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Jan. 25th, 2011

One Thing Ends, Another Begins

 Hi everyone!

NEW BLOG

Now that I've gone back to school and my life has begun a new course, I decided to start things off with a new blog!  That, and the fact that I apparently have to pay money to change my LJ url... T__T
I recently said I would start putting a lot more effort and tact and even more depth into my entries, and that's something I plan to adhere to from now on, so please check out my new blog!
It's called Drifting Sand
I really hope that everyone who's been following this blog will make the transition to my new one, thanks!  The link is below.

driftingsand.blogspot.com

Jan. 20th, 2011

Skewl

 So I've had four classes so far.  We did quite a bit of work in the first class, we had to write up some long answers to some questions about No One's A Mystery, which we read in class.  There was also some extra-credit homework.  I got 77%, not bad.  Receiving this mark came immediately after Prof. Maher's talk about how an 80 is an outstanding paper, and 90 means you can teach the class.  So yeah, I was happy. There was even a hint of wickedness, as I saw that many other classmates received poor marks.  For most of the class, he thoroughly explained all of our powerful fails on this assignment, and to my dismay, it sounded like he was talking about me the whole time ^^  I was really able to see all of the ways I could improve my work, enough to get me excited about it.  That's why I was happy about a 77, because apparently I could have produced a 90 if I knew all of my failage!  In tonight's class I was able to answer a lot of questions about grammar that we discussed as a group, and prof mentioned that I seems pretty good at grammar.  It really was like child's play to me, for the most part.  I've set a goal of getting the highest mark in the class, and at least above an 80, but preferably above 85.  For now, it feels within my grasp.

Jan. 7th, 2011

Long Time!

 Sorry for the long wait, everyone!

I've been busy and very distracted, haven't posted in a while.  So here's what's going on...

Go - Haven't been playing much at all, gotten a little weaker -_-
Right now I'm just not that interested, I have a lot of other things going on.  BUT!  I will never fall below 5d!  I won't let it happen!

Someone recently posted a comment about how to post Go kifu better - Thank you!  I haven't actually tried it yet, but will do!

School - went to an orientation thingy on the fifth.  Apparently this Academic Bridging course (Intro to Literature) will be a bit intensive, a lot of work!  Apparently, I won't work as hard again until 3rd or 4th year!  Yikes.  First class is in 3 days.

I've been rather obsessive about Pokemon lately, haha...  Here's something I wanted to post...  I've gotten a lot better at battling and team building thanks to Pokemon Online.  Pre-ordered my Pokemon White, can't wait....

Here is the fifth generation team I've come up with.  I've had a long history (not so long...) of disliking the way the male character sprite for yourself in the game looks, so I usually pick the girl.  I've gone with the name Zelda, since it's my favourite RPG.  I'm pretty loyal to Nintendo...
My male version will be named Crimz.

So, here's the team - I love it!  I've called it Team Crimz, it is a bit focused on fire.  This is also for my self-reference.
All of my pokemon configurations are original.

Lead Pokemon: Ninetales



NINETALES (female) [Fire Type]
Item: Focus Sash (prevents fainting from one hit)
Ability: Drought (Changes weather to strong sunlight permanently, which powers up fire moves 50% and reduces Water 50%)
Nature: Timid (+10% Speed, -10% Attack)
Effort Values (Stat add-ons): 252 Speed, 252 Special Attack, 4 Special Defense
Moves:
Overheat - Power 140 special fire attack, user's special attack is sharply reduced
Solarbeam - Power 120 special grass attack, requires one turn to charge up except in strong sunlight
Hypnosis - Puts foe to sleep, but accuracy is 60%
Power Swap - Trades changes in attack and special attack stats with foe
Level 100 Stats:  287 HP, 169 Attack, 186 Defense, 261 Special Attack, 237 Special Defense, 328 Speed



DOREDIA (female) [Grass Type]
Item: Leftovers (Heals 1/16 HP at the end of each turn)
Ability: Chlorophyll (Speed is doubled in strong sunlight)
Nature: Bold (+10% Defense, -10% Attack)
Effort Values (Stat add-ons): 252 Special Attack, 252 Defense, 4 HP
Moves:
Giga Drain - Power 75 special grass attack that restores half the damage dealt to user's HP
Hidden Power (Fire) - Power 70 (ideally) special attack with type based on  Pokemon's Individual Values
Butterfly Dance - A rarely learned move that raises Special Attack, Special Defense and Speed
Aromatherapy - Heals status conditions of all party Pokemon
Level 100 Stats:  282 HP, 139 Attack, 273 Defense, 318 Special Attack, 186 Special Defense, 215 Speed



CHARIZARD (male) [Fire Type, Flying Type]
Item: Life Orb (Powers up attacks at the expense of some HP for each attack made)
Ability: Solar Power (Special Attack increased by 50% in battle at the expense of some HP each turn)
Nature: Timid (+10% Speed, -10% Attack)
Effort Values (Stat add-ons): 252 Special Attack, 252 Speed, 4 Special Defense
Moves:
Flamethrower - Power 95 special fire attack
Solar Beam - Power 120 special grass attack that requires a turn to charge up except in strong sunlight
Dragon Pulse - Power 90 special dragon attack
Sunny Day - Changes weather to strong sunlight, which powers up fire and weakens water
Level 100 Stats: 297 HP, 183 Attack, 192 Defense, 317 Special Attack, 207 Special Defense, 328 Speed


