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Today was a wonderful day. (Excepting the rain, of course.) Here is a list:

1) The environmental science department is going to let me do my linguistics thesis!!!!! I just have to find an advisor who is willing to let me do it for bachelor of science credit, and I am set to go! Plus, I know who I want as an advisor!!! Okay, that was a lot of exclamation points, but yay!

2) My linguistic anthropology professor said "you really are a linguistic anthropologist!" Maybe that's a little bit of a strange thing to be happy about, but it's always nice when a professor acknowledges that you've been very enthusiastic about a topic.

3) One of my friends in ADPhi and I had a battle over whether TH or ADPhi was more nerdy. TH won (as far as I'm concerned ... because I am totally not biased ...) when another THer and I managed to slip in a discussion of materials science when talking about how we can't paint our lounge because it has lead paint. (Metanerdery! Metametanerdery! ... Okay.) The best my ADPhi friend was able to do was point out that the nerdery of TH and ADPhi often overlap.

4) Last but not least, my brother achieved everlasting fame. I could not be prouder.

Okay, the list is a little shorter than I originally expected, because it felt like such a monumental day. Nonetheless.
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All I have to say is: theory, you made my day. Completely and utterly. I spent about ten minutes laughing uncontrollably while waiting in line for the transfer dean's office hours. This woman kept walking by and saying things like, "that must be really funny," and "it's okay to laugh out loud, you know."  (For Dominion geeks not in the know, today's dominionstrategy post was "Accepting submissions for Great Isotropic Moments."  The title says it all.)

I was temporarily worried that the transfer dean would think I was ill or upset or something, as I imagine my eyes were a bit red from the tears of hilarity that managed to escape. :P Evidently not, though, which is good, as I am applying to be a transfer counselor next year.

And why, you may ask, was I sitting in the hallway outside the dean's office? )

On a completely unrelated note, I had a very interesting meal in the dining hall the other day. About half of campus lost power, including the dining hall, so we were eating on paper plates and drinking from soda cans (not me, obviously, as I don't like the fizzy), and the lines and everything were all dark. I spent about half the time wondering how they managed to comply with food temperature regulations, given the lack of power, but I suppose they did. It was quite entertaining, though I'm sure the dining hall staff thought it was much less so than I did.
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So, I know that playing a game like Dominion online has very few redeeming values—mostly people go on there to either 1) crush other people, 2) play with their friends who they could be playing with in Real Life, or 3) waste time. I typically fall into the third group.  I'm sure the actual players have a multiplicity of reasons, but those are probably the most common.

However, it's not totally pointless. I have now played with someone from Finland, which was exciting.  Well, he was enthusiastic until he found out that I was about twenty-five years younger than he was; it's a good thing I resisted the urge to say that I hadn't known that Dominion had existed that long, which probably would have come across as a little insulting.  He translates games from English, mostly, into Finnish.  I may have already posted this, by my Syntax professor informed my class that Finnish was the best language for a linguist to learn; it made me want to call up my sort-of cousin, whose husband is Finnish, and ask him for some Finnish sentences.  At any rate, that was cool.

And this evening I played with a rabbi from Wisconsin who had spent some of the last few years in Israel learning Hebrew.  (My screen name, apparently, sounded Hebrew, so he attempted to speak/write Hebrew to me, which sadly didn't work—MUST LEARN HEBREW!)  I suppose I don't actually know that this person was male, but I'm going to go with that simply because 1) I am willing to bet that most Dominion players are male, though you never know, a few more of us girls could be lurking, and 2) he sounded male, though as is plainly obvious he probably only sounded male because I thought he was male rather than because he actually sounded male.  I will admit that it gives me a certain thrill to be called "sir" by someone from Cyberspace; I kind of like it as an appellation, it makes me feel like a knight (All I need now is a glaive!  Well, if only it were that simple.)  (And, for the record, the person immediately continued with "or miss, as the case may be".  I neglected to correct him, as I rather like the idea of using "sir" as an unmarked term.)

And then there was the time that someone's screen name was "dominion" upside down, which it took me forever to figure out; I had just gotten up the courage to ask them what their screen name meant, or even worse what language it was in (the shame!), when I finally got it.

