Print Story Christmas 2006 - Civ IV Has Beaten Me
By duxup (Mon Jan 01, 2007 at 01:51:38 AM EST) pee, gophers, vikings, baseball, Civ IV, Christmas (all tags)

What duxup did for Christmas
MN Sports
Civ IV: Worlords

Right Now -insert Van Halen music-

It is early in the morning 2007.  OMG kind of early.

I’m at work and my coworker is in the next cube sleeping on a matt on the floor.

I have to pee, and I could pee on him and it is possible he’d never know.

I won’t pee on him because that would be wrong.

Good decisions like this are the foundation for society and enable us to have nice things like computers, microwaves, that stuff that Mr. Ronco makes, and video games.


Christmas was nice.  This was our first married couple Christmas.  Both my family and hers live in the same town.  As the wife’s family has a larger home we chose to stay with them.

It was a fairly uneventful Christmas.  We ran around and saw old friends the first day.  The second day we opened presents with the Wife’s family.  Gifts we received included things like some cookbooks, a Martha Stewart guide how to do everything book, some of the magnet toys I wanted, some belts for me as my favorite belt is beginning to look more like the dead animal it once came from. 

The wife didn’t think her parents were all that impressed by my giving her a Victoria Secret Gift Card although she didn’t think they’d object to the necklace.  If they disapproved they didn’t’ show it.

The wife’s family hosted my family including the step grandfather and step uncle over for prime rib.  I’m not a fan of prime rib but it is a wife’s family tradition to eat the free prime rib from the bank at Christmas.  Then followed some wife’s family visiting and church going (for the second time that day I think).

Life at the Wife’s family’s house was slow.  Her parents are older than mine and are closer to my Grandparents in age.  She has numerous relatives still alive who are older.  Good people with great stories to tell such as the wife’s aunt whose brothers and sisters were sent to live with their aunts and uncles in 1918 as her parents were expected to die from the flu.  The aunt we spoke with was the only exception as the mother, despite being sick with the flu, couldn’t bear to let her new baby go asking her sister living with her at the time not to send the baby away until she died.  She survived, the kids returned home and the aunt never lived a day away from her mother, never marrying, and caring for her until she died a good 50 or so years later. 

If not for the fact that the wife’s twin (umbilical-buddy as I call her) traveled to our house before the holidays and we took her with us home time may have actually stopped a few times.

That’s not to say it was a rousing party the next day at my family’s house either.  They’re getting older.  We had a yummy breakfast of deer sausage and other goodies.  Laid around watching the parents hew HDTV (I can’t believe they beat me to a new technology) until dinnertime.   Ate some yummy ham and earth shattering cheesy potatoes, opened some gifts, more cookbooks and etc., 

I retired with the step father to watch some uninspiring basketball and football on the HDTV while the wife demonstrated some sort of subconscious disdain for my family by watching this Opera produced movie called The Wedding
.  -queue ominous music-  I met up with the wife about two hours into this three hour abomination. 

For whatever reason this sort of period film had pretty darned stylish modern clothing appears.  The movie flashes back and forth sometimes for no apparent reason.   Why exactly event X triggered flashback Y isn’t really clear sometimes and the dialogue is downright painful at times despite the fact that nobody really says much of any consequence.  It was a sort of refrigerator magnet system of dramatic statements that may or may not pertain to the plots progression.  In fact I’m fairly sure you could cut and paste some arguments around in the film and nobody would notice.  Fittingly when there were opportunities for someone to say something of significance they say nothing at all and the scene will just end making for several “wah?” moments.  It was also distracting that every time the main character gets upset (and it is often) she acts as if she’s suddenly short of breath rather than conveying any adult emotion.

My wife did comment later that she still enjoys time with my family more than her own.  We’re just a bit more informal and ect.

Personally I’d rather just spend a holiday with my wife and I once in a while.

During the drive back much conversation was made about moving the umbilical-buddy from Iowa up to the Twin Cities with us.  I certainly would enjoy having someone else in the Twin Cities that I’d trust with important things like kids before my wife and I choose to spawn.  Umbilical-buddy seemed to warm to this idea and said she’d look around for opportunities.  At the very least up here she’s bound to have better luck with her spouse finding search than she has historically had in Iowa.

Sports News


Well the Gophers fired football coach Glen Mason.  It’s a weird situation if you look at the stats.  Hands down Glen Mason is the most successful Gopher football coach in recent memory and without question a very good recruiter in terms of talent.  Now granted the bar wasn’t exactly set that high but being the most successful coach in a long time is something that can’t be denied.  The Gophers went from poor Big Ten football team to a midrange Big Ten team.  There was a catch though, and a big one.

Not long ago a reporter recalled that at his press hiring conference Gen was asked if he felt he was a lucky guy.  He said he always felt he was a lucky coach.  Ironic considering that when he was coach for the Gophers Mason’s teams had a knack for incredible comebacks . . . by their opponents.  You name it and the Gophers have been beat by it.  A few times is bad luck but it has been downright dumbfounding how his teams have lost games.  This collimated in their last bowl game where they lead by an astounding 38-7 midway thru the third quarter, and then somehow lost the game (a record for a bowl game). 