STARMIE (genderless) [Water Type, Psychic Type]
Item: Focus Sash (Prevents user from fainting from one hit)
Ability: Natural Cure (User's status conditions are cured upon leaving battle)
Nature: Timid (+10% Speed, -10% Attack)
Effort Values (Stat add-ons): 252 Special Attack, 252 Speed, 4 Defense
Moves:
Psycho Shock - Power 80 special Psychic attack, applies damage to foes Defense, not Special Defense
Thunderbolt - Power 95 special electric attack with a small chance of paralyzing
Ice Beam - Power 95 special ice attack with a small chance of freezing
Rapid Spin - Power 40 physical normal attack that removes arena hazards, escapes Wrap, Fire Spin etc.
Level 100 Stats: 261 HP, 167 Attack, 207 Defense, 299 Special Attack, 206 Special Defense, 361 Speed



ARCANINE (male) [Fire Type]
Item: Balloon (User is aerial and cannot be affected by ground-type moves or arena spikes until it pops)
Ability: Intimidate (Upon entry to battle, opposing Pokemon's Attack is lowered by one stage)
Nature: Jolly (+10% Speed, -10% Special Attack)
Effort Values (Stat add-ons): 252 Attack, 216 Speed, 40 Defense
Moves:
Flare Blitz - Power 120 physical fire attack, user receives 1/3 the damage dealt.
Close Combat - Power 120 physical fighting attack, user's Defense and Special Defense drop
ExtremeSpeed - Power 80 physical normal attack that strikes first regardless of Speed
Wild Bolt - Power 70 physical electric attack, user receives 1/3 the damage dealt
Level 100 Stats: 321 HP, 319 Attack, 206 Defense, 212 Special Attack, 196 Special Defense, 308 Speed



DRAGONITE (male) [Dragon Type, Flying Type]
Item: Lava Cookie (Cures a status condition as soon as it appears.  Single use.)
Ability: Multi Scale (The first damage dealt to this Pokemon is halved)
Nature: Adamant (+10% Attack, -10% Special Attack)
Effort Values (Stat add-ons): 180 Attack, 220 Defense, 108 Speed
Moves:
Dragon Claw - Power 80 physical dragon attack
Earthquake - Power 100 physical ground attack
Extremespeed - Power 80 physical normal attack that strikes first regardless of Speed
Dragon Dance - Raises user's Attack and Speed
Level 100 Stats: 323 HP, 383 Attack, 281 Defense, 212 Special Attack, 236 Special Defense, 223 Speed



Here's how the team works:

Ninetales is sent out and the weather becomes strong sunlight.  Besides switching, Ninetales can attempt to put opponents to sleep when there's nothing better to do.  The combination of Power Swap and Focus Sash item allows Ninetales to survive against an overpowering foe long enough to steal all the power they've stacked up, eliminating their future threat at the very least.  It can also be used to lower opponent's special attack sharply after attacking with Overheat.  Overheat is already power 140, but it's increased by 50% by Same Type Attack Boost (Fire attack from Fire Pokemon) and then increased 50% again by the sun.  This way, even though Ninetales' Special Attack is not fabulous, this attack will be.  Solarbeam is an excellent and powerful move to be used to hit water, rock or ground types super effectively, serving to deal with Ninetales' Fire Pokemon weaknesses.  Doredia becomes extremely fast as long as the sun is strong, and as soon as it uses Butterfly Dance it becomes a powerful presence.  With high Defense, Leftovers and Special Defense increases through Butterfly Dance, as well as Giga Drain's HP benefits, Doredia becomes a super threat, troubled only by lack of diversity in its attacking moves' elements.  With Doredia, Solar Beam users, Drought and Thunderbolting Starmie present, water types are much less of a scare to the team.  Most water types are also slower than this team's Pokemon, so the only real threat there is the ability Drizzle, the water version of Drought.  If Ninetales is sent out a second time, the Drizzle can be overridden, but the opposite is also true.  Doredia's Aromatherapy is a wonderful status clearing move for the whole party, a good strategy against teams that utilize Toxic, Will-o-Wisp burning or Toxic Spikes.  Along with Dragonite's Lum Berry, Starmie's Natural Cure ability as well as it's useful Rapid Spin move, the team has ample defense against entry hazards and status attacks.  Charizard is the main powerhouse threat of the team.  Unfortunately, his 328 speed is just 1-6 points short of ideal, which would enable him to out-speed various popular dragons, but that doesn't stop him from demonstrating his large power with this team.  Dragon Pulse deals with any dragons he can keep up with, as well as Pokemon that resist his other two attacks and major enemies to this team such as the Water/Dragon Kingdra.  Solar Power ability boosts Charizard's Special Attack to an amazing 475, and all of his attacks are boosted another 30% or so by Life Orb.  Flamethrower receives a 50% boost from STAB and another from the sun, causing vicious damage even to fire-resisting Pokemon.  Solar Beam deals with his weaknesses, and Sunny Day ensures the presence of sun and can be used to eliminate sandstorm, hail or rain.  This move is an added assistance against rain-based teams utilizing Politoed and its Drizzle ability.  Those teams still have the advantage against this team even considering all the counter measures previously mentioned, but this team can at least have a chance to win or get down to one on one, a good result.  Starmie is a fast, multi-element user that covers a lot of enemy types and uses the all-important Rapid Spin.  Ice Beam and Thunderbolt are both very important (especially for against dragons and water types, respectively) and Psycho Shock is a STAB-boosted move that deals physical damage, useful for Pokemon like Snorlax and Blissey who resist special attacks.  Arcanine just barely out-speeds all the Pokemon that sit at 306 max speed.  With his respectable HP and decent defenses, he can survive some strong, neutrally effective physical attacks.  Extremespeed deals finishing blows, Flareblitz hits with physical fire boosted by sun and STAB, Wild Bolt can KO the flyers and water types and Close Combat deals with the rock, normal and steal types and has good base power.  Arcanine makes for a good revenge-killer and wall killer (Blissey etc.).  Last but not least, Dragonite.  His Multi Scale ability allows him to survive pretty much anything, and Lum Berry prevents status affliction while he's pumping himself with Dragon Dance.   One Dragon Dance makes him just barely out-speed Garchomp.  A few Dragon Dances and the game is over.  Dragonite is a good opponent for taking down those other powerful dragons that other Pokemon can't deal with.  The idea is to gain speed with Dragon dance, survive anything with Multi Scale and high Defense, and hit them super-effectively with STAB'd Dragon Claw.  Earthquake is also very useful, as the only ground attack throughout the team.  This team has a pretty good balance between special and physical, and is quite versatile.  It's weaknesses lie in its weakness against rain teams, and its over-emphasis on speedy sweepers - it lacks 'walls', and is therefor unbalanced in terms of team stats, which is a problem sometimes, like against certain 'Stall-wall' teams.