Right.  Apparently my life is composed of two things:  language and Dominion.
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We were talking about idioms in Syntax on Thursday, and how some idioms are decompositional while others aren't. So for example, you can say something like "he let the cat out of the bag" or "the cat was let out of the bag [by Eliza]". But, while you can say "the shit hit the fan," you can't say "the fan was hit by the shit."

Which obviously means that everyone in my class is now going to say "the fan was hit by the shit" instead.

This has prompted my Language Processing project, though I'm not sure that particular professor needs to know the reason I want to look at semantic decomposition of idioms.

On a completely unrelated note, I now have a lot less to do for next week than I originally thought I did—I have a sit-down exam in Brain Damage and the Mind, a take-home midterm for Syntax, a project proposal for Language Processing, a transcription for Linguistic Anthropology, and a paper for Linguistic Anthropology. It turns out, however, that I was quite confused about Linguistic Anthropology; I don't have to write that particular paper until May. \o/

That means that, while I could be working on everything else (such as the Syntax midterm, which will squash me like a little bug), I have been—wait for it—playing Dominion! I have now discovered a few more THers who play online, and I am ashamed to say that I beat them all BY FAR in terms of the number of games played—and they thought that they were obsessed. \o/?

Also, I am sad to say that tonight is the first time in a week and a half that I have actually been tired before 2am. I need to go back to a NORMAL sleep schedule, that includes breakfast. :P
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So, I found out this morning that buying Treasure Maps when your opponent already has a Possession is not a good plan. Very much not a good plan. When you're being Possessed, cards you trash don't actually get trashed—you discard them at the end of your turn instead. I had never thought about this before, but (unsurprisingly) this also holds true for Treasure Maps. So this morning I was being Possessed when I got two Treasure Maps; my opponent, of course, gained the four golds he got (at least, I assume it was a he, from his screen name) by trashing the Treasure Maps. What I didn't realize (stupidly) was that this meant that the Treasure Maps were not actually trashed. So, the very next turn, he Possessed me again and promptly trashed the two Treasure Maps again, so that he ended up with 8 golds while I had been busy building my deck to trash the Treasure Maps for my own use.

Luckily, I ended up getting to trash the Treasure Maps later, so I eventually got my golds. I kind of wonder whether my opponent let me have them once he saw that I wasn't going to resign—he said "game over" after the second trashing of the Treasure Maps, but I wanted to give it a chance.

At any rate, he later played a Masquerade while Possessing me, and passed himself some Colonies I'd bought. Twice.

Ah well. It was an interesting game, to say the least; and I will have to remember about that Possession-and-Treasure Map thing, because it's a very good strategy, if exceptionally mean (as in, I would only do it after asking permission). But my opponent made up for it by letting me getting the Treasure Maps myself (at least, I am going to operate under that assumption). I only lost by something like 20 or 25 points, which, considering, wasn't nearly as bad as it could have been, especially considering that he passed himself two of my Colonies. I guess that's what happens when you're actually not a jerk, like a lot of the people on isotropic are. It was much more fun, for him as well as me, I presume, than me getting completely and utterly crushed.
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I have been getting absolutely thrashed at Dominion in the last couple of days—at one point, I lost 3 to 117. I am actually almost proud of that; I didn't know it was possible to be that bad. And I don't even have the excuse of not paying attention; I was actually trying on that game. :P Though I still think the two times I got negative points (another thing I didn't know was possible, before isotropic!) top everything else.

Also, I suppose that if I'm going to use the handle "zeugma" anywhere at all, I ought to be prepared with a few that I like, beyond the obvious—Star Trek's "You are free to execute your laws, or your citizens, as you see fit." Random zeugmas I (mostly) invented. )

It's not exactly good when people ask you "what's a zeugma?" or "what are you favorite zeugmas?" and you don't have any on the tip of your tongue. :P

I have finally gotten sick of Language Processing; the professor is extremely cheerful, but spends way too much time going over basic linguistics (we literally drew the tree for "Eloise walked the child to the store on Wednesday" for an hour and a half). Why I (still) don't like Language Processing. )
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Actually, it just ended. :(

Today, I officially handed my data over to my lab partner, so I AM NO LONGER DOING AN ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE THESIS!!!!!!! To celebrate, I am going to play my 500th game of Dominion, drink my smoothie, eat my granola bars and chocolate chips, and work on Teddy. I got sidetracked for a few days working on a different project, but there's nothing like Harry Potter to celebrate a good day. I just wish I had a copy of the first book at school.

