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Saturday, Sep 23, 2006 - 21:41 SGT
Posted By: Gilbert

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Less Than Magical

Midsemester break, even as it seems that the semester had hardly started.

A rare card?

Do I detect a trace of recognition? Yup, it's a mock Magic: The Gathering card, the sort that was all the rage quite some time ago. It was sent to me by an NS friend some weeks ago, and no, I'm not here to debate the foreign talent issue (yet). My comments will be on its technical specifics.

To start off, it should probably be an Artifact Creature - Mercenary. No coloured mana cost in the top right. And it should fit in with the intention of the original creator too. Artifact, artifice, get it?

Moving on, a 2/3 for three mana is very good. Any better and it would need to have a sucky drawback tagged onto it, like Battered Golem (3/2) not being able to untap unless you play more artifacts, or Jangling Automaton (3/2) untapping all creatures the defending player has whenever it attacks... you get the idea. Good "Vanilla" creatures (without additional abilities/drawbacks) are pegged at about a 2/2 for two (Grizzly Bear-type) and a 3/3 for four, and that's with colour requirements.

But wait! Foreign Talent does have a drawback! "When FT comes into play, put a Singaporean you control into [its owner's] graveyard". Templating issues aside, the solution is just not to play any Singaporeans in one's deck - because there's no obligatory "otherwise, sacrifice Foreign Talent" clause tagged on.

So, um, what's the point? Well, though I haven't bought a single M:TG card in my life, I've been an avid reader of their website and appreciate the strategy within, though for the more intricate comboes I'm still in over my head. Last year I was free enough to design an all-original (expect the five basic lands) whole 330-card set, Conflux, and recently I've been dripping card ideas into its sequel, Conflagration. And I was, like, trolling message boards trying to get fellow aficionados to comment, but it appears that having a post count of one doesn't help in that regard. And so,


Never mind.

So, what's been the beeg highlight of the half-semester, academic-wise? It has to be becoming a Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences undergrad. Yah, GLYS, School of Computing undergrad cum Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences undergrad, you heard that right. Usually its SoC with Faculty of Science (Mathematics), but I personally have had it up to here with math for now. I can't seem to escape it, though, the Computer Graphics module is matrice-heavy, and Macroeconomics I has been all formulas up to now.

The male-female ratio is super-skewed the other way in FASS - in my Psychology tutorial, it was around one to five. And I've to say its a different culture too; Whoever was it that said that you can tell the extroverted scientists by the manner in which they look at the other guy's shoes? Nothing that exaggerated, but the types of people are... distinct.

Got to say that at least one of the tutorial rooms in FASS was tiny. Entered mistakenly while heading for my first Psych tut, and the two guys within immediately suspected that I was in the wrong place. Given the class size, I wouldn't be surprised if they knew everyone else in their module.

Newsflash - there's one faculty that is underperforming badly. Nope, it's not in NUS, which as we all know is a world-class institution. Rather, it's the Faculty of Small Furry Things.

Depressing state of Education

My mum inquired about whether I was raising hamsters. Hamsters?! Does the pic on the left look like one to you? Goodness gracious me. Previously, another friend who shall remain unnamed referred to that perfect specimen of hopping bunnyhood on the right as a furry pig. Yes, you got that right. P-I-G pig. Oink-oink pig. Champion, and still undefeated. Granted, none of us lives on farms nowadays, but that's hardly any excuse...

How might you do? Let's play Bunnypuppypiggykittyhammy? to find out:

Instructions: Each of the ten pictures shows, you guessed it, part of either a bunny, a puppy, a piggy, a kitty or a hammy (hamster). Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to identify the critter. Some are, of course, more obvious than others. Good luck!

Pic 1 Pic 2 Pic 3 Pic 4 Pic 5
Pic 6 Pic 7 Pic 8 Pic 9 Pic 10

Soccer now: It was a horrible, dismal, miserable (this) Sunday, and the worst of it was that Man U just never looked into it. Giggs' was a bigger loss than I thought, and after having a penalty saved and a ball cleared off the line, I can't say they were unlucky either. Rooney was a shadow of his former self, and he needs to get back to his all-action charging-barging basics.

And Drogba chose this of all nights to score - otherwise, I would have raked in over $110 on the Chelski-Liverpool goalless draw I predicted.

Got a nice round numbered loss statement: -$45. With three weeks gone, $248.30/$300; Compares favourably to the real New Paper tipsters though, they're floating at about -$200 now, albeit having taken on more cycles probably.

Actually, this form of wagering isn't exactly optimal, since it forces the punter to lay down a fixed amount even on weeks where it just seems that there are no good fixtures. And since I'm loathe to bet against the Devils, it's further to my detriment. Twelve points from fifteen is roughly championship form, if they can keep it up.

$20 on Man U (-1.5) vs Reading (at 2.50) (!) - A straight win would bring just 1.40, so why the big bonus on one more goal? Guess only the professional odds-setters know...
$10 on nil-nil in the above game (11.00) (!!) - Sometimes, double digits has its own lure
$20 on Arsenal (-1.5) vs Sheff Utd (1.53) - They can pay me back this way
$10 on H-H in the above game (1.50) - And this way
$10 on Liverpool to beat Tottenham (1.50) - Good deal for a home Pool game
$20 on Fulham (+1.5) vs Chelski (1.63) - Again, at home
$10 on Villa to beat Charlton (1.55) - Haven't been following them, but they seem bright. And yes, they're at home

Yes, I realise I have been posting my Saturday predictions when the first match is already in progress, but unless Man U are in it I generally don't bother watching. So there!

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