dear diary

Today I was playing Ravnica draft. I was on two life, staring down three fliers with no fliers of my own. I have no cards that can take out multiple creatures, so I am formally screwed.

Unless I can find a way to get a 5/5, a pair of 2/2s, and a 1/1 past three blockers to deal 10 damage.

I draw Bathe in Light. All his blockers are blue. I can use Radiance to give all my creatures protection from blue. If one of them wasn't green, that is.

I have a green/white creature in my hand. I can play it and target it with the Bathe in Light to make all my creatures unblockable.

I swing for 10.

Me and my opponent are both rendered speechless. Then we start to crack up. The general air of disbelief continues for a couple minutes.


japan: always with the war metaphors

From a report on the Japanese Xbox 360 launch:
Following the light-hearted ceremony, the two Microsoft execs got serious, issuing some stern comments about their company's competitors. "History tells us that no great empire lasts forever," said Moore. "In the case of the Sony PlayStation, obviously it has been a great empire. But when a superior culture comes along, typically, it means the end of that empire. We believe that the superior culture is the Xbox 360 games experience, particularly the Xbox Live experience, which will bring communities from around the world together through gaming."

Just replace "Sony PlayStation," with "all other Asian cultures," consider that the Japanese have been thinking about getting rid of Article 9, and I think it's pretty clear that the only thing standing between us and total nuclear war with the DPRK is, well, Sam Fisher.

Extra credit: The DPRK's website has a .com address. Would a .org address have been more appropriate, or can we assume that .com stands for .communism? Discuss.


nobody ever listens to me

I hope somebody at least has paid attention to what I'm saying about Square being evil. Not only will FFXII cost nearly EIGHTY DOLLARS in Japan, but they intend to work with Suntory to create a licensed Final Fantasy Potion energy drink.




I think this might even top the astonishing range of FFX merchandise that they've come out with.

If you think about it, FFX is actually kind of like a metaphor for the Final Fantasy series as a whole. The endless rebirth of Sin to terrorize Spira represents the endless stream of Final Fantasy games and related merchandise to drain money from the fans. It's a cry for help, and I think it's pretty clear that Square wants us to kill them before they make Final Fantasy X-2-2.


Today I woke up and it was snowing but the snow was not sticking.


Overheard Halloween Quote of the Day

"Yeah, but it's true about the spiders, though."


the first two weeks of college life

Friday the 23rd of September

I move into my dorm. It is rather small, but all my stuff fits in there. I meet some of my cluster-mates.

Saturday the 24th of September

I wake up early and head out of the range of the football game traffic to get picked up by my parents and taken to Foolscap, a small science fiction convention that, this year, features both Harlan Ellison and Penny Arcade and thus, promises to be the swearingest science fiction convention ever. Before the convention begun, Harlan was bitten by a macaw and needed to get a tetanus shot. Gabe and Tycho kind of didn’t fit in, but were really entertaining in their own panels. Harlan was Harlan, a statement which makes sense if you know about him. I went with him and my parents out for dinner at Crossroads Mall, which was a pretty entertaining experience, but it’s kind of hard to explain why if you don’t know about Harlan Ellison. Perhaps the best explanation I can give is that he is exactly like his writing style. Bear in mind that his writing style is kind of like Ray Bradbury’s evil twin.

Sunday the 25th of September

I sort out the bus schedules and figure out how to get down to the Seattle Center for the Ravnica prerelease. I run into Jeremy Yuse, who once went to Maplewood and now works at Magic Arsenal. I pay money to roll dice and win an Atogatog. This is arguably better in some ways than winning a foil Serra Avatar last time. I played a round of draft, in which I managed to get passed(!) a Watery Grave. My Green-Black-Little Bit of Blue deck manages to do better than I expected, and I end up getting second place and taking away 4 boosters. Fun moments: playing Fists of Ironwood on my opponent’s creatures so I could get Saprolings; losing a game where I can’t play Hex because there’s only five creatures in play.