Although I don't want to sound all depressing or goal-oriented, I have a few ideas for a linguistics thesis, too, which I think bear an actual relationship to my particular strengths (which don't involve bees or doing anything so mind-numbingly boring as lab work). So! I might spend some time watching Obama and McCain duke it out, and listening to their use of (deictic) pronouns. YAY!!!!!!

I definitely prefer not taking as much hard/natural science. It's fun, I like learning about it, but ... linguistics is SO MUCH MORE ME!!!! You get to listen to people talk! o.O

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Apparently, some people don't like to lose at Dominion, because that was the response I got when I happened to have cards that took more than five seconds to play. When your opponent keeps playing Golems, Apothecaries, Throne Rooms, and Outposts, do you really expect their turn to take five seconds? No. And it shouldn't, because all of those cards require making decisions, clicking on the new cards, and in general taking a few seconds to play. And it's not like I actually take that long; the game I played before this one, my opponent had at least three King's Courts that he kept playing over and over again. And it was awesome—he got almost 100 VPs!

At any rate, I don't exactly like it when people online think they can be rude because they don't know who you are and don't like to lose. :P Everyone gets crappy decks, or sucky luck, every once in a while; deal with it.

Other than that, it was raining all day, which pretty much sucked because now all the snow will be gone, and it will be wet. But my classes were good, and I didn't fail my Brain Damage and the Mind exam—which I actually thought could be a possibility, since I ... didn't exactly study the right material. \o/

Last night was Childhood Regression Night, where I played with Legos. Yay!!!! I made a dragon (surprise surprise!), and almost convinced everyone to watch Dr. Horrible, but unfortunately the nice TV was being used. :P And then I spent all night world-building; it was great fun, but it's good that I don't have much homework.

Edit: What the hell is up with people today? I bought eight out of ten Fishing Villages, and my opponent resigned. :P I would feel massively guilty about doing something like that!
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I calculated the other day that I have (at least) ten papers to write this term. Strangely enough, none are very long; mostly, they're on the order of 2-4 pages. I've already written two of them, and I am supposed to be working on a third right now, in between studying for an exam tomorrow, finishing a problem set for Syntax that's due this afternoon, and trying to figure out what I need to bring home this weekend. BECAUSE IT'S A LONG WEEKEND AND I WILL BE HOME FOR FOUR DAYS!!!!

I have been ... not exactly as diligent as I ought to be.  I have been:

1) Watching Bones. I have reached the epitome of patheticness when it comes to TV shows. (Or at least, as near as I ever want to be.) )

2) Playing Dominion. Perhaps I shouldn't be worried about my TV-watching. )

3) Talking to Other Me.  It would be karma if I believed in such things. )

4)  Reading TV Tropes.  It's amazing how addictive a website can become.

That's about it. It's amazing how much I can pack into one day when it isn't homework.  I should probably try not to waste so much time, but ...

I guess I did talk to my potential thesis advisor in linguistics; I might get to work on the Moses Illusion!!!  That would be awesome, but I could also, I found out, do a thesis in linguistic anthropology, which is more along the lines of where I want to end up in graduate school.  So doing something in linguistic anthropology might be better, but ... I don't know.  At least I have multiple options!  And this time, I get to actually pick what I want to do, rather than having a professor say "here's a project, now go!"  It wasn't that The Other Thesis wasn't interesting, but I think I was a little less invested in it in part (though only part, and perhaps even a very small part) because I didn't feel like it was my project in any way.

(Also, the new Gmail header is really annoying.  I'm sure it's a perfectly good change, in reality, but since it's new I can't stop looking at it every time I check my email; and since this is quite often, I am currently a little obsessed with such a needless change.)
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Finished Ruins of Gorlan, Book 1 of the Ranger's Apprentice, series this weekend. It was fairly good; quite short and extremely easy to read. It suffers from the He-Became-A-Master-Of-His-Craft-In-Less-Than-A-Year problem, which I guess is at least better than in Eragon, where he LEARNED HOW TO READ IN A WEEK. o.O? (Oh yeah, and became a MASTER SWORDSMAN in a few months, simply by traveling around with Brom ... okay, NOT going to rant about all the things that are wrong with that.)

