My studio gifted me some seriously good works the night before I left for GP OKC. These round planetary paintings came about after a conversation with my friend, collector, curator, all-around-ideaman, Justin Demko suggested making a huge space painting and carving it up into smaller space paintings (or planetary paintings). This would create paintings at varying price points and beyond the idea of sales being important (it’s the usually gross but necessary part of art making that isn’t actually gross at all as Art isn’t purer than any other form of commerce) ‘cuz artists need to sustain their creative habits. Even more importantly it makes the work more affordable and thereby more accessible to more people. I like consistency and loved the idea of making reasonably affordable smaller works—bringing more people into my practice, energy, and ideas is important. In the past I haven’t been into carving up a larger painting to make smaller paintings but our dialogue got me thinking.

I started thinking about a compromise between what I don’t like and what I do like and how to make it all happen. If round space paintings represent the view from portholes of ships in space (or through telescopes or microscopes) it seems the same illusionistic flip flop/play can happen with with planetary paintings in terms of physically mimicking the shape of a planetary object and/or utilizing the window/porthole/telescope/microscope point of view. Setting up a creation situation allowing for such play is an exciting thing for this artist. I made a bunch of these bastards six hours before I had to wake up and head to the airport bound for Oklahoma City.

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I’m a morning person. It’s easy to get up early and do whatevs. See, being an alcoholic (recovering/recovered/whatever you wanna call it—I don’t drink anymore) I like to wake up and greet the sun as I used to cower with shame as the sun rose, my body sweaty with liquid and powered pain and suffering emerging from my pores as pathetic attempts at sweating out my shame. Greeting the sun with a smile is an empowering beginning to a day. Our 4am wake time for a 6:15am flight is totally OK with me.

Dave “Bones” McCoy is not a morning person and meets my energy with half opened eyes. I can imagine what a treat it is to travel before sun-up with a super excited me.

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Here’s a photo of Dave “Not A Morning Person” McCoy and Snoopy. Snoopy’s joyous exuberance is a good representation my attitude, more-or-less the opposite of Dave’s.

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Sometimes Bones choses to text his girlfriend rather than talk to me. It’s understandable. We were together for 16 straight hours flying from NYC to OKC and I talk a lot. I’m not gonna say that Bones himself was farting on the plane, however, there was a deep rich fog of stink hovering around our seats for both flights. It could’ve been me. I’ve been known to play green and black—that’s the mana required for this kind of odor.

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Having no idea where in the US Oklahoma is located, I’m really into how many references to cowboys are everywhere. Cowboys work mostly outside so I doubt they have to deal with human odors very much. Lucky guys.

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There’s a banjo museum here. At some point we went inside and Bones nearly buys a tie-dyed banjo t-shirt. I’m not sure why it didn’t happen. He’d look great in it and it’d help people relate to him and his asocial robotic existence better.

We ate a healthy-hearty Mexican meal at the Mexican Food Embassy.

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Then went back to the hotel, recharged, and headed into the wilderness.

When one walks into buildings in OKC one finds these signs on doors:

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Of course there needs to be “no weapons” signage everywhere. Why wouldn’t you already know that you shouldn’t bring guns into a large enclosed public space. Come to think of it, why the fuck would you be carrying a gun on you at all? You know who carries guns? Bad guys. Are you a bad guy? No, I didn’t think so.

Oh and cops carry guns (bad guys).

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After farting around for a while, taking an insanely long trip to a Circle K, stopping by the Oklahoma City Redhawks stadium shop for a AAA baseball cap, and eating a Cadbury Scream Egg, Brendan and I make it back to the con-center and we start drafting.

Brendan, Hunter, Dave, and I all play in the same pod, I win round one against this guy:

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Rolex, Bones, and B-Mac all lose. I lost the next round and found one more draft to scrub out of and call it a night.

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This brave man wore his cloak into the bathroom. See how it touches the floor? Yeah … the bathroom floor was covered in urine. Walking around with a urine soaked cloak seems less than optimal. Also: Selesnya’s colors are green and white. Dimir, black and blue, has some kinda creepy spider logo. Oops. Hunter lost to our cloaked friend in round-whatever at the main event, so I guess he got his revenge on me by beating my friend before I wrote this. Lucianne Walkowicz, my astronomer bud who works on the Kepler Mission, said time travel is unlikely but now I’m not so sure.

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I took this photo while we were walking around Bricktown (the hip part of OKC—I was told). My friend Jen’s a burlesque dancer and I wanted to let her know that there’s a future for her in OKC if she’s ever hurting for venues to burlesque in.