I've even planned out which other Pokemon I want to train and have for battling or collection, and once I complete this collection, I can sit back and leave it alone ^^

Other Main Battlers:  Ulgamoth, Jolteon, Weevile, Gengar, Ambipom, Chillaccino, Jalorda, Feraligatr, Scizor, Togekiss and Aerodactyl

Little Cup Team: Meowth, Vulpix, Totodile, Bulbasaur, Kibago, Gastly

Team Unova:

Chillaccino, Zoroark, Jalorda, Mamanbou, Emonga and Shandera.

Pokemon like Emonga are not very strong, sure, but it's my style to only use the ones I like.

Other Pokemon of Crimz/Zelda:

Arcanine (Sp. Atk), Swellow, Jolteon (Modest), Metagross, Infernape, Pikachu, Milotic, Vaporeon, Zangoose, Wargle, Persian,
Mismagius, Espeon, Nidoking, Roserade, Wartortle (Physical), Blastoise, Blastoise (Physical), Absol, Furiijio, Baokki, Abagoura, Flareon, Umbreon, Meganium, Clefable(2), Kojondo, Cloyster, Lapras, Oshawott and Tauros.

Nov. 23rd, 2010

Organizing my interests

 Well, I had fun at James' house tonight, we're getting a good show of Go players these days...

I've decided that I can't just play GO only when I have to, and I can't just "play only for fun, nothing else".
I still want to get stronger, and now that I can see exactly what it is that my Go lacks, however difficult to attain it may be, I have to do it.
I still want to become a 7 Dan level player.  On KGS, for example, I would like to be 7 or 8 Dan eventually...  I think I can do it.
In the meantime, while I don't have and can't afford a formal teacher and am busy with studies, not to mention upcoming university studies, I can't do anything like gain 3 stones of strength, but I can try to gain 1.  That alone is quite hard.  I've decided to push myself harder and add Go into the mix.  Not only that, I'm trying to diet right now because I want to into former shape.  Lately I've been going for short hikes in the morning or afternoon, so I'm going to continue that, but add to it.  I will make walking/hiking/jogging/running/exploring into a prominent "hobby".  I will diet a little by eating less (I eat a lot...) and eating a lot better, no ice cream, no rice noodle dishes at a Chinese restaurant, etc...  Usually, at least...
I will swap most of my snacks with light veggie or fruit substitutes, and drink a lot more water, especially instead of hot chocolate, unnecessary coffee, etc.  It's all a part of my goals...  Sort of like trying to becoming my ideal self.

So...  Japanese (+ Kanji), Korean, Writing (Novel etc.), Go, Outdoor exercise.  Watching Anime and reading Manga can't be helped...  it's part of who I am...  If I had money, I would even add Karaoke to the list, too ^^

I've already started stretching regularly again and doing a few minutes of light exercises almost every day.  Mind you, my "light" might be your "hardcore"...  That aside, I'll also make sure to walk home often instead of street car, stairs instead of escalator, etc.

If I weigh 220lbs right now (I'm not chubby/fat, by the way ^^), I would like to bring it at least down to 200.  I think over the last few years, my appetite has gotten a bit out of control, so I need to make myself more...  sustainable...  ^^

Anyway, each week I should put in at least 25 hours into Japanese, 30 into Korean, 15-20 into Go (10 of which are Saturday Go club, which I'm obliged to, and James' house, and probably about 5 of those hours would inevitably be fooling around or playing weaker players/teaching...)  I should put at least 15, but hopefully more like 20 into writing*/brainstorming, and at least 12-15 into extra outdoor exercise.  I should try to limit Anime/Manga/Games and other leisure to...  let's see...  This will be hard, so I should structure this out:

The list:

Doing nothing
Facebook, email, surfing
Casual / 'out-of-boredom' Go games

So...  Doing nothing is unavoidable sometimes, but I should not do it if I know I'm doing it ^^  I need to at least reduce the length and frequency of my 'breaks'

Facebook, email, surfing --> Surfing is barely needed, email is quick, so I should limit Facebook to [net]30 minutes.
Random Useless Go Games: Maximum one per day.

