Top 5 Fridays 1st Edition

Hello friends. Look! It’s me! I’m still alive somehow.

Inspiration and excitement for the world is still at an all-time low. However, I have to force myself to write, that’s how you get started again. So, what to do? Well, I remembered that the Top 5! articles by Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa were always pretty fun, [example here] and so I might as well shamelessly copy the format.

If you didn’t follow the link, the idea is that I’m just going to rank things and tenuously justify why. I asked people to give me topic suggestions on Facebook and Twitter, and ideally I’ll do a bunch of these since they are fun to think about. So if your suggestions didn’t get picked this time, don’t worry, I made a big list and saved them all. Maybe I need more time to research them. For you see, everything I write is incredibly scientific, definitive, and not at all tongue-in-cheek…

If you have more topics, send me them however you want!

Let’s get started!

Top 5 Scottish Cities

I used google for the places that are legally classified as cities. There are 7 apparently!

5: Dundee

I’ve lived in Dundee, and you know, it’s not bad. It’s a pretty small city, so more or less everything is within walking distance which I appreciate. Dundee has the (in)famous 24 hour bakery, which sells outlandish piles of sausages and grease at all hours of the day, and has a decent amount of random stuff in it to keep yourself occupied. It’s not really much to look at though, but the various statues dotted about are charming.

However, if someone visiting Scotland were to ask me “should I visit Dundee?” I can’t really think of any pressing reason to do so. It’s just sort of there.

4: Glasgow

Controversially low on the list, Glasgow seems like it should be either one or two, right? It has a lot going for it, like all kinds of places to go for concerts, a bunch of cool magic players and all that. I’ve had many good times visiting Glasgow for events Magical, musical and just having days out. It does actually also have a tonne of nice buildings to look at and the people are generally known as welcoming, so what gives?

My opinion of Glasgow is largely coloured by the many, many times I’ve had to pass through it on the way home, late at night. Walking through the city centre while not currently inebriated is typically terrible, with people often trying to start fights, yelling at you, whatever. Glasgow has pretty high crime rates, sometimes nicknamed ‘Stab City’, and working though there at nights led to some… colourful experiences I’d rather have avoided.

Glasgow is also home to all that Rangers/Celtic nonsense and I just can’t be doing with that. Glasgow has some high highs, but the lows are pretty significant.

3: Stirling

Stirling doesn’t really feel much like a city to me, and honestly that’s a positive. It feels like a large town, with all the neat stuff fairly close to each other. Stirling Castle is my favourite, beating out Edinburgh castle overall. Good for historic stuff, things to do, close to my home, nice views.

2: Inverness

I have actually barely been to Inverness. It’s kind of far away from everything else, which is a downside, however it’s well placed to see all the lovely surrounding areas. Inverness is also supposedly the place in Scotland where people poll as happiest.

I think this is higher than most people would say, but I value the positives very highly, and I think people visiting Scotland would enjoy it and the surrounding areas very much.

1: Edinburgh

Edinburgh basically has it all. It looks great just exploring random streets. Has lots of stuff to do at all times. Doesn’t feel like you’re going to get stabbed while walking though it.

Edinburgh also has the Edinburgh Festival, which is just great and would absolutely recommend people go to that at some point in their lives.

The main downside of Edinburgh is that it is expensive. It’s not London-bad, but it’s pretty bad. Still, I guess being expensive buys you the title of best city.


Top 5 Films That Would Have Been ‘Better’ With Christopher Walken In The Lead Role

You just don’t get a more reliable watch delivery service.

Honourable Mention: Every film that doesn’t already have him in the lead role

5: The Notebook

I don’t *completely hate* The Notebook as is, but man, I’m not really buying Ryan Gosling in this. He just seems like a crazy person. Clearly, rather than making the script better, replacing him with Christopher Walken would make him fit the behaviour of the character, and make the romance more believable.

You could argue that this film has two leads. That’s true. Replacing Rachael McAdams with Christopher Walken would make the movie even better.

Ideally, have both lead roles played by Christopher Walken using camera trickery and other special effects. That would truly be a romance the world would never forget. (no matter how much they tried)

You’re all lucky I don’t have Photoshop

4: Homeward Bound

This would be a tricky role, but I have faith. I think the lead is the bulldog, voiced by Micheal J. Fox in the film we know and love. But I’m not talking about just voice acting. No. I’m talking Christopher Walken, running around on all fours like a dog, talking to all the other animals, with no other changes. Tell me you can’t picture Christopher Walken doing this and it seeming completely natural.

3: Grave of the Fireflies

Grave of the Fireflies is a heartbreaking, beautiful film. It is so powerful, so moving, it is enough to bring a tear to a glass eye. And you know, that’s just the trouble, I can’t watch it very often because of that. It’s like watching a vital Scotland qualifying match in football, just not a good idea if you don’t want your heart broken.

