mark cerqueira well-rounded nerd

BaseTradeTV Sponsor Showdown

At TwitchCon a few weeks ago I was able to meet the great folks behind BaseTradeTV. They produce a ton of StarCraft 2 content. We bounced some ideas around and one of them was a sponsors tournament where representatives from BaseTradeTV’s sponsors duke it out for glory and we give out company swag to BaseTradeTV viewers.

Next Sunday, that idea becomes a reality with the BaseTradeTV Sponsor Showdown!

It’s a long story but I’m the cat-faced gentlemen in the top right of the bracket. I’ll be facing off against George from Corsair during the first match at 3PM. Joe, my teammate, will be taking on the people’s man: Jessie from Ting.

Wish us luck!

MTG Shower Plays

People come up with the best comebacks in the shower long after the comeback would’ve been useful. The other day I came up with a sick MTG play in the shower and alas, it was too late to be useful!

Rewind to a couple of weeks ago after the weekly mobile team Ixalan draft at Twitch. I drafted a (shockingly) coherent mono-white Vampires deck and was facing off against MTG Online semi-pro Wumpkins (twitch.tv/wumpkins) who was wielding a Merfolk deck.

Somehow I got myself into a position where I had 37 life points and Wumpkins had a single one left. The #HeartOfTheCards was with me this game. My win condition involved getting only one more creature than Wumpkins, but turn after turn I was unable to secure the necessary board advantage. After River’s Rebuke returned all my creatures to my hand, wiped out all my beautiful 1/1 Vampire tokens, and a friend’s wedding I was about to be late to I forfeited…

Only later in the shower did I realize I could’ve won!

I missed some magical synergy here!

I had these two cards in my hand for a while. Legion’s Judgment could clear a single creature but none of Wumpkins’ creatures had 4 power or greater so it sat in my hand. Vampire’s Zeal could power up my creatures but that wouldn’t get me the win so it say in my hand.

My shower play: use Vampire’s Zeal to power up one of Wumpkins’ creature to 4 power and then remove it with Legion’s Judgment. It would’ve been glorious, but alas the thought did not strike me at the right time.

Next time!

The Brazil Effect

Languages are interesting things. Shared by many, they live and they grow, powered not by some architect but swaths of people using the language. Different countries and different people share the same language but separated by borders, geography, and time, a single language will grow many branches.

There are 280,000,000 Portuguese speakers in the world. A large portion of those speakers live in Brazil. You’ve got an ocean between Portugal and Brazil and a single (albeit very large) Brazilian city – São Paulo – has a population larger than the entire country of Portugal itself.

I speak continental (from Portugal) Portuguese. In college most of the other Portuguese speakers I ran into were Brazilian. We all spoke Portuguese albeit with a different accent, but beyond the accent there were some bigger differences that cropped up.

  • Rapariga - I would use this word to refer to a teenage girl, but for Brazilians this is a prostitute.
  • Bicha - I would use this word to refer to a line/queue like one you’d find at a grocery store, but for Brazilians this is a derogatory word for homosexuals.
  • Future verb conjugation - If we were going for run in the future I’d conjugate the verb to run into the future tense: “Nós correremos.” Brazilians opt for a system more akin to Mandarin (with 要, yào) where the verb is left in the infinitive and a modifier word is added to indicate we are going to do something: “Nós vamos correr.”
  • Tú vs. você - When referring to someone you can use the word tú or você. In Portugal, tú is commonly used but você can be used to show respect. In Brazil, você is used exclusively.

What happened after I graduated college? I stopped using the words bicha, rapariga, and used você with both continental Portuguese and Brazilian speakers. I always used the future verb conjugation trick because I hate Portuguese conjugations so that didn’t change.

The other day I got to thinking about the relative numbers of Portuguese speakers in the world. Portugal may be the origin country of Portuguese but it will never be the home to the majority of Portuguese speakers. Spanish (from Spain) and English (from England) live with the same fate. For science, I took a bunch of European languages and compared the population of their countries of origin to speakers around the world.

I went in expecting English or Spanish to have a large portion of its speakers living outside England and Spain but the relatively large populations of both countries (59 million and 46 million respectively) help bring that ratio down significantly.

If there needs to be any moral to this story: I’ll continue avoiding using rapariga and bicha because chances are I’m more likely to offend someone than not in this world!

Iconic Masters - Draft Report

We’ve been drafting Ixalan a lot lately at Twitch. To spice things up we did a Kaladesh + Aether Revolt draft last week and this week we threw down to do an Iconic Masters draft.

Drafting Iconic Masters was a ton of fun. I packed a Sheoldred, Whispering One so I did something pretty unconventional and kept picking cool black cards. When I didn’t see any good black cards I started splashing white because the heart of the cards told me to. Both colors must’ve been pretty open because I was passed a Blood Baron of Vizkopa and an Emeria Angela. Getting an Indulgent Tormenter towards the end of the draft strengthened my belief in the heart of the cards once again.

With these rare cards and my skill, there's no way I could lose!

The deck played great – naturally – if I could survive to get Indulgent Tormenter and then Sheoldred out. Getting more cards and having my opponent sacrifice their creatures every turn is pretty awesome! 😏

Iconic Masters was a really fun set to draft because it packs a ton of cool, beautiful cards. The price point ($30 versus the usual $7.50) pushes it out of the “every week draft” category but it’s certainly a special treat one should try at least once!

Hobbies in 中文

The previous Chinese school unit had us at a hair salon getting a haircut, something I’m pretty unfamiliar with. This time around we’re talking about hobbies, which unlike hair, I’ve got plenty of!

我有很多愛好。我特別喜歡跑步。我喜歡跑步因為會身體健康還有我可以吃多一點飯。跑步很容易因為我不需要先打算什麼時間去跑步。每天都可以去公園跑步。而且我可以一邊跑步一邊聽音樂。

跑步很好,可是吃飯更好!我愛吃飯!我每天吃飯!我吃飯的時候很高興。我最喜歡吃叉燒包,蔥油餅,水餃,和小籠包。上個週末,我找到一間新餐廳。餐廳的菜很好吃!太棒了!

這個週末我跟我的四個朋友一起去那間餐廳。之後我們去唱卡拉OK。我們都喜歡唱韓國音樂因為韓國女歌手很漂亮!而且韓國歌手會一邊唱歌一邊跳舞。我知道我唱歌唱得最好,可是我的朋友都覺得我長得最不好。哇!