Hopefully I will succeed in structuring things out like this in practice :)  If only, if only.

Ja!

Nov. 21st, 2010

Recovered Motivation

 YOOOOOOOOOOOSHAA!

The most important thing for anyone hoping to accomplish anything difficult is motivation!

After bringing many printed Go games to Go club for review ad having them commented by Tiger, I've regained a lot of thirst for power in Baduk.
It's not that I'm suddenly going to focus on Go now, just that here and there, I will try to improve.  Lately I've been a little distracted from having any really good, long study sessions, but that ends here!
I'll go to bed soon, but before that, I will review Tiger's comments - they're really difficult to properly absorb.  I'll also teach myself 2-3 Kanji, then finally I'l sleep, hopefully no later than 1am.

Dieting is harder than it looks...  resisting temptations...  It's really hard when your fridge and freezer are full of fattening things.  I pretty much have no choice at the moment...

I'm really eager to learn a lot more Kanji, and to get a lot better at both Japanese and Korean.
I can feel it, a tiny taste of what it will feel like when I reach all of these goals.

Sugoi yatsu ni naru! Zettai!

Nov. 18th, 2010

毎日毎日

 MMMMmmmmm~~  How I enjoy listening to simple, lyric-less soundtracks from The Legend of Zelda, particularly Ocarina of Time, Majora's Mask and Wind Waker, which are my favourite games of the franchise (and in general I'd say).  Although I'm listening to them a little, right now for example, sometimes I find it's a lot more enjoyable to listen to nothing at all.  This is merely because I listen to music too much, to the point that it gives me a mild headache.  In other words, doing stuff on my computer without music in my ears actually feels like a foreign, unusual thing to me now.

So I'm still studying Japanese + Kanji, Korean, and working on my novel.  For the last two weeks I've been focusing on Korean so that I can keep up with my Thursday night Korean class, a 10-session class that's ending in a week or two.  I don't enjoy studying Korean that much because I find it awkward.  The only time I find it easy to remember Korean vocabulary is when it sounds similar to Japanese, which is the case like 5-10% of the time.  I've been bouncing back and forth between the three studies lately, as opposed to doing all of them every day.  Yesterday I tried to catch up on Kanji a bit.  I'm up to 85 now.  I'm taking it slow because I hate forgetting them.  I need to find a way to practice them in context.  For some of the simpler ones, I can do that on my own by constructing random sentences, but for others, I don't even know the contexts in which they are used.

I can't say much about my Korean so far, don't even ask.  My level is not worth mentioning.  I can write decently quickly now and I know a fair bit of basics, but still lacking a lot.  Compared to that, my Japanese is far ahead, although I'm sure I'll still freeze up in a real situation until I get more practice.  Still, my Japanese is already sort of okay, I can understand at least 25-35% of what I hear in Japanese dramas or Anime without subs.  I tried practicing the same thing for Korean, but I can't pick out a single word, it's really bad...
I've been taking a break from my story, simply to focus on the other two, but I really need to find time to do all of them at once, otherwise I might as well drop one completely for now in order to move quickly.  I'm wasting a lot of time dilly-dallying.  I need to go to the library again to study, because I don't get anything done at home...  I'm a little afraid of how I'll do in school in January when I have to get stuff done at home, but then again, I can do that at a library too.  I can do it somewhere on campus ^^  Plus it's only one course for this term, it'll be easy!  I will focus on that course more than anything else, because I need at least 73%.  I don't just want 73% anyway, I want above 90%, and so even if it's only one course, I can't get above90 without time and effort.  It'll be good practice for the real thing, a full course load, which will begin after that.  All the things I'm studying right now in addition to the one course will at least somewhat simulate the real thing and build up my power level for studying.  I'll have more motivation then, too, because I want to be good enough at Japanese and even Korean to destroy the first year level courses for each of those.  Well, I'm at least confident that I'll be able to obliterate the first year Japanese course by then, although some adept Japanese students, or even native speakers might be in that course.  I don't want to lose to the Chinese students because of Kanji!  hahaha!  By then I need to know several hundred!

Hmmm, now that I think about it, there is one thing to worry about.  In Japanese class one usually has to partner up with 1-3 others sometimes for group presentations...  I hope I don't have to parter with fails and get a bad mark because of the group-marking style of the task...  That happened to me in Japanese night school in high school, although my final grade was still 90 or something.

I hope I can get my Korean to where my Japanese is now, or was a few weeks ago.  I'm at the level in Japanese where even though I still suck, I have a strong understanding of sentence structure, grammar (somewhat), know a fair bit of vocabulary and all elementary phrases, can read easily and write much more quickly, and settled into the language enough that a lot of it from here onward is memorizing and applying vocabulary.  As for Korean, I'm not even "settled" yet, I'm a completely baseless floating group, about to die if I'm not taken care of.  Possibly in Gote ^^  Sorry about that Go gag.  When it comes to Japanese, I'm a decently settled two-space extension group on the third line, not completely safe, but impossible to capture.

