Monday, October 25, 2010

Weekly Report from the World At-Large - 10/25/2010

Hello one and all,

I've been pondering how to manage this blog....what to include, what to not include, who to make fun of, etc.  and I have come this.  Every week (probably every Monday or at the very least, work schedule permitting, every first day off I get) I am going to write a Weekly Report from the World At-Large.  Essentially these will come in three parts:  the first about Magic: the Gathering, the second about politics in some form or another, and the last part (which I have titled "Musings" for the purposes of anal organization and so you fine people can Control+F properly) will just be something that I think is funny or a funny story from the life and times of me.  I will in all likelihood supplement the blog with other things as they come up from me or others (already have a friend potentially interested in guest writing some Magic stuff if the desire comes to him).  Anyways, on to the report...

Magic: the Gathering...aka How I keep winning with Vampires

If you read my last post, I have been fairly invested in making Vampires in some form or fashion successful in the post-Scars of Mirrodin world of Standard.  This is due, in no small part, is due to what I have termed "The Primeval Titan Puzzle".

For those not in the know, Primeval Titan is basically everywhere.  From Red/green decks that use this meanest of trees to abuse Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle to Mono-Green lists that use him to ramp out giant Eldrazi guys like Ulamog, the Infinite Gyre or even Emrakul, the Aeons Torn to newer iterations that play Blue/green and just try to kill you with Primeval Titan and Genesis Wave for more Primeval Titans and friends, this card is far and away THE card you have to figure out how to play with/against in Standard right now.  However, the decks with Primeval Titan do vary enough that you can't game plan against the card itself necessarily and there are a bunch of other decks to consider out there as well such as Red Deck Wins and Blue-based control strategies.  So, with that in mind, I decided to build a Vampires list that attempts to be disruptive against ramp strategies and control strategies while still having game against the random beatdown decks (RDW, Elves, White Weenie, etc).  The list I started with is in my previous post and I will post it again here....

4 Captivating Vampire
4 Gatekeeper of Malakir
4 Kalastria Highborn
4 Vampire Hexmage
4 Vampire Nighthawk
2 Malakir Bloodwitch
4 Sign in Blood
4 Doom Blade
4 Inquisition of Kozilek
2 Mind Sludge

2 Tectonic Edge
4 Marsh Flats
4 Verdant Catacombs
14 Swamp


1 Bojuka Bog
1 Tectonic Edge
1 Mind Sludge
2 Haunting Echoes
2 Malakir Bloodwitch
4 Deathmark
4 Urge to Feed

So far, the deck has performed very well in the Tournament Practice room (you basically can't lose to White Weenie or Elves just as an FYI) but there has been some things to consider based on testing.  First, while I love me some Mind Sludge...sometimes you just need it to be anything else and is often not good enough or fast enough against the Primeval Titan decks and its basically a dead draw if not worse against decks with Vengevine or Obstinate Baloth.  So what do we do?  I recommended Sadistic Sacrament as a way to deal with Valakut and/or Primeval Titan and while I think that general line of thinking is correct....I was also being remarkably stupid. The card pretty clearly to play towards this end is from our newest of sets...Memoricide.

Basically, its one mana can get rid of the Primeval Titans that are in their hand as well, you get rid of all of them, and its a beating against random combo or control strategies.  Yes sir...sign me up.  You can't get Valakut...that makes me sad, but the added bonus of getting rid of all of their Titans is too much to pass up.  I have also tinkered around with a Blue/Black vampires list as well....removing some of the disruptive elements (like the aforementioned Mind Sludge and an Inquisition of Kozilek) for Spell Pierce.  This is a nod to Jace, the Mind Sculptor.  Several different decks rely fairly heavily on sticking a turn 3, 4, or 5 Jace to win and Spell Pierce shits on that plan quite well.  Also, Spell Pierce also lets you commit to the board early and not be in fear of Day of Judgment.  Day of Judgment is a problem for the deck in the early stages because you can't really take full advantage of the wonder that is Kalastria Highborn if you are tapped out in the first few turns of the game.  With Spell Pierce, you can leave a Blue mana open, attack with your horde, and when they try to wipe your Spell Pierce their Day of Judgement and all is then right with the world.  I'm liking the Blue base strategy right now and will post more concrete results later, in particular with some changes to the sideboard to reflect the change if I think its worth pursuing. 

