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Below are the 19 most recent journal entries recorded in l_neiman's LiveJournal:

Friday, April 25th, 2008
12:35 pm
Awesome quote from a Wired article
I've never really used my LJ too much (I prefer to read other people's), and it's been forever since I posted anything, but I thought this was worth sharing. It has what is quite possibly the best opening line I've ever read in an article:

"It costs $482.79 to get a decent pizza in San Francisco — $17 for the pie, $85 for cab fare, and $378.80 for the flight to New York."


Current Mood: cheerful
Wednesday, June 20th, 2007
9:58 am
Robot Chicken Star Wars special
If you've never seen Robot Chicken, it's a claymation cartoon show on Cartoon Network that is produced by Seth Green. Their stuff is usually hit-or-miss, but they just did a special Star Wars-themes episode for the SW 30th Anniversary, and it's hysterical. You can watch the whole thing on the Adult Swim website.

They got permission from George Lucas and even got people like Mark Hamill, George Lucas and Hulk Hogan to do voices. Some of the skits are old, but they're all great. My favorite is ~1 minute into it, when Vader calls the Emperor after the Death Star is blown up. Classic stuff...

Here's another good Star Wars-related video. "Manamana!"


Current Mood: calm
Wednesday, May 30th, 2007
1:49 pm
Rejected WiiPlay games
I know I haven't posted in forever, but I came across this today and wanted to share.

Pretty funny.


Current Mood: full
Monday, March 26th, 2007
5:15 pm
Peyton Manning SNL skit
I just found this, and thought it was pretty funny: http://www.wwtdd.com/post.phtml?pk=2071. Apparently NBC had YouTube take it down, but has since relented. As the post says: "Hitting kids in the nuts is comedy gold."

By the way, the blog where the above post comes from is generally pretty damn funny.


Current Mood: anxious
Friday, October 27th, 2006
10:51 am
Come join the Black Parade!
So Liz loves My Chemical Romance, and has for about a year now (has it been more than that?). I'd heard a few of their songs on the radio, and thought they were ok, but she just fell in love with their teenybopper style, :-). Anyway, she eventually bought their first big album, "Three Cheers For Sweet Revenge", and made me listen to it, and I thought a lot of it was cool, but not exactly my stilo. This week their second album, "The Black Parade", came out, and man was I in for a reevaluation...

In short, The Black Parade rocks. It's got intensity, it's got catchiness, it's got melody, and it's got kick-ass sound. They draw heavily from bands like Queen (and even Pink Floyd on one song [Mama]), and I think they show a lot more maturity/versatility than one their first album, which might be why I like it so much. I listened to it like 3 or 4 times in a row at work on Wednesday, and a few more times since then. It's got so many awesome songs: This is How I Disappear (my personal favorite), The Sharpest Lives, Welcome to the Black Parade, House of Wolves, Cancer, Disenchanted, Famous Last Words, etc.

Anyway, Liz and I both highly recommend this album, even to those people who didn't like previous MCR songs or have just never heard them. You can actually listen to the entire thing for free on The Black Parade's official website, so you have no excuse, :-)!


Current Mood: excited
Monday, July 10th, 2006
10:25 am
WC Final and Coldsnap impressions
Well, the World Cup is finally over, and now I can get back to my normal life. I'm bummed that I won't be able to skip work to go watch games at bars, though, ;-). South Africa 2010 seems so far away! The final was good, and despite Zidane unfortunately losing his cool, it was entertaining to watch. I should be happier with Italy's victory, I think (since I recently became an Italian citizen), but I was hoping that Zizou could win another World Cup and retire on top... But since he couldn't: "Forza azzurri!"

I played in the Coldsnap Pre-Release on Saturday at Neutral Ground, playing a grand total of two flights and two drafts. While I don't think the set is particularly good for Constructed play, I think it's very interesting for Limited...