I believe the time I spent between high school and now has given me room to breath and grow.  I was definitely not ready back then, but I feel more than ready now.  My experiences in the last two years have been unforgettable and invaluable.  My amazing, refreshing experiences in Korea gave me more than a taste of the world beyond.  I gained experience living with room mates, who got switched up several times, and because the Go school was sort of like a big family, I was able to reflect on myself a lot.  Literally, it was like my own personality was projected, reflected off of others, and bounced back to me so I could see it from different perspectives.  I experienced the generousity and culture of Korean people, the intensity of Go in Korea and of those who knock on the door to the professional Go world.  It was my first time flying, and I traveled alone.  But it wasn't just my experiences in Korea that lead me to where I am now.  My developments in Go had a huge impact on myself.  I analyzed my Go from every possible angle and used it as a different way of reflecting upon myself, in a way that no room mate could do.  After spending so much time out of school, I lived and learned.  I understood that even though I still lived at home, I was on my own when it comes to myself, so I had no choice but to become more independent.  I taught myself to study hard even when neither motivation nor ideal environment are present, and I taught myself to develop good habits in everything I do, and to try my best to get rid of my bad ones.  This includes getting onto a healthy schedule and waking up early every morning.  I've also realized how quickly my fitness and overall health can degrade if I neglect them for months on end, so I'm slowly but surely taking precautionary measures now.  I've learned recently that a little exercise and fresh air can make a world of difference, and I've even gained a greater appreciation for nature and the outdoors.  I know that I need to take better care of my body.  Even at Go club meetings I've learned a thing or two.  Going to Vancouver lacking money was a mistake that I won't repeat.  Borrowing money from others so often is something else I won't do, even if others happen to be credit card companies.  No, especially them.  I can resist the temptation to eat out far better than I could before, even if all of my friends are going.  I've had my share of sleep-overs and general all-nighters, too, which are also usually a bad idea.

One thing I will never regret is my quest for power in Go!

That is one thing that has a beginning, but no end.

Nov. 15th, 2010

(no subject)

 Hey everyone.

Last time, I said that I was too busy and tired to find and post the games with my Go Opening invention.  Instead, I introduced "Sky-High Style", which is not a Fuseki per say, but I way to think about the game.  I think there are some valid points in that style, and I do believe that there are other ways to play Go than the orthodox.  However, I've come to the conclusion that the easiest way for me to play well is to just play two 4-4's (Hoshi) as black and white and play normally and simply.  It's funny, I used to think people who did this were boring and unoriginal, but here I am, finally going this way.

Below I'll post two pictures.  The first one will have an explanation for how to play against my Fuseki invention, and the other is a good way to play against sky-high style, but only at the opening stage.


For some reason, half of the picture is cut off, but it doesn't matter.  Black has a star point in the lower right, and white a Star in the lower left.
White's inside approach with the marked stone is probably the most effective move, though perhaps counter-intuitive.  

If Black A, White can just enter the corner or play a double approach, and the black stone at the bottom of the picture (Black's move 3) will be a little misplaced, too close to thickness, and a slow move.  The way to think about this is that if that stone weren't there when white has approached, and if black had pincered and played out a corner invasion Joseki in the upper right, black would not have played the bottom black stone (Black 3) as the next move after.  Therefor, Black A is a bad response.  

If Black C, White D and Black E follow.  White plays an extension at F next, and after Black G, White H, Black I and White J, White becomes completely settled, Black's shape with G and I and the open space between there and the lower right corner makes him awkward.  Furthermore, Black's upper right corner is full of weaknesses.

 If Black plays to the right of C or extends on the top in response to white's approach, the result will be similar to or worse than the previous explanation, or otherwise not good enough either.  

Finally, if Black plays D-K-C-L sequence, White plays the light move of M and, in the opinion of two 6D friends of mine, the result seems more playable for white because black's upper right corner is unfinished, white is hard to attack, and Black's 3rd opening move, the black stone at the bottom of the picture, is in a useless place.  The reason this is bad is because Black's 'opening' structure becomes sort of non-existent.  So there you have it.


It seems LJ is giving me picture-uploading problems, so the next one will be a short explanation instead.  Please bear with this...

I often opened the Sky High Style with 5-5 and 4-5 as the first two moves, both on the same fifth line (Go no Go and Takamoku)
The next move was usually played on the same fourth line as the 4-5 stone, extending on the fourth line 6 spaces away from it.
White's San Ren Sei (3 stars) is effective.  If I play the middle star point within my own area as move 4, White plays the other one on the empty side.  Next, Black is expected to play something like Tengen (10-10).  The game seems easier for white because all of his stones are, well, simple.  White's 4-star Fuseki is easy to understand and play, but black's stones look awkward, and are very hard to think about.
I believe it is slightly more playable for white.


I don't like holding black, because I'm not good at playing Black's openings.  I'm not good at taking advantage of black's speed of moving first.  I'm much better at playing with White.  I think white is easier because even if black plays a successful opening, it should only allow him to match white's Komi.  The Komi is like a partial, automatic "success" for white that was played for him.  In other words, if black messes up the opening, White's Komi will stand out.  I like to simply react to my opponent's opening and play according to it.  I think playing white is sort of simpler...  I've heard many times that Black is still considered to have a tiny advantage for moving first, so...  I can only assume that the speed of Black's first move, allowing him to plan out a Fuseki formation, gives him a certain potential for success that can possibly succeed white's Komi in a perfectly played game by both sides, winning the game by 0.5 I guess.  For at least a year or two now, My winning percentage as White has been higher than black.  Even when I was KGS 1K, I remember having looked at my statistics on a website, which revealed a 55% winning rate as white, sometimes even higher, like 60-70%.  When it comes to the wins I've gotten against MIMI and JEFFBOT in the past, although in JEFFBOT's case they were very few, they were almost always as white.  It is plain as day that I'm better at playing White :)

Nov. 11th, 2010

Nostalgia

 Speaking of nostalgia, I wonder if I've already named that of a previous post...