At least in Ruins of Gorlan, Will isn't actually a master of his craft in less than a year, he just gets to be really good and saves the day. I suppose the story would be a little boring if he was just shuffled off to the safety of the castle because he was too young. I did like the explanation for why an apprentice would be asked to go hunt the evil creatures—that he was a member of the Ranger Corps, so he had a duty just like the rest of them. He would be protected (i.e., not asked to actually fight the Kalkara), but by joining the Corps he was committing himself to protecting the kingdom. It's a little cheesy, maybe, but I prefer that he be treated like a part of the group than excluded from the most important functions of the Corps simply because he was too young.

It was also written for young teenagers; in Harry Potter, this doesn't annoy me too much in the early books, but in Ruins of Gorlan there's a certain amount of hitting over the head with the extremely obvious facts, simply because the intended audience might not catch on. It was kind of like A:TLA in that respect, but that's okay. I can accept the fact that I am no longer (technically) twelve years old. :P (Twenty-two? What, no, me? It can't be!)

Also watched Tangled again. There are some things that I really like about it (the music, the animation, the HORSE); but it still annoys me that the witch wants beauty and youth, which are exactly the things the young girl has ... I feel like the message of don't-be-vain would be a lot stronger if the young girl weren't so beautiful all the time. Nonetheless, I like how Rapunzel actually has a character—she's independent (mostly, anyway, and she gets more so by the end of the film), creative, determined, intelligent.

Kudos to the people who cast Tangled, because I actually like the female voices!

Also, because I can't resist:  Dominion ramblings )
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I got my first compliment for a good play in Dominion today. :) I know, I know, that pretty much means I've been playing way too much Dominion lately, but still. I King's Courted some Bridges and Nobles, so I got -3$ per Bridge played, and then I could use my Nobles to get more actions and cards in order to get enough money to buy, in one turn, four Colonies (because each Colony only cost 4$ by the time I had finished King's Courting a King's Court and playing all the Bridges). In another turn, I bought a Colony, a Nobles, and four Golds in the same manner. It was, needless to say, and awesome spread, and a fantastic combination of cards; I only wish I had planned it to be so awesome, but instead I just happened to hit upon a good combination. At any rate, I will definitely look out for a spread like this again, because it really, really worked.

I also played the fastest game of my life—it took four minutes, no kidding. I usually expect about 15-20 minutes; so I was tad bit worried when I realized I had started a game with only about 15 minutes left before I was supposed to be somewhere, but I had forgotten that I have to actually walk there. Luckily, though, I got to write this instead. :) ... And I am now going to be late. :P
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So, I've been unpacking various boxes from various places, and unfortunately discovered that I didn't pack what I thought I had packed, and that I had packed things I hadn't intended to. For example: I forgot a hairbrush, scissors, extra coat hangers, pillows, plates and bowls (well, I only wanted one of each). I brought two extra towels, a ton of shirts, extra ethernet cords, a lot of sponges but no dishwashing liquid, only one pen, only three pairs of pants, my fancy shoes (read: they look fancy but cost about $10) ... at least I pretty much have enough of everything I need, at least until I go home again in February; I had to shell out for a hairbrush, but I got the square kind, which I like a lot better than the brush I usually bring to school. And it came with extra hair ties—which I buy about once every month or two.

Unfortunately, however, in amidst all of this losing things and finding extras of things, I have managed to lose misplace my external harddrive. There was something else important that I've lost, but I can't remember at the moment what it was; at any rate, I will definitely be spending some time looking in the storage room downstairs to see whether I left it there. I thought it was in one of the two large crates I left, but evidently not.

On the plus side, I got my blender and my toaster oven working; I'm not entirely sure I'm allowed to have a toaster oven in my room, but it has an automatic shut-off, so I think it's allowed. And even if it isn't—I doubt they do inspections in the spring, so I'm not too worried.

