Once every year, Mark Rosewater writes an article titled “State of Design” in his weekly column on MTG Daily that reflects on the failures and successes of the previous year in Magic the Gathering design. That time is rapidly approaching, and it’s one of the most interesting articles on Magic out there. A much more nuts and bolts approach to Magic and how the game develops. This idea seemed like a really useful one to me, why not go over my failures and successes of the past year? Okay, maybe not a year. That’s a really long time for me to cover from the top of my head. But four months seems about right, yeah? Divide the year up into thirds, which seems to be about how much I plan ahead. So four months covers one time unit of my general planning. This first entry is going to cover from March of 2011 to July of 2011.
Holy shit! I’m in New Zealand! I think that’s about the most accurate assessment of March. I spent the first week of my time here recovering from both the flight and the hike we took, and general illness, so I didn’t get up to much of anything until the second half of the month. There was also some initial… tension… with people in New Zealand, but that worked itself out once everyone calmed the fuck down and realized I wasn’t quite as insane as they thought I was. The second half of March I spent more or less with Michelle, learning Wellington and getting acclimated. I also, briefly, dated a girl here. That, uh, didn’t end well. Suffice to say she had issues with pretty much everything, mental, emotional, physical, she was a big ball of unstable. At least I managed to get out of that fairly quickly. Huzzahs! Everything was generally fine on the home front, but there were beginnings of… tension with the people I lived with.
Verdict: A good month, if a bit on the slow side. Was happy with what I did and the people I met, even if things didn’t quite pan out.
April started out well enough, doing more of the same, cooking, hanging out with Michelle, enjoying the beach, generally being a bum. Then… Joy’s family showed up. That was trying. Very. Very. Trying. I got booted out of the room I was sleeping in, first of all, and then her family stayed for nigh on three weeks. It was next to impossible to get any quiet time in the house, and that is something that I pretty much must have in whatever place I am going to be living in. It’s just not optional, I need a space where people won’t come in and pester me. That was impossible with her family in the house. (Not to mention the racism, oh gods above the racism.) In light of these… circumstances… Michelle and I got together and planned a trip to the South Island to get away. Get awayawayaway! We met up with a friend down there, and putzed around wine country, did some hikes, and went out into the sounds and looked at beautiful things. Huzzahs are in order for that! Though I did get pretty irrationally irked on the trip, and feel bad about that, all in all I would say that we all managed to enjoy ourselves. (Plus we got a lot of good wine, and we hung out in a supremely beautiful beach house and there was a full moon! Glee!)
I think this trip was actually in June, but the events that caused it were in April, so suck it. Eventually, Joy’s family left and I got to move back into the room I had been vacated from and all was well.
Verdict: A very up and down month. At times it was awesome, especially going to Weta, and at times it just pissed me right the hell off. The trip to the South Island made up for a lot of that, though. Still, I should have been more productive with job finding or skill training.
June. Oh June. Around a week after Joy’s family departed, Peter and Vera showed up to work on Joy’s bathroom. Peter and Vera are quite nice people, and I have no problem with them. I decided that, since I was back on the couch, I may as well go visit Auckland for a week to give them time to finish the bathroom and me a chance to hang out and explore New Zealand’s biggest city. And it was good, overall, but Auckland was a bit disappointing. Michelle came up a few days after me, and we explored the city and did some stuff. Rode roller coasters, did an aquarium, poked around town, the usual shenanigans. The last night we were there we got drunk with a group of random people at the hostel, which was quite fun. While I don’t want to go back to Auckland, I had a good time there. (Michelle may disagree, though we both agree about the aquarium sucking.)
We get back from the trip, and the bathroom isn’t done. Lolwhut. And this is how the entire month of June went, the bathroom just not being done. At one point I was taking showers in a public stall, and got thrown out for a few days too, and they only managed to get the shower in toward the end of June. Augh. It was a trying time, and I had a lot of moments of just wanting to cut ties and gtfo the whole country.
Verdict: With a few exceptions, a poor month. It just got more and more irksome, and I was getting sick of New Zealand. I don’t blame Michelle for getting sick of me this month.
Started much the same way June ended. Michelle’s parents showed up about half way through the month, and I started studying a lot more. We all hung out, and then Michelle took a trip with her parents along the North Island and invited me along. I was more than happy to gtfo, and we had a great week out. Saw lots of neat geothermal stuff, relaxed in some spas, and generally had a great time. (With the exception of Napier, fuck Napier.) When we got back the bathroom still wasn’t done (in fact, to this day it’s not done) but I didn’t care because I moved out! Woo!
Verdict: The second half of this month rocked, and I was happy for it. The first half drug, but meh. Whatever. I got a lot more reading and studying done, and made some good Magic friends, so all in all I can say I was actually pretty happy with the month.
The past four months saw a lot of ups and downs, and a lot of trying times, but I’m superbly happy with my time in this country overall. It also lead me to get back in touch with Jacqueline, and prompt me to move to Dallas, like I’d been considering for years.
All in all, I did well, but can always do better.