After that, I end up in the last flight of the regular Sealed Deck event, where I create a bizarre Blue-Black-Red contraption that also does way better than expected. I managed to half-deck somebody once with Tunnel Vision, just kind of randomly guessing what cards are in his deck. I win a lot more packs, which include a foil Sacred Foundry. That seems to be worth about sixty dollars right now. Oh my.

Monday the 26th of September

I take the bus down to Pacific Place to get a PS2. I haul it, along with a memory card, an extra controller, and We Love Katamari back to my dorm and set it up. I roll stuff into balls.

I also find out that my cluster-mates are half football players and half guys from Mercer Island with Asian girlfriends.

Tuesday the 27th of September

I meet up with my mom and we go buy textbooks. She brings another shelf, a few of my clothes, and, inexplicably, a pack of dried squid. I set up the shelf. I walk around in search of stores that sell things and end up all the way in Montlake. I take the bus back. I call Erin a lot trying to get in contact with her.

Wednesday the 28th of September

My classes begin with programming at 9:30. After that, I walk up and down University Way NE twice trying to find a store that the Internet claimed sold Magic cards but the Internet lied. I find a comic book store that also sells a lot of RPGs and I find a place to play Magic on Friday nights, though. I go back to my Chinese history class. History may be written by the winners, but Chinese history is written by middle-aged white guys. Good lecturer, though. I finally get in touch with Erin. I also run into Maura Harrison and we have dinner.

Thursday the 29th of September

I finally get in contact with Lisa Akiyama and we end up having both lunch and dinner together. I have the first day of my art class. Over the past week, I’ve managed to run into pretty much everyone I know who’s going here. I make plans with Erin to go up to Bellingham over the weekend.

Friday the 30th of September

I get very lonely. I seem to have missed all my cluster-mates when they went out to see Serenity. I play Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes almost all the way through, until the loneliness eats at my heart from the inside. I end up calling Lisa about nine times but I can’t get in contact with her. I eat a very sad dinner alone and then I decide to stop feeling sorry for myself, so I go down to play some Magic. It’s good to be able to talk with people for like ten minutes about all the possibilities that Doubling Season brings.

“This means that Spike decks are now viable!”
“Screw Spikes! I’m going to build a Thallid deck!”

Saturday the 31st of September

I take the bus back home, eat some lunch, and head up to Bellingham, listening to Neko Case on the way up. After some confusion, I manage to meet up with everybody else at the mall. Good times are had. I drive back, taking everybody else who’s going to Lynnwood with me. We discuss our immense loneliness and inability to meet people.

Sunday the 1st of October

I hang around the house with my family. I use the car to go shopping for PS2 games; I end up with Final Fantasy X, Onimusha 2, and Ninja Gaiden Black (which is for Xbox). I am driven back up to my dorm room after dinner.

I feel better.

Monday the 2nd of October

In my programming class, I manage to meet someone (by virtue of my increasingly awesome handbag): a somewhat nerdy and somewhat cute Chinese girl. We arrange to meet up for lunch. She shows up about twenty minutes late, so it’s a good thing I waited. I also end up being late to class by spending too much time at lunch.

Tuesday the 3rd of October

While getting lunch with my cluster-mates, I run into Maura Harrison studying. She is readily identifiable from behind by virtue of her raven-black hair and constant drinking of Diet Coke. We try to meet up for dinner but are stymied when she changes her schedule such that she has class then.

Wednesday the 4th of October

I meet up with Jessica (the Chinese girl) for lunch again and meet a couple other (Chinese) people that she’s met. Lost has pretty much the best plot twist ever on it. I complete my first ever computer program during the commercial breaks.

Thursday the 5th of October

I take a guess at Amber’s email address and it works, putting us into contact for the first time in about a month. I write out the bulk of this piece while compiling music for the I Really Miss You Mix Tape. This tape will be the saddest thing ever, like an anti-tank missile made out of pure sorrow.

Friday the 6th of October

I discover that I am the king (or at least prince) of Ravnica draft. At approximately 1:00 in the morning, I post this.