Well, classes start tomorrow, so I ought to go plan my shopping schedule, rather than play more Dominion. You'd think I'd get bored with it, by now, having played as much as I have in the last few weeks, but no. I've gotten a little better, though I think it's in large part that I've become a lot more familiar with the online interface and with most of the cards—I now know what they all actually do, so even though I frequently make mistakes, at least I now have a better sense of when I am making those mistakes. Of course, constantly switching to another tab when it's my turn doesn't help very much ... as I don't always notice when, say, nearly all of my Treasure has been trashed by Pirate Ships and I CAN'T BUY ANYTHING!!!
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Back at school now, three days early—we don't start until Wednesday. I have one of the largest singles in the dorm; it's extra long, so it's almost as big as my room at home. The only downside is that the bureau is not built into the wall, which means it's much smaller than the bureaus in the other singles. On the up side, there is now plenty of space to pile all my stuff, which is now strewn about the floor. Theoretically, I was going to put it all away today; however, I had a meeting this morning, and then came back to my room and crashed for about three hours. Did I mention my room is extremely hot? I am going to have to figure out how to fix that, or else I won't get any homework done at all.

ResLife completely messed up our room assignments—by our, I mean mine and my brother's and about three other people in my program house. It's a little complicated. )

I have now spent an inordinate amount of time sifting through the Harry Potter wiki to find witches and wizards born between ~1965 and 1975, whose children could plausibly be going to Hogwarts while Teddy is there. Although having children at the age of 23 (which is about how old students born in 1975 would be if their children were Teddy's age) seems rather young for the Muggle world, it sort of makes sense in the wizarding world—if we assume that most British wizards go from Hogwarts to some sort of 2-5 year vocational school (i.e., to learn to be Healers, teachers, Aurors, magical law enforcers) then they would be 23 or younger when they graduated from their professional school. Most students wouldn't have children that soon out of vocational school, but especially for students who attend shorter programs, it doesn't seem too bizarre for a few parents to be that young. Then I remember that that is basically my age, and it seems a little stranger.

And ... I am not entirely sure I am going to finish my environmental science thesis. I just have absolutely no desire to work on it right now, and it's not like I don't have a whole other year to do a completely different thesis if I don't want to. I feel a little sheepish about this, but as I'm pretty sure I don't want to do environmental science as a career, I'd rather do a thesis on something a little more directly related to my potential career interests. Not that I know what those are, but the good news is that I have enough research experience in environmental science from SES last semester that I don't really feel like I need to do an ES/geo thesis in order to get into grad school in something like that. Not that you actually need a thesis to get into grad school, but it helps. At any rate, I'm not going to make a decision any time soon—I will wait until I've started working in the lab again, and until I've convinced my linguistics concentration advisor that I am serious about linguistics.
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**xkcd love**

Given the amount of time that my mother spends watching the news and then telling me what she saw (if I wasn't in the room), I am surprised that I haven't heard anything more about Lebanon. After all, the government collapsed. I suppose Tucson, Tunisia, and Sudan have taken over the news cycle, but still. Seems like a great oversight of Rachel Maddow's. On the other hand, she seems to be on a crusade to convince the country that gun politics in America actually can change, so at least she's on a good cause.

On Dominion news, I bought all the Provinces in a game I played this morning. This has never happened to me before; I think perhaps my opponent was doing what I normally do, i.e., forgetting that buying Provinces is a good thing until half (or more!) are gone. I definitely enjoy the deck-building part of the game more than the winning, but I still don't use trashing effectively enough. As far as I am concerned, the only card that is inherently bad is the Curse (and even that can have its uses), so that's the only one that I actively try to trash for the sake of trashing it; all the others, I can find uses for, even though some are more effective than others. I also played a game where I got 137 points; I lost (my opponent stacked up King's Courts and Monuments, to get tons of VPs every game), but it was a lot of fun.

And ... White Collar! Neal gets so attached, it's awesome. And Elizabeth was excellent when she finally picked up the phone on that guy, though I feel rather bad for the guy; who knows what he was talking to his wife about before the cell phone jammer went off? Elizabeth could have really messed things up, though I suppose the idea was that all-women-want-to-get-flowers-and-be-swept-off-their-feet, so that Elizabeth would help repair their relationship rather than muck it up some more.

