The Daily Shot: Life, The Universe, and GP Cleveland

You can’t get a chuckle out of ten paragraphs of me kissing Henry Stern’s butt and calling it perfume; that’s no rant. Readers want to live vicariously through your little R&D grouchfest. But you have to keep reality in mind, folks.

I’m semi-stealing a Wakefield article title for my own personal use: I figure that after Asheron’s Call it’s the least the no-talent bum can do to pay me back. In any case I doubt he’ll complain – he’s off playing Dark Age Of Camelot with Mare, leading a group of Vermont toadies who are so far up his ass that they know what he had for breakfast. Right about now the big tool is bugging the developers, all the while passing off chat logs as actual writing.

Seanbaby Disease

I caught a little bit of”Seanbaby disease” this week and wrote some rantish stuff that really isn’t my style. If you don’t know who Seanbaby is, he’s an internet commentator (www.seanbaby.com) who writes extremely funny and poignant rants about everyday life and the ridiculousness that occurs every day on planet earth. When he’s not doing that, he’s making fun of bad videogames and the worst of the 80’s video culture. (Ever seen Alyssa Milano’s”Teen Steam”?) He’s great at what he does, and I enjoyed reading him so much that I decided to find my inner Seanbaby and rant at a few people.

First, I remembered how much I hated R&D’s explanation about Stern Judge, and went off on that for a while. It worked out pretty well, since the R & D member getting dumped on was anonymous (Member #3, stand up and take a bow!)… But I couldn’t shake the feeling that I was being a jerk. After all, I’d just spent about 45 minutes finding creative ways to call someone an incompetent boob. In public, no less.

Of course, I was just getting warmed up, so I went over to my friend Trent’s website, www.mtgontario.com (and if you go there, check out the coverage of the Cube Pro Tour, which has already been linked by the Ferrett, and wisely so) where I read an article by local player Mike”Jersey” Clark where he went out of his way to discredit Oscar Tan.

Now, I’m not Oscar’s personal problem-solver so it wasn’t out of any personal loyalty that I decided to rant at the Jersey Man. It was just on principle – I thought he was being pretty ignorant, plus I was afflicted with that”Seanbaby Disease” and I wanted to chew somebody out. Anybody. I would have gone off on a Salvation Army Santa.

Anyhow, I wrote a big long response to his article that basically told him he was full of it, but it got deleted (rightfully so, I suppose) by the site moderators, who didn’t approve of my repeated, creative use of the”F-Word” and corresponding negative attitude. Undaunted by this surprising lack of appreciation (what; you mean you don’t want a grouchy, obscenity-laden rant in your article comments?), I went back to the keyboard to prepare some episodes of the Daily Shot for publishing later in the week.

Probably due to the residual traces of the Seanbaby virus still in my system, one of these offerings ended up being unprintable because of sheer political incorrectness. At first I asked The Ferrett if he could run it with a disclaimer, but after rereading it I realized that there was no way it was appropriate for anywhere but Team Academy or MiseTings.

I sent it away to Mike Bregoli and company – if he accepts it, you might see it later this week. That’ll be my third time published on MiseTings, which is pretty sweet.

Anyhow, I think that with that objectionable excursion into the realm of generally being a jerk, I managed to get all of the rantitude out of my system. I’ve learned something, and I’m speaking from the heart now – so listen up, full-time hacks and part-time keyboard bangers the world over:

Ranting just to be controversial is the literary equivilent of whipping out your wang and measuring it.

You’re priding yourself on a feature where any barbarian is your equal and any jackass immeasurably your superior. Without a sort of elegance and wit to go with whatever grouch-fueled mayhem you’re about to unleash, you’re just out there braying like a hyena. You’re a fly buzzing during the REM sleep of the world at large.

If I ranted about everything and called everyone sh*t, it would just make for miserable reading – a grouchy, insecure writer trying to”put himself over” other people, trying to establish himself as the only bastion of reason in a world of morons. That’s not the way to do it. If you’re going to rant, it has to be about something you care about, and you have to do it with style. Here’s the real reason that R&D missed the boat on Stern Judge – they’re busy guys who made a mistake and missed a chance to make a card better. They erred on the side of caution, because they didn’t want one hoser to wreck the new archtype they were installing. An unfortunate mistake.

In the rant, though, I can’t say that… It’s supposed to be a funny R & D roast, and legitimate criticism makes for probably the most boring article premise ever. Bacteria cultures are more exciting. You can’t get a chuckle out of ten paragraphs of me kissing Henry Stern’s butt and calling it perfume; that’s no rant. Readers want to live vicariously through your little R&D grouchfest; they hanker to lean back with a beer in hand and they say”Brother, ain’t it the truth!” even if it’s only for ten minutes. It’s nice to take a break from reality and see things from just one side… And the funnier, the better.