In my first flight I didn't get anything über-busted, and ended up with a solid, if unexciting, U/B/g deck. It's hard to go from the Ravnica mentality of 3, 4 and even 5-color decks back to the regular 2-color mentality, with only occasional 3rd color splashes. I ended up going 3-1, losing to color-screw in round 2. Plus when the game was over my opponent said "Good game. My starting hand was pretty bad, but I just started drawing all my good cards!" I don't believe he was trying to be a dick, but the last thing you want to hear from an opponent after losing to color-screw is "Good game", and to top it all off that his hand was bad but that he started drawing the nuts. Some people just don't know how to be a graceful winner... Ripple proved to be very good, with me having three of "the fixed Moldervine Cloak": an enchantment for 2G with Ripple 4 that gives a guy +2/+2. At any rate, 5 packs for me, :-).

My second flight was unexciting, and I ended up in R/G/w, with my White splash being primarily for Sunscour (the pitch Wrath of God). I lost the first round in extra turns, because I didn't wait one more turn to play my Sunscour: the board was somewhat of a stalemate, and I was on 1 life, but with the ability to block/neutralize all of his creatures. By using the Sunscour when I did (with my opponent having one more of his extra turns), I basically put him at "creature or no". If he had a guy and I didn't, I lost. If he didn't have one, we would've drawn. He played two guys to my one. Sigh... I dropped right there, since I would've only gotten 3 packs for going 2-1, so I just dropped, got my 2 consolation packs, and signed up for a draft.

I was drafting with Mason and Tim McKenna, so there were good people at the table. I ended up with an INSANE U/R deck, featuring 3 of the 2-damage Ripple spells, and 4 of the Blue bounce Ripple spell. I dispatched my Quarterfinal opponent in a quick 2-0, and did the same to my Semifinal opponent (who had just beaten Tim, and who for some reason took a crappy card over a 5/5 flying, hasty, card-drawing Vampire as his first pick in pack one; Tim happily took the Vampire as his second pick, ;-)!). He had 7 copies of the Snow-land Farseek, and 5 copies of the pseudo-Call of the Herd card. Fortunately he just kept making mistake after mistake, and even played a 2cc 5/5 trampler that has the following cumulative upkeep: "Put a +1/+1 counter on a creature an opponent controls". He didn't realize he could choose not to pay the upkeep, so after 3 turns and 6 +1/+1 counters he swung with his 5/5 and I blocked/killed it with a 5/6 dude. It was academic from there on. I split the finals with a nice guy who had a B/W deck with tons of flyers and a Sunscour. He won the one game we played, so he got to officially finish first. 6 more packs for me!

In my final draft I first picked the Green Ophidian, and ended up with a pretty solid G/R aggro deck, featuring 4 of the 2-damage Ripple spells, as well as 3 or 4 other burn spells. Unfortunately I'm playing against Collin, who was feeding me, and ended up with an absolutely insane deck, featuring "Broken Angel" (Adarkar Valkyrie). He wins it in 3 very close games, him winning both games where he managed to play Broken Angel, and me winning the second game where I got stuck on two lands for a while but just burned him out from 14 life, :-).

Conclusions: Ripple is really, really good, and people don't seem to be taking the Ripple spells that highly. I really like Red and Blue, and Green has some really solid beatsticks. No real conclusions on White or Black yet, since I didn't play with them much.

I was also able to get a ton of good Coldsnap cards for the Type 4 deck: Dark Depths (the land that becomes a 20/20 indestructible guy), Commandeer (Force of Will meets Desertion), Vanish Into Memory (remove your 20/20 token, draw 20 cards, don't discard any), a cantrip Naturalize, Garza Zol (the 5/5 hasty, card-drawing, flying Vampire), Phyrexian Etchings (the fixed Necro, whose upkeep can conveniently be paid forever in Type 4), and some other ones. Good times.


P.S.- Liz and I went to see Pirates of the Caribbean 2 on Saturday night. Great flick, :-).

Friday, June 30th, 2006
4:32 pm
Argentina vs. Germany
Losing such an important and close game on penalty kicks really sucks balls, and I'm really bummed out right now...

Current Mood: sad
Friday, June 23rd, 2006
10:01 am
FIFA and Ze Germans are conspiring against me!
Due to those geniuses at the FIFA and on the World Cup planning committee, Argentina's Round-of-16 match vs. Mexico is at 2:30pm this Saturday, meaning that I'll have to skip States, :-(. At least it's looking to be a thrashing, hehe. I'll be watching the game at home with some friends, in case anyone is interested in coming over.