There is drilling going on outside today - to what end, I don't know.

I feel certain that it is drilling its way into my mind. It broke through the crust of my subconscious and into my dreams this morning.

I dreamt that I was some kind of stealth witch (?) and my mission was to destroy the drill. There was a bookstore involved.



I nearly missed being invited to Mallory’s birthday party because I’m not on MySpace. Everybody else was invited in advance through this fancy Internet friends network and I was hastily invited at the last minute by a call of Mitch’s cell phone. I am told this is one of the reasons why I should get a MySpace. I don’t see how it wouldn’t be simpler to just get my phone number. Or my e-mail address. Or leave me a comment here – surely there must be a few readers who know that they can just click on the comments link and respond with whatever words they think look good strung together.

MySpace is just the latest in a long line of faddish Internet communities. As Dragon Ball Z declines in popularity to Pokemon and then to Yu-Gi-Oh, so too does LiveJournal fall to Xanga and Xanga now to MySpace. What happens to these orphaned pages as they are abandoned in the owner’s transition to the next 12-to-20-something Internet fashion trend? First come the vultures: a few who examine links, thoughts, and photographs, but finding them to be dead with no sign of resurrection forthcoming, soon turn their attentions to other things. Eventually, the site or the host will die, and all the archived data returns to the ether it was born from.

Will that happen to this site when it dies? How long until the infrequent updates turn to no updates at all? My page will stand as an unobserved monument in a forgotten cemetery, one only ever visited by a few. But it will not fall to rot; it will remain pristine as the day it was first carved until finally the winds of deletion clear it entirely, changing it from existent to nonexistent in barely a moment.

It is the nature of the Internet that such things are gone never to be found again unless one knows the arcane keywords that will dredge them up from Google, but I recall distinctly a story on BoingBoing about a video card forum (or such) that had been hijacked by various lonely people and had eventually turned into a place for them to talk about their loneliness. It is the whim of the God of Internets that such things occur: an obscure back corner of the Web picked up on by a few like-minded people eventually turns into a community and then receives a boost from the largest linkblog ever. Contrast, here, this page, where the visitors are few and they never leave a sign.

I am writing for an audience of ghosts, and you wonder why I never update? What do ghosts enjoy hearing about? Does it bring the spectral hordes delight if I discuss Magic: the Gathering? Or video games? Or perhaps if I shout my personal life out to total strangers, maybe someone will respond?

I suppose that’s what disturbs me so much about the Internet, is that people do respond. Friendships are made across continents between people who’ve never even seen each other’s face. It’s like a global masquerade ball, an intricate waltz where the dancers constantly change their masks. Anonymity changes people, and not always for the better. It allows us reveal aspects of ourselves that we wouldn’t share with ordinary society. It then brings us together with people who share the same desires and creates an insular community where these desires may be cultivated – you need only look at the numerous furry and fetish communities for proof of that. Read Something Awful and you see the dark side of the Internet. Yes, it connects, and it disseminates information, but few of those connections are meaningful, and little of that information is useful.

Weekend Web is a feature that exists solely to expose the truth of human nature as revealed on Internet forums. Video games, of course, attract mindless emotion and poor spelling like nothing else, as anyone who’s ever played CounterStrike can attest. Teenagers are fun too. Global communications networks seem like a wonderful thing until you realize that what’s being said has no value and, as an added bonus, is totally incomprehensible.

I was recently in the company of a girl a couple years younger than me. She had a cell phone. Naturally, she would continually receive calls from her friends. The demand of the modern world is “connectivity at all times.” The Internet, the phone network – it’s all mobile now. You can take it with you wherever you go, so that you can contact other people whenever you want, and they will want to contact you in return. In Japan, cellular connectivity has become a kind of subculture. It’s called keitai. On the subways, on the street, you connect to the world with your cell phone, you carve out your little niche of territory by taking your friends with you. The exchange of information has become so very easy.

