Ask The Editor, 11/25/2004 – More Observations From the Land of Oz

Knut looks back on the events of Grand Prix: Brisbane and includes a bunch of pictures of Australian cuties to entertain you while you are dealing with seratonin overload.

It’s taken me a while to write this particular installment of my diary for two reasons:

1) I’ve been too busy doing to write about it.

2) This installment deals with frustrations and insecurities, thus making it hard to generate motivation for actually writing. I’ve been mad about this subject multiple times in the last month, but never summoned the rage long enough to write something. Australia pushed me over that edge.

When last we chatted, our hero was suffering from jet lag and couldn’t find a damned thing to watch on the tele, so I wrote this. Next I went down to the hotel restaurant and participated in the daily Full English Breakfast, minus the full and English parts, plus a bunch of fruit. Floppy bacon and eggs need not apply.

Next thing I know, we’ve got 222 players and the event is starting. At some point while I was writing, Stephen Menendian popped up and commented how lame it was that Oz only got 222 for a GP.

Steve: It’s not like they have a big country or anything.

Me: Steve, have you read any of the coverage yet?

Steve: No, just the top of the page.

Me: Sounds like you need a geography lesson.

Steve: Continental United States, you say? 10 or 11 hour drives? LOL!

The Aussies are a different breed of people, and I mean that in a good way. Most of them are very laid back about stuff, and they generally seem to be happy folks. The finals of the event were one of the more entertaining matches that I’ve witnessed in the last year. The players were loose (they had already agreed to split) and barbs and jokes flew from every direction from the crowd. All in all it was a great time, even though I was Ted “Snot Bucket” Knutson from Saturday afternoon on. (Gee, I caught a cold after riding in planes with like a thousand other people for twenty hours. I’m shocked. Sigh.)

I’m actually a little sorry I didn’t get to go out and party with the Aussies, because they seem like they would be awesome times (and more than a few pros messaged me to tell me Svend Geertsen is also awesome while they were bitching about his lack of coverage), but sick + exhausted = no partying.

Big ups to Dale Aitken, Carter, Pip, Jogs, Mike Mason, TBS, Vargs, and the whole Aussie crew down there for making this event extremely enjoyable though. I’d go back there in a heartbeat.

Speaking of Carter, now that he’s Rules Manager, it’s entirely possible that publishing this picture will get me kicked out of the DCI. After I publish this, it’s likely Nick Eisel will be playing sanctioned again Magic before I do. And yet… I cannot stop myself.

SPF 45

Even Head Judges need some break time. (I’m so not making a funny caption for this one.)

Weighty Issues

Carter first noticed it on Thursday when we were eating lunch on a patio near the arbor area of Brisbane. We were sitting outside watching people walk past, and he said, “Wow, there aren’t any fat people here.” I just wrote it off to the area that we were in at the time, since there were lots of joggers and beach-goers passing by, but as I hung out more in different areas of Brisbane, I realized John was right. There weren’t any fat people waddling around.

Perhaps the most startling example of this was at the Grand Prix itself. At every single PTQ or prerelease event I’ve ever attended in the States, there are more than a few grotesquely fat people slinging spells contributing more than their fair share to the atmosphere of gamer funk that permeates practically every Magic event ever conceived. That was not the case in Oz. Yes, there was some gamer funk because not everybody there wears deodorant (you can’t even buy deodorant in most places in Japan, but I’m jumping ahead here), but the grossly fat people don’t exist.

I took most of Monday to shop for souvenirs and people watch, and the idea solidified. It’s like they took every single person in the country and shaved 10-15% of the typical American body mass off of them. You’d be surprised how much more attractive that makes a population. Curvy girls stay curvy instead of crossing into pudgy. Cute girls stay cute much longer when they aren’t packing on the pounds, people in general look younger, and you know those times when you say, “Well, she’s not the hottest girl I’ve ever seen, but she’s got a bangin’ body.” They happen a helluva lot more when people don’t overload their bodies with flab. Hell, even most of the fat people there aren’t gross – they just have a few extra pounds on them. They look like dieting and exercise could cure their ills instead of having to resort to gastric bypass surgery or the like.

There’s a corollary to all of this of course, and it’s that Americans are f***ing disgusting. We’re eating ourselves into oblivion, and far too few people care about it. We get fat early, we stay fat, and we eventually get to the point where our bodies can’t handle the extra work and health problems explode from the difficulties. Australia doesn’t have a ton of fat kids running around like you see here. From what I could tell, most of their fat comes during middle age, when it’s normal to pack on a few more pounds, but until that point, they take care of themselves. Having two or three Subways to every McDonald’s, Wendy’s, and Burger King may have something to do with that, as does not driving everywhere and walking instead.

I confess, I don’t know all the reasons for the disparity. I’m just the observer and messenger on this one. If we don’t fix our overeating and lack of exercise problems, the majority of the population may be buying two seats on airplanes in twenty years. We don’t have to be disgusting pigs, folks, we just have to care enough to avoid it and make sure our kids do too.

The sad part here is that I live on the fat farm as well. I have never felt fatter in my life than I did when visiting Oz. I like steak and a Big Bacon Classic as much as the next guy, and you can tell this because I have an extra fifteen or twenty pounds on me. However, after watching Super Size Me! and making this trip, I’m all about making a life change. Cut out the burger joints, eat more salads, keep up the exercise. I’m not sure I’m strong enough to make the change, but God help me if I don’t. I don’t want to look like the Michelin Man when I turn forty, but it could happen.

Of course, when my wife eventually leaves me for a younger, hotter man, instead of going back to college, I’m now moving to Australia, land of vast quantities of cute, pale girls in addition to plenty of tans ones, and where I will be quite the fatty if I don’t change my ways. Fat is not attractive, and not attractive doesn’t pull in the womyns. I’ve got some incentive here…

By the way, shortly after realizing that the Aussies just aren’t that fat, I started stopping random folks and taking pictures of them. Here are few of the best items from the Australian half of my trip.

Arbor Walk Beach

The Arbor Walk area around the street beach in Brisbane.

Australian Babewatch

It’s tough to tell here because of the hat, but this lifeguard is soooo cute. We definitely need to import more of these.

The whiff

Macking exists in every country. Sadly, this guy struck out.

Pale-skinned cutie

The Australian Katie Holmes. (Her name really is Kate Holmes…)

Real Age 23

Random shop girl.

Sigh, she's taken

Random cute couple. My wife thinks he’s hot.

Ted Knutson

The Holy Kanoot

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P.S. I’m back at the reins. Thanks to The Ferrett for covering for me while I was on vacation.

P.P.S. I read the “Favorite Writer” forums from Ferrett’s Ask the Other Editor column and it’s nice to see that at least Steve Menendian loves me. Apparently the rest of my fan base has disappeared since I took over as editor. Not that I’m bitter or anything.