Great, so now I’m scared of schoolgirls.

This entry is gonna have major spoilers for Doki Doki Literature Club. If you don’t know what that combination of words means, you probably won’t care. In short, DDLC is a free to play Steam game that presents as a dating sim, but morphs into a psychological horror. It’s all kinds of twisted. If you’re looking to play (or, like me, would be intrigued enough by that short sentence to give it a try), I might ruin some fun surprises.

Okay, so as I said above, DDLC is a psychological horror game masquerading as a cutesy dating sim. Realistically, you’re playing a story with a few options that can lead to alternate endings. A bunch of people online have figured out ways to maximise plot outcomes, etc. YMMV, but I tend to enjoy the experience more organically. I’m happy to make mistakes and see where it leads, even if I’m not on track for the optimal ending.

The game starts with your best friend Sayori meeting you before school. She’s manipulates you into joining her Literature Club at school. There you meet the three other members: Monika (the Club President), Natsuki (a childish first year obsessed with cute stuff) and Yuri (a demure bookish gal). The game progresses, with the only interactive options being making choices or poetry. The poetry mechanic is just choosing words on a page that correspond to the different girls you’re trying to woo. I accidentally kept getting Yuri options, though I was trying to gun for Monika (she seemed cooler). When you get closer to one of the girls you start getting distinct scenes with them. Yuri started sharing her book with me and we’d read side by side, getting physically closer with each session.

Sayori, my best friend, started getting a little distant, while strangely intense phrases would slip from Yuri’s lips every once in a while. She’d say something eerily haunting or perceptive. Maybe she’d identify a little too strongly with a murderous character or something. Still, my poems kept moving me towards her. I was wondering when the game would get creepy. Hints started flowing. After sharing our poetry with one another, Monika decided we’d do a live reading at our school festival. I was paired up with Yuri to work on decorations. Sayori became quiet and solitary. My character made plans for Yuri to come over and work on the decorations. Sayori freaked out and confessed her feelings for me. Her latest poetry had continued refrain of “get out of my head. Get out of my head” or something of the like. In the morning before Yuri was to come over, I went to her house to find her crying in her bedroom. She admitted that she’d been depressed her whole life and at this point couldn’t handle it. She was breaking down. My character told her he’d be there, he’d help her through it always. He asked if she wanted to come over and help with the decorations, but she declined.

So I made decorations with Yuri. She brought her supplies, involving a strangely ornate knife for cutting ribbon. My character touched the end of the knife to see how sharp it was and accidentally drew blood. Her eyes widened and involuntarily started sucking on the finger. My character was taken aback and a little weirded out. Nevertheless, we made all the decorations and she went home (though not without professing she had a large knife collection). When I went outside, I saw Sayori waiting there. She was having a breakdown and I had the option of confessing my love for her or doing nothing. I figured I might as well see where that would go. She said she felt nothing.

The next day she was late for school. I went back to her place to check on her and walked in on her having hung herself. “THE END” came up onscreen. It was a freaky tonal shift.

The screen glitched out and the game restarted. My saves were gone. The game played through as it had before, except without Sayori in it. Glitches started happening all over the place. Dark dialogue options began occasionally appearing in incongruous font. The music became detuned and unnerving. Monika started giving me warnings about Yuri. Yuri and Natsuki would argue and without Sayori to smooth out the conversations, they got aggressive and threatening. Yuri left to go make tea and after a while I went to check on her. I walked into the hallway to hear a gasp and see her with cuts all down her arm. The game glitched, then rewound. The dialogue reoccurred as if nothing had happened.

Every once in a while, characters would reference actions that’d taken place, but other characters would deny knowledge of them. Yuri became more and more unhinged. Natsuki grew concerned. During one scene the game glitched and Natsuki’s eyes popped straight out of her head with blood trailing behind. Then glitched back to normal. The closer my character got to Natsuki, the more she’d let loose about her knives and love of blood. She confessed her love to me and, after I refused, she stabbed herself right there in the classroom. Her dialogue became gibberish and kept repeating. I set the text to “skip” and it went on and on for minutes, just total nonsense and unreadable characters. The light changed, day turned to night, into day and back again a few times. Natsuki walked into the room and asked if I’d been there all weekend. She saw Yuri’s corpse and vomited. Monika walked in and sighed. She apologised and admitted to tweaking the character’s neuroses in order to make herself seem more appealing. A DOS style text box opened up and she ran code to delete the other characters.

