Boy, Is This Random

This week, Wakefield hooks his brain up to a random number generator and ends up producing some of his finest work yet.

“Why don’t you go upstairs? I’ll be up in a bit?”

I didn’t protest. I just dragged my weary ass off the couch. “Dogs have been out. Doors are locked. Coffee is all made for the morning.” I tell the Lovely Mare.

It was midnight and I had just taken second place in a 40-person online Standard MODO tournament with Joshie Green.


“You know why you keep losing with that deck?” Alan says. “Because it needs a cool name. You can’t win with a deck called “Joshie Green.”

That was the weekend in the first round when Alan was down. I went 3-0 and drew into the top 8. Today I went 4-0 and drew into the top 8.

Did you know Magic is mad random?

No, honestly, it is.

The only way I can keep myself sane is to both believe that, and at the same time, not believe that. Because there has to be a lot of skill in it or I wouldn’t keep trying. And I also have to realize it is as luck intensive as a coin flip and not get so upset.

Saturday morning on MODO is a CHK tournament that is 4x prizes. I am very excited and think that Alan’s control Red Deck is going to do very well and I am going to be rolling in virtual packs by the end of the day. It’s a Magic day, and I plan on playing it all day and then celebrating my Top 8 with a huge Beer.

Two and a half hours later, I’m so furious I want to pick up my keyboard and slam it down on the desk and watch pieces parts fly into the air like Mexican jumping beans on crack. Like a plastic rainstorm they will fall all over the room as I growl in rage. But Mare absolutely hates it when I do that and I don’t feel like ruining our weekend so I go mow the lawn instead. I’m furious and tense for ninety minutes but at least the lawn gets mowed.

You wouldn't like me when I'm angry.

Getting mad at losing at Magic is just dumb. It’s like buying a scratch off lottery ticket and being furious you didn’t win. It’s pointless.

Some anecdotes to illustrate.

I am playing a Gifts player. It is the third game. I play a Genju of the Spires and start attacking with it on turn 3. I attack him three times and then I Lava Spike him.

On his turns he played land and said “go.”

That was the whole third game. He did nothing.

How can he get mad at that?

Nothing he did was going to save him because his deck just failed him. It wasn’t a matter of skill.

Anecdote number two.

I am playing Joshie Green and I am 2-0. If I win this match, I can draw into the Top 8 and get packs. Whee! I love getting packs. My opponent is playing Black/Green Death Cloud. It is the third match. I have two Beacon of Creation in my hand, and three land and a couple trolls on the board. Yeah, I’m gonna win. I need to draw one more land and then I’m going to Beacon and use them as Death Cloud protection, draw into the Top 8 and then I’ll be happy happy. Packs for me!

I draw not land for 6 turns in a row and die to Death Cloud then Kokusho.


Last night I was bored. I didn’t feel like playing WoW, and the only thing on MODO was another Standard tournament 1x prizes. And boy do I love Joshie Green, but sometimes it’s just frustrating. I really want a glass of wine before dinner, but I’ve noticed that alcohol impairs Magic playing ability. I eventually break down and go to the store get a bottle of wine and have a glass as the first round starts. It’s just a lottery ticket right?

Hmm, lets play against Red and get a third turn Iwamori, fourth turn Blanchwood and trample in for a ton. And then let’s rip Jitte off the top of my Library and watch my opponent concede at the speed of an instant. That was fun; let’s have another glass of wine to celebrate!

Then let’s play against Tooth and mulligan to five, starting with Forest, Forest, Jukai Messenger, Jitte, and Might of Oaks. And to make it completely sick, let’s rip two Forests and another Might of Oaks off the top to kill my opponent on the fifth turn. And then let’s have another glass wine! Whee! Lottery tickets are fun! No wait; I am the best player ever!

The bottle of wine I bought is gone by the time I start Top 8, and I’m slightly inebriated. Not a lot, but enough so I’m not actually in prime Magic playing shape. But no worries, against the burn guy when he plays third turn Arc-Slogger, I’ll just play Trolls one right after another, and then play Beacon three times and win. Wow do I love Beacon of Creation. I will mourn its passing.

