Damm you brain!

Gosh darn it I will continue to think. It’s a burden don’t you know. Still I’m continuing my plan to write stuff in a feeble attempt to quiet the soft sobbing from my teenage self buried somewhere in the dark pit of my soul. OK, not soul I’m an atheist, but I can’t spell psyche (the accents keep dropping off) so I’ll go with soul.

Anyway I’m sort of approaching 40, not really fast it’s over a year away but at my age you can sleep through that without noticing. OK it’s called, having a day job and paying the bills, but it’s functionally similar to sleeping so I’ll go with that. With the oncoming storm on the way I’ve been looking at my life and laughing the maniacal laugh of someone who has reached the edge of the pit of sanity, you laugh because crying seems too easy.

Lets start that again shall we, the bleak is getting a bit too strong, last night I wrote some words. Feel free to go read them. I mentioned that I learned two things in school. The second thing I learned is that Authority cares nothing for you. Those that are supposed to protect you couldn’t care less and if you spoke up you would be punished. I probably wasn’t supposed to learn this but I did. It’s kind of fueled my world view since, and made me into the sniveling worm that now graces the world.

You see I have this fear of Authority, which is basically how it’s supposed to work. You don’t commit crimes because you’re afraid you’ll get caught and hurt. Not locked up, that does frighten me, it’s the beatings. As I am an old person they were still allowed to use corporal punishment in school when I was there and I now have a certain level of belief that I’ll getting beaten up if I do things wrongs. Add to this my general dislike of cool people it’s a wonder I’ve managed to survive this long really.

Where was I going with this? Oh yeah. I’m not who I wanted to be, mainly because I’ve been waiting to get permission to do what I wanted. And by the time I worked out that’s not how it works,that you have to go out and grab it I was so stuck into a rut (and buried there with a pile of debt) that I was screwed. In my heart, or the tortured soul where the sobbing comes from, I’m a writer. I like words and I like stringing them together to paint pictures in your mind. Maybe not nice pictures, but the world isn’t a nice place.


I’m trying to exorcise some of this, there’s a lot of it but I hope I can get it sorted. Maybe make it less rambling. Stranger things have happened.

Off my chest

I learnt two important lessons in primary school. The first I shall relate here. I was not particularly socially adept when I was young, it could be argued that I’m still not. But I was fascinated with computers, nowadays it’s more a grim acceptance of a talent that keeps me from starving but there you go.

Anyway we had a BBC B computer at my school, for the youngsters among you this was slightly less powerful than a watch. One time I wad working on a program to play the number guessing game. You have to guess the number the computer has picked with clues and such like. It was really quite impressive for an eight year old. I got to stay in at lunchtime to work on it, which was nice because I wasn’t really a fan of playtime. Too many games involved pain… anyway. 
Another boy in the class had also written a similar program, with the slight flaw that it crashed whenever you put in an answer. He decided that I had copied him so figured I should be taught a lesson. Now I was a fan of lessons, except the ones that involved a bunch of other kids kicking the crap out of me.

That was thirty years ago and I still remember what I learnt. Work hard and apply yourself and a bigger boy will kick you in the nuts. And laugh.

Funny really.

I should put it behind me but I don’t know how and it’s just the nub, the tip of the festering boil of anger that is my main legacy from my school days. It’s why I tend to dislike sport and those who like it for instance.

I’m fed up. And tired. But there is a cat sitting on me because that’s her favourite place to sit. And this helps a little.

Ho hum.

On weirdness

Last night I tweeted “If your friends think you’re weird… get new friends.”

A lot of people commented, many along the lines of “I’m only friends with weird people” and such like. I though I should take the time to explain what I meant.

It’s my fault really, I forgot that many if the people I know have been in the same place I have. Forced by life and circumstance to grow up with people who view any kind of deviation from the norm, any weirdness, as something to be reviled. So we take weird as a badge of honour and wear it with pride.

I wasn’t saying weird was bad I was saying people who think it is are. I moved hundreds if miles away from where I grew up and have never felt the urge to go back. I was lucky to have great open minded parents and a brother who I couldn’t stand and I now love deeply. But I couldn’t stand it down there again.

I’m rambling, I do that sometimes, the point I was trying to make was you can choose your friends, don’t choose those who want to hurt to because they don’t understand you.

11 years ago my mother died. Her funeral packed out the village church and the party afterwards filled our pub to bursting. She had a knack for making friends but didn’t judge them. I miss her still… this last year has been “interesting” and things are starting to look up. I know she’d accept my decisions and give me a hug when I needed it.

So pick your friends and tell those who wish to judge you to fuck off and have fun. Enjoy your life, it goes all too soon.

Interview with Ghave.