The game restarted once more, but focused solely on Monika. She said she got rid of everybody else so we could be alone. She was staring straight at me and said she was in love with me. Not the character, but me, the player who was playing the game. We were in the club room, but outside the window was nothing but the emptiness of space. Her dialogue options were bizarre and rambling. She mentioned having gone into the local files of the game to alter the code. I checked the local files through Steam and deleted her character, then went back to the game. She screamed and glitched out, cursing me for dooming her to the void, but professing that she still loved me. She restored the other characters. The game reset again.

This time there was no mention of Monika. The other characters were back, but Sayori was class president. She said she knew everything that happened with Monika and intended to stay with me forever and ever.  Monika’s stepped in and said she was sorry for endangering me. The game reset again to a black screen. A young woman’s voice came over the speakers. She said she’d written a song for me and wanted to play it. The game’s theme began playing on piano and she sang along while the credits rolled. She thanked me for playing and professed her eternal love for me. It was weird and sorta sweet, nicely capping off a five or so hour playthrough.

The game was such a breath of fresh air. For one, the format made it feel like there was a lot more choice, but really it was all on rails. I played it until the early hours of the morning and for real, it was pretty goddamn creepy. It’s this kind of stuff that makes me so stoked to see how gaming has evolved from its early days. Indie games are pushing the format onwards to bizarre and wonderful terrain. Even if I have spoiled basically all of it, I’m sure it’d still be a blast to experience. If you have Steam, it’s free. What’s holding you back?

I mean, it is legit terrifying, so there’s that.

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I don’t know where we were, but we were driving on the left hand side.

I had too much boredom coffee today, which means one of two things: I’m either high or dying. In any case, let’s get this show on the road!

I had a sex dream last night. It was pretty tame, but if you’re not into going down this route (both those puns entirely intentional), the last exit is on the right.

Coolsville, daddio. I don’t have a heap of sex dreams. Or if I do, it’s rare for me to remember them. I’m not a teenager anymore. It’s not like the sight of an open avocado is enough to send me into an eroticised tailspin. My mind is no longer a rabid howler monkey intent on flinging its shit at whatever sticks. It’s more like a chimp. Closer to human, but still not afraid to flay a face or two. When I do have sex dreams now, they’re more controlled. A tighter narrative than errant flesh and flowing water. Let’s go.

I’m not sure where I was in a geographical sense. I was travelling for work, but I was at a bar for sure. I was chatting with the bartender, nursing a whiskey and in walked Scarlett Johansson. I know what you’re thinking. Couldn’t my subconsciousness be more imaginative? It’s got unlimited pasture in which to run free. Not only did it not need to be a celebrity, but dreams are abstract. It could’ve been a humanoid alien or something. Get creative for (literally) my fuck’s sake. Anyway, in the dream I played it cool and kept sipping my drink and minding my own business. She sidled up to the bar and ordered a vodka on the rocks. We started chatting and it was obviously a dream, because I was not only quippy, but charming. We hit it off and soon enough I had to leave. I said she was welcome to join me. She did.

Two things somehow made even less sense. 1) I knew I was off to do some work. Would I ditch work IRL to spend time with a movie star? I mean, probably. In the dream though, I was resolute in heading for an office. Secondly, we decided to drive. We’d both had a bunch, but in dreamland our intoxication didn’t seem to matter. She had a rental, some smooth black convertible. It was her car, I knew this, but for some reason I jumped in the driver’s seat. We zipped along the highway and got caught up in traffic. Things in the car were steaming up. We were both pretty touchy and started working all up on each other. Hands darted down to laps and grasped hold. It was obvious we were both into it, but neither of us cared to go down on one another in the middle of the highway. My desire to get to work dwindled. Did we want to rent a hotel room? Find somewhere to turn off pull up the roof and get to business?

We stopped and tried to work out a strategy. I said that we clearly weren’t the only people who’d have these qualms. How often did people want quick and easy places in public to take some down time? What if, I posited, there were hidden locations you could access purely for having sex? She pulled out her phone and made some calls. We turned off the highway and headed to an office somewhere. We were in a boardroom chatting to the small team she’d assembled. There were engineers, architects, lawyers and accountants. I laid my plans out on the table. We talked specs and locations. There was agreement all around. This was not only a solid idea, but had long lucrative legs.