Sorry for the lack of posts!  I've been busy~

Sorry for not posting the games I said I would post...  I've been too tired and lazy.  Most of the games are poor anyway.  Instead, let me just explain the idea.  It is not really an opening, but style!

You play moves like 5-5 and 4-5 in the beginning, for example, in order to build influence quickly.  Star points could work too.  After that, you might even play a move above a side star point (on the fifth line), or you might extend from your 4-5 on the fourth line six spaces away.  The idea is to quickly form a framework in the center, but you don't have to complete it.  Why?  Because completing it is hard...  It may be time to invade somewhere instead.  The point here is that that semi-surrounded, good-shaped central influence is worth a lot whether you claim it as points or not.  Why?  Two reason.  1 - It is invaluable for all fights of any kind and gives you control of the game - overwhelming power.  You may be able to consolidate it later, too.  2 - Even if your opponent spends Dame/neutral point stones to erase it, those moves only erase.  That means your influence is serving a good purpose already.  Furthermore, doing so may cause your opponent to create weak groups or weaknesses.  You can attack those weak, floating groups by chasing them in a way that surrounds territory, and even play leaning attacks in the direction the weak group is being forced to run to.  A well-executed leaning attack should either allow you to continue the chase longer after it reaches that place, allowing future profits, or force your opponent into an ultimatum; force them to choose between loss of territory at the leaned-on area, or damage to their floating group, maybe even loss of a big piece or death.

I call this "Sky-High Style".  It is a broad way of thinking about Go.  What is it for?  It's because I think Go can be played in many ways, and we have a lot more exploring to do.  I think that if the west could ever overtake the east in Go, it would be through reinvention.  We must create our own style and way of thinking to play the game.  I think this is also the most fun thing to do.  When I play Sky-High Style, my opponent usually becomes confused, which is surely a plus.  This is because it is unorthodox, but also because it is a deep and ambiguous way to play that makes the entire board position complex and hard to play correctly.  It involves the center into our normally corner and side-oriented openings, which is like bringing the game from 2D to 3D, or something like that~~  You don't have to agree with me, but this is what I've been thinking about lately.The other thing about having a lot more influence than your opponent is that you will usually get a lot more random bits of points than him surrounded in the endgame, so it is like the score you count during the middle-game is actually modest for you.

In a sense, the opening I talked about last time evolved into this.



Yesterday I went for a walk, just as I did yesterday.  So, yesterday I decided that, since I feel like a cadaver, I should go for a walk and a job.  It was really nice out, surprisingly warm.  I went for a jog up the hill on my street, and then I jogged down Riverdale Park Hill to the track.  There, I did one lap around and was already destroyed.  However, it was so nice out that I decided to take the biker's trail.  I walked along, basking in the sunshine until I reached another park.  But what was this park that I had forgotten about?  Riverdale Park West!  I even found a solitary Weeping Willow tree.  It's my mom's favourite tree, and it may be mine, too.  I stood under it for a while with a very clear mind...  Then I started daydreaming...  I had a romantic daydream involving the exact spot in which I stood, beneath the willow that wavered in the cool fall wind.  It's hard to explain vividly, and it's the kind of thought you'd wish you could have more often, something you're even hesitant to share because it was like a personal dream.  I walked further and reached the "Cabbage Town" area.  I reached more of Riverdale Park West as well as Riverdale Farm, which I decided to re-explore...  It brought back vivid memories of the time I went here to take pictures with my Photography class in high school.  On the way home, as I walked down Bain, I slowed down as I passed Withrow Public School, my old place.  Although I pass by it constantly every week, This time I noticed the tree at the far end of 'The Pit', which is like little sunken area of the field where kids play during recess.  Withrow's field is completely blocked off by walls and fence, but it's pretty vast.  Anyone can get in via the entrance to the school grounds, but it would be conspicuous for an adult to hang out in The Pit...  That's the only thing that stopped me.  I had always been scolded for climbing up and sitting in the lonely tree in the far corner of The Pit, so I wanted to sit in it again for old time's sake.  I enjoyed that walk very much, so I did the same thing today.  I really do love Fall/Autumn.  On that note, I never know whether ot call it 'Fall' or 'Autumn'...  I call it Fall because I'd most frequently heard it referred to as such.  There were only two things I didn't like during my little adventure.  One thing was all the cars and other artificial things, including graffiti.  At one point during the walk, I found myself under a bridge looking it a lot of spray painted stuff.  MITAKUNEE YO~  I sort of shouted it out loud for fun.  In Japanese it means "I don't want to see it!".  The normal/less informal version is Mitaku nai (desu) yo 見たくない よ~

These days I usually use Japanese when talking to myself aloud.  Not that I do it often, but when I'm by myself walking around outside I like to do that sometimes.  It's also a way for me to practice.  To be honest, I did a lot of daydreaming that day (yesterday).  The entire time from the Willow tree to the graffiti under the bridge, I was imagining talking to a girl in Japanese as we walked.  Why was it a girl?  Well, for one thing, I think it is normal for me to prefer the company of girls...  But it was the same girl from the "romantic" daydream under the tree.  Now you may be thinking, "Okay...  He has an imaginary girlfriend..."  So let me just get this straight.  I was imagining someone so I could more effectively practice my Japanese...  I wasn't looking at them as though they physically exist or talking to them out loud or anything, haha.
All I was doing was losing myself in my own world a little.  I also said "Kowai", meaning scary or afraid, when I walked up a metal staircase.  It was a Loooong way down if I somehow fell, and there were many, many holes purposely shaped into each step, so it was almost like walking on something invisible to me.  Not only that, but some of the steps were very loose and felt like they could fall off.  I'm a little afraid of heights, too...