On a different note, last night I went out to dinner and then boozing with Jonny Magic, Gerard & co., which was a lot of fun. My friend José was in town (he's been crashing with Gerard since the Pro Tour), and he invited me out with the bunch of them. Good times!


Current Mood: anxious
Monday, June 19th, 2006
1:14 pm
NIN show review
I posted a pretty extensive review on our blog, so check it out. What a great show...


Current Mood: relaxed
Friday, June 16th, 2006
11:46 pm
Sealed Deck advice
So tonight I played my first-ever Friday Night Magic at Neutral Ground. I'm positive I misbuilt my deck, and wanted advice as to how other people would've built it...

Some nice cards in there, huh? Yeah, I agree, :-).

I know I misbuilt it, and part of it was because they only gave us 20 minutes for deckbuilding, I was über-excited about my bombs, and people who weren't playing the FNM were trying to tell me how they'd build it, so in the end I had to hurry and couldn't really concentrate. In retrospect I should've gone with more Blue, to be able to run great cards like Snapping Drake, Terraformer (would've helped my mana for sure), Soulsworn Jury, Patagia Viper, etc. The deck should've ended up as G/W/U with a Red splash for Twister, Cleansing Beam and Fiery Conclusion (I had 3 free Red sources with the Karoos and the Signet, and I could've even run the 4th Karoo for an additional free Red source).

I dropped from the tournament at 2-1, since it was already 10:45pm and there were two rounds to go, and with no real prospect of finishing in the top-2 to win some foils. I think I could've ended up 4-1, but it still bugs me that I misbuilt this deck.

How would everyone else have built it? The easiest thing would probably be to just post what cards from my final build you'd cut and what you'd add instead...


Current Mood: tired
11:43 am
Argentina 6 - Serbia 0



My faith in Argentina's team has been completely restored, as they played brilliantly (and not just after Serbia had a guy red-carded). I expect a great victory vs. The Netherlands next Wednesday, :-).


Current Mood: ecstatic
Wednesday, June 14th, 2006
12:59 pm
NIN at Jones Beach
This Saturday will mark my third Nine Inch Nails show ever, and my third show in just over a year (I'm not gonna try and keep track of how many Liz has been to, hehe)! They're playing at Jones Beach Theater, out on Long Island, so it should be a different experience than seeing them at Hammerstein or Madison Square Garden. For one it's an outdoor venue, but it's a nighttime show, so hopefully it won't be too bad. I'm sure the pit will be pretty frickin' hot, though...

The opening acts this time are pretty impressive: Peaches and Bauhaus. I've only heard a few Bauhaus songs, and while they're not my favorite band ever I've heard that they're awesome live. I haven't heard any Peaches songs (I think we have a few of her albums at home on iTunes, though [ah, the wonders of borrowing friends' external hard drives and copying a ton of music...]), but I've enjoyed all of the opening acts that I've seen at NIN shows so far (Dresden Dolls, Death From Above 1979, Queens of the Stone Age), and I don't expect this weekend to be any different...

Rather than taking the LIRR and then a bus we decided to just rent a car instead, since it'll only be about $70, and this way we don't have to worry about the hordes of other people who will also want to take the train and bus after the show. Yay Avis!

I'll post something after the show, for sure.

Also, I'm thinking of playing in the Sealed Deck FNM this Friday. I've never played FNM before; is it fun? Is it worth it?


Current Mood: bouncy
Friday, June 9th, 2006
4:11 pm
Bobby Flay espresso rub
So on Memorial Day Liz and I were sitting at home watching TV, and happened to catch one of Bobby Flay's shows on the Food Network: he was talking about an espresso spice rub that he was about to use on some steaks. I was intrigued, since I'd never used a dry rub on a steak (just marinades), so with the help of my trusty Time-Warner DVR I took some notes about what goes into the rub. A few hours later we were at Todaro's (a nice gourmet grocery store on 2nd Ave.) picking up everything we needed...

Some photographic evidence of the end-result:

Take a wild guess what's on the menu for tonight? Oh yeah.