Then against the WW player I’ll draw my side boarded Matsu-Tribe Sniper and a Jitte every game and pretend this is an easy match up for me when in fact it’s one of the toughest.

Rip rip rip! Ripper McRipperson!

Some days I play slow and careful and completely sober and every mulligan is carefully thought over and every play thought out far in advance. And I go 0-3 drop and go mow the lawn in a rage.

And other days I play half in the bag and take second winning 9 packs and a Foil Unhinged Forest. (For those that don’t know MODO pricing, that’s a total of about 36 bucks/tickets)

What was that old Chris Cade saying? Oh yeah, “Better Lucky than Good!”

Words to live by.

Joshie Green Current Deck list

4 Jukai Messenger
4 Elvish Pioneer
4 Viridian Zealot
4 Sakura-Tribe Elder
2 Viridian Shaman
4 Troll Ascetic
3 Iwamori, of the Open Fist (Why do I not have this at 4?)
4 Blanchwood Armor
4 Umezawa’s Jitte
4 Beacon of Creation
23 Forests. (WTF, why don’t I have Temple in here? Oh yeah, Blanchwood and Beacon)

3 Dosan the Falling Leaf
4 Matsu-Tribe Sniper
4 Might of Oaks
4 Creeping Mold

Joshie Green gets stronger come 9th. We don’t lose Beacon and Troll until… October? But we gain more walkers and Llanowar Elves.

Oh yeah, speaking of Mad Random, I entered Joshie Green with Llanowar Elves into a MODO Extended tournament and went 3-0, draw into the Top 8. Beating Affinity in the first round, Madness, and then some Red/Green Elephant thing I don’t know the name of. I did lose in the first round of the Top 8 to another deck I don’t know the name of, but Alan told me is a pretty standard Extended deck. Terravores, Sac lands, Obliterate and Balance. [Balancing Tings! — Knut, who once loved this deck] It immediate piqued my interest and I thought it was going to win the tournament but in fact lost the next round.

I sure hope I’m mad random lucky this weekend as opposed to going 0-3 drop two days in a row. Yes, that’s right. Two days in a row. We have a qualifier in Boston on Saturday and one in Montreal (Land of Infinite Hotties) on Sunday. Should be nice and exhausting.

Aaron Hurleman is coming to visit and go to the PTQ’s with us.

Aaron has been “with us” since Asheron’s Call all those years ago. Still in High School and on the wrestling team, he contacted me on Harvestgain and asked if he could join my Alliance. He swore to me, and was my Vassal for two and a half years, even across servers. Moving with us to Darktide when we went, and then moving to Dark Age of Camelot, City of Heroes and now World of Warcraft. He’s in my Clan on MODO and my private boards discussing Magic tech and his sig is “Thwarting Joshie’s Trolling at every turn!”

Joshie trolls?

Oh yeah he does.

Here’s a joke Joshie invented that I have used multiple times. Once on my Boss whose face literally went white when I played it on her.

Yawg just spoiled the plot for Book 7.

Quixtor — “Anyone read the new Harry Potter book yet? I’m about halfway through it myself. It’s pretty good. I almost called in sick to finish it…”

Joshie immediately responds with

“It’s pretty shocking…
Hermione dies!”

This brings in a slew of hilarious outrage.

Like Herri who responded with —

“SHUT UP! Only on chapter 5… been busy” -Herri

And Paulie who posts — “wow… thanks… Just thanks…”

Joshie responds with his usual sympathy and understanding.

“Harry has to kill her when she becomes possessed by Voldemort!”

I about p*ssed myself laughing.

Aaron informs them all that Joshie is “fibbing”.

I gotta tell ya, I laughed my ass off at that thread.

Classic Joshie.

So I see my little southern belle boss in the parking lot one Monday and I ask, “How was your weekend?”