Communication has finally surpassed information. The number of ways that exist to say things outpace the number of things there are to say. We begin to text-message gossip to each other, cloaked in an arcane language of acronyms and abbreviations. The Internet has forever devalued the art of writing, as it strips language of subtlety and meaning. Youth of the modern age are impatient. They want things to be fast. I grew up on MS-DOS, and spent much of my adolescence in front of video game load screens. Computers have taught me patience. When I first used the Internet, DSL was only a dream and 128k was blazingly fast. Images you had to wait to load, and movies were a long wait for little payoff. But the rest of my generation, who started out on newer hardware, have become accustomed to getting things now, to fast, simple, personal transmissions.

There are extreme futures towards which we are headed. They are dark ones. The Internet will be replaced with a new connection protocol, one which can be monitored, regulated, and controlled. Uplinks will be implanted into us directly. We will have 100% connectivity, 100% information. But we will have lost our capacity to determine what is important. That will be determined by whatever sounded the most important on the newscasts. It will be determined by what your friends say. You’ve never seen them in person, but you talk with them all of the time. All of the time.
Keitai is the most paranoia-inducing thing in the world. Cell phones allow you to be tracked anywhere, whether or not they are turned on. People can find you and talk to you whenever they want. Theoretically, the information is confidential, but (corporations/the government/insert paranoid agency here) can always make a deal that you can’t find out about. But it’s not them that I’m concerned about. It’s the fact that face-to-face social contact is being supplemented and often replaced with digital translations of normal communication. We move daily towards the point where we are just people in invisible boxes speaking to each other over tin cans and wire, preferring the safe distance and sheltering communities of shared interests that the Internet provides over the often awkward and uncertain proposition of making physical friends the old-fashioned way.


i got all excited when i saw that last comment

...and then i checked it out.

Forthcoming: why I hate cell phones and the Internet!


lessons learned from travelling in europe

Belgian Magic players are teh suck. I have this from a Czech girl who lives in Belgium. All her Belgian Magic-playing friends are too weak. All her Czech Magic-playing friends are too strong.

Irn-Bru, available only in Scotland, is possibly one of the best sodas ever. It's like cough syrup mixed with bubble gum. In a good way! Now if only they made a pink ear medicine flavor...


breaking radio silence

Last night, at approximately 1:30 A.M., someone was vacuuming nearby. Not just any kind of vacuuming - it was the vacuum equivalent of loud, passionate sex, modulating pitch then holding it still at erratic intervals. I also heard a car door being shut at various intervals, so I don't know what that's about.

There's been a lot of disgruntled commenting about how the new Magic card front design is so much worse than the old design. I maintain that if you're going to complain about design changes, Magic cards have sucked ever since they changed "Summon Creature Type" to "Creature - Creature Type." Which, for the record, was back in Urza's Destiny.

But I don't hate the new front design - and if anyone gets to complain about the new Magic cards, it's the old-school guy who's been playing since Ice Age. So I think it's time to objectively compare the two in various categories and find out who wins overall.

Overall Layout
The new layout is the winner here. The only major change was adding bars to put the name/mana cost and type/expansion symbol on, as well as putting the power/toughness in a more noticeable box - but that's kind of a big improvement, design-wise. What it does is unify the card so that instead of appearing like two separate boxes - art and text - it scans to the eye as one large block of content. I'll give new 1.5 points for that.

Again, this is one of the reasons why the new layout is cleaner. The new title font is black and bold, making it easier to read. There were also a couple of problems with the old title font - the capital "F" looked like a lowercase "f," and the white cards ended up with basically white text on a white background, making them very hard to read at a distance. This is just a minor thing, but new gets .5 points, for 2 so far.

Tap Symbol
You have to look closely to notice it, but they didn't change the symbol itself. They changed the colors. I kind of like the sepia shade they use on the new generic symbol backgrounds, but there was also a nice feel to the black-and-white symbol. The new symbol sticks out less on the card, but I think it's a tie.