The Dollhouse. They weren’t trying very hard when they named this place. More like “Trite City, USA.”

The Main Event

Here’re the notes I wrote during the main event between rounds in Pages on my iPhone. Sometimes I wrote them during rounds if the rounds were especially bad. They’re not edited beyond punctuation. The immediacy feels important.

Pool Registration and Deck Building

A heavy guy sits down very physically, letting us know he’s here. Sighs. Reeks of cigarettes. “I would appreciate someone passing me a pool worth$150 so I can drop and play side events ‘cuz this format sucks. It fucking sucks.”

A guy to my left during deck reg is surprised the turnout is so high. “I didn’t know that this many people in Oklahoma City play Magic.” My neighbors talk about how people travel hours by car or even fly in. “That’s fine if it’s your hobby, I guess. I understand that, I guess,” he says. They talk about GP Las Vegas and the turnout and how this tournament has less. It’s true. Pre-game chitchat is insane. I didn’t contribute much.

The farts come out and breathing, while it’s not unbearable, is pretty unbearable. I just don’t get it with the smells at MTG tournaments. Where’re the parents?! If you’re lactose intolerant lay off the cheese, you know? I get that some people have problems that aren’t easily solved (dietary restrictions, etc.) but those are fewer in number than the lazy bastards with improper hygiene and the think-for-onesself way of life. Drives me nuts. Please quit farting extensively at MTG events. Thanks.

Anyway, rant partially over.

I chose to not do the sleep the in special ‘cuz I wanna jam games during my byes. Sleeping past 7am is a challenge most days due to the aforementioned sobriety and positive mental attitude towards greeting the sun, so it seems a waste to spend the money.

I really really really really really wanted to play the two Reaper of the Wilds. There just wasn’t the support for it in black or green. Half the cards in my pool were OK red cards. Reaper made me put together this secondary deck (I never sided into it):

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My primary deck looks something like this (the cards moved a bit between OKC and Brooklyn, some may be missing):

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Red (13)
Lightning Strike
Anger of the Gods
Spearpoint Oread
Minotaur Skullcleaver
Two-Headed Cerberus
Borderland Minotaur
Fanatic of Mogis
Stoneshock Giant
Titan of Eternal Fire

Gold (1)
Polis Crusher

Green (5)
Savage Surge
Sedge Scorpion
Nylea’s Emissary
Vulpine Goliath

Artifact (1)
Guardians of Meletis

Land (17)
11 Mountain
Green

“Is this a hobby for you or more of a career for you?” The guy to my left asks. The level two judge he’s addressing laughs and responds, “It’s a hobby. I only make enough so that I don’t have to pay to play magic.”

Round Two

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G1—I punt and swing into shit tons of guys with big guys and should’ve anger of the gods’d first then attacked so I didn’t waste a bad lightning bolt on a deathtouch scorpion I didn’t see to save my Titan. Had I done this I’d have wiped his board and a 2/2 reach nymph would’ve fallen off a 3/3 red 1 drop soldier. I could’ve bad lightning bolted that, attacked for ten and he’d be up shit’s creek.

Still had him to 5 a turn later (from 29). He top-decked Dragon’s Mantle and attacked with his 2/2 that should be dead already if I’d played correctly. Instead, I’m dead.

G2—I mull to six after a no land seven. I mull my one land six into a one land five that includes two bad lightning bolt and other low drops. Five turns pass before I draw a land. I draw a final land on turn 1000 in time todo fuck all. Way to start the GP. A game one punt and a game two mulligan to five into mana screw.

There’s a tiny Pizza Hut here so I had a delicious personal pan pizza and diet coke for $10. That’s too much money but what can ya do?

Kadar texted me asking how r4 was going.

Me: Mull to six never past 3 lands (started with three). Kept drawing 5cc spells. Mull to six w three lands (7 had one land). Never drew land #4

He kept a one lander, too. So it hurt even more. I am trying to deal with how ragey I feel right now. I’m furious but trying to be cool.

Kadar: Yeah. Take more time shuffling maybe Both to decompress and mix the cards.

Me: I shuffle the right amount. Hugh has me in a good shuffle regiment.

I hate when I’m told to shuffle more. I’ve asked so many people how they shuffle and have tried every suggestion people shared. I like shuffle twice with a lot of riffle shuffling in between. It doesn’t make sense beyond bad luck (when probability doesn’t work out in your favor it’s called bad luck).

Round Four

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My opponent didn’t even care if he played in the tournament and hoped he lost so he could leave. Loosing under that attitude cloud doesn’t quell my rage. Taylor’s a nice guy and I wish him the best, but seriously, I lost to two fucking bronze sables and a yoked ox. (Thanks Heliod’s Spear, you dick.)

