Friday, April 29, 2016

Decency

I apply the brakes bringing my 2006 GMC Envoy to a complete stop at the four-way intersection. The driver to the right of me was at the stop sign just seconds before I was, so had the right away.
He made his turn, and once he was out of my path, I began making mine. Meanwhile, the driver behind the other guy steps on the gas and cuts me off.
I stomped on the break, stunned, at the rudeness.
Shaking my head as the guy flies past me I try to think of every possible reason for the guy doing this. Was he late? Was he on his way to an emergency situation at the hospital? I don't. Truth be told, it could be any number of reasons.
Or, simply, it could be he is just an inconsiderate person.
I do a lot of walking in this town. Whether it's me getting the mail for work or taking my dog out for some exercise, I have covered a few miles. More often than not I experience something along these lines.
I have truly had to jump back, or run through an intersection, as someone blows a red light, or rolls through a stop sign with no obvious intention of stopping.
Aerosmith once sang, "There's something wrong with the world today, I don't know what it is." Ya know, I think I know what it is. We have all forgot what it means to care.
Seriously. People have become so wrapped up in their own world they can see beyond their own sense of self. No one seems to care about anyone else.
When did this happen? When did we become the generation of "Fuck off?" Why?
Walking around Denver this weekend, seeing the homeless, not knowing their stories, but seeing the obvious pain etched across their face, destroyed me emotionally. I wanted to help but was completely lost to how. And, apparently so was everyone else walking past not giving them some much as a nod of acknowledgment. It was either that or they just didn't care.
Sometimes just acknowledging someone is all it takes for that person to feel human.
Since when did smiling at a random stranger become an insult? Since when did we forget to say, "thank you," to someone who took the time to hold the door for us?
And why? Why do we forget? What has happened to decency, love of your fellow man, or anything else? They say people are so politically correct and sensitive today but I say that's wrong.
I say we are so self-absorbed that we don't care about anyone else.
It's not hard to be decent. Did you now that? It's not hard at all. It's not hard to hold a door open. It's not hard to say, "thank you." It's not hard to acknowledge someone with no other intentions but to say hello.
This concept of decency seems so easy yet I can't even seem to articulate it. My frustrations are dripping from my fingers in such a way that I don't know how to say it.
Stop being assholes! Take the time to express simple human decency to someone, anyone. My god people. Don't wait. Do it. Do it now.
Because why you are so worried about your cell phone, how many likes your latest selfie got, whether or not that story was written just to offend you, whether this post offends you, someone is suffering. Silently. Quietly. Suffering. And by you saying a simple hello, holding a door, or just being a decent, considerate person, you could change the fate of that person.
Trust me. I know.
So now I think back to the driver earlier this afternoon. While he forced me to stomp on my breaks to avoid hitting him, and showed nothing but rudeness and disrespect for pushing his way forward, I harbor no ill will. If I saw that person on the side of the road with a flat tire, I would offer my help.
I am done being cynical. To the rest of world, I will not let you bring me down. I will fight all the way to Valhalla to ensure it. You will not win, with your anger, cynicism, and hate. I will show you I can rise above. I will absorb those emotions and return nothing but decency back. And, in some instances, I will show you, love.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Prince, what an amazing musician

Ok, I will admit, with Prince dying it is giving me cause to go back and listen to his music. Sad thing is, I never really listened to it before. What a damn shame.
Right now Purple Rain is being piped into my ears. Wow... the emotion. The music, the everything of this song. Why didn't I pay attention before? Please, take a moment and listen to it now. Especially if you're like me and have never really listened before.


Powerful, huh?
I am not going to sit here and try and write a tribute to Prince. Why would I? Like I said, I really never gave the guy much notice until now.
What I am going to do, though, is share his music with you. Here, listen to Dove's Cry.
Rest in peace, Prince. You have changed the music world forever. 

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Day two of my rededicated life

Two days into my new life and I'm feeling good. Five o'clock is early but I am managing just fine.
I have been focusing my efforts on DDPYoga - Energy, to get myself back into the swing of things. My hope is to be back doing Fat Burner by the beginning of next week - It shouldn't be a problem.
The next time we go grocery shopping I will be stocking up on fresh vegetables. We are finally starting to get decent produce again here in Wyoming. This means I can eat less of the frozen stuff.
My knee seems to be holding up ok. I suspect it will get stronger and stronger the longer I do this.
Just a quick check-in for now. Hope everyone is doing well!