They've changed the text box color on lands a lot. It started out with the dual lands' funky striping, and has been through various shades of purple, green, and blue-green before they settled on gold for the colorless lands and split-colored for the dual lands. I like the new lands' gray text-box background more than the Weatherlight-to-Scourge gold one (Ice Age-era purple is my favorite), and I think it's kind of a tie in terms of card backgrounds - the old one is nice and clean, but the new one feels a bit more landy. Overall tie!

Probably the most controversial change was making artifacts gray. Cause, you know, they're colorless and all, and "gray" is usually the first thing that comes to mind when you think of "colorless." I really think that brown expressed "artifact" better, but I've also enjoyed playing with my gray artifacts, and the new ones have nice background detailing that the original lacked. Also, the old artifacts had some weird pastel mosaic thing going on in the text box, which means it's another tie.

The old gold cards were rich and lavish, from the wavy gold-brown background to the fancy purple text box. It really felt like you were casting something special, like mixing the colors together gave you the privilege of playing with these elite spells. The new gold doesn't even come close to that. 1 point for the old!

The backgrounds are pretty much the same overall - old is a little more understated, but new is a bit peppier. The new text box is just gray, though, and the old one was probably the best of the original text boxes, looking like it was burned there by unholy magic. For that marginal victory, I award old a half-point, putting at 1.5 to 2.

The new blue background just looks watered-down. The old one was probably the best background among the originals. The new blue text box isn't that impressive either. Old gets a point!

I'm kind of ambivalent as to the differences in the text box but I like the old background better. I don't like the pastelization they did to a lot of the backgrounds. Old gets another point, leaving things at 3.5 to 2.

They had a perfectly nice design that just screamed "Red! Stone!" It was nice and clean, but they felt (rightly so) that red was more famous for fire than rock. So they made the new background a sort of washed-out lava thing. Now red looks kind of orangeish-pink. I know what they were trying to do here, so I'll only give old a half-point.

New White wins on a lot of different levels. Look at Old White! Look closely. What do you see? Lace. Lace and sand. I'm not a huge fan of white, but I think it deserves better than to be classed as an old Victorian lady who hangs out on the beach in her frilly undergarments. The new cards are a nice clean white with a subtle marbelization effect. That's honestly a lot better. Combine that with the fact that the white cards have WHITE TEXT ON A WHITE BACKGROUND, FOR GOD'S SAKE and you come up with a severe trouncing. 1.5 points for new!

I don't actually know at what point they started making the foil cards look good but they definitely sucked from Urza's Legacy (when they were introduced) through Invasion block, so I'll give the more recent cards a quarter-point for making the foils actually be something I might want to play with.

In Conclusion
Old cards beat out new cards, but only barely - it's 4 to 3.75, and I could easily tweak it up to a tie if I got really picky in my analysis. You probably disagree with me, but I've been thinking about this a lot (not that much, though) and I think this is a pretty objective estimate.

Although I am maybe a little overenthusiastic for gold cards.



Nothing particularly eventful occurred in London, at least, nothing seems to come to mind at the moment.

It's worth noting that I managed to get Magic cards in every country I visited.

Pictures should appear soon.

I was present at midnight for the release of Harry Potter and I read it all on the day-long plane rides back home. I must say, J.K. Rowling needs a better editor, since the book could have been significantly better if it wasn't a great beginning and ending wrapped around approximately 400 pages of dull exposition and uninteresting goings-on at school. Basically, the book is like an Oreo with really boring filling.

p.s. Snape kills Dumbledore! Spoilers!


europe, part iii

Here now in Paris, the city with one of the best subway systems in the world. Walking for me is not so good since I bruised my foot (or something), but it's getting better and I'm not limping around all House-like anymore.

I have the uncanny knack for finding Magic cards wherever I go - I found a game store in Padua, and here in Paris I found a store that sold expensive imported action figures, comic books in English, and various trading cards. I bought the "Spiritcraft" deck - in French, of course - and have been beating Mitch down with it ever since.