Cut back to the highway. We were both back in the car, but she was driving this time. We took a left exit that led down to a secluded swamp. I pressed a button on the remote and a hidden tunnel opened up. We drove through and saw a large cavern with hundreds of little alcoves. We drove into one of the alcove and a door closed behind us. Lights sprung on and we were in a private room with a bed, cross and a bunch of toys. I looked over to her and raised my eyebrow (it was a dream, so somehow this wasn’t seen as seedy and reprehensible) and asked her “so should we road test the equipment?” She grinned and hopped onto my lap.

If only this was as feasible in real life.

Gotta hand it to me, at least I’m committed to curmudgeonliness.

Like Nelly during his Kelly Rowland period, I have a dilemma. It’s a dumb problem that I’m not complaining about. Humblebrag sort of shit. It’s in the same realm as those times where I have to take vacation days before I lose them and I’m all ”oh no, I need to be somewhere else in the world enjoying myself for a week.” So the qualm isn’t how do I choose between this positive or negative outcome? It’s a more Kondo Marie style ”which of these excessive privileges gives me the most joy?” Yeah, fuck me, right?

So my parents gave me money for my birthday. They told me to go blow it on something and enjoy myself. Get a nice meal, go to a hotel, buy myself something. I should be grinning and winning, right? Yes I should. Instead I’m having to reckon with how my life has become some fun black hole (to clarify, that’s a hole in my dimension that vacuums any fun with the misfortune of drifting past. Not some groovy slide to another world). I can’t think of a single thing I want. I’m a shitty capitalist who, while not overflowing with loose change, can kind of just get things without affecting my bottom line. It’s a rock solid position to be in. I’m not complaining about that. It does however steal all the fun from small windfalls.

I’m 31 years old. I have everything I need. I’m not a gadget dude or someone who wants new toys. I fucking despise clutter so I don’t want to buy shit just to have it. I mean, I already hate gifts. They’re basically just time bombs ticking down how long it’s gonna be until you can throw them out. I’m not a sentimental person who attaches significance to objects. I want functional things and experiences.

The thing about functional items? They’re the least exciting. Am I supposed to get jazzed about cutting onions with a brand new knife or getting a pan with better heat distribution? An Instant Pot would be faster than my slow cooker (could’ve guessed that from the name) but they’re so expensive and I can wait forever until they’re on sale. It’s not urgent, the slow cooker is in perfect working condition. There’s nothing out there right now that would greatly enrich my life, so none of it feels like treating myself.

Is any of this relatable whatsoever? Or am I just a spoiled dipshit?

What about some kind of nice experience? Like what? When it comes to experiential delights, everything with me boils down to food. Doing keto though has drained all the fun out of that. It’s mechanical. I’m eating to fit macros, to make sure my body is getting the necessary percentage of carbs, protein and fats. Still, one blowout can’t hurt me, right? So fucking wrong. A cheat day would most likely throw me right out of ketosis. Then I’d have to get back there, which would mean more days of keto flu, feeling fatigue, headaches, mental fogginess. It’s just not worth it. It sucks, because food is how my brain has been conditioned to celebrate. I’ve been taught that food is love in its preparation. Food is nurturing to take care of my body. Food is comfort when I’m feeling down. Food is pleasure on a basic primal level. My love of food is so gratuitous that I’m hoping this diet will help me re-learn healthy patterns of eating, to find what moderation looks like. I’m not gonna be on it forever, but maybe it’ll lead me towards some kind of balance.

Also I fucking hate hotels.

A pity party is still a party.

Happy birthday to moi. As is de rigueur, it’s been spent way up in a cloud of negativity. I haven’t felt special, I’ve felt shitty, insufficient. I’m at a place in my life that seems comparatively joyless. I don’t like my job and aside from fleeting distractions, my day to day adds up to a cumulative total of fine, I guess. I’m 31 now and feel like the only direction I’ve gone from 30 has been backwards. A year has passed and I have nothing to show for it. A couple more memories to file away, but it doesn’t feel like I had a year’s worth of experiences. I have nothing to complain about, but that doesn’t equal tons to celebrate. My grand plans for the day involve going to the gym, going home, eating dinner and in general wanting everything to go away.

I’d usually treat myself to something, but my patterns of celebration all revolve around consumption. I’d go out to a restaurant or drink myself blind, but keto has stripped the fun out of that. I’ve subtracted the enjoyment from basically my favourite thing to do, which likely forms no small element of my birthday blues. Still, going full humbug has been an anniversary tradition for as long as I’ve been making my own money.

