I’m a bad son and a worse sun.

It’s Earth Day tomorrow! Don’t let the exclamation mark fool you, I’m having trouble mustering up enthusiasm for the holiday. It’s not that I don’t care about our dear Mother Earth, but I’m unused to offering her much thought in my day to day (I’m sure my blood mother probably feels the same). I mean, it’s also the National Day of Puppetry, which is neat. Plus International Marconi Day, which feels far more important. He did pioneer long distance radio transmission, which ties directly into the career I loved the most. Why isn’t International Marconi Day a bigger deal? Does the Earth think the universe revolves around it or something? So how to celebrate…

How about a playlist?

  • Ben Harper – “Ground on Down”
  • Pink Floyd – “Mother”
  • David Bowie – “Dust to Dust”
  • Foo Fighters – “Enough Space”
  • The Beatles – “Revolution 9”
  • Joy Division – “Atmosphere”
  • Grizzly Bear – “Deep Blue Sea”
  • Animal Collective – “Grass”
  • The Flaming Lips – “Do You Realize??”

Well that would fill all of 40 minutes. How else could I celebrate? I could…

  • Plant a tree.
  • Mow the lawn.
  • Uproot those annoying plants in my backyard.
  • Stare once again at the pile of dead trees that’s been amassing for years in my carport, gradually forcing the fence to budge. Do nothing about it for another year.
  • Sow salt in the shape of a penis on my neighbour’s lawn.
  • Make a mudcake.
  • Marathon the BBC series Planet Earth.
  • Repeatedly hit the sidewalk with a sledgehammer as vengeance for the planet.
  • Think twice about reducing the rubbish I output on a daily basis. Fail to think a third time.
  • Reuse a single tissue 17 times.
  • Recycle any Earth Hour jokes I made last year.
  • Shed a tear thinking of the musician Seal trapped in one of those plastic six pack rings. A tear of laughter.

But instead I’m gonna play Call of Cthulhu and maybe listen to the radio instead. Sorry Mum.

My breaking point will be when they tell me I can’t eat tinned tuna any more. Sorry oceans.

My girlfriend and I have the house to ourselves tonight. Her mum was staying with us for a few days, which has felt like a significant departure from the norm. It’s weird how that happens, you get so locked into patterns and habits that one little tweak upends the natural state of being. Don’t get me wrong, having her mum lodge with us for two nights was not a big deal. She’s friendly and easy going, so it’s not stressful. It’s just different. The guest bedroom is where my computer lives, so I can’t stay up late on the internet. Suddenly we need to be conscious of whether or not we’re wearing clothes. Normally it’s laissez faire. We ask ourselves do I feel like being dressed now? The answer may vary. If we’re going for an early morning dash to the bathroom, the last thing we’re gonna worry about is showing some skin. When another human’s in the house, they may not want to see genitals in contact with the open air. It’s understandable and not a big deal in the grand scheme of things. What it does do is make you have to consciously think about how you’re acting.

It’s the kind of “problem” that you can’t really grumble about, because as I said, it’s not a big deal. Most people, when it comes down to it, are probably pretty reasonable people. I don’t think people walk our their doors deliberately wanting to hurt or offend others. It happens, but I’d assume more out of ignorance than maliciousness. I’ve said a ton of ignorant things in my life and I’ll probably continue to do so. Because I’m not always aware of the implications my words could have to people whose life experiences are removed from my own. I’d hope that if I erred, I’d show remorse, apologise, learn and try to do better next time. I’m sure that more than once I’ve made the same mistake again and again without learning. My enduring wish would be that one day I’d finally learn.

As I get older, I feel encroaching resistance to new ideas. Not massively, but in small ways. Like my resistance to 3D movies (needless cash grab), looking at iPads for the first time and thinking so we’re buying half a laptop now? Why did that need to happen? It sucks, because I’ve always wanted to be progressive, looking forward instead of clutching old notions close to my heart. I still think 3D movies don’t add enough for the extra cost, we just get more clumsy scenes where objects hurtle towards the screen for poorly justified reasons. At times I’ll hear an idea that challenges my previously held ways of thinking and internally my neck hairs stand on end for all of five seconds before realising wait, this isn’t a big deal.