Yesterday I went to Disneyland Paris, where I had a lot of fun and paid a lot of money. At Frontierland, I got a toy pistol that should be a challenge to smuggle past security. Adventureland has a nice Jules Verne theme, with the Nautilus, a random zeppelin, and Space Mountain envisioned from the outside as the cannon from Journey to the Moon.

Probably the most interesting thing in Paris so far occurred in the laundromat, while we were all waiting for our clothes to dry. This random group of women wandering the streets decided to come inside and their apparent leader, a woman made up with freckles, blonde pigtails, and wearing a lab coat with a sign pinned on the back starts speaking to Lindsey in French and gesturing with a small pair of scissors. After it was determined that we don't really speak French, she began to explain things in English: they were all part of a bachelorette party (or something to that extent) on a scavenger hunt and they needed two tags off men's pants. Me and Mitch, being apparently the only suitable males in the neighborhood, were happy to oblige. The tags of our pants were ceremoniously snipped of the back rear and photographic evidence of this was collected. The lead woman (presumably the bride-to-be) was grateful enough to kiss us both on the cheeks, leaving a picturesque lipstick mark.

Overall, it was the most memorable and interesting thing on the trip.


europe, part ii

I'm now in the French Riveira trying to adapt to yet another European keyboard system. Despite the best efforts of the chaperones on the trip, many of us are having fun. The chaperones have the tendency to get us lost and make us walk around too much, as well as not knowing when things are closed. They also only give us time to shop when the shops are on the siesta. Goddamn continentals are too lazy and they have crappy breakfasts. I can't wait to get to Britain where no doubt they do things properly.

My arm is peeling. I got a cute bag in Rome. I hqd fabulous hot chocolate in Florence. Venice is pretty but very touristy. Lisa got stung by a scorpion in Italy and had to get five shots.

It looks like there won't be much to do for the next few days other than swim and teach cute Korean girls to play Magic.


europe, part i

I'm now in a nice, cool internet café in Rome, a city that would be more enjoyable if it weren't really hot and filled with cigarette smoke. The trip leaders seem intent on making us walk in the hot sun as much as possible, meaning that we all go through water like crazy. It's nice when we actually get time to ourselves, but we have the largest block of time today to go shopping downtown and the shops are all closed because it's a holiday. Good scheduling, that.

Mitch really wants to buy a Speedo. I really want to buy some Diabolik comics but I have difficulty finding one that shows off his costume.

There are a lot of Japanese and German tourists here and I suspect some kind of Axis powers conspiracy.

Next stop: Venice! Or maybe Florence! I forget!




Very early tomorrow morning I'll be heading off to Europe. This means that for the next four weeks, updates will be even rarer than usual as I try to see if the backwards nations of the Old Country have heard of the "Inter-net."

After that, I should hopefully have at least one interesting anecdote to tell.


i am no longer infected

This weekend I was in the unfortunate position of graduating and being sick. Having to run to lots of places and do things isn't as fun as it could be when you're producing copious quantities of mucus and occasionally falling prey to impressively persistent sneezing fits. I do believe I had to sneeze repeatedly for nearly a minute straight at one point, which I found to be rather impressive.

I also had a nasty headache during the post-graduation festivities that made me want to claw my right eye out of its socket, but that only lasted for an hour or so and isn't really that unusual for me. I owe my high pain tolerance to my childhood experience of being personally tormented by a wrathful deity on a bi-weekly basis.

I'm feeling much better now.


i leave home for a few days and look what happens

Apparently, while I was on hiatus from the internet, some kind of knife fight broke out in the world of webcomics.

It's really entertaining because Scott McCloud is like the king of the magical kingdom of webcomics and Penny Arcade is like the sinister evil wizard. Except that the sinister evil wizard is really popular and is drawing all the attention away from the magical kingdom. So the kingdom is all like "Hey! Penny Arcade sucks! They just can't stand our magical artisticness!" and then decides that they're better just because they have infinite canvases or something.