I'm a really rogue person who highly values independence.  For that reason, I've long since wished to live on my own, but alas, I'm not financially capable of that yet.  At least I can look toward the future with a grin.  If I dislike it so much, it means I'll be that much happier later on...

I have a lot of written notes, plans and such printed and posted onto my wall.  I mentioned this before...  On the bottom of my 'Dreams' post, which lists my ultimate objectives, I have two Japanese sentences in a very large font.  One says, "Sugoi shousetsuka ni naru!" (凄い小説家になる!) which means, "Become a great novelist!"  The other says, "Sugoi yatsu ni naru!" ( 凄いやつになる!) which means "Become an amazing guy/fellow/chap/dude!

The meaning of the first one is simple - Become a great author, as though I were born to do it.  The second one requires me to accomplish all of my ideal self-improvements, which involves the acquisition and aptitude of many skills.

I really hate when people "ruin the mood".  If I'm watching something really cool, but my mom comes in and starts acting goofy.  Or...  When I was walking around yesterday all blissful and lost in thought, but old middle-aged ladies with strollers walk behind me and start calling their dogs in that really annoying, high-pitched, cutesy voice without stopping, and talking to their dogs like babies, it ruins the mood for me.  This is something I hate.

I think I'll keep going for those little hikes every day.  That way, I'll be able to improve my health, which should in turn improve everything else.  I've wanted to lose weight, too.  Even though I'm not even "chubby" yet, I have an infinitely higher body fat percentage than I did at the start of highs school, which was like 7%.  I've also wanted to improve my health, bring it back up.  I don't go outside enough other than for necessary traveling, and my cardio-vascular endurance is like an old man's.  No, it's worse.  I couldn't keep up with the old timer on the track yesterday ><

I'm thinking that after living on my own for a while, I'll probably want a pet.  I'll probably go for a dog, since I've lived with cats my whole life.  A dog will probably force me into a healthy lifestyle.

So, as for my studies...  The website my friend WIll suggested to me for learning Korean, talktomeinkorean.com, is great!  It's free forever, and Hyunwoo and Kyungeun are so funny...  When it comes to teaching myself Kanji, I had a bit of an intermission there for a bit, but now I'm almost up to 100.  ZKanji is a good program.

Thanks for reading!  Annyeonghikyeseyo~~~  Actually, I'm not sure which one of us is considered the "leaving" person, so...  Kyeseyo or Kaseyo...  Maybe I should go with kaseyo, as though we're both leaving at the same time :)

Um...  Bye!

Nov. 1st, 2010

Story Writing...

 Right now I'm too lazy to post the games from before....  But I will...

Working on my new story today...  A Legend of Zelda-like fantasy.  The purpose is to practice using this simple fantasy adventure novel.

Most of my main characters, especially those with royal connection, are named after colours.  What do you think of the main character's name?

His name is Clover Cornwall (Pending), an orphan that was found and taken in by a low-class family.  He is actually a prince, the son of the former (slain) King Azaelius.  Clover's real name is Midorus Virdaeis Azaelius of Covald.

'Midorus' comes from the Japanese word for green, 'Midori'.  'Virdaeis' comes from 'Viridian' and 'Azaelius' comes from 'Azalea'.  'Covald' comes from 'Cobalt'.

What do you think?

Coming up with names is really hard!

The villain, who is actually his brother, is named Carnelius Grimmzon Azaelius of Zenfor Dolk.  I named the 'City of Ice' by moving around the letters in the words Frozen and Cold, and switched the 'c' for 'k', although I'm not sure I like this name.  I wish I didn't have to come with all this out of randomness.

Some location names:

Azurus (True Azurus)
Idigo Bridge
Lake of the Lost
Beach of Barons
Shining Valley Moka Luma (I took 'mok' from Japanese and Korean 'wood', and 'luma' from 'luminous')
Maiden's Glade
Dark Meadow (It will have a unique name with two more words, making it 4 words, once I think of something)
Covald Castle
Covald Castle Town
Mount Piros
Fanglin Steep
Sky City Allabastus
Azure Sea
Holy City Azurus
Kagi Desert (At first, it was a random name.  Then I realized it's "Key" in Japanese, so it gave me the idea to incorporate a "Key" in the story)
Denza Market ('Denza' is truly 100% random...)

The Princess's given name will be Carmina ^^

Oct. 31st, 2010

Halloween / Improvement At Go

 I just saw a friend's photos posted on facebook containing carved pumpkins and such...  Carved pumpkin faces with lights inside...  They're so great!  Pumpkin is one of Halloween's festive food ingredients, and for me it's pretty much the only time of year I eat such things, like Pumpkin pie.  I think those lit pumpkin faces are the essence of Halloween, they're scarier than most actual costumes.  No, not scary.  I always felt very happy around Pumpkin faces when I was younger because they give out a unique feel.