Great. Is it wrong to keep three land hands? Does anyone have experience drawing a fourth land?

Round Five

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G1—he’s on esper and I’m on mull to six and mana screw

G2—I beat him despite him thoughtsiezeing away my monstrous enchantment eating cyclops. We joke about me writing “I’m mana fucked game one and then the asshole thoughtsiezes me.” Eventually he’s at ten, has no blockers, and has one swamp untapped. I swing in with a 6/6 then lightning bolt him twice.

G3—we mull to six. He draws seven, alerts me to this and I agree he can just re-mull. I wasn’t about to call a judge for our meaningless match. Jess ends up mulling to 5 and my deck gives me three 4/3 minotaurs and the 5/4 dice drop. He’s at low life and plays celestial archon which I grab on my turn with portent of betrayal. We shake hands and laughed about how dumb our games were.

Round Six

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Elliot is on wb but you’d never know because he only had swamps in play.My cards did what they were meant to. G2 he seiches out black and puts blue in its place. Didn’t matter, he’s stuck on land and gets smashed by my dudes doing their dude things. Elliott and I talked a bit about how crazy heliod’s spear is and he said it makes yoked ox good. Turn one ox. Turn two ordeal. Turn three spear. Pretty good.

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We all meet in our meeting spot after the round. I had spent a few mins watching the end Brendan’s feature match with e-fro. Everyone’s 4-2 except Dave. He’s 6-0. Dave says something kinda mean to me and I respond with “shit, man. I am thinking of elevating you to best friend level.” He laughs. “All you’d have to do is kill kadar in mortal combat,” I tell him. “I totally could,” and I can tell he means it.

Round Seven

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So I’m playing a Dutchman round seven. I mull to five and go scorpion, scorpion, fast minotaur, 4/3 minotaur, 5/4 monstrous hater of fliers and then lose to his whip, merchant, and uncommon gorgon. He was at something like three life when he whip’d and merchant’d his way back to 1000 life. Super!

My opponent agreed that this was the best five I could have had.

G2—he was stuck in black land and I crushed. G3—he just blew me away with goddamn gray merchant. Uggggh.

Round Eight

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Round whatever I played Jory. He was in the VIP section. I asked him if it was worth the money and he said yeah. It’s his first GP and he was happy about the snacks in his goodie bag.

He stomped me game one.

I killed Aberrant Overlord and his board except a good art sphinx with Anger of the Gods and bad lightning bolt. I even exile’d the demon motherfucker. Even so, I died.

G2– was grindy and flying sandles won me the game. His fliers could t get through unless I let them and I finally bad lightning bolted him for the win.

G3–I kept a two land seven and never drew a third land. Wompity womp womp.

Round Nine

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I text Li with everyone’s records. Dave’s still in day two contention at this point but would heartbreaker to 6-2-1 and miss day two by three coming in at 131st.

I’m finishing this article from one of many establishments in OKC with NO WEAPONS signs at the entry ways. Brendan’s on the john, OKC food is great on the road food but terrorizes one’s digestive tract. Three people sit in a booth to my north, a man and two women. They’re dressed well and talking about church. The middle-Aaed women are giving advice to the man about marriage and preparing oneself for the challenges of marrying young. “Pft, normal people,” I think.

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My notes end there. I won a total of one draft match all weekend. I showed you the guy I beat somewhere at the top of this article. Here is the rogue’s gallery of Jones killers:

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Josh caught me riding dirty. I have have been investigating the blue slice of the color pie in Limited. On turn four I went to cast a blue creature and he Gainsays me. Turn five he does the same. I scoop. B-Mac, Rolex, and Bones all have a good laugh. “That’s what happens when you play blue, Jones.” Thanks guys.

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And that was my GP OKC. I was 5-4 at the main event with a not horrible deck (but a not awesome deck). The trip was amazing, my friends are hilarious good spirits to travel with, and Magic: The Gathering remains a mostly fun game.

I would appreciate it if other gamers would start following some mental, emotional, social, and especially physical hygiene tips. Deodorant is awesome. If you’re allergic to most conventional deodorants start using Tom’s of Maine or Jason or whatever. OH! Eat food that’s better for you so you aren’t so prone to release gas from your anus quite as consistently as you may be doing during Magic tournaments. Also: shower. Just do that once a day, preferably in the morning but we also accept showering in the evening. Wash your clothes and wear the washed clothes.

In terms of social hygiene please stop saying “that’s gay” and other related x-phobic language.

PSA over. Have a great week! Thanks for reading!

All the best,
Matt

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