Fortunately, this would be entirely avoided by superimposing Christopher Walken in over at least one of the kids and giving his usual performance. Shhhh, it’s okay, no one’s going to die. He’s got too much cowbell to die.

2: Star Wars: The Phantom Menace

Let’s be real here, no one can save this disaster, there’s just too much wrong with it. Wait, does this movie even have a lead? Who’s the protagonist? Well, let’s say, Anakin Skywalker, Padme, Jar Jar Binks, R2-D2 and Obi-Wan can all be the lead characters, and replaced by Walken simultaneously. I’ve got a fever, and the only prescription is more Walken.

Every scene in the film might still be boring, static, poorly written and it will still contain midichlorians. But at least the delivery of the vital lines will be vastly improved, and this means the future films would be better too.  Tell me you can’t picture Walken ranting about hating sand, and killing the younglings. Tell me you can’t see him in full Amidala make up. You know it would be better.

1: Bram Stoker’s Dracula

Okay, let’s be real here. This version of Dracula is infamous for one thing: Keanu Reeves being atrocious as Jonathan Harker. I’m clearly a fan of horrible miscasting as long as it leads to an interesting film, but here it really distracts from otherwise excellent actors like Gary Oldman and Anthony Hopkins.

As much as I like Walken for being weird and intense when it doesn’t seem to fit, the man is actually strong, Oscar-winning performer, and definitely would have been an improvement over… this.


Top 5 Things To Do At a GP (after scrubbing out)

5: Play Vintage/Old School

These are never formats I’m going to play. However, I understand that the bourgeoisie want to play with their £15,000 decks somewhere and it’s understandably difficult to find ‘real’ opponents normally.

Low on the list because I don’t think I could actually recommend doing so, on account of GP issues with thieves and whatnot. If the area is fenced off or something, go for it.

4: Chaos Draft

A good Chaos Draft is hard to find outside GPs these days. I love doing them, but alas, they tend to be quite poor value both in financial terms (as non-expensive cards are worth almost zero) and because they’re single elimination (meaning most players don’t know the cards, then get very little play time).

If phantom Chaos Drafts came to MODO, that’d be great. *hint hint WotC Employees, I know you are reading*

3: Play 2HG (Two-Headed Giant)

If I could ever *actually* get people to fire a 2HG draft with me, this would be number one. As it is, you get to jam dumb sealed events with friends you rarely see, playing against all the other people that like silly formats and have also scrubbed out. You’re not that likely to play against Hall of Famers in the 2HG event, shall we say. Except LSV, I’ve heard.

You could also team draft, but who has more than one friend?

2: Leave the venue and cube draft

I’ve cube drafted in the venue before, and that’s great, but just like with the expensive decks in 5th place, cubes are sometimes absurdly expensive. And maybe *you* are extremely careful at all times, noticing all the onlookers who come to watch and know where all the sideboarded cards are at all times. But.

Have you considered say, rounding up some fellow wizards and drafting in more pleasant surroundings? A bar? A restaurant? Someone’s rented apartment? Hotel lobby? Combine Magic with the location!

1: Do anything but play Magic, specific to the area

I’ve been guilty of going to venues on day 2 with no clear reason to do so. Sure, it’s nice to randomly bump into people and chat all day. Maybe get a side event or two in. Sometimes GP locations are dreadful and have nothing worthwhile nearby.

But hey, play the game, see the world is a good suggestion. Go out and try the famous local dish! Visit the landmarks! Try something that’s illegal in your home country! Play football on the beach, while locals try to sell you a rug! The possibilities are endless. Honestly, it’s much nicer to be able to feel like you really experienced a part of the world, as a consolation prize for losing early.


Top 5 Weird Al Yankovic Songs

Honourable mention: Polka Power

Weird Al is known for his Polka work, and he’s a great musician. I’m not that bothered by polka stuff in general, but I think this is my favourite one of his. You can bet I’d polka-ing like a madman if I saw him live!

5: Albuquerque

This song is responsible for so many references and comedic associations I can’t believe it. When people talk about putting tray tables up, or bear claws, or oh-so fluffy towels, Al’s delivery is so charismatic you can’t help but think of the song.

The only downside is that, yeah it’s a bit long (though annoying people with a giant song was intentional) and it’s not great as a song to just, have on and not pay full attention to.

4: Hardware Store

I’m not a hardware store fanatic or anything, but this song is real catchy. I could/have listened to it on repeat, and that long list of items in the middle must be an absolute nightmare to do live.

I did also wonder in fear growing up though… was there such a thing as automatic circumcisors?