“Great, I read 400 pages in a new book. It’s so good.”

“Oh yeah, what is it?”

“The new Harry Potter.”

“I hear Hermione dies.”

The blood drained from her face in both shock and betrayal. Her eyes went wide and her mouth opened but no words came out.

“Just kidding.”


“That’s Joshie’s joke, blame him.”

“AHAHAHHAHAHHAHAHAH!” she says and color returns to her.

We have so much fun with her.

Back to Aaron. He’s been with us a long time, but we’ve never actually met him. He had that whole High School thing, then that whole Iraq thing, and now he’s home for a bit and wanted to come see us. So, this weekend he’s coming to stay with us, play some Magic, play some WoW, drink my beer, and eat Steak and Lobster.

I feel the need to introduce you to a bunch of people this week. Some you will see mentioned in reports and it goes a long way towards a better story if you care about who I’m talking about.

You already know Joshie. Degree in Electrical Engineering. Mad Trash Talking Skills. “I’ll gonna make Hammer cry this weekend.” Works with me at the same school district doing computer tech. Drives my old Toyota Paseo. Almost bought the house next door. Has his own computer set up in our house. Mad funny. Horrible math skills.

Frank/Oberion. This is one of the guys on my private boards that, like Aaron, have been with us since AC. Helped develop Joshie Green. Always plays a Paladin in the games we play, and oddly enough, in real life. He’s some high faluting lawyer somewhere, so you know he’s smart. He also Fences and I think was an alternate for the Olympic team. I know he was close to making the Olympic team. He also does Scottish Highlander games. You know, throw the big pole end over end as far as you can? Yeah, that. He also has a farm, keeps bees and ran in a marathon last year.

His thread for training for the marathon was amazing. It was here we got a glimpse into just how sick Frank is.

These are some real posts of his.

I’ve decided that I’m going to try to run in this year’s Detroit Marathon.

I’m going to start training today. The marathon is October 5th. Would anyone like to join me? I’ll keep you posted on how I’m doing!

Frank (Oberion)

Progress report:

On June 16th:
40 minutes on the Stairmaster – level 8
Weight training for 30 minutes.
Ran 2.5 miles – Left calf cramp at 1.5 miles. Completed run. Mild soreness in calf next morning.

Frank (Oberion)

Progress report:

On June 18th:

Ran 3.5 miles on tread mill (I hate tread mills) – No muscle pain of note. Moderate chaffing between upper thighs (note to self: avoid large inseams) Chaffing still present this morning, used desitin.

Fencing from 7:30 to 9:30 – Twisted right ankle. Some ankle pain this morning, took 2 Aleve. I should be able to run on it. Also mild soreness in outer portion of right knee. Perhaps from compensating for twisted ankle?

June 21st:
Fenced in tournament – 10:00 to 4:30. First in Epee. Third in Foil.

On June 22nd:
Ran 7 miles. No knee pain (so that’s good news). Some pain in front of left calf… from fencing the previous day. Very difficult run. Too hot, too slow, too hard. And I rubbed my nipples raw. Next Sunday I will remember to go earlier and wear band-aids.

Progress report:

On June 23rd:

No running. Day of rest. Tried to bale hay – baler inop. Replaced billhook – twine hanging up on knotter.

On June 24th:
Ran 3 miles on tread mill. Boring. Tried to bale hay, again. Made almost 200 bales… one bale at a time. Switched billhook tensioners and problem changed sides. Used dremel tool to modify bad tensioner. Some success. Will try to get some new parts!

On June 25th:
Ran 4.5 miles this morning. Not bad, I like running in the morning. Calves are a little tight. Wore band-aids. No more nipple chaffing. I’ll go fencing tonight unless we get the baler fixed.