Monday, April 18, 2016

No more failing - I will succeed

No more. No more putting off what I should have done years ago. No more quitting when I have all the momentum. No more using every excuse in the book. No. More.
Today I declare no more. I am changing. No more excuses. I am going to do it.
I am tired of convincing myself I will do it later, but later never comes. I am tired of making excuses to myself for myself. No more.
I am hitting the reset button. The reset button on my life.
I had amazing success with DDPYoga a few years ago but got lazy. No more. Tomorrow I will get up with the alarm, go upstairs and do a DDPYoga workout. It begins. I will succeed.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Hotel confessional? I have no clue what to call this

Spending time on the road alone gives me a lot of time to think. One might argue too much time but that’s beside the point.
I once listened to a Catholic speaker talk about spending time in the classroom of your mind, or something to that effect. His point, you should take time, to spend time within your own mind.
For me, this isn’t exactly the best place for me to commiserate in. Often, it’s dark, gloomy, and not the most pleasant of places. Still, I have a tendency to turn down the radio or shut off the television and just spend time to myself.
Right now I am sitting in a hotel room alone, for the third night in a row. Tomorrow, I will wake up and drive alone for six hours as I point my carriage north and ultimately home. Until then, I am alone. It’s not bad, mind you. I have the television on with the volume set to 8. I like it quiet.
Friends is on. I am not sure which episode.
Before this I was watching some show about rapid weight loss. The subject of the show decided to lose a lot of weight in 100 days. During the course of the show, she talked about how this 100-days turned out to be more about healing herself than about the weight loss. It hit me.
Until I learn how to fix me, I won't ever be truly happy.
See, at 41 I still suffer from depression. I thought I had it licked when I was in my mid-20s but I guess not. The last few months it’s been raging pretty good.
I also suffer from anxiety. A fact I think most people would doubt.
It’s true, though. I don’t deal well in social situations. I can do them, mind you, but it’s not my favorite. It’s this strange juxtaposition of wanting to do something while simultaneously being terrified. Typically, when I attend a large event, I feel overwhelmed. When it’s over I need to get away and be alone. It’s hard to explain, really. Even small social gatherings are difficult sometimes. I am sure my friends think I am a snob, but the truth is I just can’t sometimes.
I know, the solution most people suggest is to go see someone. Go talk to someone, get help, go on meds. It’s not that easy.
Yet, maybe it is. I don’t know.
I know I don’t like it. I don’t like how my head buzzes. I don’t like how my heart races. I don’t like how I don’t like myself.
I think that’s the worst part. I do not like myself. Please understand, I am not a bad person. I have been told time and time again that I have an impact on people’s lives. I don’t necessarily believe it, but that’s what I have been told. I don’t like myself because of the way I look, the thoughts I have and my inability to overcome.
I often wonder if I would see some of these issues subside if I lost weight. I can’t tell you if they would or not. It’s possible. I have heard some people claim it has helped them. But I suppose that is a whole different issue.
I am pretty sure I am a food addict. Not in the sneaking-around-with-bags-of-candy-eating-everything in site sense. But food does take precedence in my actions. I do not like going out to eat with people. When I go to a friend’s home, I do not like to eat there. In time, the discomfort subsides some, but never completely.
Looking this over I feel like I am doing a whole lot of complaining. Please understand, I just feel like putting this down may serve as a stepping stone.

Perhaps not.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Foiling a deck, is it worth it?

by Patrick Cossel - originally posted at www.theforgeherald.com
To foil out a deck, or not to foil out a deck. That’s the question I find myself facing right now. Should I foil out my Ad Nauseam deck or not?
Let’s take a look.
Pros
Damn, it looks good! Ok, time for a bit of truth here, I am not typically a fan of foils; however, this all changed when I pulled a foil Xenagos, The Reveler. I was blown away by how good the foil version of this card looked. Then, I received a judge foil – Sneak Attack.
Yep, it looked good

