So, it’s Sunday afternoon. We’re getting ready to head back to Virginia. Unfortunately, our flight is at 10:30 pm, and it’s 4. We decide to hit a movie, then have dinner (not expecting much in the way of airplane food). After having been subjected to Beyond the Mat (not much of a wrestling fan, here. Remember the Ultimate Warrior? That’s the last time I watched wrestling), Friday night, it was“my choice.” Looking over the pathetic list of movies (Pitch Black, anyone?), I chose Erin Brockovich, which seemed like the best bet (it sure looks like a female Patch Adams, from the previews). Of course, though, it wasn’t showing until much later (and we’re not going to risk missing our flight to see Julia Roberts). Looking at the times, there’s only one movie to see:
Yes. Final Destination. The movie about the high school kid who foresees his death on an AIRPLANE.
Did I mention that we’re FLYING back to Virginia?
FLYING back, in an AIRPLANE?
Final Destination will win the Oscar for Most Squandered Potential. It has SUCH a cool premise, and a plot and trite and formulaic and Diet Coke. The highlight of the movie was when The Hunk drives up to The Nerd playing nine inch nails’“into the void,” which was picked not on its artistic merit, but rather because it includes the line“pictures in my head of the final destination.” How clever.
Much better was the terrible movie End of Days, the 1999 recipient of the same Squandered Potential Oscar, which we saw on Pay Per View (since they didn’t have Fight Club). It was good for three reasons:
1) Arnold tells Satan“you are a choirboy compared to me.”
2)“The world is going to end at midnight, yada yada ya.”“Is dat Easdern Standard Time?”
3) In the end, Satan ends up impaled on the sword of a statue of Michael, Archangel. If you don’t know why this is cool, read Paradise Lost.
Imagine it, in your best Hans and Franz voice…“You are a choirboy!”
I tell you, I can’t WAIT for Regionals/Nationals this year. This year will be the first time in quite a while that the metagames of Regionals and Nationals will be similar. Usually, between the two events, a new set becomes Type II legal, thereby throwing off the entire metagame for Nationals. It’s a catastrophe. While I understand that it showcases new strategies, as discovered by the best players in the country, it also lets go of a great opportunity to show the best players in the world functioning in a developed metagame. One of the most difficult challenges, in a developed format, isn’t the“what should I play today?,” but rather the much more complex“how should my deck look?” For instance, how many Disenchants/Seals of Cleansing should be in a White Weenie deck? How many of each? Main deck or sideboard? Which go where?
Well, the answers depend on what you’re trying to do, anyway. Seals are good if you’re playing more aggressively, and won’t have mana lying around to cast Disenchants. You’ll want at least four but, if you fear Bargain and other Disenchantable decks, you may want to play up to six or seven.
These subtleties make Magic incredibly interesting. To me, there’s a level of genius involved in these miniscule differences, which is far greater than the open field battles, where the number of collaborators often determines both dominance and success. It’s the little differences. Trix was good. You knew it. I knew it. Everybody and their brother knew it. But, the genius was in the little changes. YMG adding Firestorm. Gab Tsang adding Boomerang. These allowed players to move around the Lyrist, and around random lifegain, which were the two most popular anti-Trix strategies.
Unless you listen strictly to country music [shudder, no offense], you’ve got to check out Play, by Moby. I hadn’t ever really listened to his stuff before, but it’s very diverse. He ranges from straight techno/dance to very interesting confessional. It’s possibly the coolest background music you could ever hope for. Lots of moods, beats and cool lyrics. The songs get stuck in your head. In the good way. Not the way that Suzanne Vega song (Tom’s Diner) got in your head. It’s no Ice Ice Baby.
And, to top it off, he looks like Gandhi. Well, a very white Gandhi. Remember, Winston Churchill said that Gandhi looked like“a half naked Indian fakir.”
How can you beat that?
One thing I’ve heard a lot of complaints about is Friday Night Magic. Apparently, in lots of places, it isn’t the casual environment it is supposed to be. Of the people I’ve talked to, having this problem, the main reason seems to be that store owners are tossing in very nice cash prizes, to go along with the relatively humdrum foil cards. Of course, when you introduce the almighty dollar into a tournament, it ceases to be Magic for fun, and becomes Magic for blood (see development of Pro Tour). So, if you’re one of the stores ruining the spirit of Friday Night Magic (inadvertently, no doubt), by offering prizes that demand high-level competition, please consider holding a higher stakes tournament on some other night.
And last, but not least, there are haikus. I’ve noticed a lot of haikus around the internet Magic scene (not just yours, Mr. Anthony Alongi!), which are, um, lacking in some form or another. So, in the interest of promoting poetry, here’s a little crash-course in Ars Haiku.
A haiku is a poem, usually dealing with nature. Most often, a haiku has no narrator, nor any sort of human subject. It tends to be pretty and curt, due to the size constraints. Haiku functions on a three line, optional rhyme scheme. In addition, a haiku contains a syllabic breakdown of 5, 7, 5. Expressing things in seventeen syllables is quite a tough challenge.
Here’s an example from Fight Club (is there anything that movie can’t do?):
Worker bees can leave (5)
Even drones can fly away (7)
The queen is their slave (5)
And here are the paltry ones I jotted down, during some of the drier moments of the TO conference:
Water changes up,
The long rolls downstream quickly.
So goes the wet life.
A swinging branch clips,
The white sun goes on and off
The sun looks into
Eyes, which tacit look at it,
In wonderful note.
“If music be the food of love, play on;
Give me excess of it, that, surfeiting,
The appetite may sicken, and so die.
That strain again! it had a dying fall:
O, it came o’er my ear like the sweet sound
That breathes upon a bank of violets,
Stealing and giving odour!
-Twelfth Night, William Shakespeare”
-Should have been the flavor text on Lilting Refrain.