Wednesday, July 25, 2012

This makes me happy...


And I'm not sure why.

To my fellow Mets fans...

We have no one to blame but ourselves.
We knew this season was supposed to be a rebuilding year. When Alderson was hired, it was clear that success was a few years away. But then the Mets had a surprising and, dare I say amazin', first half.
Wright was a legitimate MVP candidate. Dickey was spectacular. Tejada made us forget about Reyes.
And then there was The No-Hitter. 
The signs were there, however. Pelfrey went down, the bullpen was spotty at best, Ike's slump, Bay still on the team. Yet the Mets managed to tread water, and kept hope alive for one of the Wild Card spots.
And this meant that as fans...fans in the wake of 2006, we believed in the team/ Why not the Mets, with their ragtag pitching staff and awesome stories? Why not the Mets with their bevy of homegrown talent and underdog mentality?
Well, here's why: the Mets aren't a playoff team. Yet. The talent is there, but it is a year or two away from being ready for the big time. Pitching is in the pipeline, and soon, the unwieldy Flavor Flav Clock contracts leftover from the Minaya regime will be be off our necks. 
It doesn't hurt any less. We sit through year after year of the Yankees being awesome, of watching the other teams in our division improve while the Mets seem stagnant, of John Kruk on Baseball Tonight (but to be fair, he's been less biased this year). The Mets fan base wants something to cheer for, and the first half made us believe. It is our own fault...we knew what this team was. And you know what? They're still doing better than just about anyone's expectation- let's not forget.
So I'm happy for 2012, and here's why:
  • Ruben Tejada has proven we can win without Reyes
  • Jordany Valdespin is a star in the making
  • Dickey is one of the best pitchers out there, and we can lock him up
  • Our farm system is being replenished
  • Wright is playing out of his mind
  • The Marlins and Phillies are stinking up the joint!
  • We're still not out of the race!
  • The No-Hitter!
So, as always, lets go Mets!

Monday, July 23, 2012

When worlds collide

It isn't often that Magic overlays with my professional life. While I advise the Magic club at my place of employment, the realm of student affairs and Magic rarely overlap. Even rarer is the Venn Diagram of Magic Writer and Student Affairs Professional. As far as I know, it includes two individuals: myself and Abe Sargent.
I do not know Abe, nor do I regularly follow his writing. There is nothing wrong with his work, but I am not a casual player, and that is who he writes for. I do peruse his articles, especially if they are about his life outside the game- I find the lives of other student affairs people interesting, since work-life balance is a challenge in this field.
For those who do not know, student affairs is a field of professionals who concern themselves with developing college aged students outside the classroom. This includes orientation, student activities, Greek life,  health and counseling services, residence life (RAs and RDs) and depending on the school, numerous other offices. The way I describe it to friends and family is "everything at a school that isn't teaching or maintenance." 
In his most recent article, Abe talks about the next step in his career. He however, makes a pronouncement about the field that I feel does the article a disservice. When discussing the circumstances that have led him to look for a new path, Abe remarks:

"I kept trying to find a new career, but it was hard. There is a severe bias in this field against:
  1. People who are getting older (I'm in my mid 30s).
  2. People who are straight white males (diversity is rightly emphasized, but unfortunately only visible diversity is considered while things such as geographic diversity, educational diversity, or religious diversity don't really matter).
  3. People who do not have one of two specific degrees to work with students. (The job requires training in student development theory. It also requires tasks such as budgeting and management, which are not taught in student development degrees but which I was trained on with my Masters in Public Administration).
With three strikes against me, finding a new job was already tough. I'd been applying for jobs for a while. Now add to that the fact that I just got fired from my previous one, and I found myself in a crisis."
The Kitchen Table #385- Goodbye Michigan
Abe Sargent
7/19/2012