Politics aka Why I think 2010 Conservatives are stupid

The title may be a little more harsh than my actual meaning, but I think that there something to the thought.  Look, I get there are legitimate grievances with the U.S. tax system, the questions surrounding federalism and the tenuous balance that can exist between individual freedoms and the power of the federal government, and sincere concern over the deficit and bailing out corporations that shouldn't have the financial means to buy hot wheels and bubble gum.  Really...I do understand these complaints and they reflect long-standing (decades upon decades old) inequities that have existed in our governmental and financial institutions that have arisen in no small part because of the over-arching crisis of capitalism (with the amount of money at stake in this day and age...did you honestly think even rational people wouldn't try to bend the rules to "get theirs"?  You are beyond naive if you didn't see it coming).  However, thats not what my problem problem is that conservatives right now COULD be articulating these points and have a genuine discussion about the role of government and the tax code or whatever.  Instead....they have engaged in what I like to call "institutionalized stupid".  Just because Glenn Beck or Ann Coulter or some random Tea Party activist shares your viewpoint on the world DOES NOT MEAN that you should support them and let them act or speak on your behalf.  At best, they are worst, they will result in some of the worst sort of pandering to an uneducated, mis-informed group of followers that have no idea what the ramifications of their beliefs are.  The current "mobilized" conservative movement is the same group of people who continue to forward emails to each other claiming that Obama is a Muslim that is not an American citizen who is going to come into your house and have sex with all of the white women.  I can't understand how the public at large thinks that the world would be better if we had just followed George W. Bush's policies to their natural conclusions would somehow be helpful....but that is exactly what seems to be happening.

There is no greater proof of this than in the Georgia governor's race.  In a world where the primarily sources of anger seem to be over financial management and corruption and abuse of power in government...who has the conservative movement turned to?

This other than Nathan Deal.  This is the same guy who had to resign from Congress the same day that health care reform passed because he was dodging a Congressional ethics investigation by a federal grand jury because he was personally keeping a state program in place that earned him 300K a year.  He is also tangled up in a multi-million dollar bankruptcy filing.  You honestly want me to argue the merits and principles of the most recent iteration of the conservative movement when that movement neither has merit or principle?  Please....spare me.  Its institutionalized stupid....plain and simple.  Most of these people (I have to allow for exceptions...there are plenty of conservatives with good hearts and sound minds that might be able to explain this to me in a way that isn't the cop-out "Its better than Obama") just don't like people that disagree with them, have little to no idea what they are talking about, and do not apply the same principles to themselves or their candidates that they seem to apply to those that they disagree with.  Why?  Because ultimately they are selfish.  I can understand a certain amount of that in this day and age where many people just want to put food on their table and could care less about others or the systems they are apart of.  But lets call a spade a spade and figure it out from there.

Leppy's Musings

Alright, with that rant out of the way....I come to you now with a very important message regarding the state of my life.  You see....I have what can best be described as an "Enemy's List".  These are not specific people in most cases, but they are groups or even animals that are the bane of my existence for one reason or another.  Are the choices to put these individuals/groups/animals on the list completely rational?  Probably now, but if you have known me for any period of time you know that being "rational" isn't always high on my list of priorities.  So list of enemies!

1.) Bad Tippers - I know this is somewhat self-serving on its face because I serve tables for a living, but hear me out.  I'm not talking about the people who tip 10% on a $50 or something.  While I disagree with the amount/percentage...reasonable people can disagree about such things.  The people I'm talking about are the ones that run me around making me refill their water 15 times over the course of their $8 meal, ask me questions like "Does your salad have lettuce in it?", and then tip me 0.70 and tell me how great of a server I am.  Case in point:  Last night, I had a party of 13 people.  While 12 of these people were perfectly fine and tipped me a reasonable if unspectacular gentleman, who I'm pretty sure had a gig as an extra in the movie "Deliverance", asked me when I was taking their order "What should I get me to eat since I can't chew?"  Now, external from the fact that I had to try very hard not to laugh at that exercise in grammatical homicide and the fact that this man had the worst meth teeth I had seen in a long time, I was very nice and suggest soup...because, well, you don't have to chew soup.  He said, "I don't like soup".  I suggested mashed potatoes, which he seemed fine with.  Then he said, "What about fried shrimp?"  I said, in the most polite way I know how to, that he would probably have to chew the shrimp.  He proceeded to order the fried shrimp...and then complained about them once he received them.  Not because he couldn't chew (oh no, that would be too easy) but instead because there wasn't enough of them.  This man tipped me a dollar.  Sir, you are on my list.

