Archive for the ‘fun times’ Category

Heritage

September 25, 2014

I haven’t mentioned it yet, but we decided last week to take a break from raiding until the 6.0 patch. Suddenly, activities that I had been considering but unable to do because they happened to be on raid nights were all open to me. One of the first pieces of mail that arrived at my new address was a booklet of community education courses. I could learn a new language, pick up knitting, do some exercise classes (Lord knows I need more of that) or … hey, line dancing. That looks like fun. I also looked at upcoming polkas and found two local clubs that hold monthly meetings/dances. Hmmm, the one I chose is on Wednesday just like the line dancing classes. Line dancing … polkas … line dancing … polkas … classes that I have to pay for in advance and attend for 8 weeks in a row, or only happen once a month and I come if I want and pay when I get there. Yup, polkas win!

So last night I got all gussied up and left the house to go polka. I drove out to the VFW, told the ladies at the table that it was my first time there, plunked down my cash and bam. I’m a member. I even got a membership card. :D

I sat at a table off to the side by myself where I had a good view of everything … the other tables, the dance floor, and the band. There was about 10 minutes still before the music would start, but the doors had opened nearly an hour earlier so people could enjoy snacks and chitchat. Since I didn’t know anyone, I didn’t bother to get there early. After a few minutes, a man came around selling 50/50 tickets. I said no thank you but I guess he didn’t hear me, but he was very nice and I didn’t want to be rude, so I went ahead and bought some. He introduced himself, asked my name, and asked if it was my first visit even though I could tell that he knew very well that it was. You know, just friendly ice-breaking. And of course, asked if I was Polish … I told him no, but I am Czech, that’s close enough ya?

I happen to live in a city that has a very large Polish population. There’s a weekly Polish newsletter and a radio station that plays no less than 2 hours of polkas a day, 7 days a week…during the 5pm-7pm drive home. After a rough day at work nothing brings a smile to my face faster than a polka. If it happens to include a HUP, HUP, HUP-AH from the performer that smile will quickly turn into a big grin. You see, I grew up in an area that had a very large Czech population … in fact, my grandmother was pure Czech. So I expected to get asked many times whether I was Polish, and in fact I did get asked several times, but since I could truthfully say ‘No, but I am Czech (mostly)’ that gave me plenty of polka cred.

Anyway, as soon as the music started, couples were out on the floor. I watched carefully, hoping I would remember what to do if someone happened to ask me to dance. Now, if you’ve ever watched, you’ll know that each man sort of has his own style. Some are more flamboyant, some barely move, some like to have their lady turn in a circle every so often (my Dad did that. He’s probably the last person I danced with before last night). After about three songs, the man who had been selling the tickets asked me to dance. I said sure I’ll try but it’s been 20 years so be patient with me. Well it worked out alright, I was rusty but not terrible. A couple of songs later, another little man asked me to dance. I had seen him and his wife out there for every song so far. Like the first man, he introduced himself and asked my name and asked if it was my first time there. After that dance ended he said I should move over to their table instead of sitting by myself, so I could talk to people, so I did. I met his wife and the other couples at the table. They all expressed surprise that I came all by myself but hey, if it’s either go alone or don’t go at all, well …

I danced with him a few more times over the night. And the band didn’t just play polkas and waltzes, they did mix in some other things as well. So naturally when (ugh) Achy Breaky Heart was played (I curse you, Billy Ray, you killer of good country music) the ladies waved me out there and I was like, um … I don’t know how! Apparently I have not spent enough time watching my Tauren huntress /dance because one of the guys had to take me to the side and attempt to teach me to electric slide. Hey look, I didn’t need to go to the line dancing class after all, I can learn it at the polka!

Halfway through the band takes a break and they have the meeting. We actually stood and said the Pledge of Allegiance to open. Who still does that? That is awesome. I had to stand up when they introduced the new members. At the end of it we played a quick round of Bingo because that was the theme this month, then the drawings. It wasn’t a straight 50/50, they do 3 or 4 for various amounts, then had a few other prizes too, like coozies and a polka CD. I like that better than one drawing for a big amount, it’s more fun with more chances to win something. Afterwards there was more dancing and then it ended with everyone in a huge circle holding hands as we sang God Bless America.

So, I may have come alone, but by the end of the night I had made several acquaintances and I guarantee when I go next month, I may arrive alone but I won’t be alone when I get there.

P.S. This really has nothing to do with Mount & Blade: With Fire and Sword but it does somewhat explain part of the reason the game has such a grip on me!