First, Abe omits a fairly important obstacle for professionals in student affairs looking for a new job: the state of the economy. When I was first looking for work in 2008, the economy had just tanked. Because of this, the highest echelon of workers (also the oldest) had their retirement investments eviscerated. This, in turn, forced them to keep their jobs for a few more years. The dominoes began to fall, and the people who were going to take those jobs never had the chance. As such, fewer positions were opening up at every level. Abe is correct: each position has far too many qualified applicants, and often people can't find work, which leads to a large exodus from the field in the early stages of the career path. That being said, leaving this out paints an incomplete picture. 
Item two is the most dangerous, for a number of reasons. Full disclosure: I myself, am a straight white male. It should go without saying that SWMs in this country get an unfair advantage in multiple aspects of life. They tend to earn more and also have a ton of privilege wrapped up in their mere existence. Saying that there is a bias against SWMs just feeds the notion that they do not have any inherent boosters in the world- that they are on the same level as every other applicant out there. The more I think about it, the more I realize: in student affairs, there isn't a bias against SWMs, there just isn't a bias. Period. 
All applicants are on the same playing field. The field, however, is biased towards people who are caring and community oriented. It wants people who have had to confront privilege (and lack of it) to help provide a better understanding of the students with we are likely to counsel. If a person has never had to confront this, black or white, gay or straight, male or female, they might not succeed at the same level. I had experiences with a boss in grad school who made disparaging remarks about my ethnicity/religion (Jewish) and working through that (and other comments made by this same supervisor) helped me confront my own sense of privilege and place in the world. That trial made me a better member of the student affairs world. I believe that Abe had an experience that made him a strong professional member as well, but I won't presume what it might have been.

I do not mean to disparage Abe. I do not think this was intentional. This was, at its heart, an article about Magic and the community's role in his life- not one about employment trends in student affairs. However, the Magic community is currently dealing with larger issues of sexism and such seemingly innocuous statements such as "bias against straight white males" can to reinforce the idea that SWMs are not at an inherent advantage in the world. 

Abe, if you're reading this, good luck in your search and your new path- I hope one day our Venn Diagram gets a few more people. 

Thursday, July 19, 2012

This


On being a fan

I have lived in Brooklyn the vast majority of my life. Apart from the time I spent in college, grad school, and my first job, I have called Kings County my home. An undercurrent of life in Brooklyn was, for the longest time, the absence of a professional sports franchise. The Dodgers leaving, nearly 60 years ago, left a hole in the soul of Brooklyn. Its a sense of abandonment, as if Brooklyn was not good enough. Sometimes it seems like that's part of every Brooklynite- yeah we're not good enough, what's it to you?
Of course, that will change this fall when the Brooklyn (nee New Jersey) Nets come to Barclay's Arena, a little more than a mile away from where I currently live. Professional sports (sorry Cyclones, you don't count) will be back...and in my proverbial backyard.

It got me thinking...can I give up on the Knicks? The team I've backed for years; a team that has baffled me with their business decisions recently.

Basketball is far from my favorite sport. I am first and foremost a die hard New York Mets fan. I have been for most of my adult (and therefore independent) life. I remember the moment I would throw myself, 100%, behind the blue and orange: Robin Ventura's Grand Slam Single. I was still a teenager and I had always rooted for the Mets, but that was the moment I became a fan. 
After baseball comes hockey (Rangers) and football (Jets) with basketball lagging a distant fourth. I cannot explain it, as I absolutely love watching the college game. Professional basketball just does not enthrall me the way it did in my youth where the NBA on NBC was a constant background in May and June. Maybe it was the lockout at the turn of the century, or maybe it was when Ewing went away. I just stopped caring about the Knicks, until the season they acquired Carmelo Anthony. 

My sister was dating a guy (second time around) and he was a huge Knicks fan. Seeing as how he was basically living with my sister (in my parents house), I decided that I might as well get to know him. I watched a lot of basketball with my sister and her boyfriend, and started to enjoy the game again. The Knicks were full of exciting, young talent. Amar'e Stoudemire was playing extremely well, and the team was clicking.

Then James Dolan pulled the trigger and shipped a ton of talent for Carmelo Anthony.  I wanted to like this trade, but I could not. 