3: Your Horoscope For Today

This was one of the first Weird Al songs I ever heard, back in prehistoric times. (pre-Youtube!) I downloaded it from Kazaa (classic firesharing!) while watching AMV I could find just as I discovered anime. I even found an upload of the Love Hina AMV I remember!

Anyway, it’s funny, catchy, and makes fun of horoscopes. What more could you want?

2: Word Crimes

When I heard Weird Al was going to make a bunch of new songs a couple of years, it was one of the few times I was optimistic about an act making a comeback. Fortunately, Weird Al’s still got it.

My list is kinda dominated by original songs, but Al is probably mostly known for his parody covers. Those are generally are great too, but one downside of them is that they tend to replace the lyrics of the original song in my head. I can’t tell you what the actual lyrics for Happy are, or Beat It, or MacArthur Park. However I’m very confident that this a strictly better version of Blurred Lines so it’s all upside.

It even has educational value that I sometimes elect to ignore.

1: You Don’t Love Me Anymore

This one really captured my imagination and firmly planted itself in my brain as number one years ago. There’s something about the straight-faced delivery to these lyrics that just tickles my sense of humour just right.

I never saw this video for it until a few years ago, and that’s excellent too. It’s absurd, but my favourite part is when Al picks up a guitar, mood swelling, ready for his instrumental and he just puts it down again.

Top 5 Magic Trinket Text

Wait, I need to explain Trinket Text. This is a term for card text that is primarily there to provide extra flavour for a card. Not flavour text, but actual rules text that just adds a little bit of resonance for a card, making it *feel* more like what it’s supposed to be while in reality not having all that much relevance.

Example: the card Vindictive Mob cannot be blocked by Saprolings. I’ve never seen that come up, but I guess it’s because a torch-wielding mob breaks out plant monsters? It’s a good example, if not actually great itself.

Honourable Mention: “…put two eyeball counters on Jar of Eyeballs.”

Trinket Text is a little bit hard to pin down, I’m not sure this counts, so it’s here. In another block, this would be some boring, forgettable thing using charge counters. But on Innistrad, we collect EYEBALL COUNTERS two at a time. “How many eyes are in your jar?” you might ask your opponent, and everyone has a good time.

5: “…and can block an additional ninety-nine creatures each combat”

Hundred-Handed One could have just been templated as “can block any number of creatures” or even “an additional creature” and play identically 99% of the time. But it doesn’t say that. It has One Hundred Hands and that’s EXACTLY the amount of hands it has to block with. Makes sense, and made me fond of a card otherwise not very noteworthy.

4: “Whenever a player loses the game, put five +1/+1 counters on Blood Tyrant.”

Yes, I understand that Commander has made this text matter more often, but in one-on-one Magic this is about the literal embodiment of Trinket Text, doing actual nothing, but feeling cool. If you ever got to kill someone with this in limited, you were honour-bound to point out that your vampire’s trigger is going on the stack. Withengar does this too, even bigger, but it happened comparatively more rarely.


3: “When Floodgate has flying, sacrifice it.”

This whole card knocks flavour out the park, but it’s the attention to detail that makes me love this. You aren’t *normally* going to see this get flying, since you could do any number of more generally useful things to get the second ability.

But this card needs to let you know, that if a Floodgate has been raised, then it’s simply not going to do the job it’s designed for.

2: “Whenever a creature dealt damage by Sengir Vampire this turn is put into a graveyard, put a +1/+1 counter on Sengir Vampire.”

This one gets a high spot because it’s an iconic piece of Trinket Text. Sengir Vampire’s been around since the beginning, and sure, some of you may have seen the ability trigger once or twice. I’ve been playing for about 17 years and I’ve seen counters go on it a couple of times, usually just as someone chump blocks the turn before they die.

But the card feels so much more like a vampire because of it, even if it famously almost never happens. A player getting into Magic sees it, and gets the mental image of it flitting about, defeating enemy creatures and becoming unstoppable! Much better than the reality of it never getting into combat with something unless they can trade. Absolute classic.

1: “Cowards can’t block Warriors.”

Yeah, it’s predictable. And I can see that it has abilities that make that line matter. The point is, they *could* have given it a more generic ability like “Target creature can’t block this turn” for a couple mana and it would be basically the same in game.

But COWARDS CANNOT BLOCK WARRIORS! demands to be intoned just as triumphantly as you read it out in your head.

And no. No Steamflogger Boss. That line of text is going to break Modern one day. 😉

Alright! That’s 5 top 5’s. Obviously these lists are definitive and 100% correct, but if you disagree, feel free to let me know somewhere on the internet. I have plenty more topics in the bank, but remember to send more!

See you next time!

2 thoughts on “Top 5 Fridays 1st Edition

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