One: Visa is a f*cking scam.
I may not have won a single die roll in my life, but I was lucky to bring a bunch of cash since no one would accept mine, Simon’s or even Anton’s Visa cards anywhere in the state of Georgia. And even though I know I have enough cash to get by I’m in that place again, just like every painful day as seventeen and a summer not long ago. We’re in a restaurant and I never make many choices in this godforsaken country, but all of a sudden I’m looking for pricetags again and everything I want to buy has to be weighed against the awkward pause that borrowing money always brings along.
Where did Jakob go? Every time I see a phone, I’m reminded that I really should get around to making that call. He’s been waiting for a couple of years now, another day can’t hurt him. All weekend I’ve kind of seen Josh everywhere but I finally meet his eyes and we start talking, his voice sounds like a young Leonard Cohen and everyone knows the similarities don’t end there. I do my very best Hugh Grant-impression and mumble, almost tripping over words to make space for him but he won’t budge. I’ll get to him one day, but he’s waited for a long time and another day can’t hurt him either. I’m sure he has a notepad in his lap, but he won’t let me read and when I start talking about the depression gene he looks me straight in the eyes and says, “There is. I have it.” We’ll be working on it, I guess. First impressions are overrated.
Three: Wednesday morning.
I rarely crave things on the level where it does stuff to my body, if you know what I mean. I have a couple of vices, maybe even more than the next guy, but since I stopped smoking there aren’t really any things that will hit me on the same level that I this morning needed antihistamine. There was a desert going on outside, and I was later to learn that the pillows we were sleeping on were stuffed with dog hair.
Four: Unchecked Growth
Unchecked Growth is what happened to me when I stopped being depressed. HA HA HA. I need just one more turn before I untap and win this game, just one more turn and I’m at eleven life and all he has is that stupid stupid retarded Orbweaver Kumo that he thinks is real good and one card in his hand. There is no way I’m losing this game that doesn’t involve him drawing an Unchecked Growth and already having one in hand. So a second later, he is casting the second Unchecked Growth and our drop-boxes are going from Unchecked to Checked and I figure I might as well try to be funny as it really is something I’d like to be better at so I stand up and scream “Go to hell you filthy motherf**king lucksack you played like sh*t the whole game”. Mark Zajdner later told me he thought I was being a bit too loud, and Lana offered me some Prozac. I don’t think I’ll be trying to be funny for a while again.
Five: Just Ted Leo
There are few people on this planet that have done for me the same things that Ted has. I know that music is probably the only thing geekier than Magic: The Gathering, so I’ll be brief. In ‘97 Ted Leo played a show in a town two hours from here with his band The Sin-Eaters, although I knew and respected Ted’s work at this point I didn’t feel it was really worth the trip. Six months later I had fallen in love with every single track on Set You Free and was absolutely devastated that I never went to that show. Ted Leo’s first return to Sweden was to be the very same weekend that I would be on another continent, and I may die unfulfilled.
Six: Your Star Is Killing Me.
While the rest of the planet were “Getting Jiggy With It” and whatnot, Ted wrote about barning in the most simple way and I’m glad I heard it before I ever became someone’s barn.
We were approached by a thunderstorm on the way to the mall, it asked for directions and then started making smalltalk since we were heading in the same direction. Anton was being polite as usual, but I could only think about what a good headache I had last night. I hate thunderstorms in general, but this one was even more obnoxious than usual. Not to sound racist or anything, but it really was.
Eight: Any “any ‘buy-in’ buy-ins” buy-ins?
On the same level that I feel I will be seventeen for the rest of my life, I also can’t get enough dumb lingo into my system. It’s possible that I stretched a muscle in my jaw discussing various buy-ins. Any “will this lingo please die out asap” buy-ins?
Nine: Airline food.
Blah blah blah does not taste very good! Nice, Thomas. Real avant-garde.
Ten: Thanks, B
Although I’m too shy to ever say it out loud without being ironic, this is an expression I really can’t get enough of. This guy who I’ve never met in my entire life walked up to me outside the site and told me my report from Nats a couple of years back was the best report ever. That moment alone made the entire trip worth it to me, but Mattias later pointed out that I should have told him “Thanks, B”. I probably should have, but I was too swept away by the moment.
Eleven: The cafeteria
Me and Gisela may never look eye to eye on something in this life, and if it were up to either of us we wouldn’t be spending all these hours together, but now that we have classes together, we are. And I can live with any smug remark regarding my weight or intelligence or writing or anything, but there is no way a pseudo-goth-chick that wears a mascara birthmark just under her eye every waking hour is going to tell me I’m uncool. And although age has gotten the better of my love for conflicts, this day just got a lot better.