Dolan is a villain. I cannot describe the primal feelings of anger that well up whenever someone mentions his name, or Isiah Thomas. Isiah Thomas. I had to mention him twice, because, I mean, Dolan keeps giving him more shots, so I guess we should too?

When you're a fan, you want your team to be good. You have faith in the ownership and management to do what's right for the franchise (even if it means rebuilding). In the post-MinayaMadoff era, I believe the Mets are going in the right direction. The Knicks...not so much.

And then, walking distance from home, a franchise is moving in. One that has an owner willing to pay players to be part of a team, not to please individual fulfillment. They're in my backyard! They're from my hometown! No, they're not the Dodgers...but the Nets are something that could be a part of Brooklyn. Could be a part of my life.

I saw friends who were jumping ship. I considered it, and put it out on twitter. I got no support, only lambasting. 

I wanted to switch. I wanted to take the easy way out and latch on to a tea in the right direction.

I couldn't pull the trigger. 

I have a friend, who until recently was a Mets fan. After Johan Santana threw his no-hitter,  the greatest moment in Mets history in the past ten years, he gave up on the Mets. Management had decided to sell tickets to the game after the fact, including tickets that had already been purchased. To him, this was inexcusable. I couldn't fathom doing that. I can be angry at a team, upset at a direction.

I couldn't turn myself into Brooklyn in 1958, looking for a history that is no longer there.

Lets go Knicks. 

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

I'm not happy with you, MapMyRun. I take one step off the trail, and you lose your shit.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Why Blue will always be great

I love Magic. I have been playing the game since I was ten years old, and I am 28 at the time of writing. The people who are currently making the game are doing some of the best work in the history of the game, and are succeeding at making Magic something more than just the game with cards- they are making it an experience. The recent announcements regarding the Return to Ravnica block and prerelease fill me with joy and make me eager to register for a prerelease today, two months in advance.

It appears to me though the people who make Magic have a bias towards blue. 

Rather, powerful cards in Magic are biased towards blue, and the fantastic employees of R & D are subject to this bias.

Every color (aside from blue) as at one point been considered "worst." Currently, that honor falls to red. Red is the color of impulses, emotions, passions, and blowing shit up. The philosophy behind red hamstrings it in design, and the struggles are well documented in Mark Rosewater's blog.
Aside: This blog is fantastic. MaRo is as honest and upfront as he can be. Even when presented with questions about apparent shortcomings in Magic, he strives to be direct and it is obvious he wants to see the game succeed on more than a financial level. His heart is in this game as much as his mind, and it shows.
Recently, red has been given access to looting (drawing some number of cards and discarding some number), an ability that had previously been blue.
Shocking, I know.
To distinguish the two abilities, blue has the advantage of drawing first, while red, according to MaRo, is supposed to get looting at a slightly discounted rate in exchange for discarding first and not being able to generate card advantage. This is designed to reflect the differences in the underlying philosophies of the colors: blue plans, red is willing to get rid of something in order to see something new. No harm, no foul. The first card with "red looting" was Mad Prophet, which is an absolute powerhouse in my Pauper Cube, but also was fantastic in AVR limited. 
Enter M13, and Rummaging Goblin. Compare this to the much older Merfolk Looter. The red one costs more. 
Now, I was willing to give Wizards the benefit of the doubt: they did not know how red looting would play, and were being cautious. The guidelines presented to us would be visible down the road (Fall 2012 and beyond). 

Then Zac Hill wrote this article.

My umbrage:

"That diversity is good for Limited Magic. He's costed at 2 ManaRed Mana because Merfolk Looter was hands-down the most dominant common in Magic 2010, even though it seemed comparatively innocuous. Given Rummaging Goblin's far more relevant creature type—thanks, Arms Dealer—we decided he ought to both require a discard first (as is red's tradition) and cost a little bit more."
Zac Hill
"The Cards of Magic 2013, Part 2"
7/13/2013