P.S.- to those of you that listen to the Top8Magic.com podcasts, this is the espresso rub that BDM and Mike were talking about, with Mike being skeptical of how good it could be. I think he was wrong, :-).

Current Mood: anxious
Tuesday, June 6th, 2006
2:18 pm
Argentina vs. Ivory Coast vs. PTQ?!
So I have an interesting dilemma for this Saturday: on the one hand it's Argentina's first match in the World Cup at 2:30pm, facing off against top-ranked African team Ivory Coast, and on the other hand it's the sealed deck PTQ at Neutral Ground that (supposedly) begins at 10am... If I play in the PTQ I know I won't be done by 2:30pm, which means I won't be able to see the game live, but if I skip the PTQ I miss a great opportunity to play a format I really enjoy and generally do well at...

However, my decision-making process was recently made easier by the fact that my buddy Frankie (also from Argentina, and also living in NYC) will be going up to Boston to watch the game with our friend Pablo (also from Argentina, who's getting a PhD in Economics at MIT), and as such my main partner-in-crime for sports events involving Argentina won't be around. This means that I'd probably end up watching the game at home with Liz, who is not crazy about soccer at all... I'm glad she at least likes to watch rugby with me, :-).

Sooooo, my proposed solution is to have my cake and eat it too: I'll go to the PTQ and just DVR the game and watch it that night when I get home. I just ask that if anyone knows how the game is going during the PTQ that they not tell me about it, as World Cup season is something us Argies hold sacrosanct, and I don't want the result to be spoiled. It's looking like it'll be a great game, and since the Dutchies had a spat of injuries in their "friendly" vs. Australia, it's looking like the two teams advancing out of this WC's "Group of Death" might well be the two teams that are playing this Saturday.

But hey, take that with a grain of salt, since I'll obviously always root for Argentina, :-).


P.S.- I'll probably be AWOL for drafting during the week until late July, since today I'm starting a summer acting class at The New School. That'll take up my Tuesday/Thursday nights, and now Liz and I have started going to the gym again, so chances are that'll take up my Monday/Wednesday nights. Maybe this class will rekindle the old fire...

P.P.S.- for those of you that care about the World Cup, I highly recommend Ted Knutson's WC blog. It's also syndicated on LJ.

Current Mood: excited
Monday, April 24th, 2006
12:53 pm
Dissension Pre-Release
On Saturday I got up bright and early to head over to Neutral Ground and play in the Dissension Pre-Release. A few minutes after 8am they let the ravenous hordes (i.e.- us) into the store, and I registered for my first flight. I get an awesome pool, and I end up in U/G/B with a small red splash for Wrecking Ball and Cackling Flames. My Simic pool is very deep, and I have some very good Ravnica Green to complement it (Moldervine Cloak, Civic Wayfinder, Farseek, etc.), along with the always-good Last Gasp, Moroii, Dimir House-Guard and Big Stinks.

I start my flight 3-0/6-0, which didn't come as a big surprise. I was just smashing face. Despite playing like a donkey in the last round I manage to win 2-1, finishing strong as the only 4-0 in the flight, since the other two 3-0's decided to draw. Haha, drawing is for fools! So I got 13 extra Dissension packs for my troubles.

My second flight didn't go as well. My pool was fine, and my deck was definitely capable of going 2-1, if not 3-0. I had a bunch of cheap flyers, but my mana was sort of stretched, since I had lots of gold spells that required two different colors of mana. At any rate, I lost a really close first round after I kept an unkeepable hand in game 3 on the draw (5 lands, 1 Signet, 1 2/2 flyer for UW) just because I'm always optimistic about drawing the type of card I need (lands or spells). My first draw was a Selesnya Evangel, but then my deck started giving me lands instead of creatures. My opponent's double Rakdos Guildmage made short work of my "army", and then swung in for the win with Hasty 2/1 Goblins. I dropped from this flight and collected my two consolation boosters, rather than play out two more rounds for the possibility of winning just one extra pack.