The problem with all the followers of Reinventing Comics is that they seem to believe that comics on the internet are an entirely different medium than other comics, and if you're not taking advantage of that medium, then you are a bad artist, or maybe just stupid. Comics are still just juxtaposed pictorial and other images in deliberate sequence and it doesn't really matter how you arrange them because it's still the same artistic medium. If you put writing on the internet, it's still just text on a page. The fact that you can hyperlink it makes no difference at all, and the fact that you can make your comic makes people scroll really far to the right makes no difference either. You can stop pretending that your comic is somehow inherently more artistic than the three-panel gag comic. It's okay. I'll still read you.

Actually, I won't. I've never heard of you, Cat Garza.

Looking at his website:

i've been able to comfort myself with the fact that i've never had to draw comic strips about star wars, video games or anything else that wasn't a product of my own imagination to gain an audience. or, for that matter, slam other ppl in comic strips to gain an audience.

You've never used anything that wasn't a product of your own imagination? Then how come everything you draw looks almost exactly like Krazy Kat? At least Gabe bothered to come up with his own visual style.


things i have watched/played

I Married A Monster From Outer Space

A classic, in a sense. The box promises that "The bride wore TERROR!" but all of the monstering takes place after weddings. There's some oddly snappy dialogue and occasionally good special effects, but it's pretty much just a marital-themed Invasion of the Body Snatchers. It would make for a killer musical.

Beyond Good and Evil

One of the more overlooked games of the past few years. I haven't gotten very far, but it's an action-adventure game done up in a nice Disney-cartoonish style that involves an evil conspiracy on an alien planet. The main character is a reporter. You take pictures. You fight. Pretty basic gameplay, but the original design keeps it engaging.

Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas

I once got lost looking for my house. I drove around a lot. I earned a couple skill points in driving and biking. I fell in the water and saw the pretty jellyfish and sea turtles. I listened to country music. I watched the stars come out over Red County. I eventually realized that my house is marked on the mini-map with a giant "S" that is directly opposite the giant "N" that marks the compass. Then I beat up a couple of crack dealers.

Yeah, this is a pretty open-ended game.



So the reason I have "civilprotection" as my URL instead of "coagulate" is that "coagulate" was already taken.

I checked up on http://www.coagulate.blogspot.com/ today and found out that pretty much the only thing it contains is a rather large lower-case "b" and an error message.

I'm not sure whether to be charmed by the minimalism or annoyed by the inconvenience.


maybe i forgot i had this?

If I could speak Japanese better, maybe I could understand this. But only maybe.

On an unrelated note...


-Elephant (technically)
-Comic relief duo


-More swordfighting


-Miranda Richardson




banned from the dci

While looking for the official draft rules on the WotC webpage, I stumbled across the full list of all players banned from DCI-sanctioned tournaments. Does it say what caused them to be banned? Yes, of course it does! Infractions range from the boring "fraudulent use of a DCI number" to the exciting "Unsporting Conduct Severe - Fighting."

Plus there's the perplexing "Presenting an insufficiently randomized deck." They kick you out for that? "Hey, sorry, but we're kicking you out because we think you could have shuffled your deck a couple more times. Sorry!"

I would like to apologize for these posts with the assurance that this blog will not be entirely about Magic.


i love products

Yesterday: went to Saviors of Kamigawa prerelease tournament with Megan and Drew. Went 0 out of 4 games in team sealed deck, but ended up with the Howling Mine Guy, Godo, and Cranial Extraction in addition to a bunch of other stuff that nobody really wanted but me.

However: One of the card store booths there was running a wheel-of-fortune-type deal where $1.00 got you a spin that could get you (mostly crappy) cards (although I missed my chance to get a Mudhole, alas). If you hit 0, you'd get to spin the Bonus Wheel for extra-special prizes that were actually pretty good. I spun precisely five times. First go: Rakavolver. Second: Mana Cache. Third: Foil Serra Avatar. It's shiny, flashy, and overpriced, which means that pre-teens (and Conner) just love it. Goddamnit, I don't need a foil Serra Avatar.