There are multiple smart ass comments in between all of this from me and my friends, as well as encouragement. But you should be able to get the gist that Frank has a very busy schedule and works himself like a dog. After a week and a half of this, I had to make this post –

“I love how Oberion’s “day of rest” is more stuff than I do in a week of hard work. For example –

Progress report:

On June 23rd:

No running. Day of rest. Did 100 pushups as I read the paper. Watched the stock report on CNN while I did 100 sit ups. Tried to bale hay – baler inop. Replaced billhook – twine hanging up on knotter. Got arm caught in baler. Baler took whole arm off at socket. Sewed it back on with twine. Took 2 Aleve for minor pain of stiches.

On June 24th:
Arm still a bit sore. Did 500 one-arm pushups on it to relieve stiffness. Ran 3 miles on tread mill. Boring. Fell off treadmill. Get caught in the wheels underneath. Tore off one leg. Made a new leg out of tinfoil, AMD motherboard, Intel p3 chip, and a cam shaft. Tried to bale hay, again. Made almost 200 bales… one bale at a time. New leg seems very strong. May have to get rid of arm and make a new one. Still stiff. Not healing as well as I would like in one day. Baling twine stitches not as strong as I would like and they itch… Keep breaking and arm falls off. Very troublesome. Getting a lot of tension on left arm. Used dremel tool to modify bad tensioner. Some success. Will try to get some new parts.

On June 25th:
Ran 450 miles this morning. New leg functioning very well. On mile 400 AMD chip overheated and exploded. Hopped on one leg last 50 miles. (Troublesome with pieces of AMD chip in still human, weak leg.) Not bad, I like running in the morning. Calves are a little tight. Wore band-aids. No more nipple chaffing. Need to head to Radio Shack and get some parts. Might have to replace nipples with something more modern.

Fencing tonight vs. Superman, Batman and the rest of the Justice league. Hope to do better than last time when I only took out Flash, Wonder Woman and Green Lantern. New leg will be a boon, hurt arm may impede performance.

Superman laughed at me last time. May have to kill him.


And then there’s Hilary.

Very long time readers remember Hilary, but really, there’s a lot about Hilary you don’t know, and would never guess. Because Hilary is very quiet. He’s very calm and hard to rile. He reads a lot, plays video games, owns his own comic shop and rarely raises his voice. You would never guess the fact that he could probably kill Tank Abbot if he wanted to.

Hilary has never lost a fight.

One of the first stories I heard about this was when one of his High School buddies went into the Marines and came back a total jarhead. Could not stop talking about the Marines this, the Marines that. How much everything rocked. Talked about his gun training and his martial arts training and just constant gung ho about everything he had experienced. This is fine, but after 5 hours gets a bit annoying. So Hilary and his buddy start fighting, and they fight even in the car on the way home, and the fighting escalates to the point where it starts to get really serious. I don’t remember the friend’s name, so let’s just call him Dave. Dave and Hilary are fighting, while another friend, Jeff, is driving.

They get home, and Dave is pissed off, and actually picks up a snow shovel and starts swinging it at Hilary.

Hilary grabbed his own snow shovel, and beats Dave unconscious with it.

So I heard this story my sophomore year in college and I snorted and went “yeah. Right. You beat a friend unconscious with a snow shovel?”

“Yeah, he just would not shut up about the Marines. It was driving me insane.”


So then, our Senior year in College we drive down to Florida for Spring Break, and Hilary’s friend Jeff lived there and gave us a place to stay. So we get down there, have a fantastic meal, and get some drinks and we’re talking and Jeff says “hey Hil, remember that time you beat Dave unconscious with a snow shovel? God, that was funny.”

Dan and I almost spit out our beers.

Another time, in college, I walk over to Hilary’s apartment and there is this huge hunk of metal on the ground. Like a club. I bend over and can barely pick it up with one hand. And it digs into my hand as I pick it up, and move to holding it with both hands.

“What’s this?”

“Oh. That’s a funny story.”

Last night, Hilary was walking downtown with Jay. And saw a party going on at a house he didn’t know. So he and Jay go over there and Hilary burst in the door, and being funny says, “It’s the cops! Give us all your women!”