I do not know what sort of cards are coming out in the future. I can imagine that Goblins will continue to be a supported tribe. But trying to tell us that Goblins are a more supported creature type than Merfolk feels like a boldfaced lie. Sure, Merfolk spend some time out of print while Goblins were getting awesome lords. Yet both tribes are relevant in Legacy, and a number of awesome new Merfolk were printed in M13. So Goblins are a better tribe, and therefore have to have looting at a higher price point? It is likely that Hill's article is focusing on Standard, but it does a disservice to cite Arms Dealer as a reason for making Rummaging Goblin far worse than its blue brother. 
The underlying message here is that blue is allowed to cheat at costs because it always has. And it can get away with it! Wizards could have printed a corrected Merfolk Looter in Magic 2012 and justified it with it being too strong in M10. Now red is being forced to pay for the sins of blue. Is Rummaging Goblin a fine card? Yes. It will win limited games and go into my Cube, but it is more expensive than it should be. Even if the effect is too powerful at 1C, since red is supposed to have its looting be pushed at cost, Goblin looter at 1R should exist (as per MaRo).


Blue has a history of getting effects for far too little (see Ancestral Recall). It also has a history of getting the lion's share of awesome effects (pure card draw, counter spells, "Control Magics," tutoring, et. al.). Over time these effects have become closer to correctly costed (see the abolishment of Counterspell and the prevalence of Cancel). The core of the issue goes deeper, however. 

Blue is the color of thought, it is the color of planning and outsmarting adversaries. It is about accumulating resources and generally being smarter than its adversary.

Replace "blue" with "Magic" and "the color" with "the game."

Red is a color of impulsivity and emotions and blowing shit up. Replace "red" with "magic" and "color" with "game."

Magic, as a tournament game, is firmly in the blue realm of the color pie. Yes, it has been shifting further out of this wedge for a long time. Yet underlying concepts of the game align very well with the driving forces of blue. As long as these are in line, it will be easy to give blue the best cards. 

That being said, I still  have the utmost faith that people like Mark Rosewater, Zac Hill, Aaron Forsythe, and everyone else in Magic R & D can work against the tide of history. They have taken the first few steps, they can take the next leaps. 

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Writing

I got home from errands last night and saw this tweet from Lauren Lee, my editor at StarCityGames.com:




I started in with a joke reply along the lines of "what did I do?" Lauren took me seriously, and then complimented my work. There's more to this later, including a retweet from someone I admire, but first I'm going back in time.

Trick Jarrett, the editor of dailymtg.com, has a wonderful website where he discusses Magic writing. His posts make me want to be a better writer.  This prompted me to think, why do I write? Who do I want to emulate?

What can I do to be a better writer?

A background: I went into college thinking I was either going to major in English (like my dad) or Physics (after taking it voluntarily in high school, twice, including AP). After a semester of calculus, I was determined to read books for four years. Along with that came a significant amount of writing. I got good at writing, or at least good enough to be the go to editor for my circle of friends through grad school.

When I write today, it is either here or for Star City. At work, most of the writing I do is bullet points and program proposals, which is very different from explaining the nuances of a new Magic set or format, or detailing the random events of my life. Moving forward, I have decided to come up with writers I want to emulate with the goal of becoming a better writer. 

Kurt Vonnegut: Vonnegut is my favorite author. Period. While I disagree with him on the use of the semi-colon, it is hard to beat the way Vonnegut was able to communicate humanity and humor without wasting words. If some books are slug-fests, Vonnegut's are the sweet science of jabs and parries. His work is brief and direct. Nothing gets lost.

In my junior year of college I took a class on 19th century British novels. The professor (whose name escapes me) gave this assignment to the class: I want you to write a five page paper, and I want you to do it in two pages. I would get my papers back from him covered in red marks and scribbles on my modifiers. I learned how to be brief.

Vonnegut was briefer and more direct. I can be too.

Brendan Kelly: One of the lead singers of the Lawrence Arms, and the lead vocalist for The Falcon and Brendan Kelly and the Wandering Birds. He also writes this hilarious blog, full of salty language. Brendan makes great use of metaphor and analogs to convey points. He also is not afraid of language and being offensive. I will not be talking about the same subject matter as he does, but I can still learn how to get my point across without mentioning it directly. His writing is also musical (which makes sense, since he is a musician). 

