Friday I went to U*Con the local gaming convention here in Ann Arbor. I hadn't been to one in at least ten years. I entered the Magic: the Gathering Kamigawa sealed deck tournament. You get a sealed tournament deck and a couple booster packs and have 45 minutes to make a workable deck with it that has to be at least 40 cards (including land). It was fun sorting through the different colors and coming up with my deck. I went black and red. For these things, you seem to go with cards that are inexpensive to play and also you want synergy in your deck. The cards have to work together. I thought mine, although flawed, was pretty good. I got a few really good cards, but not a lot of the kind I really wanted. Still others complimented me on the deck I did make, saying it was really solid. I came in 7th out of 13 entrants. I thought it was a pretty good showing for my first time at this sort of thing. I have my friends to thank. They are tough to play against and you really have to be sharp and on your toes.
I had planned on going Saturday evening for the constructed deck tournament. That's where you get to bring your own deck. I had play tested some extensively Thursday night. The new one I had planned didn't work out as well as I had hoped. I couldn't get mana out fast enough to make it work and I would get trounced by my other decks. Yes, I was playing the game with myself using two decks. Still it was effective in showing me the design flaws. So I decided, based on the play testing, to use my Angel Deck, which I tweaked. It would have been awesome. In the morning there was another sealed deck tournament for the new Unhinged set, which is rather goofy. But I never got to go to either of these.
My family was going to visit our dear friends the Huffakers, who we had not seen in many years. We first met them when we first became Mormon when I was 7 and were very close. They had 8 kids in their family at the time and eventually had a ninth. Scott, the second born, was only a few months younger than Bob and myself. Scott got married while we were still in college and I remember their first kid, Ariel, being born. She was actually a lovely baby. Normally all new borns are butt ugly, but Arial was not. Now, all Scott's siblings are married (except one) and have kids. His youngest sibling, Lily Anne (the Anne part was after my mom), was giving a recital at MSU as part of her music degree. She is also expecting her first child Dec. 26. Man that makes me feel old. I remember when her mom was pregnant with her. The plan was to have my brother and mom stop by my house and go up together. Then we would go to Scott's house afterwards for dinner (three of us, Scott, his wife, Steph, there three kids, Steve, Paul, his wife and 3 of their kids, Scott's parents, Lily, her husband, some random extra people. You do the math). I had though that the recital was at noon, so that I would have plenty of time to go to the evening constructed Magic tournament. But on Friday I found out that the recital was at 4pm. This meant that I couldn't go to anything on Saturday gaming wise. *sigh* I guess there's always next year.
It was really great seeing the Huffakers again. It filled my soul. And it was good being on the campus of my alma mater again. We met at Scott's before the recital to drop of a whole truck load of food (I'm not kidding it really did fill the truck). My mom was so excited I was expecting her to wet herself. It was shocking to see the young ones from my memory all grown up, with kids. We got to the recital and it was really great. Lily played the piano and played Chopin, Mozart, and a couple of others I wasn't familiar with except that they were Russian. I liked the Chopin the best. For an encore, she did a really amazing rendition of "Jingle Bells." Don't laugh, it was fantastic. What was funny was that when she started we all gave a little smile because it was instantly familiar. I leaned to my mom and Linda, Scott's mom, and whispered, "I can play that!" just as one of Scott's sons turned to him and whispered the same thing.
We went back to Scott's house and the festivities began. He has a huge house. 3,000 sq. feet with 1,500 sq. feet in the basement. It's freaking huge and has five bathrooms. The master bathroom is to die for. My frind Johnny, whom I've known from Kindergarten showed up in time for dinner. He lives in Lansing and we don't see each other often. Afterwards we, the guys, sat in the living room and talked. Scott is an internal medicine resident and plans on going through cardiology training. I don't know the technical term for it. Johnny is going to law school at MSU. Steve is a commercial pilot for Delta and lives in Idaho Falls, Idaho, Paul works for GM. Steve blamed us for many personal problems because of the stuff we did to him as a child. I remember tooth paste on his sleeping cheek and then tickling it with a feather and then trying to laugh silently as he vigorously rubbed it, still asleep. There might have been hands put into warm water while asleep as well. I remember also when Paul was very young "stealing his nose" and throwing it out of the moving car during a trip to Idaho. We ended up having to pull the car over, "finding" the nose and putting it back on because of his crying and shrieking. :) Ah, good times... good times. I got to tell my great knock-knock joke. It goes like this:
Rod: I've got a really great knock-knock joke. Okay, you start.
Unsuspecting Victim: Knock-knock.
Rod: Who's there?
Unsuspecting Victim: (stares at me. Then gets the joke.)
Everyone falls for it, except Paul. I even got to do my back flip as there was no kids present.
The kid's grandfather, Lee, had made them really cool and realstic looking wooden swords. I then proceeded to charm the kids (both Scott's and Paul's) thoroughly with my martial arts prowess. Kids love me. At one point I was defending myself with a sword and a cup and doing pretty well against three earnest attackers. I got help from Scott's second to youngest girl. I got to do a ninja disappearing act for one of Paul's kids. I told him to close his eyes and count to 5. I moved off to the side and hid behind his dad. When he opened his eyes I was gone. He asked where I was and was told I went down the hall. I followed behind him and got to scare him with my ninja sneakiness. Then I did my magic tricks, making a guitar pick disappear only to find it in a young person's ear. And push it against one ear, make it disappear, tap her head and make it reappear in the other ear. I showed off my ninja boots of doom, and had to try them on for my young fans. Then I taught Jake, Scott's fourth child some rolls and tumbles. It was hard to leave as they kept asking me questions. I got two high fives from Nathan, Scott's third child (and oldest boy. His throat hurt so he didn't say much at all) and Jake kept telling me that I had to come back and teach them more ninja stuff. He even made very sure to get our names right. Nathan brought out something Scott had given them. I was a wooden cylinder thing and a board with some of that tape they use on skateboards and things to give them traction. The idea was to balance on the board while on the cylinder, which was rolling. Their longest record was by Emily (Scott's second child) who lasted for 12 minutes. Nathan managed 4 minutes. It was to help train his kids for snow boarding. I want one of these. It would be great for the martial arts. I wasn't as good as the kids, but I could stand on one leg, and then up on my toes the longest of anyone. I even got all the adults to try that one.
Any way, I have a fan club now. Will have to plan on visiting again soon. And bring my weapons. Being at the Huffakers is such a pleasant chaos of happiness. I had really missed them. As Paul ended up being a Catholic, I think I could even feel safe telling them I'm Pagan now. Even though I missed most of U*Con, I'm very happy I went to Lily's recital.