having kids is the lack of sleep parents get. Another is how horrible it is to change nappies (it isn't), but that's another topic.
I get the feeling that, if this child induced lack of sleep is as bad as is made out, we have been very lucky with Kaleb not keeping us up too often. I think the worst we've had is a few nights where he woke up in the middle thereof and didn't sleep again for an hour or so, but that is rare in comparison to a 'usual' night.
Within the last month, he started to only wake once after midnight for a feed before the morning. For a while, this was sleeping through till 5, but a couple of nights he woke at 2 instead (before having a long sleep, past 5).
The timing of this one walk in the night seemed to spend on when his last evening feed was, so we started aiming to ensure he had a fairly late feed, a bit after 11, which would usually last him till 5.
For the last three nights, however, he has had his late feed as usual, but slept through till the next morning, waking around the time I get up for work. This has given us a solid six or seven hours sleep through he night, which we are pretty grateful for. Here's us hoping he continues to let us have some sleep too for the future to come :-)
Last weekend, me and Liz went along to the wedding of two of our friends from uni.
We had a lovely time, with my dad driving us down and looking after Kaleb during the day. The service was nice, some interesting music played throughout. I wondered when the lords prayer had changed from old English to modern English. The bride looked lovely, and the groom was calm enough at the start to give me a hug.
We then went over to the reception venue, giving Kaleb a feed before dad took him to butlins nearby the visit his uncle who was holidaying there. I had an interesting kiwi drink before going into the dining area for dinner. Food was tasty, particularly the home made ice cream. Plus it was nice to have an un-interupted meal, which has reduced for us somewhat since Kaleb was born.
After the meal and speeches, dad had come back with Kaleb wanting a feed, and not happy with the bottle we left for him. We then brought him in to see everyone while the music started, and he became as popular as ever. The groom likes it when babies grip onto your fingers, and got accused of being broody.
We stayed a bit longer, having a little dance, before getting ready to head back. Saying our goodbyes to everyone, we fed kleb before driving off home. I heard YMCA playing before we left and was almost tempted to run back to dance along, but we were just about to leave and had a long drive ahead of us. All in all, a very enjoyable day, and I wish all he best to the new couple
Thursday, 9 August 2012
I've mused about time and our perception of it a couple of times on this blog before. Sometimes thinking it for a by quickly without really noticing it, and maybe about how I felt I had a bit of spare time and not much to fill it with.
Luckily, the latter is no longer a problem. Between moving and looking after Kaleb, my hands have been pretty full. My only complaint here is that unboxing stuff seems to be taking ages, and I would rather be playing with Kaleb, which is a lot of fun.
My other observation, that time seems to pass by quickly, has also changed somewhat. While Kaleb has only been here about 2 and a half months, it feels longer. And the time spent together doesn't seem to zoom by quite so much, which I am happy about :-)
Wednesday, 1 August 2012
Friday, 27 July 2012
With the house move being away from Luton, it is no longer feasible for me to walk to work. I've considered cycling (I recon it'd take me an hour ish), but haven't done anything apart from just think about it. So commuting is now done using one of the selling points of Flitwick when we were choosing an area to move to-the train line.
Working in St Albans, Liz has been getting the train from Luton for some time, so we'd need to live somewhere near the train line for her to confined working. Luckily for me, I could get the same train line to Luton, which I've been doing for a week or so now.
Initially the price was somewhat of a surprise, but I am used to not only off peak prices, but using a railcard also, so. The difference is noticeable. I've talked to a couple of colleagues who commute by train and the recommendation is to get a monthly ticket (best cost ratio, I think after that the returns are diminishing).
In my years of getting the trains off peak, I got one of my first experiences with disruption yesterday. Must be a morning train thing.
I listen to podcast on the way to work (I've been a week or two behind since not listening to them while on paternity leave), so generally ignored the people at the station till I got to my platform, where ii noticed there was more people than usual. Then I saw the big delay signs...
I bumped into someone from work, who filled me in (signal failures near Bedford), so we wandered down the platform, away from the crowds to make use of one of the benches.
A little wait later, and a voice came over saying that someone had stolen some cables preventing trains from running. They seemed to put a lot of emphasis on the words 'cable theft', I guess to try and shift commuter anger away from them...
Sitting and waiting for a train (they were going to send one to Flitwick and back as it wouldn't be able to get to Bedford), we saw the fast trains zoom past. I was informed that they weren't affected by the cable theft due to being engine powered. Interesting. "It'd be nice if the fast trains stopped for us to help out due to the fault" my colleague suggested. "They probably would if the rail companies weren't privatized" I replied.
For some reason, it took a while for the train to decide to move platforms, and then actually do it, but we were eventually on a train and on our way. Not too late to work, about 40 mins I think. Maybe cycling isn't such a bad idea...