NCIS was good, too—the whole episode was about homophobia and a gay high school student joining the military. They had only one line in there about "new military regulations" (or something to that effect), so that I wonder whether they refilmed that one segment of the episode to include a line acknowledging Don't Ask, Don't Tell's demise. I also wonder whether they moved that episode to the beginning of this run, or whether it was just a coincidence.

And finally: note to self, DO NOT LEAVE THE WAX PAPER ON TOP OF THE GRANOLA BARS WHILE THEY ARE HARDENING. The wax paper will soon become part of the granola bar.
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I had an interesting encounter with the Possession card today. As it turns out, if you Possess someone else, and then Possess yourself while Possessing your opponent, this does NOT result in you Possessing yourself and gaining an extra turn, as I had anticipated. It results in your opponent Possessing you instead, which is not exactly the same thing. Obviously, I learned this the hard way; luckily, though, it was fun anyway.

Last night, I played in one of the most amazing Dominion games I've ever seen. Not that that's saying much, as I haven't really played that much Dominion in comparison to a lot of the players on isotropic, but nonetheless. My opponent got 327 victory points, which is leagues higher than anything else I've ever seen. He stacked up King's Court and Goons; since Goons gets an extra victory point every time you buy something, it can get really crazy if you have a lot of Goons. By the end of the game, he was getting something like eight VPs per buy, and with all the extra buys that the Goons got him, he could have bought eight, nine, ten coppers per turn. I think he would have gotten even more VPs if he had bought extra coppers with the extra buys; he did pretty much use up all his buys, but I think there were a few turns where he could have squeaked in another ten VPs.

I also played a game last night where my opponent got 85 money (none through actual Treasure cards, but through various other means) in a single turn, and bought a ton of Colonies and Provinces in the last turn. That was amazing as well, though she didn't get 300 VPs; it gave me a great appreciation for Cities, which I had never played with before.

In yet more Dominion talk, someone who had never played Dominion before started a game with me this afternoon. Dominion is not exactly the kind of game you can explain over the internet; it's way too complicated. At any rate, I tried, but utterly failed; I think the s/he realized that Dominion wasn't that kind of a game, too, because s/he quit after a few turns. Plus, to be honest, isotropic is a great interface but even for someone who'd played the game before it's a bit confusing the first time. There are lots of buttons everywhere, and more experienced players go quite fast, so it can be difficult to keep up while you're still learning the interface, much less the rules of the game. I hope that s/he learns and enjoys Dominion, though, and perhaps comes back to play again!
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As my very first post, I figured I would start with a rant—since, well, that's what everyone likes to do most, but no one likes to read. And to be honest, that's exactly what I want.

I have a new obsession: Dominion.

My brother made the mistake of telling me about dominion.isotropic.org, which I totally recommend you check out avoid. IT WILL CONSUME YOUR SOUL, at least if you've ever played and enjoyed Dominion, the board game version. The online version is much better than the board game version, though to be honest I've never played the actual, physical board game as quickly as the online version. The rules are all the same, as far as I can tell, but you have access to all the cards in all sets and expansions, which is a big bonus if you only have Dominion, Seaside, and Intrigue (as I do). I also like how you can pick cards you want to include—I have a fondness for Smugglers, Pirate Ships, and Treasure Maps (notice a certain theme?), and may theoretically summon the courage to start a game with someone else that includes those cards.

I have also, after perusing dominionstrategy.wordpress.com, come to appreciate and unappreciate certain cards more or less than I did before I started playing online. Native Village is much more useful than I originally thought; I have used it to great effect to store away Smugglers until the next hand, or to rack up lots of Gold and Platinum in order to buy Colonies. Plus, Native Village only costs two Treasure, which means that you can Remodel a Copper or a Curse (!!!) into something useful. Along the lines of trashing bad cards, I have started to appreciate trashing a lot more—having a deck full of Coppers, Estates, and other early game cards gets very annoying later in the game.

At any rate, when I stop playing Dominion online, I'll let you know. MAYBE I WILL DO SOMETHING ELSE WITH MY LIFE!!!!! I kind of doubt it—I will probably just move on to Scrabble, or crocheting, or Turn the Tide, or Carcassonne, or maybe I will work on my first ever fanfic, or either of the four other stories I have going at the moment.