“Hi there sports fans, this is Dan Kretinsky here on Commander beat. We’re all waiting for the new recruits from the plane of Innistrad to join up for this seasons Commander games and today we have a special interview with that fan favourite Ghave known as the ‘Guru of Spores’”


“Ghave? It’s Dan Kretinsky here, I was hoping you could give us a few words on Innistrad”

“Ommmmm…. Sorry Daniel, I did not see you there. I was busy meditating on the nature of Fecundity.” *Plop*

“Arrgh! Your arm just dropped off! And it grown eyes! And it’s waving at me!”

“Oh yes, they do that. It’s a Saproling, I think I will call it Bob. Say ‘Hello’ Bob.”

“Hi everybody!” *Chomp*

“You just ate him!”

“Yes? They are very tasty. Anyway, I told him to say ‘Hello’, you just cannot get the help these days. So, Innistrad? Hmmmm. Yes, there are a few things I hope to recruit from that benighted plane.”

“It is rather overrun with the Undead yes…”

“Undead? It is covered in Humans, pesky creatures, always chopping down trees and such like. No sense of balance with nature that is there problem. Come to think of it you look a bit human Dan.”

*Gulp* “Well moving on… you had some recruits in mind.”

“Oh yes. Well I think the Requiem Angel will suit my squad quite well. You may have noticed we get through Saprolings rather quickly. And I am a big fan of recycling, so being able to bring them back after I have eaten them will be very useful.”

“You do seem a little low on flying squad members.”

“Well yes, though the Aquastrand Spider is still doing a wonderful job. So who else? Ah yes, that scamp Geralf has done me two good turns. Not only did he kill that annoying human Mikaeus, who is much more useful as a zombie, but his messenger will make a wonderful addition to the squad.”

“Aren’t you worried he’s going to be a bit hard to get on side.”

“Not particularly, I find if you have a big enough wall of Saprolings you have time to do anything. Now, let it not be said that I am speciesist. I may find space in my team for a Human. There is one in particular, a guard who works at midnight. I have high hopes for him.”

“So all in all you think you’ll get some good things from the recent turmoil in Innistrad?”

“Oh yes, of course the biggest problem is going to be deciding who to cut from the team. Though I am rather hungry so I am sure it will be easy to make some room. Are you sure you are not Human Dan?”




Wait I said what? That I’d write more here? Wow. Ok well how’s this for an idea, I’ll start writing stuff about my rekindled playing of Magic? No? Well that’s alright my imaginary reader, was you’re real anyway it’s all good. As for my other imaginary reader who thinks reading deck design ideas from a gibbering moron is great, you go right ahead.

Curse of MisfortuneAnyway, Dark Ascension is almost upon us and the whole spoiler list is out. As is my wont I took a look over it to see what improbable deck ideas I could tease out of it. I am (I think, ah self knowledge where are though) what in magic terms you’d call a Johnny, I like taking the weirder cards and pushing the envelope with them.

When I saw Curse of Misfortune I thought, “That looks interesting” combined with Curse of Thirst and you have damage per turn. Those two together and you’re doing 2 damage a turn, but what if you add some more? With the addition of Dark Ascension you have 11 curses altogether including the quite fun Curse of Bloodletting that doubles the damage from your Curse of Thirst. So that was my first thought, put at least one copy of each Curse into the deck. My second thought was to not put Curse of the Nightly Hunt in the last thing you want is to force people to hit you. This does make the deck 4 colour but actually you’re only really interested in Black, if you draw any of the other curses you really want some way of getting them back into your deck. Plus you want to be able to stay alive long enough to start the cursing.

Well my first thought for this was Elixir of Immortality combining life gain with deck cycling to hold off your opponents while you get ready. Of course you have to get the Curses in the graveyard and blockers would always be good. Zombie Infestation lets you discard your Curses to get Zombie blockers so that seems like a good plan. Bloodline Keeper helps with blocking too by covering the air with lots of little Vampire. A few One-Eyed Scarecrow’s pull double duty blocking on the ground and shrinking flyers.

Now I could have gone with a mono black deck but a bit of targeted removal seemed nice and two of the curses (Curse of the Pierced Heart and Curse of Bloodletting) fit the theme of the deck by using Curses to kill people and red does have some fun removal available. So add a bit of red and pop in some Brimstone Volleys and Bob is you proverbial Uncle. Top this off with some tutoring and card draw and we have the first draft of the deck idea. Now to build it and see how it does….. dying horribly seems likely.