There were still delays on the way back, I found as I arrived at the station after work. While the prospect of getting the train one stop to get a bus wasn't great, it was a nice day and I wasn't going to let something like travel disruption ruin it.
One ice cream later, and I am waiting on the usual platform for the train to Luton. I hear there is one arriving on another platform, so start wandering towards there. Not rushing, there'll be another train soon if I miss it. My original train started to arrive as I had just got up the stairs, so I stuck with my original platform instead.
Getting off at Luton and heading for the exit, I thought I saw Bedford on the travel plans for the train I just got off. Checking the list of stations and seeing Flitwick, I asked a man in Orange for confirmation (I thought Luton was the terminating stop). It was going on as normal, so I got back on, and was on my way home, without the bus.
A fairly pleasant journey overall. I think I was lucky, both that the trains I needed to get arrived in a timely fashion for me, and also that my train commute is fairly short, so I am less affected by delays.
After a long wait, I finally have a house of my own to live in, and not be renting.
We had always planned on buying a house as soon as we could, and knowing Kaleb was on the way had an interesting effect of focusing, for saving for a deposit and actually looking for somewhere.
Our first decision was roughly where. While I liked the 15 min walk to work, we had decided to move to somewhere that was not Luton. As we would both liked our current jobs and neither of us could drive, we had to find somewhere that we could both get to work via public transport (as neither of us could drive).
Harpenden was ruled out pretty quickly (very expensive), St Albans was ruled out just after (still expensive). I had commuted from Watford to work before and it wasn't overly enjoyable, so we would have to be looking north of Luton instead (which I wasn't too bothered about as prices seem to go down the further away from London you go).
Someone had told Liz that Harlignton was nice (one stop after Leagrave-part of Luton), so we had a wander round one day. Seemed a little pricey, and of the 6 shops there, seemingly a nail salon, hairdressers and gun shop were more important than, say, a butcher. The convenience stores didn't stock nappies; Liz noted the availability of which might come in handy when Kaleb was born.
As we still had some time left in the day, we went to the next stop north to Flitwick. A short wander around near the train station and we found it to our liking. Large supermarket next to the station (so access to anything we might need), and the house prices were around what we might be able to afford.
After our trip to Wales in march, we started looking at some places online. Picking out a few we liked, we arranged some viewing. We looked at 3 in total, two being unsuitable for our needs, but one being just what we wanted. Close to the train station, the supermarket and some schools, with a garden. Three bedrooms was one more than we immediately need (and thought we could afford), but it means its urgent for us to need to move again in the future as we have the space to expand.
We put an offer in, and was told later that evening it was accepted. We had hoped that, being first time buyers buying a house with no chain it would be quick (6 weeks they said...) So we could move in before Kaleb was born, but it took a long time so we only moved in a couple of weeks ago.
I'm already liking it more than Luton, its a lot quieter, even near the train lines they're not too loud (nothing compared to planes taking off and landing) and everyone seems friendly. Still in the process of moving everything in, and I suspect we'll have some boxes that need unpacking lying around for a while yet.
Saturday, 14 July 2012
Kaleb will be 7 weeks tomorrow, and its surprising how fast he's growing. Grew out of newborn clothes a few weeks back, and we can see him taking up more and more room in his Moses basket. Yet when I hold him he still seems tiny, so he's now growing too fast yet.
Developmental wise, he had a further advancement the other day. I had got back from work, send put him face down on his playmat for some "tummy time". After a bit of a wriggle, he managed to turn himself over! Laying there on his back, looking around. Liz was having an excited squee, and I tried to get a video of him doing it again, but he didn't seem up for a repaying performance.
He did the reverse later on. Sort of. I lifted his legs up to put a new nappy on and he flipped himself over onto his front. I kind of helped with that one though...
Thursday, 12 July 2012
Me and Liz organised a trip to Hemel the other week, to see everyone and bring Kaleb along.
As the M13 release was imminent, it would be the last time we would draft Avacyn Restored. Well, last time for me anyway, Liz planned to look after Kaleb and maybe get a board game in.
I can't remember too much about the draft (my first pick being not very memorable), apart from the fact that it was very diverse. End of the first pack I had a playable in all colours, but mostly green, so decided to stick there and see what else I could get.
In the end, I had more black cards as a secondary colour, so went with that. Deck was a little lucky, but had 2 each of the black common two drops, and some fairly aggressive green, so it was looking good. Two trusted forcemage and a wolfir silverheart were the top cards, and both interacted well with wandering wolf and howlgeist.
I lost the first game of the first round. My opponent had some good fliers which I couldn't do much about. I won the next two games by gathering more creatures to push damage through. A quick interlude to test out my modern infect deck, and I was on to the second round.
First game of match two, I won with the wolfir-howlgeist interaction. In the second game, my opponent played the hexproof soulbond creature before another one, so I was able to remove it before things got silly. A close game later and I git the second win.