Plus, there is something about sitting down to a match and playing a foil.deck. Typically, you get noticed by your opponent or spectators. At GP:SLC, I saw a player using a foiled out Modern Jund deck post-Deathrite Shaman banned. So it had foiled Tarmogoyf (Future Sight) foiled Dark Confidant (Ravnica: City of Guilds), foiled Liliana of the Veil, and every other amazing Jund card in the deck. I was impressed!82627
So impressed I wanted to leave the GP with something more than the judge packet. I ended up getting a foil Tree-Top Village and a foil Dryad Arbor (Future Sight). They look pretty!
But, does this mean foiling out an entire deck?  I was beginning to think it was. But I was being held back. Why?
Let’s take a look
Cons
First and foremost, expense. At the time of this writing cards like Simian Spirit Guide (Median Price $22 on tcgplayer.com) and Pact of Negation (median price $35 on tcgplayer.com) are pretty expensive. It clearly represents an investment one must be willing to take.cgplayer.com) and Pact of Negation (median price $35 on tcgplayer.com) are pretty expensive. It clearly represents an investment one must be willing to take.
Look at Tarmogoyf, despite being printed in three sets (Future Sight, MM1, MM2) it still has a price tag over $300.
It’s partner, Dark Confident, is sitting at $72. That’s quite the investment to make for a single deck! Especially a non-Legacy deck!
Then there is the play issue. Typically, when you play with foiled cards they can wear down. The constant shuffling and play can mess up the paint and ruin your cards. How do we combat this? Double-sleeving.
So, while not while not an expensive part of the equation, we need to purchase perfect fit sleeves and, typically, a high-quality sleeve that works with the inner sleeve.
Of course, if you are foiling a Legacy deck, there is the issue of cards not having a foil reprint. Until a couple of years ago Force of Will did not have a foil printing. Now, we have a judge foil printing of it – median price $799.1060716
With all this in mind, I made the decision to foil my Ad Nauseam deck. To be fair, when I made this decision, the most expensive cards were the Simian Spirit Guides and the Pact of Negations. Everything else was, “affordable.”
Now with Twin being banned, I am seeing more and more of this deck increase in price. Not something I am too thrilled about. So I have decided to back off some.
Another con to foiling out a deck is clouding. Foils have a tendency to get cloudy. They don't look too pretty when this happens.
For me, I think foiling a deck is expensive. It’s an undertaking you should only take on for a deck you plan to keep put together for a long time. Unless, of course, you are obsessed with shiny cards, then, by all means, go for it. I will be happy to trade my foil to you. Unless of course, it’s for Ad Nauseam. Then I think I am going to keep it.
Happy foiling!
My current foils for Ad Nauseam. I have stopped working on this for now.
My current foils for Ad Nauseam. I have stopped working on this for now.

Patrick Cossel is the publisher of The Forge Herald. He can be contacted at pcossel@gmail.com

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Retooling Ad Nauseam (MtG Modern)

Originally posted at www.theforgeherald.com

Today we are taking a look at a deck I think is going to gain momentum now that Splinter Twin is gone – Ad Nauseam.
This is, without a doubt, my favorite deck! Especially since every time I have played my opponent seems stumped. Afterwards, they tell me they tested their decks against a lot of decks but never figured to test for Ad Nauseam.  It really does come out of left field.
I came to know this deck at GP: Salt Lake City 2014. I was assisting judging a Modern side event and watched a player pilot this deck. I was hooked!
I played the deck at a PPTQ this past July and did terribly. In my defense, I’d planned to judge the event and was not at all ready to play. I am the type of player that needs to be in the correct mindset when I play or judge. I just couldn’t shift gears quick enough.
I have won several FNMs as well as taking sixth in charity tournament a couple months ago.
Enough of that. Let’s talk about how this deck wins.
Ad Nauseam is a combo deck. The key cards in the deck are Ad Nauseam and either Phyrexian Unlife or Angel’s Grace. While they are the key card, this isn’t the win condition. Instead, it’s Lightning Storm. You get there by doing the combo.
InD117-AdNauseam1

Here’s my decklist

Creatures
4 x Simian Spirit Guide

Spells
4 x Angel’s Grace
4 x Ad Nauseam
1 x Lightning Storm
1 x Mystical Teaching
2 x Silence
4 x Lotus Bloom
4 x Pentad Prism
3 x Pact of Negation
2 x Phyrexian Unlife
2 x Silence
4 x Serum Visions
4 x Sleight of Hand
1 x Slaughter Pact
1 x Conjurer’s Bauble