For at least the past 10 years, birthdays have become a mire of self-examination. Another trip around the sun seems emblematic of how much I haven’t done. My lack of progress and general listlessness. It’s navel gazing at its most cruel. Creating unrealistic comparisons is always a fool’s errand, but like a fool I get sucked in every year. Of course I understand intellectually that my life isn’t a garbage fire, but that does little to lift my mood.

The smart thing to do, then, would be to have a paradigm shift. Instead of asking what have I done in the past year? I should be asking what would I like to do in the next year? Nothing as grand as where do I want to be? Something more along the lines of what would make me happy? What does happiness look like to me? What does “good enough” represent? The answers seem self-evident. Of course I want my work to fulfil me. I’d like to be more confident. Fitter, happier et al. The real question should be how do I decide where I want to be without resenting myself for not getting there?

Self-compassion is a skill that we’re not taught. Our society rarely makes a habit of celebrating mediocrity (outside of Rotten Tomatoes’ fruit based rating system) and successes are paraded around as inspiration porn. The side effect is that the yardstick we measure ourselves with goes way beyond our range. It’s unbalanced and the expectations we hold don’t match up to workable metrics. We’re told we can be film stars, entrepreneurs, artists, millionaires. The 99th percentile is achievable if only we try hard enough, right? Sure, for 1% of us. Most people aren’t them.

Look, I’ll be fine tomorrow, when expectations are back to their low bar. Something about the day always makes me feel like there’s pressure to be extraordinary and the surplus of ordinary really twists the knife. It’s a birthday, they come around every year. By the time I sleep I won’t have to worry about it for another sun cycle.

If that ain’t something to celebrate, I don’t know what is.

Am I too contrite to make an Aziz An-sorry pun? Looks like I’m just trite.

I want to talk about the Aziz allegations, because I think it’s worth putting thoughts out there. I’d like to emphasise that I’m not aiming to grandstand, to throw out some pointed think piece to put people in their place. My experiences aren’t relevant enough for that, there are better voices to listen to. Still, some conversation (is that what it’s called when I put words out into an echo chamber?) is better than none.

With all the allegations flying around right now, I’m sure everyone has a list. Some desert island top five of celebrities who you’re only wanting to hear squeaky clean things from. That may not even be the best way of putting it, ’cause frankly we all want to continue to believe that our faves are beyond issue. However, this ever-relevant piece by Ijeoma Oluo stands true. Anyway, I’ve got a bunch of dudes that I really, really don’t want to hear shit about. Aziz was on my list, as I’m sure he was for most. He’s made some great television, written a well-received book on dating, had compelling stand up bits and half-staked his career on the notion that he’s one of the good guys. It’s to the credit of his work that a bunch of people likely responded to his allegations with oh, is that it?

Pieces like this from the New York Times: Aziz Ansari Is Guilty. Of Not Being a Mind Reader. Seeking to find fault in the victim’s behaviour, her lack of verbal rejection or conviction in getting the fuck out of an uncomfortable situation. Making it her problem that she wasn’t more direct in avoiding an unpleasant interaction. I get it. I want to keep on enjoying his material guilt free. The most prevalent reaction I’ve seen online has been that’s not assault. It’s just bad sex. I get it. I understand this reaction 100%. Why? Because I’ve been Aziz before.

I can recall a number of times in my early sexual experiences where I entirely ignored clues of disinterest. Whether this was out of ignorance or wilful desire, there’s no question that I was placing my wants over the comfort of others. Taking a soft “no” as a “not right now”. Slipping my hand between a partner’s legs and being rebuffed, only to try again ten minutes later. Pushing for sex when I got the sense she wasn’t interested, but I was. I don’t think I ever pressured a partner enough that she relented and gave in to get it over with. I did, however, fail to create a sexual environment where enthusiastic consent was imperative. I’m certain that I’m not the only guy who could admit as much. In fact, I’m quite sure that similar stories are likely more of the norm than we’d care to admit. I’m sure many guys wouldn’t even see fault with my behaviour. That’s why there’s fault in how Aziz acted. That’s why the culture of sexual consent in our society needs a major restructuring.

My initial response to the Aziz allegations was resigned frustration. As I said above, I’ve been there before. I’d hoped that someone like Aziz would be better than that, which clearly was hoping for too much. I was embarrassed that Aziz, who was 33 at the time, was behaving like a 21 year old. I was embarrassed that this behaviour in my mind was classified as that of a typical 21 year old. Unlike most of the allegations that’ve come out, this one has resonated with me the most. Why? Because these aren’t the shocking actions of a serial abuser like Harvey Weinstein. According to many of the female voices I’ve heard, they’re pretty run of the mill. That’s why it’s important men listen to what’s being said and swim in how it makes them feel.