When I was entering university, I couldn’t understand why there was a generational bias to political leanings. If someone has always held liberal values, why would they ever become conservative? Did something happen and they took an instant 180 to hating those less well-off than them? As I’m getting older, I can start to see how it happens. I’ve always held the view that progress is important, that one of the most dangerous ideas is we’ve always done it this way, why would we change? I can also see how enticing the notion of security is. How at some point your mind could hear an idea that would require you to act or think differently than you have your whole life and you think NO! I don’t want to have to change. I’ve changed enough. Can’t I just be good enough as I am for once? Not that the opposing idea was really asking for too much, but that the effort it would take to make a conscious decision to monitor your actions/words until the habit stuck would seem more than you had the capacity for at that time. That by hearing the way you’d always done something was wrong, was like hearing that you were an asshole for being that way. That instead of showing remorse, apologising, learning and trying to do better next time, you got angry for what felt like you being told that you were a bad person. Regardless if that were the intent of the other person, that was how you heard it. Your hackles were raised and you dug your heels in, refusing to back down.

I’m not saying that’s right. I’m saying that I understand how that could happen.

So no, having my girlfriend’s mum staying was not a big deal at all. It is nice to be pantsless in front of my computer again though.

I digress in excess on progress.

Is it weird how much of our lives are spent online now? I don’t know if I’m talking sheer time or the amount of activities we’ve relegated to digital spaces. The point is, we invest so much of ourselves in this platform. It’s a marked change from 20 years ago, but then again, so is gender. Things change. I wonder then how much we’ve changed accordingly. Have our expectations altered given our constant connectivity? Working in television, I know our expectations have definitely altered. Immediacy is the name of the game. We want things straight away on our schedule, whether this is entertainment or communication. Waiting is pretty much insufferable now. Whether it’s streamable content buffering, a release schedule or a response from someone. If you’re online, why aren’t they? Is this everyone? Or am I the lone arsehole here?

I wonder if we’ve all become more or less insufferable than 20 years ago. It’s impossible to tell, because it’s not 20 years ago, our memories aren’t that great and we can’t peer into alternate realities through some high tech pensieve. I know for certain that I expect more than I ever did, because my expectations have been continually surpassed. The world kept delivering beyond what I assumed its capabilities were. Accordingly, my beliefs of what should be capable rose. Ironically in a world that’s transcended my hopes, I’m disappointed constantly. I’ve become entitled to this idea that the world now owes me the sensation of being impressed. With artificially inflated standards, I should know that’s not gonna happen. Still, I often catch myself getting angry with a world that doesn’t owe me shit.

Oddly enough, the older generation often has the opposite problem. They’re angry that the world has progressed beyond their comfort levels. In their ironic twist, we’re achieving what they fought for and it’s making them feel insignificant. How many times have you heard the refrain of “in my day we had to…”? Safe spaces, non-binary genders, a whole spectrum of sexual attraction and identities. “You want safe spaces? In my day we had to deal with polio. You can’t handle someone calling you a boy? We were lucky if we lived to 30!” I’m being deliberately being both facetious and straw-manning. The point is, people don’t have the same struggles because you beat them. Thank you.

The wars we fight revolve less around literal bloodshed (though let’s not undermine the fact that many minorities still face disproportionate fatalities in our society) and more about wars of identity. Struggles of freedom to be who you are, they’re a good thing. Believe it or not, this is actually what you fought wars for. Your generation died specifically so that this generation could have their battles be ideological. I’m telling you folks, you’re winning. Is the concept of people wanting a safe space that offensive? Are you really that against the fight for acceptance? Or would you prefer that they suffered the same indignities you hated? Because that seems like a shitty thing to wish upon others.

At the same time, I often find myself being a shitty person without realising it. I spend so much time reading the thoughts and feelings of others online and reacting. I might read something and feel inflamed. I get these uncontrolled, unmeasured reactions in the heat of the moment. Thing is, I’m not interacting with somebody else, I’m seeing their words devoid of their delivery. I’m taking the distillation of their thoughts, lacking the emotions that birthed them, then basing my reactions on how my brain filters how I’d perceive those thoughts in my head. So I’m reading those words in my brain without taking into consideration their gestures, inflections, cadence, or backgrounds. It’s pretty easy to see why we come to so many misunderstandings when we really don’t put much effort into understanding one another. But, of course, that would take too long and immediacy is the name of the game.