I ended up trading it off to some kid in exchange for a bunch of cards I actually want. I like to think of it as spreading evil, since that kid will now ruin all his friendships by lording his foil Serra Avatar over everybody else. He'll just bring it up in conversation whenever possible:

"Do you want to play Magic this
"Hell yes, I just got a foil Serra
"I got an A on my project! I worked so hard
on it!
Aren't you glad for me?"
"Yes, but check out my foil Serra
"Hey, did you hear that Timmy died of cancer? Isn't that sad?"
"I guess. Did you know that I have a foil
Serra Avatar?
And so on. My fourth spin brought me Psychic Trance, that little gem. And my fifth, last for the night? A booster box of Unhinged. Finally I can sponsor an Unhinged booster draft, not to mention the fact that I can stick City of Ass in my Sliver deck. Total profit for the night: About $120. Goddamnit.
The Actual Prerelease Tournament: Our decks were too big, so we could never find the cards we needed. My deck was still a lot of fun to play, though, because I could draw LOTS of cards. Probably more cards than anyone else in the room. Plus I had a bunch of Soulshift things going on. We still kept on losing, though.
Best Part: Somebody got out Reverence against me, which prevents him from being attacked by creatures with power 2 or less. With a couple exceptions, this means most of my creatures will never be able to touch him. I'm also pretty sure I have no way to get rid of the Reverence, but I decide to drag this out until the bitter end anyway. I end up losing the match simply because we run out of time in the round. Fun!
Unrelated: Today I bought clothes. I like clothes. Also a CD, but I won't say which one.


wake up

This is the internet record of one "Erik William Anderson Bear," aged 18 at present.

Entries will likely be sporadic and/or late at night.

Origin of Name: This is one of the keywords that the Overwatch Control Voice will say in Half-Life 2.

Edit: Archiving old subtitles:

1"Dropped bio-signal from protection teams"

2"The world won't change, all it does is turn"

3"Wish I had a socket set
To dismantle this morning"

4"I will rebuke your offerings,then spread dung on your faces." -God (Malachi 2:3)

5"No wonder it was only a seven hour war"

6"Uh-oh, it's morning time again"

7"Instead of death - firecrackers!"

8"even when mind and strength had gone, gratitude and a mutual tenderness still lived on in the heart of man"

9"And when he runs, he runs the fastest
He spins the Earth right on it axis"

10"Lonely hearts still beat the same
It's not romantic
It's just automatic"

11"We are all very interested in the future, for that is where you and I will spend the rest of our lives"

All that remained was a dark red blotch on the face of the earth, blotching things up"

13"They follow each other
After another
After another"

14"Your weapons are useless against me"

15"He gives up on using his words and tries to communicate using only his eyes. Oh, how they bulge and struggle to convey unthinkable meaning."

16"The owls are not what they seem"

17"Technically you would only need one time traveler convention."

18"But there's no sense crying over every mistake
You just keep on trying 'til you run out of cake"

19"All these worlds are yours except Europa. Attempt no landings there."

20"What can change the nature of a man?"

21"Funny as Hell, it was the most horrible thing I could think of."

I'll make a voice like all of time and all of the fog that ever was; I'll make a voice that is like an empty bed beside you all night long, and like an empty house when you open the door, and like trees in autumn with no leaves. A sound like the birds flying south, crying, and a sound like November wind and the sea on the hard, cold shore. I'll make a sound that's so alone that no one can miss it, that whoever hears it will weep in their souls, and hearths will seem warmer, and being inside will seem better to all who hear it in the distant towns."

Definition: Love is making a shot to the knees of a target 120 kilometers away using an Aratech sniper rifle with a tri-light scope. Love is knowing your target, putting them in your targeting reticle, and together, achieving a singular purpose against statistically long odds."

24"I fought at the north wall! I fought at the south wall! I was everywhere!"

25"Mama, here comes midnight/With the dead moon in its jaws"

26"Hiding in the shadows/Where we don't belong"

26"Yes I know it was late/We were greeting the sun/Before long"

27"Did I dream you dreamed about me"