I could recount numerous shocking losses as I was at most of those that occurred in MN and over times the fans there with me came to expect it from Mason.

It also didn’t help that Mason was often seen as smug.  The guy had a CEO aura around him spinning everything in a positive light despite what seemed like serious deficiencies.  That seemed to annoy fans over time.

I don’t know who they’ll hire to replace him but it will be hard to dislike the next guy for a while regardless of the results.

The only bad thing I’ll say about the decision to fire him is that it is just under a year after signing Mason to a contract extension.  After their recent move to fire their men’s basketball coach and pay him off as well I’m not sure if this all demonstrates recognition of past mistakes, generally poor planning, or the willingness to make bold moves.

Speaking of Gopher’s Men’s Basketball there is much talk about the next basketball head coach being Flip Saunders.  His ties to the U of M , the fact that his family and house is still here in MN, and apparent longtime interest in coaching there would be the draw.  Picking up a proven NBA coach for a university job (especially for a floundering program) would be a no brainier.  Let’s hope they’re smart enough at the U to pull it off as soon as the NBA season ends..

Major League Baseball

You know just after I get over the whole building a new Twins stadium deal to keep the team around now the owners of the land are holding out for mega bucks.  Then something just as bad happens.  MLB owners go insane.

WTF is with the prices these people are paying for some of the players this year?  We had a couple years (ok maybe one year) of moderation and then this year tons of money for absolute joke players.  Let alone the insane speculation money on some players (I’m looking at you Boston).  It absolutely shocks me that there are all these highly regarded General Managers out there in baseball who just simply spend and are applauded for it.  Being an idiot with money isn’t an achievement, it’s called being an average American!

It’s enough to make someone just give up watching baseball altogether. 


What a crappy year that was.  I was fairly bullish about our new head coach but after a 9 and 7 year under Tice we get a new coach, spend some money, and end up at 6 and 10.  Wah?

Of one thing I’m sure and that is our new coach Childress is not the cuddly type like Mike Tice was.  Weird statements from the players indicate he’s not much different from their perspective either.  When Childress finally chose to sit down Brad Johnson Brad was asked about what Childress said to him.  He said “nothing, we never talk.”  Wah?  No talky with the QB?

Additionally the offensive creativity seemed non existent.  Even with Brad Johnson who can’t throw deep to save his life every play looked identical.  Granted they finally managed to run the ball (with a runner breaking 1000 yards this season), but that’s even more the reason that they should have been able to pass once in a while.  Somehow they couldn’t…

It was almost enough to make me miss the days of Scott Linehan’s offenses when they scored right and left … except when they needed to put a team away… and never bothered to learn a 2 minute offense.  Almost but not quite, yet.

The defense was equally baffling.  Like a running game is how you start a great offense stopping the run is a cornerstone for a great defense.  MN managed to stop the run dead in its tracks to the point that some teams didn’t even bother to try against them . . . and there was good reason not to try yet nearly every team managed to pass like crazy as MN had no pass rush.  If someone ran to the line they were stopped but MN never could penetrate beyond that.  Crazy.

We’ll see what happens next year.  The new QB Jackson got some work in during the pointless games, let’s home the Vikings draft well or it could get ugly awfully fast.  I’m a lot less optimistic about next year than I was last year at this time.

Civ IV: Warlords

I recently chose to reload my PC.  Toss in my restore disk, run a few updates, install Civ IV, install some other critical programs, and I was ready to go.  Then a tragedy occurred.

Despite all the talk I do about playing Civ IV the hard truth is that I’m not that great.  I tend to play around the midrange difficulty with moderate success.  Winning many games but not scoring very high as per the Civ IV scoring system.  However, there is a catch.

I usually slow the game speed down preferring something like past Civ IV games.  Upon reinstalling I forgot to adjust the speed and I chose to stick with the standard much faster Civ speed.  Suddenly I suck, horribly.  I can hang with the computer opponents for a little while bit it seems they always take of way ahead of me.  Sensing a challenge I’ve tried several games always falling behind in nearly every aspect except culture, and that doesn’t do much good as the AI seems to quickly resent a strong culture score and if you don’t have the military to back it up you know what happens . . . Iraq.

I’ve always known that I don’t play Civ IV as meticulously as many players.   Aside from building roads for trade routes and military purposes I tend to automate my workers only recently discovering how often the workers like to go redeveloping some squares of land for what reasons I can not fathom.  I would hope as good as opposing AI is that the worker AI would at least avoid horking up good things… apparently not.   My solution has so far been to prevent workers from improving existing improvements but that means I’m probably going to manually have to upgrade improvements like mines and etc to windmills when needed.

I figure the following things are needed in order for me to progress:

I need to actually sit down and figure out how to best use the whole great people system. 

I need to figure out how to specialize my cities other than just by building educational great wonders and etc in one spot, but by balancing growth and production and improvements accordingly.