I Hate Summer

August 8, 2014

Blargh. Work is so busy and I want to post. Leave me alone, phone! Ok, I’ll make this short.

Last night I took Bar Fortress from the Poles. I figured since the not asking thing worked for Minsk it would work again. I patrol around the fortress for awhile and then Colonel Matviy Gladkiy’s flag appears over it. Hmmm. Ok. The Poles come and take it. (I leave and let them. It’s not mine, I’m not fighting 600 of them to defend it by myself!) Once they’re gone I take it back and again, don’t ask for it. And again, it goes to Gladkiy. I guess since Gladkiy owned it for a long time before they came and took it, he’s got rights to it. So maybe if I can get Minsk back, then it will be mine since it was before. Oh well. At least I got more siege practice in, and when I took it back the second time I also freed my favorite buddy Les’ Gritsenko and Colonel Ivan Sirko, who were being held in the prison there.

One other really cool thing happened. I was hanging out with Colonel Ivan Bogun and we ran into Skrzetuski. When he defeated me a few nights ago, he took some things from my inventory, including some of my books and my backup horse Teddy. When we defeated him, I got all my stuff back, including Teddy! I was very happy, especially since I had been unable to find another heavy thoroughbred with the same stats. Instead, I bought a lame troop horse on the cheap. So now I have a healthy troop horse that I don’t need. I guess I’ll just increase one of my followers’ riding skill enough that they can ride him, because I’d feel bad selling him back and taking a loss on him without him ever even being ridden.

I really need to get a fortress soon. Now that my renown is higher, my army size has increased to 140+, and the types of campaigns I am going on are tough without the more expensive soldiers from the mercenary camps. My funds are dwindling.

Oh, and since I promised something about WoW this week, here .. have a screenshot of Lyss and Kash hearthing away from me at the end of our alt raid on Saturday night. Lyss and Slice both came along! It was really awesome to get to raid with them again. :)

WoWScrnShot_080214_215332

Fun With Jaraxxus

August 6, 2014

I finished a quest in Hearthstone over the weekend which put me over the 100g mark again, so I spent it on a card pack. Normally this nets me some dust and if I’m lucky, a rare or epic that I don’t have yet. On very rare occasions, however, it can be like this:

Hearthstone_Screenshot_8.2.2014.10.27.23

So of course I immediately went to my warlock deck and put him in there. I had to try him out. I still hadn’t played against Loatheb yet, so I took him there for his trial run.

Note: Some spoilery stuff here for the Plague wing. If you haven’t bought it yet and don’t want to know, do not proceed!

Loatheb, as you might remember if you raided Naxx early in Wrath, had a ton of health and could only be beaten at those gear levels through use of the mechanics … namely, killing the spores that occasionally spawn with as many people standing close to it as possible so as to get the buff that it gives when it explodes. I believe the buff was an increased critical strike chance. In Hearthstone it gives all of your minions +8 attack. Oh and Loatheb’s health is 2.5x higher than the other bosses you face. That’s a whopping 75 health for those of you who would rather not do the math. (waves at Cococat)

Now, his boss ability does 3 damage to your hero. So you might think ‘what the hell are you thinking playing a warlock who has life tap as his special’ … but it can work to your advantage if used intelligently. I used it once early, but then didn’t use it again until late in the fight. I had a summoning stone out, decreasing the cost to summon Jaraxxus to 7. My health was at 4, so first I tapped 2 of that health off for a draw, then dropped the big boy and bam! I turn into the demon and have 15 health. NOW it gets fun, because my new superpower summons a 6/6 infernal. In short order I have a board that looks like this:

Hearthstone_Screenshot_8.3.2014.10.10.23

Good times. Will Jaraxxus continue to be useful? I don’t know. But that one game was enough to make me happy that I got him.

Glorious Battle

August 4, 2014

I have two other things to post about this week, but I cannot get this out of my mind. It simply has to get written first, even though there are no screenshots and none of you probably really care about this game. I promise to get back to WoW/Hearthstone tomorrow. Honest!

So, I made multiple games in Mount & Blade: With Fire and Sword so that I could try out getting in with the other factions. I messed around with them enough to be made a full noble with a fief in Sweden, to have a mercenary contract with the Crimean Khanate, and to start an uprising in the Tsardom which would ultimately lead to me being named Tsar if I kept playing and jumped through all the right hoops. I’ve gotten nowhere with Poland, although King Jan considers me a friend. But no matter which one of those I’m playing, in my heart, I long to fight alongside my Cossack brothers. So after two or three hours spent in each of those, I have pretty much set the others aside and just played with my original character since then.