If they’re not embarrassed or frustrated, maybe they should look at why that is. This movement marks a departure from what we all considered normal and a necessity to explore past experiences for egregious activity. We need to look at what we’ve done in order to learn how to be better. It’s important to sit with guilt, to use it to recalibrate both expectations and behaviour. The system is broken and fixing it is gonna take wilful intention and education.

Do I think Aziz is a monster who deserves to be stripped of his career? Honestly, despite what I’ve said today, I don’t. I think his story deserves to be out there as a cultural learning moment. I think he needs to have a long look at his past experiences and create meaningful change from here on out. I think if his heart is really where he’s made it out to be, that he should use his platform to admit fault and be a role model for the great many men who think he did nothing wrong.

As for me, I’ve spent years trying to unlearn what I took for granted. I’m not done yet. The movement may be called Time’s Up, but for a bunch of us it’s just begun.

More like High Confide-lity.

It’d hardly be an exaggeration to say that “nostalgia” was one of my six senses. It’s likely on a higher rung than smell. My nose is a fickle friend, but my brain is so laden with memories that touching, seeing, hearing or tasting something is enough to make me tumble back in time. My friend recently started a dating podcast. It’s in its infancy, but both episodes released so far are fantastic. Of course they are, she’s a real life matchmaker. In the most recent episode, she has a conversation with her husband. It’s great. He’s a wonderful dude and he so eloquently and systematically lays out perceptive analysis of himself and his dating experiences. At the same time, so much of what he said resonated intimately with my own experiences. It was like being 20 again, but with the filter only meaningful life experiences can provide.

I was a different person back in my 20s. Naturally some core attributes were still the same. I’ve always loved words and puns, been obsessed with pop-culture. I’ve been fiercely passionate about the things I’ve cared for since I knew how to form an opinion. At the same time, ten years ago I was still very much learning who I was. Hatching from the shelter of an educational system and crawling out into the adult world meant some harsh lessons were incoming. I had to grow and change in order to truly be my own person.

Yeah? I’m sure you’re asking doesn’t everyone? Sure they do. My particular struggles focused around one thing: Confidence. In some areas I strutted by comfortably. I knew I was smart, capable and likeable. Dating though? I had all the experience and wisdom of a child. Years of being overweight had crippled my self-confidence. I questioned why anyone would find me interesting or attractive. I’d say that I crashed and burned, but frankly it was so rare for me to put myself out there that I rarely had the chance. I’d get these deep and debilitating crushes where one conversation was enough to make me obsessively swoon. I’d waste an alarming amount of emotional energy fretting about how to navigate my interest, how unlikely it was that there was reciprocal attraction, etc.

Po, my friend in the podcast episode I linked above, addresses this well. He mentions how outward approval can become your sole motivation in dating. This hit hard. I used to care so much about how the other person thought about me that I’d disregard how I felt about myself. Clearly I didn’t matter, only they did. If I wasn’t the kind of person they wanted, I needed to be. I’d have to change myself to be commensurate with their desires. Po also talks about pedestal-ing, or infatuation causing you to build up the subject of attraction to a level of idolatry. This would happen to me constantly. I’d see myself as some kind of lower life form, which ironically is the least attractive thing a person could do. My response to my own feelings were directly pushing away the people I wanted to get closer to.

Worse, this had a negative impact in any relationships that followed. By seeing the object of my affection as more important than myself, I developed the habit of forcing myself to mould around their desires. While it was great to invest in someone else and care about them, the unfortunate side effect was disregarding my own needs. I’m sure you can see how this would effect long term relationships, right? Of course they all imploded. Unhappiness does that. I’d become gradually more wound up and embittered and that would seep into my view of the relationship. By exclusively catering to them, I also divested them of the opportunity to give back. People who love each other enjoy being able to help their partners and I was stripping them of that recourse.

I’m on the precipice of my 30th year, and certain things are becoming abundantly clear. Time is a gift. I’ve learned that piece by piece with each passing solar cycle. Each rotation only drives the point home. Perspective is everything. It not only helps us understand why the past occurred the way it did, but how better to shape our future. Dwelling with dread doesn’t serve us one iota, but reflection can help us better see the best path forward.