Lands - 21
2 x Flooded Strand
2 x Polluted Delta
1 x Temple of Enlightenment
1 x Temple of Silence
1 x Gemstone Caverns
1 x Hallowed Fountain
1 x Boseiju, Who Shelters All
1 x Darkslick Shores
1 x Temple of Deceit
2 x Gemstone Mine
1 x Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth
1 x Island
1 x Swamp
1 x Seachrome Coast
1 x Tolaria West
1 x Glacial Fortress
1 x Watery Grave
1 x Godless Shrine

What I enjoy about this deck is it really doesn’t care what your opponent is playing. Basically, you do your best to get a Lotus Bloom suspended on turn 1 or 2, dig for your combo pieces, go off on turn four. Yay, win!
So why isn’t the deck winning all over the place? Good question. Being a combo deck, it isn’t exactly the easiest deck to play. You need to know when to hold priority, when to respond to your opponents plays and so on. That could be the big reason. Although, I would wager the biggest reason is the one piloting it. In this case, me. The deck isn’t as streamlined as it could be.
Against the now quasi-defunct Bloom deck, you didn’t so much worry about getting your combo in play as much as you did casting your own Pact of Negation after your opponent cast hive Mind and before they have the mana to pay the upkeep cost.
Again Twin, I could sit back until the Twin deck goes off then, in response, go off in turn.
I should note, this deck list is several months old. The more I play the deck the more I want to make some changes.
So let’s look at those:
Change 1 – Add 2 more Lightning Storm. Possibly 1 in the main and one in the sideboard.
Change 2 – Swap out Dark Slick Shores and Possibly Watery Grave for 2 x Dreadship Reef.
Change 3 – Add in two Spoils of the Vault. Take out 1 Conjurer’s Bauble and one Silence
Change 4 – Add one Mystical Teaching and take out the final Silence
Change 5 – All in lands – Rework lands to be 4 x Darkslick Shores, 4 x Gemstone Mine, 4 x Seachrome Coast, 1 x swamp, 1 x Island, 1 x Temple of Silence, 2 x Temple of Deceit, 2 x Dreadship Reef, 1 x Temple of Enlightenment, 1 x Gemstone Cavern
Sideboard changes
It should be noted I am terrible at sideboarding. It is something I am actively trying to improve.
Let’s look at the Sideboard in it’s current iteration.
1 x Phyrexian Unlife
2 x Peer Through Depths
3 x Echoing Truth
2 x Spellskite
1 x Duress
1 x Darkness
1 x Inquisition of Kozilek
1 x Patrician’s Scorn
1 x Hurkyl’s Recall
1 x Tormod’s Crypt
Judging from the looks of it, my sideboard is a hodge-podge collection of whatever I could find. Let’s see if we can fix it.
So we are going to keep the Patrician’s Scorn and Darkness. We are also keeping Echoing Truth. The question is, do we keep those numbers. I also think 3 Echoing Truth is solid. Patrician’s Scorn is good at 1. I like Darkness but think we should increase the number to 2.
So here is where we are at.
2 x Darkness
3 x Echoing TruthImage-1
1 x Patrician’s Scorn
We need seven more cards. I want to play around with 3 x Leyline of Sanctity. I am thinking of putting 1 Slaughter Pact in as well as 2 Silence. Let’s go ahead and throw in 2 x Lightning Storm. For the last card, I am thinking Esper Charm.
Here is the finished sideboard.
2 x Lightning Storm
2 x Darkness
3 x Echoing Truth
1 Patrician’s Scorn
3 x Leyline of Sanctity
2 x Silence
1 x Slaughter Pact
1 x Esper Charm
Well, there you go. A quick rebuild of the Ad Nauseam deck and I think it’s ready to go.
So here is what we have:
Lands 21
4 x Darkslick Shores
4 x Gemstone Mine
4 x Seachrome Coast
1 x swamp
1 x Island
1 x Temple of Enlightenment
1 x Temple of Silence
2 x Temple of Deceit
2 x Dreadship Reef
1 x Gemstone Cavern

Creatures 
4 x Simian Spirit Guide
Instants and Sorcery
4 x Ad Nauseam
4 x Angel’s Grace
3 x Spoils of the Vault
4 x Sleight of Hand
4 x Serum Visions
3 x Pact of Negation
Image1 x Lightning Storm
1 x Mystical Teachings
Other Spells
4 x Lotus Bloom
4 x Pentad Prism
3 x Phyrexian Unlife