I’ve tried reading some strategy guides on the net but most are either ridiculously simple (how to play) or are awfully specific (ah la the perfect science city) and I’m not entirely sure how effective or practical they are in a game where the AI is doing fairly well. 

< 2006: A headache's year in review | BBC White season: 'Rivers of Blood' >
Christmas 2006 - Civ IV Has Beaten Me | 9 comments (9 topical, 0 hidden)
I'd offer some Civ IV advice... by Metatone (4.00 / 1) #1 Mon Jan 01, 2007 at 04:01:14 AM EST
but I suck, because I only play for entertainment value.

The thing about run defense as opposed to pass rush is that they  are actually two quite different things and only really talented athletes actually have the instinct to do both. As you know, pass rush is all about getting past the OL and bearing down on the QB. Do that too efficiently on a run play and you find you passed the RB on his way to a first down. So, to stop the run you have to be a little more circumspect, you have to read where they are going and get in the way. Against a 3-step drop pass you need to launch yourself without a thought, it's the only way to pressure in time.

The best players can either read the game well enough or have the balance to recover when they pick the wrong option. Of course, a good DT doesn't need to worry, pure disruption is enough, but then DT's rarely get sacks. Still, the best pass rushers who could also disrupt the run (Reggie White in his prime springs to my mind for some reason) were so scary that they occupied a double team anyway, thus opening a hole for a blitz or creating a pile of bodies that would make the RB swing around and get caught for a loss.

The alternative is to have two sets of DL specialists and then insert them depending on the situation, but that requires coaches who can make the right call.

I haven't seen any US football this season, so I have no idea what is going on generally, but it also sounds another possibility is that you have a bunch of linebackers who are good against the run, but not against the pass. Coverage sacks are just as important as pure pass rush. If your LBs aren't able to cover the TE/Slot properly then no team needs to run, they can just reliably pick you apart with 3 step short passes.

Seems so by duxup (4.00 / 1) #5 Mon Jan 01, 2007 at 10:17:15 AM EST
I’m coming to similar conclusions about life on the defensive line in football.  The guys on the Vikings D line are smothering against the run but like you said they don’t penetrate far either out of choice to stop the run or because they cant.

I think you’re right that the linebacker would be the next hope for a pass rush with a blitz but sadly the Vikings have only one good linebacker and their LB draft pick last year a small but insanely fast guy was hurt in preseason.  The rest of the LBs are big, strong, and yeah slow so passing over the middle becomes easy.  Hopefully they can shore up the LB position but that’s a hard spot to draft for so we’ll see.


[ Parent ]
How I plan on being good at Civ 4 by joh3n (4.00 / 1) #2 Mon Jan 01, 2007 at 04:41:00 AM EST
I wont.  I'll fucking rock at civ 2 instead ;)

I am a crime against humanity

DOH by duxup (2.00 / 0) #6 Mon Jan 01, 2007 at 12:35:13 PM EST
I'm tempted to pick up the Civ collectors pack with all the various versions of Civ that came out recently so I can play some of the classics that I have lost.
[ Parent ]
Dude, by blixco (4.00 / 1) #3 Mon Jan 01, 2007 at 06:43:15 AM EST
happy new year.

My mom and stepfather bought the same exact television that my wife and I bought.  From the same chain (Best Buy).  For the same reasons.  Without any consultation whatsoever.

It was creepy.  Like, I'm becoming them.
I accidentally had a conversation in italian at lunchtime. I don't speak italian. - Merekat

I love you. by greyrat (4.00 / 1) #4 Mon Jan 01, 2007 at 07:35:18 AM EST
But you already knew that.

civ 4 by alprazolam (4.00 / 1) #7 Tue Jan 02, 2007 at 04:17:51 PM EST
master the whip and the art of war. the other stuff is not necessary unless you're interested in playing that way. it's almost impossible to win the higher difficulty levels on faster speed without cheating because of the time it takes to move your units: whereas the time it takes to build them and to get sciences scale, the time it takes to move across a map doesn't. this causes your units to go obsolete before they can be put to use.

War by duxup (2.00 / 0) #8 Wed Jan 03, 2007 at 04:39:09 AM EST
I’m fairly comfortable with my war making skills although I’m always trying new tactics.  I did find that even when playing on epic speed once you hit the midrange difficulty levels you almost always HAD to go to war, and early if you wanted to do well.

I had some moderate success the last game I played at normal speed.  I was experimenting with fine tuning my cities via specialists in those cities and etc.  I lost the game but wasn’t that far from winning either.


[ Parent ]
The whip is key by skippy (2.00 / 0) #9 Wed Jan 03, 2007 at 10:25:12 AM EST
I never understood just how useful it was until I started using it.  Whipping a bunch can help you move up one difficulty level; whipping well can probably move a person up two levels.

Even so, I'm still not that good at it...

[ Parent ]
Christmas 2006 - Civ IV Has Beaten Me | 9 comments (9 topical, 0 hidden)