Hearthstone Brawls

After an initial mini-addiction to Hearthstone when it first came out (well, whenever I picked it up and most cards were finalised, I lose track of when Betas begin and end) I honestly mostly ended up bored with it. Trying to climb the ladder of constructed seemed tedious even when I had a deck I enjoyed, Arena also became a chore despite being more interesting. I played enough Arena before getting tired of it to have enough gold to unlock the Campaign modes, and those challenges were fun at least. The Heroic (hard difficulty) ones tend to be a bit on the ‘hope they draw/play terribly’ side, but they all had different rules and I like building weird decks to take advantage of the conditions.

In comparison, most regular games felt like they were having the same basic rhythm every time, and I burnt out.

I really didn’t log into Hearthstone for probably around 8 months or so, and didn’t really expect to pick it up again. Then I heard about some new mode, which had exactly what I wanted.


And it sounded… cantaloupe-y!

The Tavern Brawls being silly challenge formats against actual people pulled me back in. As cool as some of the Campaign challenges are, playing them against an AI gets old quickly. I loved Momir Basic on Magic Online, and basically any random card challenges make me happy. It made the game fun enough to warrant turning on every week, which leads to doing some of the daily quests, which leads to playing a few games of ‘real’ Hearthstone sometimes too.

The Tavern Brawl this week seems like it would be a little less fun than most, since everyone is jamming a ton of legendary cards into their deck and there isn’t much variation, but a few more Spider-Infested Deck challenges and I’ll be happy.

Fun with words 2

While it’s fairly obvious that different languages will have some words that sound like other things to a foreign listener, something that I didn’t really think about until I started communicated regularly with non-native English speakers were that all kinds of things are also different. Some that might be taken for granted and can lead to amusing situations. It does help if you appreciate immature humour, but still.

For example, animal noises. There was a time when I didn’t even realise that different areas of the world would have different onomatopoeias, though there are plenty of articles out there detailing the coolest/most confusing ones these days. One animal that could lead to amusing situations is the dog. You might think ‘bark’ or ‘woof’ or ‘bow wow’ or ‘arf’, but one day I was talking to a Romanian and a Thai, and this came up. Apparently, the main doggie noise for Romanians is ‘ham’.

Thus started a very intellectual volley of ‘ham ham ham’ ‘ham ham ham?’ ‘hamhamhamham!’ and so on, all the while the Thai person was quietly laughing away to themselves. When asked about the hilarity, it wasn’t just because we looked and sounded ridiculous, it was because ‘ham’ in the dog-noise context sounds a lot like regional Thai slang for dick. So be careful, when you least expect it, you could be walking through the streets of Bangkok, try to strike up a conversation with a stray dog, then BAM you look like a crazy person insulting an innocent mutt.


“But…. but why?”

Another common thing you might not have thought about are x’s. You know, the little kisses people put on the end of a text, or IM, that kind of x. Well there were a couple of moments in my communications that amused me to do with end-of-chat-friendly-kisses, at the very least eliciting a sensible chuckle.

First time was when I was talking to someone from the Philippines. I can’t say for certain how common xx’s are there in messages, but the first time I ever used them in communication with one, it was taken to mean similar to a big, sarcastic NOT, negating and reversing the previous sentiment. (basically ending up saying you were terrible company, let’s never hang out again) So in a single masterstroke of having-no-idea-that-this-might-be-not-fairly-universal, I managed to make someone quite sad and confused at my sudden rudeness.

Basically, it went flawlessly.

If only I had been as cool as them.

The second time was talking to a Brazilian Portuguese speaker. While I had previously learned ‘beijos’ as a very common way for Portuguese-speakers say ‘kisses’ in place of x’s to friends and so on, my brain hadn’t logically figured out yet what the shortened form of that might be. (note, beijinhos are ‘little kisses’ and fulfil a similar purpose)

So I did laugh out loud and choke on my milk a little bit one time after a (perfectly innocent!) late night chat ended up with a “good night and lots of bjs”. I *did* let them know of that particular two-letter meaning in English, and we all laughed some more, as people who are awake at too-late-o’clock-AM at night tend to do.

Obviously any misunderstandings (if they can even be called that!) like these are easily rectified with even the smallest amount of communication, but coming across things like this for the first time are always a delight.

Romania: Part One

I’ve been in Romania for a couple of weeks, and I have to say I’ve rather enjoyed myself so far. In part, of course this is due to my most fabulous host, who is wonderful, without peer, and definitely not totally certain to read this entry.

Smoothly done. *fist pump* 

Arriving to Bucharest was slightly worrying to begin with, as I noticed a police car’s lights and uniformed officers arriving at the plane before I’d even gotten my luggage out of the rack, but it turns out it was entirely uneventful, as the person that was sitting directly behind me was suddenly handcuffed and led out of the back of the plane, despite there being no incidents on the plane. I guess it was the kind of international prisoner transfer you might see in the media. The things some people will do to get off the plane first, eh?

As a person careful with money, (some might even say ‘miserly’ or ‘scrooge-like’) I do appreciate that nearly everything is cheaper over here. Basically everything is priced around what seems between at best ‘great price!’ to worst ‘hmm, seems reasonable’. It feels nice to, for example, go to see a film, get popcorn, a drink and an ice cream for less that the price of a ‘meal deal’ in a Cineworld or such.

I like all the fruit. It’s trivial to pick up terrific fruit for next to nothing, and (I guess? I’m not a fruit scientist) since it’s closer to the source, they all taste better than the average UK fruits too. People from outside the UK always used to tell me about watermelon being great, but any time I’ve tried it before it’s been quite underwhelming-to-bad. But here, I’ve eaten a ton of the stuff, and it’s a similar story with apricots, cherries etc. I suppose ‘just be tastier’ was a good enough reason to make my choice of snacks healthier than before.

I could get used to this.

-S.M.