Tuesday, April 25, 2017

A Quest: Magic the Gathering

I have always enjoyed adventure stories where a hero or heroes are charged with completing some Quest. Since I was a kid I have come up with quests for myself. I set myself a Quest to read the Bible cover to cover. I set myself a quest to play all of the Mario Brothers games (play not complete). I set myself a quest to see all of the endings to the game Chronotrigger. I set myself a quest to read all of the work of Robert Howard. I set myself a quest to beat all of the Final Fantasy games in order (I have repeated this one several times). I set myself a quest to complete all of the Legend of Zelda games. I set myself a quest to play all of the printed adventures for Dungeons and Dragons (OE and AD&D).
A lot of my quests center around reading or playing games. I did set myself a quest to collect all of the X-men titles ever printed (counting reprints as valid). I also have quested to grow out my hair. I have quested to run complete a 5k. Quests are fun. Normally, I do not share my quests with other people. I also recognize that my quests are probably fairly geeky.
My newest quest is worth sharing. I am embarking on a deck building quest for Magic the Gathering. It isn’t enough to generally say you are going to do something. There must also be parameters. The decks I build must be functional in that they must hold their own against other decks of the same type (Standard vs Standard etc.). At the end of the Quest, I want to have at least one each of standard, modern, legacy, and commander decks. To be fair I can already check this off my list.
This is where the quest becomes a challenge. I am going to build one deck of each of the following type:
One each for the clans of Tarkir which are:
The Abzan Houses – WBG- Khan- Anafenza the Foremost “Outlast” 
The Jeskai Way- WUR- Khan- Narset, Enlightened Master “Prowess” 
The Sultai Brood- UBG- Khan- Sidisi Brood Tyrant “Delve” 
The Mardu Horde- WBR- Khan- Zurgo Helmsmasher “Raid” 

The Temur Frontier – BRG- Khan- Surrak Dragonclaw “Ferocious”
One each for the Guilds of Ravnica which are: 
Azorius – WU 
Dimir- UB 
Rakdos- BR 
Gruul- RG 
Selesnya- GW 
Simic- GU 
Orzhov- WB 
Izzet- RU 
Golgari- BG 
Boros – RW
One for each of the Shards of Alara which are: 
Jund- BRG
Naya- RGW
Bant- GWB
Esper- WUB
Grixis- UBR
That makes 20 decks. I will also build one functioning 5 color deck (technically I already have one named Taste the Rainbow). Then I am going to get fancy and make workable decks for the following 26 win condition cards:
Amulet of Quoz  
Approach of the Second Sun  
Azor’s Elocutors  
Barren Glory  
Battle of Wits 
Celestial Convergence 
Chance Encounter  
Coalition Victory  
Darksteel Reactor  
Demonic Pact  
Door to Nothingness 
Epic Struggle  
Felidar Sovereign 
Hedron Alignment 
Helix Pinnacle  
Hellkite Tyrant 
Laboratory Maniac 
Mayael’s Aria  
Maze’s End  
Mechanized Production 
Mortal Combat  
Near-Death Experience  
Test of Endurance  
Vraska the Unseen  
To be fair, there are win conditions here that will work in the same deck. A proliferate deck will ramp out Azor’s Electors and Darksteel Reactor equally well. I can build Vraska into Golgari. I will very likely build Naya around Mayael’s Aria. Still, the task is quite daunting. I look forward to reporting in when I have completed the Quest.
The real fun of this Quest though is going to be all the playtesting and polishing. Message me if you want to join in on the fun.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Positive and Kind Does Not Mean Stupid

I hate the feeling of being taken advantage of or used. That feeling is not one I can accept or grow accustomed to. I think I struggle with it because when someone takes advantage of you they have gotten past your intelligence and fooled you into believing them or, worse yet, believing in them. That makes me feel stupid. I never like feeling stupid.
I am the world champion of wanting to believe the best of people. It makes me an easy mark. You read it here first. David is a gullible idiot that thinks people are basically good and decent. What’s more, I also believe that people want to be liked and respected in the same way that I do. I am quickly approaching forty years old with two children and three failed marriages. I keep making the same mistakes I made at fifteen.
I hear Elizabeth and my Mom out there saying,” The fact you do believe in people is a big part of what makes you great.” They are right to say so. I respond to people with genuine interest because I genuinely like people and I am interested. That gets me lots of phone calls when people are in hard times. I am good for a meal, a tank of gas, or a few bucks. I do it time and again even knowing that people are using me. I don’t mind as long as those same people don’t rub my nose in it or make fun of me for my kindness.
Once that happens, I am done. I have said those words a LOT in the last couple of years. I have come to see how often the people who pretend to like me or want to be friends are only acting that way to gain something. What I am about to say next is very important. Pay close attention.
No matter how little you have, there is someone out there that wants to take it from you.