It doesn't hurt that he also has written some of my favorite songs of all time. And his live shows are always a riot (helped by the band having just the right amount of booze before hand).

Mike Flores: Mike Flores is my favorite Magic writer of all time. He has a great sense of story (regardless of how often those tales are repeated) and wonderful pacing. His writing at times has a musical quality and is always entertaining. Mike's ability to break down complex concepts, integrating examples from outside Magic (basketball, Street Fighter, Star Wars lightsaber duels, and Rock Paper Scissors for example help to ground his work firmly in reality. His output is amazing and encompasses the history of the game. He is one of the best storytellers in Magic writing, and the scope of his view is wide (often wider than that of his audience). Yet it does not stop him. 

Now for the retweet story: In early June I was taking the train to the Upper West Side to meet friend for dinner. I looked up at a stop and saw that Mike Flores had gotten on. I recognized him from my days as a Small Child at the now defunct Neutral Ground. I saw a trace of recognition when he saw me, and got the nerve to talk to him. The 15 minutes we talked changed my perspective on writing, at least for Magic. Regardless of everything else, when I write for Magic, I am a salesman (like my father before me) and I have to treat it as such. When I replied to Lauren that this convo had made me a better writer, Mike decided to send it out to his followers. That felt great.

The tie that binds these three writers together is the fact that they are fearless. There is no hesitation in their writing. Fear is the mind killer, it is the little death. This writers are all prolific. They lack fear. I have to learn that it does not matter if a piece is "bad" or "good," but rather that I wrote it. I have to like it more than everything I wrote before. 

My goals for writing are:
  • Be brief
  • Be direct
  • Have a point, but don't be a slave to it
  • Be musical
  • Be fearless
Keep me honest people.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Signs you are a real New Yorker

Sometimes, when I take the subway, I see people who are obviously not New Yorkers. When they struggle with their Metrocards, I secretly wish they get on the wrong train and no one tells them.

When I struggle with my Metrocard, I get angry at the turnstile.


Sunday, July 8, 2012

My M13 Prerelease

Author's note: I apologize for the formatting issues (color/background). When I changed the layout, this post got all fouled up.


This post will contain heavy amounts of Magic: The Gathering content.

I am so happy to be done with Avacyn Restored limited. I know I am an above average player, but no aspiring pro. I like playing Magic and I like getting better...and I've been playing for a while. I had never felt so terrible at Magic as I did during Avacyn drafts. I think the format needed one more removal spell at common, and some type of catch up mechanism- one misstep and you were dead. Additionally, I felt niche cards were prominent and rewarded (Thatcher Revolt) but terribly unplayable outside of those archetypes. Rise of the Eldrazi draft had fewer of these cards, but very rarely were the niche cards completely useless.

Back to the present: I was excited to be playing M13...be playing with removal again. I stopped by my local shop, the 20 Sided Store yesterday after a shopping trip and watched some friends build their decks for the second pod. My initial impressions of the format were:

  • Hey look, there's removal! It is a bit slower than previously, but it is there
  • This set is slower than M12 and way slower than AVR
  • Exalted is a real threat
  • Red seems underpowered in sealed
  • The games can become wars of attrition with relatively complex board states
  • I'll probably value card advantage much higher than I should

I arrived to 20 early and walked up the block to grab a bagel and some iced coffee. I was recognized quickly by some of the other gamers and we began a conversation. Turns out one of them works with my old boss. Small world.

A few minutes before 10am we head down to 20 and wait until the doors open. I bask in the AC and find my seat, wait for my packs, and finally...crack them.

One thing I never get tired of is the smell of freshly opened cards. It brings me a memory of opening a starter decks of Revised, and seeing Personal Incarnation and Underground Sea.