You want to get the message across, and entertain people at the same time. Rants can send a message – that’s the right reason to”go off.” Underneath it all, though, you need to have a basic respect for things to remain amicable between ranter and rantee. I know the R&D guys were just doing their best, and for every horrible decision like Stern Judge, they make at least ten really nice, elegant cards.

Now, if you rant just to make people feel like garbage… You’re using your powers for evil instead of good. Some people can pull it off, and get a laugh out of me besides (usually because they go way over the top with the insults), but I would never do it myself – I don’t have the stomach for that sort of thing. I’d feel pretty uncomfortable.

  • Ranting to make a point and to amuse people – good.

  • Ranting to embarass someone else – bad.

  • Ranting about something you feel strongly about – good.

  • Ranting about whatever comes along – bad.

The point of all this, I suppose, is that I learned a little bit about myself as a writer over this last week.

Clegg Suspended

Dan Clegg got booted out of Magic for year for accumulated warnings – slow play, misrepresenting the game state and others. If you want the scoop, check out the MiseTings forums, where Ken Krouner, Kurt Hahn and Peter Szigeti have already weighed in with their opinions on the banning.

Here are some highlights:

“Imagine that, Clegg suspended with”slow play” being part of the reason… Krouner, you don’t have a leg to stand on with your argument. Good riddance to bad garbage, and Jeweled Bird4L! Clegg, now INeligible for the Invitational.”

-5ColorFat (Kurt Hahn)

Drop dead Hahn. Clegg is one of the most honest players in the game. It is literally the worst thing to ever happen ion the way of suspensions. It is proof that no one is safe from the gestapo. No one.”

-KK (Ken Krouner)

“Seeing as I know Dan Clegg better than most, won GP Turin as a team, and teamed in GP NJ, I felt that I would be qualified to respond to this subject.

“Dan is not only notorious for slow play, but for procedural errors such as forgetting to pay life twice to a Scuta (with kicker) which resulted in a game loss, not marking his life vs. Cole Swannack at worlds, which resulted in a game loss, and playing two lands in one turn at the Australian Open, which also resulted in a game loss.

“You see, these three ‘honest’ mistakes were caught and dan was penalized for them. The question is, however, how many times Dan has made an ‘honest’ mistake and it hasnt been caught. How many times do you think Dan gained an extreme advantage and won a game or match, or even made a top 8 because of it?

“The fact of the matter is, Dan Clegg should not be allowed to play in DCI-sanctioned tournaments until his play is at the point where he doesn’t need to be watched for fear of him playing two lands accidentaly.

“To top all of these procedural errors off, Dan has accrued more warnings for slow play than any other active DCI Member. While those close to him may believe that these warnings are just due to the fact that Dan is a generally slow person (which I believe), the DCI has a different outlook on them.

“Overall, even though I consider myself, at one point, on of Dans closest friends, I do believe his ban was totally warranted and anyone who says otherwise IS A BIG STUPID **** STUPID ****FACE LOLOL.”

-the motha***in ptr (Peter Szigeti)

You can find the full thread at http://www.misetings.com/forums/showthread.php?s=d020600ea1c0db1fe54e2be56a9bbbe1&threadid=956&perpage=15&pagenumber=1, and a related article by Ken Krouner at http://misetings.com/article.php?id=551.

GP Cleveland

I really want to do well at this event. I want to make Day 2. Unfortunately, there are many things working against me.

First, I have no byes.

Second, the great decks of the format have already been found.

Third, I haven’t been playing well lately.

Fourth, I haven’t had the time to playtest as much as I’d like.

Fifth, there are going to be something like a thousand people there.

It’s going to be a crazy trip, man. That’s all I know.

I’m scared about manascrew and color screw. Land flood, too. Every archetype has been written up in a million articles. Right now I’m down to tweaking my sideboard and just practicing enough to make sure that I don’t screw up basic play decisions. What can I do about the five hurdles above?

I’m going to hit the GPT on the night before, try to snag me some byes… It’s a long shot, but at least it’s practice if nothing else. As for the second issue, I should actually be glad that the format’s great decks have been found, because Lord knows I haven’t found anything worthwhile on my own.

Poor play? There’s nothing I can do to stop poor play except to buckle down and turn in a solid performance every match. None of this”counter the wrong thing and then die” business.

I’ll playtest more this week. The fifth problem I can’t do much about, short of a bomb threat of some sort. I’ll pass and just try to win it legit.

All told, the Sarnia contingent is bringing down eight people to the event. We’ll see you there. I’ll be playing U/G Threshold, so make sure you take it easy on me when I get color-screwed every game. If it happens two games in a row, duck, because my deckbox is going on a marvelous journey up into the rafters.

Geordie Tait

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