That is a basic tenant of life which everyone needs to understand. I believe in strategy and philosophy. Every time I forget that simple line I regret it.
When I was a younger man I believed strongly in taking back anything that was taken from me. If you stole a book or movie from me I would even the scales, more often than not, by sleeping with your girlfriend, wife, sister, or your Mom. Nothing quite says balanced scales like THAT. Even Mommy sex tapes were not really satisfying. I could brag to my other “friends” about how good getting even was, but in truth, all I wanted was not to be wronged in the first place.
I eventually just stopped trying to get even. There is no even. When someone takes something from you then it is gone. Accepting the loss and moving on is about all you can do. My second wife certainly puts that one to the test. I will never get right from the way that ended. There are plenty of things people can take away that you simply don’t come back from. Why even try for revenge? Even taking the life of the person who wronged you wouldn’t put it right.
Recently, I got involved with a group of guys who all wanted to play Magic as a team. I love the game and I joined in willingly. The guy who wanted to lead the group had my blessing. I took a back seat role and didn’t even see competitive play. I offered up my card collection to help everyone get what was needed anyway.As the group fell apart one of my teammates asked the leader why he invited me to the group if he didn’t like me. The leader said,” Have you seen his collection? I needed his cards,” without a moment of hesitation. The funny part is I would have given over my binders in a blink of an eye if I had just been asked. There wasn’t any need to pretend to be my friend. Leaving the group wasn’t hard. Having a clear picture of who my friends are, and more importantly who they are not, is worth the cost.
Remember: No matter how little you have, there is someone out there that wants to take it from you.
I have been trying for almost four years to make friends with a guy. He doesn’t respect me. On numerous occasions, he had told me to my face that I am stupid. He normally quickly follows this up with,”Don’t take that personally. I think everyone is stupid.” I may be stupid but I am also 6’4″ and 300 plus pounds of stupid and angry. Still, he may be right. As many times as this jackwagon has taken advantage of me until very recently, I have suffered through without saying anything at all. Last July I finally had enough. For just a moment I considered strongly throwing him a long deserved beating. When I cussed him had he done anything but looked at his shoes I would have. Me reaching the end of my tolerance for him has done absolutely nothing to change him. It has just been a miserable experience ever since. It is also one I have little easy escape from.
That is the most important philosophy I have embraced. I have no control or ability to change anyone else. The only person I can control or change is me. The space between my ears is the only real estate in existence where I am in total control. I reign there. No matter what other people do I don’t have to accept it inside my brain. I must admit that this is much easier said than done. Practice, however, does make perfect.
My stubborn, angry (and very likely stupid) brain is also starting to embrace the virtue of surrender. Boy, this does not come naturally to me. I have always believed I can win everything if I try hard enough and play by all the rules. By virtue of right action and hard effort, I can always win the day! Yeah, this may not come as surprise, but that isn’t true. I lose. Often. Perhaps more often than not. Because I care that loss hurts, a lot.
I care too much. My second wife and I were married just shy of five years. Things weren’t right from the beginning, but I believed if I just put enough effort into everything it would turn out. She skipped out on our honeymoon to go back to work. I sat home alone for a week and pretended there was a good reason for this. I bought more jewelry. I bought so much that I accidentally gave her the same ring twice.
I believed that I could spoil her into loving me. I filled my house with Hello Kitty. (To this day I want to burn Hello Kitty stuff on sight.) I got a better paying job. I was home more. She came home from work less. I started to believe that my weight was the issue and I lost 150 pounds in a little over a year. I worked so hard at this I almost literally killed myself. No kidding. My heart actually stopped beating one day.
After all, was said and done she came home one day and said she wasn’t happy. She needed time and space. I believed, truly, that it was all going to work out. No one could possibly fail to see how much I loved her. Her boyfriend apparently even noticed it. That is why she blocked and unfriended me on Facebook. Of course, I didn’t give up or believe there was another guy until they passed me going the other way down the road. Turns out he had been around a long, long time. She was certainly having more sex than I was.
That one was tough. I did absolutely nothing about it. I granted her an agreed divorce. I didn’t fight for anything. The sum total of my fury was saying,” You are acting like a spoiled whore,” in an email. For that she hates me and we haven’t spoken since. People that take advantage of others do not tolerate insults well. My one line of outrage wasn’t enough for me, but I still regret it. I often hate myself for feeling like that.
Because of that, I try very hard to keep my objections to myself. I have been told that my face is very easy to read, but I doubt this. I certainly don’t bother to keep my feelings hidden. There is a vertical wrinkle right in the center of my eyebrows where I frown so frequently. Yet most people seem not to be able to interpret my feelings until I am so angry with them I don’t want to deal. These same people can look back over weeks, months, or years and say,” Oh yeah, I guess you did seem really irritated. If you had said something…”
That is my thing though. I don’t ever want to have to say something. I want to have my friends give enough of a damn about my feelings to notice it when I am irritated.. I am VERY careful with the feelings of others. I probably put too much effort into it honestly. Even after I am past the point of no return I try my best to check myself. I let myself forget that one rule.

No matter how little you have, there is someone out there that wants to take it from you.

Hopefully, other people will learn from my mistakes. That would make it worthwhile. Ugh. I am going to bed. I cannot bring this to a philosophical ending right now.

December 2nd Comic Books on a Budget