Here's my pool, tell me what you think you would build:

White
Ajani's Sunstriker
Angelic Benediction
Aven Squire
Angel's Mercy
Griffin Protector
Guardians of Akrasa (x2)
Erase
Intrepid Hero
Pacifism
Pillarfield Ox
Safe Passage
War Priest of Thune

Blue
Archaeomancer
Divination
Encrust (x2)
Fog Bank
Jace's Phantasm
Kraken Hatchling (x2)
Mind Sculpt
Negate
Talrand's Invocation
Tricks of the Trade
Unsummon (x2)
Watercourser
Welkin Tern

Black
Bloodhunter Bat
Bloodthrone Vampire
Diabolic Revelation
Disentomb
Duress
Duskmantle Prowler
Duty-Bound Dead (x2)
Essence Drain (x2)
Mark of the Vampire
Mind Rot
Servant of Nefarox
Sign in Blood (x2)
Tormented Soul
Vampire Nighthawk
Vile Rebirth

Red
Chandra's Fury (x2)
Dragon Hatchling (x2)
Goblin Arsonist (x2)
Fire Elemental (x2)
Furnace Whelp
Magmaquake
Reckless Brute
Reverberate
Smelt

Green
Arbor Elf (x2)
Bond Beetle
Centaur Courser (x2)
Deadly Recluse
Duskdale Wurm (x2)
Flinthoof Boar
Mwonvuli Beast Tracker
Nautalize
Plummer
Quirion Dryad
Titanic Growth (x2)
Vastwood Gorger (x2)

Artifact and Land
Evolving Wilds
Clock of Omens
Gem of Becoming
Jayemdae Tome
Ring of Kalonia
Ring of Valkas
Ring of Xathrid
Stuffy Doll





Obligatory blank space







I immediately decided I would be playing black (so deep) dismissed red (the opposite of deep). Benching Magmaquake was hard, but right. I then set aside white, probably too quickly as the BW Exalted build looked promising, even if it did lack creatures to actually attack (my main reason for ignoring it). Looking back, this was wrong- you do not need a ton of attackers in the BW Exalted deck- and I would have run a BW build if I could. I was enticed by blue and the prospect of exalted + Watercourser, two Encrust, and Invocation + Archaeomancer, but laying out the deck, it just felt wrong. When I looked at Beast Tracker, I knew I had my second color, as it helped me find my Nighthawk. After a few minutes, I had my deck, although cards 21-23 were the tough decisions.

Arbor Elf
Tormented Soul
Duty-Bound Dead (x2)
Qurion Dryad
Deadly Recluse
Servant of Nefarox
Centaur Courser (x2)
Mwonvuli Beast Tracker
Vampire Nighthawk
Bloodhunter Bat
Duskmantle Prolwer
Stuffy Doll
Duskdale Wurm (x2)
Titanic Growth
Ring of Xathrid
Sign in Blood (x2)
Mark of the Vampire
Essence Drain (x2)
Evolving Wilds
8 Forest
8 Swamp

Relevant Sideboard:
Mind Rot
Diabolic Revelation (for long games)
Naturalize
Plummet

I went 3-1, winning handily against some newer players. In round two, I had a great match against Rob with UGrw, another regular. I won game one. Game two was a fantastic battle, coming down to his large creatures with Rancor racing my smaller creatures and Stuffy Doll. He won the turn before I would have swung in for lethal. My mistake had come on turn two, when he attacked his Welkin Tern into my Deadly Recluse and I did not block. Next turn he put Rancor on the Tern and I then blocked, taking 4 points of damage. Rob won by two points. Granted, the game probably plays out differently if he's holding Rancor, but he did not follow up Tern with a creature for multiple turns (hah), so I feel that if I had pulled the trigger and blocked that first attack, I would have won the match.

I won 7 packs for my efforts, as well as a sweet deck box from a raffle. My day ended with a three person game of Commander. My Skullbriar against Shawn's Grand Arbiter Augustin IV and Alex's Niv-Mizzet. The game went long, but eventually Alex won out with his Niv-Mizzet combo. That being said, it was still a fun game of Magic, despite the combo and lock decks I was up against.