2.) Old People - Now, before you start hiding your grandmothers and loved ones from me....I am talking about the kinds of old people who have disabled person car tags, drive 15 under the speed limit on one lane roads, and do so while having their turn signals on the whole time.  Aside from the fact that this alone annoys the hell out of me because I live in area with lots of old people and one lane roads which makes my drives to and from work harrowing at best...there is another problem.  You see...all of these people are close to death and, well, I seem to kill old people with my very presence.  Over the past year, I have had two separate instances where I either witnessed an old person die or found them already, if recently, deceased.  The first was where a woman who I can only guess was 147 years old, was driving in front of me going 20 mph and then very suddenly went off the road into a ditch.  I stopped, open her door, and discovered that she was in the middle of a massive stroke.  I called 911...but they did not arrive in time.  The other was where I was waiting behind someone at a stop sign at Publix to go home and the car didn't move for a long time.  I exited my vehicle, expecting to have to yell at someone for falling asleep listening to Perry Cuomo on cassette, only to find that this woman had died in her car and since the road was slightly uphill...her car was just sitting their idling.  I'm pretty sure that the Villa Rica police department has a file on me at this point and anytime some who is old dies they check my whereabouts.

3.) Bill Paxton - All I have to say about this douchebag is that he singlehandedly ruined the movie I looked forward to seeing most in middle school, "Twister".  It had tornadoes, Helen Hunt being chased by tornadoes, and flying livestock....what more could I ask for?  Instead, what I get is some bastardized film where Bill Paxton plays the role of some sort of "tornado whisperer" and I forever hate him for it.  The film could have saved itself by get his ass impaled by a cow or a bicycle or something...but alas, instead I merely have to find solace in the fact that if I were driving and saw him in a crosswalk, I wouldn't stop, and then would have to explain to the police that I thought he was an old lady.

4.) The Hawk - Some time ago, I was about to go out to my car when I saw that a hawk had killed what I guessed to be a rabbit and brought his kill down and placed it directly behind my car.  Now, I have a certain amount of respect for wildlife and I was fairly convinced that if I just walked towards the car that this hawk would get the clue and fly off and wait for me to leave so that he/she could finish its business.  This is not what happened.  Instead, what followed was a series of hand-to-hand combat situations with a bird of prey that I'm fairly certain I lost (I landed a good punch, but once he took to the skies I had to run inside repeatedly).  Now, that would be enough to end up on the list....but there's more.  See...this hawk is still around from time to time.  I will forget that I was ever made a hawk's bitch but every couple of months I will look out and in a tree I will see a hawk staring at me or my house.  Sometimes it will have a friend with it....but mostly with those cold, dead eyes it is the solitary hawk is in its tree....contemplating one last battle with its greatest foe.  You, Hawk, are on the list....

5.) The Daddy-long-legs that killed Fred the Crotch-Jumping Spider - This foe, with the exception of the two old ladies, is the only enemy I have permanently defeated, although at a heavy cost.  See, when I was living in Columbus...we had a patio with a ceiling fan on it.  One night, I came out to smoke and I see this spider dangling from the idle fan waving his legs at me like he wanted to fight.  Well, not one to back down from a challenge, I said something along the lines of "What the fuck are you going to do?" and then turned on the ceiling fan...thinking this will show him.  Instead, what happened is that this crafty arachnid flew from the ceiling and landed squarely on my crotch....continuing to wave his legs at me.  I reared my hand back, about to squash this antagonistic little bastard and it occurs to me....I am about to whack myself in the nuts because of this spider.  Impressed with his cunning, he was given the name Fred the Crotch-Jumping Spider (unclear as to whether or not this is a new species) and given asylum on the patio.  He lived a happy life there....until a bastard of a Daddy-long-legs came and killed him.  I avenged my friend Fred that day by burning that son of a bitch alive, but are on the list.



  1. Nicely done, sir.

    Bill Paxton : Eric :: Jeff Goldblum : Troy

  2. Need to do a better job of editing....but really these first few posts were trial runs to see if anyone would actually read it. Now that there are people following along, I'll put more into editing and finding funny pictures, etc.

  3. And not a single mention of "Game over, man!"

    For shame....