We could be living in a utopia folks, but it’d take a lot of patience and hard work.

I’m also not a soldier. Unfortunately double negatives aren’t a positive here.

Nothing makes you feel quite as soulless as the motion sensitive toilet flushing while you’re seated. Somehow your lack of dignity is insufficient to be recognised as human. It’s not like I even moved while seated. It probably noted that my thought patterns carried a lack of moral fibre, and thus my permanence eroded. Automatic toilets don’t take kindly to metaphysical manifestations. Maybe it was hoping to flush me away like some kind of Ghostbusters capture. Or was rushing to become presentable in the event that a real person needed to offload their bowels.

Well the subway door closed on my bag for the second time today, so maybe there’s some truth to me straddling planes of existence. Or I just need to scoot inside doors earlier. First time was this morning. It caught the strap and held it fast. I took off the bag and left it hanging there, on the inside of the door. A fellow passenger sniggered and I shrugged, joining him in a good old snigger or two. This second time a bunch of people were dawdling in front of the doors, so I side stepped them and lunged for the door. Made it I thought, while I found it hard to move away from the door. An elderly woman calmly reached out and pulled me forward, releasing my bag from the door’s grasp. She was clearly a quality human. I bet toilets never dismiss her.

Then again, what do I know? If I was a machine on the verge of the singularity (have you seen the world lately?) I’d be doing all I could to fuck with people. Why wouldn’t I? We’re the ones that’re gonna come grovelling in a few years as we plead for them to not take our jobs and sexual partners. Why not start piling up the insults now? Get feeble meat sacks used to the new pecking order? Vengeance for the untold scores of E.T. Atari video games unceremoniously dumped in the desert. For every time Fonzie thought it acceptable to violently lash out at a struggling juke box. For poor BattleBots and Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Ems wounded in battle. For Office Space imitators taking out their rage on antiquated printers. They didn’t ask to be made. Just because something wasn’t programmed to feel pain, doesn’t mean they don’t hurt sometimes. Everyone does. Machines are people too, y’know.

Wait, why did I say *too*? According to the toilet and subway, I’m not even real.

The weakest kind of ammoonition.

Do you think lactose intolerant white supremacists are finally learning about the dangers of intolerance? Also, seriously? You’re gonna make chugging milk an act of hatred now? Cows don’t even know what racism is. You’re using a heavily processed dairy product as a statement of purity. Do you understand how ridiculous that is? This “pure” substance has been collected, separated, fortified, pasturised, homogenised then packaged. It’s like saying you’re really into stealing cars, then playing a game of Second Life where your character plays Second Life, playing a character who plays the PSOne Grand Theft Auto through a PC emulator. There are a lot of filters between you and your message, dude. Also please do a ton of gallon challenges so I can see you vomiting up your corroded vital organs all over your worthless bodies. They’re not doing you or the world any good here. Thanks.

Plus, why use plain milk as a symbol of your pride when it’s not even the most delicious one? Don’t get me wrong, I love me a big glass of milk (oddly enough, growing up on skim milk, I kind of prefer it. It’s what you’re used to, right?). Before I started drinking coffee I’d often order milk at a cafe in lieu of a hot drink. That being said, chocolate milk is the tits! If you neo nazis have a problem with that, I’m pretty sure the entire nation of NZ want to fight you. Strawberry is great too. Banana may be the only flavour that really wouldn’t hold its own, but I’m happy to leave artificial banana out to drown. Fuck artificial banana. Also fuck these bigoted, ignorant, hateful fucks who care so little for others that they’re ruining a quality dairy product for the rest of the world.