I then signed up for a triple Dissension draft, and it was just so weird, since pretty much everyone at the table would be either straight B/R or U/G/W. I opened the 4/4 Graft guy for 2GG and never looked back, getting hooked up with the nuts from my right, even though he was also in U/G/W. My deck was the stone-cold nuts by the time the draft finished: I had 4 of the 1/1 tappers for 2(W/U), Azorius Guildmage, two of the 3/3 flying tramplers, 3 of the 1UW enchantment that prevents a creature from untapping (and has forecast), tons of Graft guys, and even Pride In The Clouds (that was the MVP in my Quarterfinal match).

I beat Rakdos in the Quarters, since my 2/3 Pro:Multicolored guys in conjunction with my tappers proved to be too much, though in Game 2 he did kill me on turn 4! He played the 2/1 Fear Goblin on turn 2, played two of the +2/+0 enchantments on it next turn and swung for 6, and then during his next turn he played out a land, cast Cackling Flames on me for 5, giving himself hellbent in the process, and swung with his 10/1 Fear Goblin. Sheesh...

In the Semis I played the mirror, but my deck was ridiculously well set up for the mirror, with my 5 tappers. Game 1 went long, and a creature stalemate developed. He had the edge in terms of raw power and Graft guys, but I had two active tappers and the Graft guy that lets you untap a guy with a +1/+1 counter on it, so I was able to tap 4 creatures. I miscounted how much damage I could do and left myself vulnerable to an alpha-strike from my opponent, but I blocked exactly right, allowing me to survive and kill him on my next turn. He couldn't believe it. The second was not even close, and I blew him out.

I split the Finals with another guy who was playing the mirror. His deck seemed close to mine in terms of power, but he had the 3/3 Graft guy for 1UG than can make other guys with +1/+1 counters untargetable, and that makes my tappers sad, :(. I offered the split since I didn't feel like playing it out, so I got another 6 packs out of this.

So yeah, I ended up with 21 extra Dissension packs, and I of course proceeded to crack them all last night. I didn't get any duals, ::frowns::, but I got a Voidslime, a Lyzolda, a Terry Soh and some other potentially good cards.

Not a bad day, all in all, :-).
Monday, April 17th, 2006
11:08 am
Top8magic tournament at NG
For Top8Magic's free tournament at Neutral Ground on Saturday I ran U/R Wafo-Tapa Control (basically just your standard U/R Control).

Here's the list I ran and how I did:

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So I got a foil Armageddon for my troubles, and Mark proceeded to beat Elias 2-0 in the finals, netting him a foil Sol Ring and Elias a foil Mishra's Factory (I told you he always does well when I lend him cards!).

Overall I liked the deck, but would definitely make some changes if I were to run it again. It could use Compulsive Research, to not get stuck on lands in the early turns so much (which I found surprising, given the amount of cheap cantrips the deck runs [Repeal, Remand, Electrolyze]; Research is also excellent with Niv-Mizzet), and I think I'd like a 4th Annex in the SB for the control matchups. For the Researches I think I could make room by cutting some number of Repeals and one or teo other spells. I'm also not sure what the appropriate Dragon balance is; 3 Keiga/1 Niv-Mizzet might be better, or even something like Ryusei.

Friday, April 14th, 2006
7:45 pm
Second draft recap
In my second draft I unfortunately lost in the first round, timing out. I'm still not completely used to MODO, and I'm sure I have several unnecessary stops, that cause me to lose time. When I got timed out it was Game 3 and I had a Mindleech Mass that was finally going to start hitting my opponent. Sigh...

Here's how the draft went:

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I'm sure I made some horrible picks, so ask away and educate me about my mistakes.

All you MODO veterans: what stops should I have set for drafts?

7:29 pm
Ok, today I did my first two MODO drafts (both 4-3-2-2). I won the first one (go me!), but timed-out in the first round of the second draft (boooo unnecessary stops!).

Here is the first draft recap:

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So yeah, I lost my MODO cherry and started with a bang. Good times.

Second draft recap to come...


Current Mood: happy
Monday, April 10th, 2006
12:19 pm
It was only a matter of time...
Alright, I finally caved and got an LJ account, :-). I'm probably only going to use it to comment on friends' LJs, but whatever. The blog my girlfriend Liz and I write can be viewed here: http://fortheeye.blogspot.com/.
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