  • 4 Curse of Misfortunes
  • 2 Curse of Thirst
  • 1 Curse of Exhaustion
  • 1 Curse of Echoes
  • 2 Curse of Bloodletting
  • 1 Curse of Death’s Hold
  • 1 Curse of Oblivion
  • 1 Curse of Stalked Prey
  • 1 Curse of the Bloody Tome
  • 1 Curse of the Nightly Hunt
  • 2 Curse of the Pierced Heart
  • 4 Elixir of Immortality
  • 2 Zombie Infestation
  • 2 Diabolic Tutor
  • 2 Bloodline Keeper
  • 3 One-Eyed Scarecrow
  • 2 Bloodgift Demon
  • 4 Brimstone Volley
  • 4 Dragonskull Summit
  • 11 Swamp
  • 7 Mountain
  • 2 Shimmering Grotto
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Here comes the new year

It’s Christmas eve and then it’s the new year. A new year where I resolve to write more often. I used to very much enjoy writing my thoughts and feelings here and in all the varied versions of this blog. But it annoyed my wife and so I stopped.

But as many of you (who am I kidding about people reading this) know we split up and I am now trying to reassess and turn over new leaves and all that.

And so one of these will be to get back into regular writing. And so here as I sit watching Christmas TV I say that I shall write more this year. Keep your eye out and all that.

Now I return you to your scheduled programming. Have a great holiday, see you soon.

Saying nothing. Do bi do bi do.

Saying nothing. Do bi do bi do.

Magic : Why I don’t use proxies

Hey look. A blog post. I’m in shock. How about you?

Over the years I’ve played a number of CCG’s. I enjoy the whole deck creation and then see what other people come up with aspects of it. I started with Magic and since then have been into Legend of the Five Rings, Deadlands Doomtown, Dredd the CCG, City of Heroes, World of Warcraft and back again to Magic. In all that time I’ve stuck to a few rules when building decks.

  • Make it as small as possible.
  • Themes are fun and synegry is great.
  • Don’t use proxies

The first rule is simple, if you break it then you might as well play all your cards in a huge pile and randomly pick from it. Sure it’s only 61 cards because you really need that one extra card and there’s nothing you can cut. Next thing you know it’s an 80 card deck that never works. Sure it’s got fun combos buried in it but you’ll never pull them off.

The second is more a personal thing, I’d prefer to play and lose with a deck I came up with than win with a deck I copied off the internet. I’ve broken at least one card game doing that which was a shame but there you go. Seriously, if you played City of Heroes and you couldn’t beat Rochefort you were in serious trouble.

And then there are proxies, I understand why people use them but I don’t. And this morning I think I realized why. You put proxies in a deck for two reasons, either you have the card but it’s in another deck (this I might do, I’d be more likely to put in a reminder on what deck it’s in), or because you don’t have the card and you’re testing a new deck. The thing is, in this case to card may well be rather expensive. Like, Snapcaster Mage this chap sells for £30 (or £60 if it’s foil…). So lets say I make a deck with 4 snapcasters in and it does well and I decide I’m going to try using it in the big leagues. Of course when I was testing the deck 3 of them were foils so now I have this perfect jewel that’s only going to cost me £90 to build (yes I have 1, no you can’t have it). And I know what I’ll be like, I’ll give in and spend the money.

Which right now I can’t afford. Ho hum.

And also, constraints are good. Without constraints designs get stale or impossible. If you’ve only got one of a card you need to work round this, or come up with a new plan.

So there you go, why I don’t use proxies. Feel free to use them yourself when playing games with me, but one thing I do ask. Can you please make them legible? Pretty please with sugar on top?

Story : Tattoo

For your delectation

Did I ever tell you about my tattoo?
You’ve got a tattoo? Where? I mean, I thought I’d seen all of you.
Heh. Yeah… well it was a few years ago. While I was in Chile.
Right, I remember you were gone for months.
What can I say? Work sucks sometimes. Anyway I thought I’d get a tattoo.
I’m coming to that. See I wanted something different.
So I thought, I’ll get my head shaved an have a tattoo of an X put on top saying ‘In case of emergency drill here’
… On the top of your head?
But you’d have to keep your head shaved and it’s almost shoulder length.
I didn’t want people to see it.
Has anyone ever told you you’re nuts?
That’s why you love me.
Good point. Ok so you got that tattooed on your head then?
Ah well, this is where is gets weird.
Weirder than getting your head tattooed under your hair?
Yup. See I shaved me head in preparation…
It was already there.
The exact tattoo, it was already on my head. And it’s not stretched so it must have been put there when I was an adult.
But you don’t remember it being done?
Ok… more beer?


So, what with one thing or another I’ve not written here in a while. This is partly because I tend to randomly spew a lot of my mind onto Twitter and from there to Facebook, and at some point to Google+ (very possibly getting rid of the other two.

I do plan on doing some more writing soon though and some of it will be at Ficly the successor to Ficlets, where I wrote a load of stuff a few years ago. stuff that can be perused here. I seemed to have a whole genetically enhanced animals thing going on. And the Googe? I think I had a plan there, wish I could remember it.

Enjoy. Have fun and all that.