Fall is my favourite month, also my month of birth.  Halloween is by far my favourite holiday.  You don't usually get presents on Halloween, and like most holidays, it becomes progressively less fun and magical as you get older.  However, this is the time of year when you get to dress up as anything you want!  The feeling of Halloween is a Harry Potter-like magic.  The coolest holiday and right in the middle of my favourite month, Fall.  Why do I love Fall, you might ask.  I mean, It's getting cold, plants are dying off and the streets are getting covered in leaves.  School starts up for kids and teens and people buy a lot of clothes and supplies around this time.  Well, actually those are pretty much the reasons I like it!

It's getting cold, but it's still not winter.  Rather, it's a refreshing cool!  Temperature wise, Fall or Spring are my favourite months, but probably Fall because I prefer too cold over too hot.  Leaves of every hue shower and blanket the streets, all of the trees are changing colour and shedding.  This is the best!  This is why I think Fall is the most beautiful season.  My sense of beauty is a little unique, I suppose.  I also don't know too many people who's favourite month is not Spring, or more commonly, Summer.

The whole back to school thing has a nice feeling too.  I may not have thought so very strongly back then, but as a child and as a teen, going back to school was exciting.  My second favourite season would have to be Spring.  The temperature is nice, the world is coming back to life and I find that the air has a certain smell to it.  Well, I think each of the seasons has its own sort of scent and feel.  Every Spring makes me feel nostalgic - The anniversary of becoming a Go player, vivid Spring memories from 2006.

Around this time of year is also when I feel them most inspiration to improve myself.  Actually, to be honest, this might only be how I'm feeling right now, my memory is not completely clear on that, but at least that's how I'm feeling right now.  Not only am I putting the big tasks of learning Korean and Japanese on my self simultaneously, I'm also trying to learn about creative writing and experimenting by writing my own novel chapters.  I can't help but think about Go as well, so I'm probably improving little by little there as well.  I must admit that 5 Dan has been by far the hardest wall to surpass.  That is, getting to 6 Dan - so hard.  I'm glad I hit the wall here though, I feel pretty good about my level, now that I think about it, so for the meantime, I can play Go happily and not worry about trying to become a pro or anything like that anymore.  Although I haven't permanently and absolutely given up on that, I'm glad I chased such a dream because I wouldn't have been where I am now without this kind of motivation.  Always aim higher than your realistic goal!  The way I studied Go and the way i thought while I was playing was always under the mindset that I WAS IN FACT going to be a professional, or that I WAS ALREADY a professional.  I think that kind of mindset was really effective.  It is the mindset of studying like your life is on the line, never accepting anything in your game that is just "okay" or "perhaps playable", never accepting your own preferred moves if they're apparently not "the best", and never submitting even 0.5 Moku to the opponent if it's 0.5 Moku more than they should get out of the position.  This kind of mindset requires the strong believe that one definitely has the potential to become pro, a deep confidence in one's own style, talent, seriousness, and ability to find the next key to improvement.  I believe the other reason why I improved at a nice pace for the first 3 years was that Go was constantly on my mind, not hidden so far in the back.  Therefor, in essence, I think most of improving at Go is a combination of seriousness/work ethic, and raw passion.  Other factors such as environment, resources and natural talent have a big role, but are sometimes out of your control.

I meant to focus this post on Halloween, but I guess my passion for Go doesn't allow that ^^

Many people have complimented me on my Go progress and sometimes asked me what my methods of improvement were...
There are lots of people who improved faster than me, maybe even in Canada they are several, who knows.  It is true though that I was never dissatisfied with my improvement, at least not until now T_T  Besides what I've already mentioned, they isn't much else I can say.  Some sort of proverbs I've derived from my own experiences are as follows:
  • Study what you don't like to study.  That which seems like a chore is probably your weak point.  That which seems like fun is probably your strong point.
  • Build up your work ethic progressively.  Studying is important for a Go player, and as Go is an incredibly difficult subject, a Go player trying to be pro, for example, should have equal or greater work ethic for studying than most university students.  Without tha,t you may become really strong, but there will be a limit, and your pace will be hindered.
  • Believe strongly in the most general advice.  For example, life and death problems/Tsumego.  There's a good reason why everyone tells everyone else to solve them often.
  • Never give up!

I can at least outline how things were for me in terms of Passion, Diligence, Talent, Environment and Resources.

Passion - I don't think anyone could have more passion for Go than me.  I'm sure that sounds arrogant, and there are probably plenty of people who have the same level of passion.  10/10
Diligence - My study habits increased progressively.  During my first year my study habit was low, and eventually it got quite high, but definitely not the maximum.  With an average over the first 3 1/2 years of studying Go, I'd give myself 4/10, being strict.  10 is the utmost maximum, after all.
Talent - This is just impossible for me to answer.  If I have any talent, I believe it probably lies in positional judgement, and perhaps within my passion itself.  Talent-wise, I'll give myself 7/10.  I believe in the right circumstances, I definitely could have become a professional 9 Dan.
Environment - The maximum for this would be a kid in Korea or China with multiple pro teachers and surrounded by other players all day, and with lots of competition.  However, I did have many friends to help me improve and several Go clubs to Go to, so I'll give myself 2/10.  It's actually not that low a score, it's high.  Most Go players in North America probably have a 0-2/10 environment in my books.
Resources -  I would have given Environment a 3/10, but people helping my out belongs here.  When I was a single digit Kyu I got some Go books, and until I was around 2 Dan or something, I had JEFFBOT to teach me.  However, there's still a lot of room for more, so I'll give this 3/10.

My total score is 26/50.  Who knows, maybe this kind of measurement can tell you how realistic it is for you to try to become a pro?

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