Twelve: The drafts
After much theorizing and some drafts we were pretty sure we had it right, and I had maneuvered myself into the Green seat so that no matter what I could throw my hands up and point the blame elsewhere. The plan seems flawless until we are demolished by some local kids in the store, I ask Anton if he has a plan B but he just throws his hands up. I guess we’re pretty similar in that way.
Thirteen: Oh, Amsterdam
I’m an infant just crawling out of the womb in these halls, barely awake waiting to catch the train into the greatest city on earth. I forgot my walkman back home, and this waiting is a real killer. I need some coffee badly, and I’m thinking some other toxin might not be such a bad idea either but I have to get out of this state of limbo first. Eventually Anton answers the phone and says they’re heading for the gate. The plane leaves in an hour and a half, gg.
[Zang_] Dear god why can’t I ever hit something?
[Zang_] I actually had 43478 outs this time.
[MatsT] There are only 52 cards in a deck.
[Felix_b] How about Shirei and Kami of False Hope?
[ROSHOLM] OMG! Infinite fogs!
[MatsT] Not really. They’re quite finite.
Fifteen: #wisedraft 2005
After most people left for #pocher, the chats went from Morgan and Anton complaining about manascrew to Anton complaining about manascrew, and after the key disappeared, they died completely. But after swills landed a job as Limited specialist with magicthegathering.com, a new kind of draft chats evolved. The English discussing Limited is a neverending orgy in vague statements or restating the obvious. Please note that actual nicks have been changed so no fingers are pointed. I also cannot guarantee that these logs aren’t 100% fake, but I can assure you they sum it up pretty well.
[zr0e-] A card or some other card fpfp?
[RecentlyBanned] Certainly, it’s a close call
[LimInfoGuy] I could see myself picking either one, really
[GuyWhoAlwaysTalksAboutBlueTron] I think they are both jolly fine cards
[Riptide_] Hey, how about this betrayers-pick?
[RecentlyBanned] Well, it depends on your deck I’d say
[GuyWhoAlwaysTalksAboutBlueTron] If you have a lot of stuff that costs 3, I’d rather not have any more
[LimInfoGuy] Either one can be correct at different times
Sixteen: Ken Krouner.
I’ve kind of known Ken since he smashed my Reanimator deck with Finkula back at New Orleans 2001, and I sort of understand why he does what he does. Sometimes I might think that there are better ways of going about it, but I don’t even mind. You have to wonder why he acts surprised every time, though. Is he really? We meet Ken, Joseph and Geddes at the store and do a draft after which we discuss strategy. Anton is Anton, so while me and Geddes start our fifth game, they have already begun calling each other four letter words. Ken’s teammates eventually end up agreeing with Anton, it seems. But when I saw them drafting on Saturday, they were still using Ken’s strategy. What can I say – he is a charming guy.
Seventeen: Homeless chic.
The prices on clothes in this country, man. I was the first to enter the store and the last to exit, and I even convinced Anton to buy some new clothes. ”There’s no need to look like a bum, when you’re a hermillionaire”, I tell him and he went for at least a hood and a tee. When we met up with the other Swedes at the tournament site and I told them Anton had bought new clothes, no one believed me at first. He admitted, though, and I was receiving high fives left and right for a few minutes. Raphael Levy, who studies Swedish, asks me if I am trying to make Anton look like me. I can’t think of a smart reply and kind of look away and mumble something about looking like a homeless. I guess he’s on to me.
Eighteen: Southern Hospitality.
I never realized this was an actual term until I, um, jokingly ask where to purchase drugs. Within five minutes there is a lit j in my hand and explaining it was a joke was clearly pretty awkward, but not as awkward as when Joseph gave an unsuspecting Johan a dimebag the next morning. We obviously appreciated the gesture, but ultimately threw it away. Don’t do drugs and/or bad jokes.