Or am I blatantly trying to justify watching High Fidelity for the 80th time?

Guess I forgot to say the magic word.

Magic the Gathering post. As the usual disclaimer goes, if you don’t play or care about the game, perhaps this entry isn’t for you. Try again later.

It’s been a busy weekend and I’ve been more social than I had in a while. It’s also the Rivals of Ixalan pre-release weekend. I was gutted to miss the Ixalan one, considering this is basically a set tailor made for me. A Mesoamerican themed deck filled to the gills with merfolk, pirates, vampires and dinosaurs. It’s silly EDH fodder, which is precisely my style. I didn’t play much Ixalan limited. In fact, I don’t really play much limited at all. Usually I do alright at pre-releases. Probably around 2-2 or 3-1. Spoilers, I didn’t do well today. In fact I did about as poorly as I could. I went 0-3 then got a bye in my last round, adding insult to injury. I didn’t even get to play one more match and see if my deck was as non-junky as I’d assumed.

Why was I so surprised to punt so hard? Because I’m usually a decent player and my pool seemed quite solid. I had a ton of removal in an aggressive red/black shell. There was a pirate sub-theme, I had a low curve and sitting at the top was Angrath, who I hoped would swing a couple of games my way. Other colours had strong cards (there was a Trapjaw Tyrant, but my white didn’t have enough depth), but nothing that deserved to make it into the deck. Without fixing, there was no real way to effectively splash either. So I was staunchly in red/black. Anyway, let’s get to the deck so you can see what I was working with:

Creatures (15)
1x Skittering Heartstopper
2x Dusk Legion Zealot
1x Fathom Fleet Firebrand
1x Dire Fleet Hoarder
1x Raptor Hatchling
1x Nest Robber
2x Fathom Fleet Boarder
1x Deadeye Tormentor
1x Frilled Deathspitter
1x Thrash of Raptors
1x Brazen Freebooter
2x Dire Fleet Neckbreaker

Noncreature (9)
1x Reckless Rage
1x Mutiny
1x Buccaneer’s Bravado
2x See Red
2x Bombard
1x Impale
1x Angrath, the Flame-Chained

Lands (16)
8x Mountain
8x Swamp

As you can see, my curve was decent. I had a bunch of two drops, a couple of three drops, some decent four drops and Angrath at my top end. My removal was high quality, which should’ve been able to clear the way for my creatures to kill ’em dead. The Dire Fleet Neckbreakers (couldn’t stop reading them as Neckbeards) put in work, making my pirates monstrous. I had eight pirates overall and didn’t spend a ton of time blocking. Having a Fathom Fleet Firebrand attacking for four or more was pretty harsh. The Neckbreakers often meant my three and four drops were hitting for five, which is a big chunk of life. I’m often wary of auras, but See Red put in work. With Skittering Heartstopper or the Firebrand, it started putting a clock on the opponent. It had the potential to turn Dusk Legion Zealots from dumb utility dorks to actual menaces. Buccaneer’s Bravado was an all-star. It either made sure my creatures emerged from combat victorious, or hit for unfathomable damage off the back of the Neckbreaker. When I got Angrath out, it presented itself as an immediate threat that my opponent needed to deal with.

So that all sounds good, right? How did I shit the bed? Because I didn’t just lose a couple of games, but every match I played. Firstly, I wasn’t playing my best. In the first game I kept a hand I should’ve tossed. It was a two land trap that had Fire Fleet Firebrand and See Red. I’d hoped to ride that out and draw a swamp, but I should’ve known better than to have trusted the heart of the cards. I made some questionable plays early on and felt fuzzy brained all day. I don’t know why, but I was having trouble focusing. My brain was wandering non-stop. I was a little shaky and it didn’t help in plans to win. Also mana. Mana destroyed me the whole day. That was the one game that I got mana screwed and aside from two games, I flooded on the rest. It was land after land after land. Starting with a four land hand and drawing six lands in a row seemed to be my deck’s innate line of play. That shouldn’t be happening in a 16 land deck, right? Statistics weren’t on my side.

All that considered, the day wasn’t a bummer. All of my opponents were friendly and chatty. Nobody took it too seriously. I got most of the cards I’d been seeking for my Marath EDH deck. I took my losses without getting frustrated. Sometimes that’s just how the cards fall. You know what? It can be nice to finish the day early and head off home.

I mean, not as nice as winning, mind you…