Little did he know, the cops had just been there, and sent all the underage girls home and the men were not very pleased. So this guy comes up to Hilary and looks at his shirt which has Chinese letters all over it and asks “Do you know Karate?” And Hilary says “Sure. And 6 other Chinese words.” And the guy says “Good, that will make this easier.” And punches Hilary in the face 3 times, and out the door.

Hilary tells me, everything went black for a minute, but the last thing he remembers seeing was a huge gold belt buckle that said “Golden Gloves Champ”

So, Jay grabs Hilary’s arm to help hold him up, and drag him away. Hilary bends down and starts looking for rocks. Big rocks. Rocks to cup in your fist and punch with, or to throw.

Hilary’s first rule of fighting — “Get a Weapon.”

Jay says, “What are you doing, we gotta get out of here!”

Jay convinces Hilary they have to leave, and Hilary does. Just long enough to walk Jay home and make him think he’s going to bed. When in fact he went back out looking for weapons.

He found a two by four. An old town mower blade that must of weighed forty pounds and was solid steel. And a rock the size of two fists.

So he goes back and the door is shut. And it has those slat tin railings on the steps and Hilary puts the two by four through those slats. And then he knocks on the door. And Mister Golden Gloves answers.

Mister Golden Gloves sees who it is, turns, and hollers back into the house “Hey guys, he’s back” Only it was more like “he’s ba…oooof!” Because right then, Hilary hit him in the gut with the mower blade and he folded like a house of Magic cards. (See, this is Magic related! Get off my back!)

Only, he couldn’t fold far, because he fell in the doorway. And the door won’t open all the way because it has a two by four stuck in the slat railing. So when his friends try to step over them, they can’t push the door open far enough to get out fast.

So Hilary launches his boulder at the first face he sees trying to get out the door, and the guys falls on top of the first guy, clutching his face. And Hilary takes off.

“I figured I’d had my revenge. That was two for one. They got into cars to look for me, and I spent the night chucking rocks at their car and running into the woods where they couldn’t find me. This went on for a couple hours then they gave up and went home.”

So, I hear this story and like before, I am in a little bit of disbelief, but not as much as the first time. I know Hilary a lot better, and I believe him. And it’s time for lunch. So we head to the Campus food court and Hilary says as we’re standing in line. “See that guy serving? He’s one of the guys from last night.”

I get up to the windows, and there is this very tough, ragged looking guy that works for the food service. About twenty-five. Wiry. Leathery skin from smoking and working outside. And about fifty stitches in his face from the lower portion of his jaw, through his lip to above his nose.

“That the guy you hit with the rock?”


This one time, this guy accused me of cheating on MODO. Hilary read it, grabbed his mower blade and went looking for him. I can’t describe the rest. It’s just too horrific.

Good times. Good times.

There are actually more stories like these, but those are the best ones. Needless to say, I don’t fear getting in a fight when I travel with Hilary. Cause I know we’re gonna win.

Who else? Oh yeah, Samwise Gamgee. You all wish you had a friend like Sam. Maybe you’ve heard of him. Hero of the Hobbits. Slayer of giant Spiders. Slayer of Orcs and Trolls. Ring Bearer. Loyalty unmatched. True hero of The Return of the King. Stands by his friend even when the One Ring is giving them PMS. Able to give the ring back to Frodo when few, if anyone else could. He plays with us sometimes, but mostly he just stays home, drinks Mead and shags that tiny blond he married.

In other news, Lindsay Lohan has hired a trainer to help her… put on weight.

She said: “I’m working out with a trainer and eating healthily. I want my boobs back”.

Here’s a tip Lindsay – EAT A DONUT! GAWD!

Ah well, look at the time. I wanted this to be longer and cover more things but my time draws nigh. Gotta spell-check this and get it in before Ted looses the dogs on me.

Next week is how Aaron’s visit is going and how we did at a weekend with two qualifiers in it. One of them in the land of infinite hotties!