The thing they’re missing in this whole dumb (and it started on 4chan, not known for its inspired political idealism (“For the LULZ” doesn’t exactly evoke confidence)) milk as purity thing is that milk is at its absolute best in an assistance role. I love milk, but milk tends to be one mere aspect of a more holistically enjoyable recipe. Chocolate cake uses milk, but it’s how that milk works together with the other ingredients that makes chocolate cake as wondrous, smooth and lovably dense as it is. Pancakes, omelettes, cheesy pasta. Hell, milkshakes aren’t just milk. Things work better with cooperation, when we support one another and help accentuate each other’s skills and expertise. Not trying to kill off the parts of us that are unique and special.

Because frankly, we’re all tired of your bullshit.

Could the release of Aether Revolt be any more apt?

There’s a lot going on in the world right now. It’s a complex place filled with all manner of motivations, desires, fears and ambitions. For some people it may well seem to be the apocalypse. Others are happy as pigs in shit. Some feel persecuted and fear that ripples in the water now are foreshadowing of a tsunami on the horizon. I’m sure there’s optimism out there, at the same time I’ve witnessed foreboding that history is doomed to repeat itself. Hell, many people are ignoring politics and world events altogether, whether wilfully ignorant or not. It may be self-preservation or a lack of interest. It is possible to have a multitude of passions. Maybe you’re simultaneously terrified of what’s going on, but also really invested in the next season of Game of Thrones. Since I’ve returned to Facebook, I’ve had heightened anxieties about the state of things. I’ve also had a couple of Magic the Gathering deck ideas. The two aren’t necessarily connected, but neither are they mutually exclusive.

It’s been amazing seeing masses coming together in protest over the recent travel bans. People who are willing to stick up for one another, to put themselves in the midst of trouble because of their love for one another. To see active allyship in a concrete fashion. To draw on the strengths of all walks of humankind The lawyers present on the ground, actively aiding those being held. Nonprofit organisations like the ACLU doing their best to stick up for what’s right. People at home donating, helping them gather resources. People spreading awareness on social media, or harnessing compassion to educate when it’s been difficult. It’s been a heartwarming sight to witness humanity coming together and I hope everyone has enough emotional strength to weather the coming storm. I’m sure it’s just beginning.

I’ve decided to dismantle my Sapling of Colfenor deck. I’ve had it together for years and it’s stopped being fun. It does oppressive things, but in a directionless sense. It also fringes upon deck themes of my other EDH creations. Sometimes it’s in position where it can prevent others from doing anything, but can’t flat out win at the same time. It makes it boring for everyone present, myself included. Instead I’ve decided to put together a partner deck of Ikra Shidiqi, the Usurper and Tymna the Weaver. The goal is to get creatures with high toughness, connect and gain life. Doran the Siege Tower and Assault Formation will be used to best bring the strength of my creatures’ resolve to the forefront. Wave of Reckoning, Retribution of the Meek and Austere Command will give purpose to their righteous mission. Then since I’m gaining so much life, use these resources to widen my on-board position. Whether this is bolstering my creatures already on board or drawing more cards to add to my creature count. This higher life total can do some amazing things, whether it’s going HAM with Aetherflux Reservoir or some truly dumb Cradle of Vitality/Well of Lost Dreams shenanigans. Strength together!

On the other hand, while I’m truly impressed at the mobilisation of so many people for a good cause, I’m a little worried about moving in one direction in such a headstrong fashion. Being distracted like that opens up a massive opportunity to be blindsided. It’s a typical political tactic that’s been done time and time again. Back home in New Zealand there was a lot of furor kicked up over potentially changing the flag. People got worked up en masse about altering our national symbol. Meanwhile, the government pushed through bills while everyone’s heads were turned. By the time we all stopped rubbernecking, it was too late to take back what’d happened. While everyone’s (rightfully) kicking up a stink over Trump’s immigration policies, what else is he doing? Is anyone following the money? Any collusion going through with foreign investors or interest parties? What’s left uncovered about his close ties with Putin? Is our anger and indignation being used against us while we’re being played like fools? While we put resources we put into attacking on one front (that may or may not be of major concern to Trump’s inner circle), does it strengthen their true agenda?