These Swedes keep trying to loot and burn my village. Fortunately, each time I have been nearby and have been able to thwart their attempts. The first time, I had a quest from one of the other Cossack nobles to bring him a lord of Sweden that he could use in a prisoner exchange, so I captured him and turned him in to, um … dang, one of the Ivans. Fedorenko I think. The next time, I let him go. And then I fought another Swede who I captured, but I let him go also. Now all of a sudden there are Swedes in my friend list. Ones that I have never even met! I guess they appreciate my honor rating.

After one of these battles, I run into Colonel Anton Zhdanovich and ask him what he and his men are up to. He’s heading out to lay siege to Minsk, so I follow, along with Colonel Bogdan Popovich and Army Chief Pavlo Gomon. Just as we are about to arrive, a Swede passes by on his way to Slutsk. I mouse over him and see that he is the one who recently captured our friend Colonel Prokop Shumeiko. I’m like, ‘Guys. Hey, guys! Look, he has Prokop! Let’s go rescue him!’ … And they’re all like, ‘Naw, man, we’re besieging this fortress. Priorities yo!’ Yeah … I left them to it and played cat and mouse with the Swede, trying to lure him close enough to them that one of them would help out. He was too crafty though, and I ended up having to make a decision … either take him on myself, or let him make it to Slutsk, where he would imprison my ally and the only way to rescue him THEN would be to capture the entire fortress. So I challenged him. I get in the battle and of course it’s nighttime (I hate night battles) and my horse seems really slow. I check and sure enough … I forgot that my beloved spirited courser had been injured in that last battle, and was now lame. I have a heavy thoroughbred also, but I can’t swap mid-battle. At least, not to my own horse. What I CAN do though, is get on someone else’s horse after the rider has been killed. Naturally it comes down to me by myself vs. a half dozen of his men. No way am I going to be able to ride them down on Skipper. I ride him over to a loose troop horse and switch. He’s kinda slow, but faster than my lame boy, so I make progress. But he was at half health when I picked him up and soon he is one hit away from going down. I ride away from the enemies in search of another mount, and find a thoroughbred standing clear at the edge of the map. He’s a nice one and we quickly dispatch the last of the enemies. Shumeiko is free and eternally grateful. I change horses in my inventory so that I don’t have to go through that mount-swapping mess again (lame horses recover if you leave them in your inventory for awhile and don’t ride them) and return to my comrades’ siege at Minsk.

Before the siege is successful, however, a large group of Polish nobles comes to defend it. They out number us, even if you add all four of our armies together. One of them engages Zhdanovich and the rest quickly pile on. I wait and watch to see what Poppy and Gomon are going to do. They stand by. I’m wringing my hands wishing there was something I could do, but it would be suicide to beat myself up on that mess. So I stand by with them, praying that Anton can escape. He does, and we scatter. Popovich and Gomon lead some of them away in one direction, while Anton and I head the other way, forcing them to choose whether to all follow one group or to split up themselves. One or two follow them, but most follow us. One small group is faster than the rest and catches up, but we dispatch him quickly. Just outside of Chernigov, the other three that followed get in another battle with Anton. I assess the situation and even though they outnumber the two of us by slightly more than 100 soldiers, I cannot stand idly by again. I rush to his defense. At least this time it is daylight and I am mounted on a healthy steed. The key section of this battle comes down to me alone against a half dozen men on foot and a half dozen riders. I’m not usually one to boast, but I’m not gonna lie, either … my skill with a lance is unmatched. Patience is the key. My horse is faster and more maneuverable than their mounts. I string them along behind me while picking off the men on the ground one by one. Then I go about taking care of the horsemen, one at a time. Some I only manage to get the horse and have to circle back around and get them once they are on foot. Others I manage to take right out of the saddle. At the end, all three armies are defeated. Sure, Anton and I only had like a dozen men left between us that weren’t injured or unconscious, but we routed THREE Polish armies. He was quick to proclaim me his BFF.

Sadly, once Skipper recovered, he was only a regular courser instead of a spirited one, so his speed dropped. He’s still faster than any horse on the field other than another courser, but I am sad. Next on the to-do list is to check the markets and see if I can find another spirited one. I guess the two points isn’t really necessary … I mean, his speed now is 50 and Teddy’s is 48, and I run down everything on Teddy just as well, too, so …we’ll see.

Ok, back to regularly scheduled Blizzard games posting after this!

Oh, one more thing … I found the book that the game was based on, With Fire and Sword by Henryk Sienkiewicz (written in 1884!), on Google Play, so I’m reading it in my browser between phone calls at work. It’s surprisingly good!


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