Nineteen: Wax n Facts
This was my second trip to Atlanta and Kelwen asked me if I wanted to go anywhere in particular. I instantly tell him about the record store I was in last time and how awesome that was. It’s a pretty long drive, but I’m like a kid at Christmas and I’m not sure how much time I actually spend in there but at one point I come over to Anton and Johan looking like they’re about to die from boredom and I tell them how excited I am that they have “The Cold Vein” on vinyl. The Cold Vein on vinyl! They don’t get it, but I look over at a guy with baggy jeans and huge earphones and he kind of smiles like he understands exactly where I’m coming from. I get a feeling that he and I would be the best of friends if I lived in this beautiful city, but it’s not like I’m gonna go over to him and ask if he wants to be my buddy on audioscrobbler or whatever. I end up spending way too much money and the girl by the counter asks me why I’m in town. I’ve been through with the sneaking around act for years, so I proudly tell her that we are here to play in a Magic tournament. She tells me she has been playing herself since her boyfriend taught her and I immediately point over to Anton and tell her “So surely you know who this guy is”. She gives me a weird look and a “Uhm, no”. I’m kind of insulted on Anton’s behalf, but he never seems to mind much about anything. Well, anything except the MODO shuffler.
Twenty. Tim and music
I’ve sort of always had a crush on Tim, you know? But while we’re on the subject of music I just don’t get it. Why are people listening to Oasis in 2005? Is it irony? I have a friend who’s kind of “hehe I like the Spice Girls derf”, and I don’t think it’s very funny but I have known for a long time that my sense of humor is pretty incompatible with most people on the planet so whatever works for him, you know? I tried to tell him about the new Decemberists album and he just went “Meh, they’re no linkin park”. At least we agree on something. They sure aren’t.
Twenty-one: Never trust the Germans
Was this old news to you? We are staying at the same hotel as Kai, and a large group of us decide to eat at a nearby sportsbar. We’re getting ready to call some cabs over when Kai says it’s not a very long walk. Mattias’s face lights up at the prospect of walking and no one really wants to protest, as we’ve only been driven here a few times. I keep falling behind but eventually I make it to the sportsbar. The waitress has a world of cleavage and I’m trying really hard to not sound winded while ordering my meal, but it’s of no use. I tell myself that trying is half a win, and get my food just after the other guys are finished with theirs.
Twenty-two: Star quality
Since I’m with Grumpy Anton Jonsson and his personal biographer Brian David-Marshall is present, we all knew we’d get a feature match at some point. By round four I have a feeling it might not happen as we’re almost out of contention, but no. I haven’t had that many feature matches in my life and kind of like it the times I do, but we all knew what was gonna happen this time. At one point I look over at Anton’s match only to see Anton bent over the table with his pants down. Apparently, BDM asked for a brief intermission in gameplay just to kiss Antons butt. No sex or anything like that, but it kind of annoys me that I barely get mentioned at all in the eventual feature match. Other than the fact that I beat Bill Stead, who seemed like a really tight player and a swell guy.
Twenty-three: Soh-Soh and a Punisher
Simon got hooked up with Terry Soh and his brother at the last minute. Can you imagine how many clever puns you can do with your team name when you have two people named Soh in it? Infinite, that’s how many.
Twenty-four: Team names
For me, the most enjoyable part of team events are coming up with clever names. For this event I came up with the name 42o, which I personally thought was pretty clever, but too few people actually got it so that was discarded. The back-up plan was “Bad Boys 3”, which two friends of mine came up with but they retired without using it, so I figured it was up for grabs (for me, not you). Johan and Anton are not as impressed with it and we end up being “The Gee-Bees”, which is ok but a little bit too formulaic. These days, it’s kind of hard to go “Wow, it’s almost a band name and almost magic lingo at the same time. That’s clever.” without being ironic, if you know what I mean.
Twenty-five: The Kasparov of Magic
We decide to play the last round for fun. I decide to keep a hand of Mountain, Mountain, Hanabi Blast, Red Genju, Green Genju, Gnarled Mass and Godo, Bandit Warlord on the draw. I jokingly show the other guys what I keep and we all get a laugh out of it. At dinner I tell Kai about the hand and he tells me he’d keep that any day. I still have a lot to learn, it seems.
Twenty-five and a half: Judges
I can’t stand those discussions on how certain enchantments will work if they come into play together and I would rather be dead than caught in one of those black and white shirts, and maybe it is just the shirts but I always get the feeling that Magic judges are the most homogenic group ever. I once got a game loss for my opponent stealing my cards because rules are rules and did you know that the errata on bla bla bla actually conflicts with bla bla? Everyone is laughing at our table and I guess I’m the loudest of the group, so a judge comes over and starts watching. I start feeling guilty in the same way you do when cops slow down, but he says he just wanted to watch the fun game. I clearly need to re-evaluate judges as a group
Twenty-six: People who post crap in forums.
Yeah I know this happened in March, and it’s a dead format. I don’t want to hear about it.