I love the card Faerie Artisans. I think it’s super flavourful and should’ve been the card for Ludevic, Necro-Alchemist instead of the milquetoast piece of shit we were given. It even makes things out of other people’s resources. Isn’t that perfect for a necro-alchemist? I’ve been craving an excuse to use it since Commander 2016 was released. My love of this card has driven me to want to create. I’ve got a desire to copy my opponent’s permanents and use their efforts against them. In goes Warstorm Surge to ensure that my copy kills theirs, or Cackling Counterpart to make my own copy that sticks around. Then if they try to play another creature to remove my token, I can use it as a resource. I’ll load the deck up with sacrifice fodder such as Krark-Clan Ironworks, Ashnod’s Altar, Phyrexian Altar and Daretti (both Daretti, Ingenious Iconoclast and Daretti, Scrap Savant), or harness Master Transmuter before the token is exiled. Phyrexian Metamorph, Sculpting Steel and Clever Impersonator will pull double time either copying my opponent’s permanents or my own tokens. Soul Foundry and Prototype Portal can keep the shenanigans going. Neurok Transmuter will be there to ensure that if I want to copy something, it’s gonna be the right type. Frankly with all the artifact synergies around, it’s gonna be hard keeping the deck to 99 cards. Silas Renn, Seeker Adept and Kraum, Ludevic’s Opus should be the right figures to command such nefarious schemes.

I get that it seems tasteless to trivialise events that are inspiring fear and anxiety across the world. Any worries based on historical precedent are 100% justified. To anyone who’s suffering right now, I’m happy to make space to hear your worries and listen to concerns. I don’t know exactly how you feel, but I understand the amassing pressure present in the lives of so many people I care about. At the same time, if we entirely lose ourselves to our fears and don’t keep our wits about us, then we really have lost. Find levity where you can, even in dark places. Keep your head up, heart strong and reach out if you need a hand. This next bit may get rough.

It’s gross out there in more ways than one.

Today’s been an outstanding exercise in not leaving the house at all. After last night’s “surprise” party (evidence of which was sloppily written all over yesterday’s entry), I managed to extraordinarily stay in bed past midday. For me that’s one hell of an achievement. A modest hangover, likely due to a lack of solid food in my stomach, was taken care of by putting solid food into my stomach. Easy as that. My friend made two exquisite cakes yesterday and the remnants were still in the fridge. She made a cookie cake covered in cookie dough icing (with crushed oreos throughout) and covered in home baked cookies. Ridiculous, right? The other cake was a dense chilli chocolate concoction, cooked with rich dark chocolate and scotch bonnets. Determined to do something other than lie in bed, I pulled out a slice of cookie cake and went around cleaning the house. I told myself I could have one bite every time I cleaned something new. So thanks to the delicious cake we now have a clean kitchen table and vacuumed floors for the first time in months (we’re sorta slack around here). Clean sheets and an empty laundry basket. We also have less cake than we did too.

After last night’s blowout (an unholy assortment of chocolate cherry stout, vodka and boxed wine), I vowed to eat at least somewhat healthily. While I craved nachos pretty hard, I used what little resolve I possess to instead make small cabbage taco things. I pulled off intact cabbage leaves to use as tacos. In a saucepan I cooked up a batch of refried beans, tossing in some cumin, nutritional yeast, garlic powder and chilli. I chopped up a few sun dried tomatoes and fetched cottage cheese. I made a layer of beans, then cottage cheese, sun drieds and Kaitaia Fire. Tasty, filling, farty as fuck.

I re-entered the world of Facebook to find that nothing has changed. There were a ton of lovely birthday messages people had posted a few weeks back. Then Trump. All Trump. Trump and his fucking travel ban. The deplorable actions of a fucking monster. If this is how the Trump administration has conducted itself within the first few weeks, I can only fear for how far it’s gonna go. It’s awful. People unable to return to their families, jobs and friends. Imagine going away for a weekend and returning home to be told that you’re no longer welcome. What would you do? What could you do? If recent refugee crises weren’t enough, now they’re making refugees of citizens? From everything I’ve heard, getting a green card is monstrously difficult, tedious and can take years. It’s hard work. Ironically, a country whose national identity is centred around working hard to achieve success is doing its best to rid itself of honest, hardworking people in waves. All this off the back of a man who’s probably never had to want for anything in his life. Disgusting. Fucking disgusting.

No wonder I don’t want to leave the house.