Here's my list for Skullbriar, heavily influenced by Sheldon Menery's Nath of the Gilt-Leaf list featured here. It started as a Glissa the Traitor deck, which might give insight into the artifact subtheme.
Quickly: Commander is a fun project for me. I like to trade and find cards in bargain bins. I optimize my decks to the best of my ability, but do not go crazy.

Commander: Skullbriar, the Walking Grave

Green
Woodripper
Mycoloth
Wickerbough Elder
Fertilid
Indrik Stomphowler
Bellowing Tanglewurm
Yavimaya Ekder
Lotus Cobra
Oracle of Mul Daya
Eternal Witness
Champion of Lambholt
Scavenging Ooze
Awakening Zone
Saproling Burst
Rancor
Sylvan Library
Doubling Season
Harmonize
Strength of the Tajaru
Hurricane

Black
Nekrataal
Spike Cannibal
Skirsdag High Priest
Bloodghast
Disciple of Griselbrand
Creakwood Ghoul
Blood Artist
Falkenrath Noble
Shriekmaw
Dark Confidant
Vigor Mortis
Living Death
Grim Harvest
Exsanguinate
Phyrexian Reclamation
Executioner's Capsule
Damantion
Grave Pact

Multicolor
Golgari Guildmage
Glissa, the Traitor
Vulturous Zombie
Necrogenesis
Grim Feast

Artifact
Steel Hellkite
Solemn Simulacrum 
Oblivion Stone
Contagion Clasp
Contagion Engine
Spine of Ish Sah
Horizon Spellbomb
Nihil Spellbomb
Ichor Wellspring
Mycosynth Wellspring
Throne of Geth
Venser's Journal
Sol Ring
Golgari Signet
Skull Clamp
Darksteel Plate
Sword of Light and Shadow
Lightning Greaves
Nim Deathmantle

Land
9 Forest
6 Swamp
Evolving Wilds
Terramorphic Expanse
Verdant Catacombs
Command Tower
Golgari Rot Farm
Pine Barrens
Treetop Village
Oran-Rief, the Vastwood
Tranquil Thicket
Slippery Karst
Cabal Coffers
Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth
Bojuka Bog
Polluted Mire
Barren Moor
Volrath's Stronghold
Phyrexia's Core
Temple of the False God
Wasteland
Reliquary Tower
Blasted Landscape

That's all for now. It was a good day of Magic (and the air conditioning didn't hurt). Like I said, I'm happy to be playing with removal again.

-Alex

Friday, July 6, 2012

"Done With Love"- Teenage Bottlerocket




I got shit to do
No time for hanging out and no time for you
I've got no time to waste
I'd rather be some other place

No one's getting in cause I've got a heart of stone
And it doesn't bother me to be alone
My line is disconnected to hang up the phone
I'm done with love

Yeah I don't need all the bullshit
I need that like a hole in the head
I've cut off all my emotion
Everything inside of me is dead, just like I said
I'm done with love

Living in Brooklyn


I lived in Westchester for three years. I was isolated. Yes, I had a car, but my job provided housing on a college campus. Because of that, getting out and being social was an endeavor. Going out for a drink was an event that approached Herculean levels (drive to the bar, drink, wait to sober up, drive home). My life stagnated. I hated it.

I now live in the heart of Brooklyn. When I run in Prospect Park, I literally run into people I know. Today, I decided to walk to work (something I do often, but was totally ill-advised in the heat). I stopped into a shop for an iced coffee, and saw a friend of mine from college- one I hadn't seen since graduating 6 years ago.

We caught up.

This would have never have happened if I still lived in Westchester. Not because people didn't live there, but because I just never had the opportunity to be out and see people. After moving to Brooklyn, I had dinner with a Westchester friend and his friends (a couple with a child who lived in Westchester). When I said I was much happier living in the city, the wife in the couple declared that I liked Brooklyn more because I was single.

That's only partially true.

I like Brooklyn more because there are people here. People my age. People I can run into in coffee shops, and talk to about the past 6 years like it was nothing.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Also, this happened.
It's incredibly hot in my office today. We're talking AC blowing right on me and I'm still sweaty hot. This has to be an OSHA violation...right?