The third match was very quick, I won both games with an aggressive trusted forcemage with blades bracers. And wolfir silverheart which was actually passed to ne last pack by this opponent. I'm sure they regretted that... The second match ended with both paired and a joint assault for lethal.
I think ended the night 3 matches up and one game down which I think was a good way to end the set :-)
Sunday, 8 July 2012
Sunday, 1 July 2012
I was reading in the Private Eye yesterday that the RBS in the past few years cut a number of technology staff (and off shored some others), and now the major problems they are facing are caused by computer problems.
I was extra amused when I read that because on the very same day, using a cash machine while out shopping, the RBS branded machine asked for me "PIN Number". I had a look to see if the cash machine I was using was labelled as an ATM Machine (it wasn't)
It would appear that there were no jobs cut at the Department of Redundancy Department... ;-)
Saturday, 30 June 2012
It is interesting how time and events can change your perception on things.
The major one, as I have pondered before is how ones perception of time changes. Interestingly, it is often time that changes your perception of time. One way to see this is thinking back to how long days and years took when you were younger, seemingly stretching on for ages, compared to an older perception when it doesn't "feel" as long. Note that time itself isn't speeding up around you, it is your perception that has changed.
Another example I noticed earlier today was when I was holding my son, and he was looking out over my arm to his mother. I suspect he was the first male to stare about 20cm below her face that she didn't complain about... So events also change perceptions.
I would say the biggest event of all that can change your perception on something is experience. It is easy to have an opinion on something never experienced, but once you have gone experienced it, your perception on it can, and often will, change. Knowing this (or at least expecting it), I tried to enter parenthood with as few perceptions or expectations on it as possible. So my experiences will be painted onto a blank, untainted canvas, if you will. I think it has helped in me adapting to the massive change so quickly and, like Liz pointed out, it feels natural and as though he's always been here.
Sunday, 24 June 2012
It's been a fun time. I get some times to spend with Kaleb when Liz is busy doing something and he's not asleep. At the moment, he's mostly just look around, but its nice to spend some time together. Occasionally he tries to focus on me when I'm facing him; he'll move his eyes or head around to follow if I move my head :-)
Friday, 22 June 2012
Tuesday, 12 June 2012
Sunday, 20 May 2012
I'm really looking forward to it.
Wednesday, 16 May 2012
Saturday, 12 May 2012
Even though we had missed the pre-release, on the weekend the set was released we popped in the comic shop I play at sometimes (Chaos City in St Albans) as it was free comic book day (and we were passing through St Albans), and were asked if we wanted to come to the Monday night Magic event they were doing, which would be a draft of the new set. We said we might come along if we had the time spare to. As it was on a bank holiday, we did have a bit of time, and did make an effort to go along, if anything because it's a few set and we'll have less Magic playing time soon...
Friday, 27 April 2012
As much as I'd love to get started on being a Dad now, I know I still have a little but longer to wait. I should be good at that, I've been doing it for the last 8 months...
Wednesday, 25 April 2012
Sitting down, we opened the Dark Ascension pack and I had a look through, before deciding that, as I hadn't played the set much (and won't have much of a chance to soon), I would go for a fun deck as opposed to a super powerful one, and went with Diregraf Captain, with the intention to get a fun Zombie deck.
Monday, 9 April 2012
In all, it was a productive weekend, which I think is good, as it gave us a chance to catch up on things that we've been meaning to do for a while. Plus I got to try out an old cake recipe I had written down to see if I could still make it.
Friday, 6 April 2012
My problem at the moment is that, as I hadn't thought about the extra days, I haven't got anything planned, so need to think of something to do for the extra two days.
Tuesday, 27 March 2012
Monday, 12 March 2012
Sunday, 26 February 2012
Friday, 10 February 2012
The deck is all based around the card Terravore, one I really like when I first saw online when I started playing Magic years ago. I decided I would build a deck around it, and when I eventually got some copies of the card, I did.
Went to the Dark Ascension pre-release in St Albans the other weekend - it was on a Sunday (so they had already run two the previous two days). I had donated some basic land cards as there was a message on the forum saying they were low and couldn't get hold of any land stations. Luckily I had a box of spare lands that I sent along to be used over the weekend.
I got there a bit early and we waited around until the start, lining up to get the boosters and then we all opened them at the same time (I got mine towards the end of the line so didn't have to wait as long as others).
Tuesday, 7 February 2012
In the mean time, a fairly big event recently was my Dad's birthday party last weekend. He turned 50, which meant that, with me turning 25, I am now roughly half his age (or his age when I was born). Something to think about as I will become a Dad around my 25th birthday.
Friday, 13 January 2012
We got to the hospital on time (despite getting a different bus than last time which went a slightly different route) and went to the scanning reception, which we now knew how to get to and told them we were here. We went to their waiting room (last time we went to the antenatal area) and waited to be called (they were running a bit late).