Takenoko

We were asked to review a board game for this assessment, so this is me reviewing a board game. Not before I asked Chris if I could “examine the microcosm of the democratic socialist theory” in a review of Monopoly, everyone’s favourite catalyst to a punch up. He responded with “no, you cannot use monopoly, please, please, anything but monopoly”, as if I were giving him a choice between the disbanding of the WoW franchise or a new head of hair; which just so we’re clear was light hearted and I had a good laf. Due to Chris’s complete opposition to my suggestion of monopoly, I’m now reviewing a French created, Japanese, board game version of Farmville and Where’s My Water? Except, this takes 3 hours, rather than 2 minutes. Yes; I’m talking about Takenoko, where you unintentionally shit on someone’s doorstep, in the hope of maybe being able to win. The game starts by players drawing a Gardener card, Panda card and a ‘plot’ card each. It then starts again by someone throwing the die, which determines the weather (yes, the die is an all knowing being). It’s a 5 sided die with Sun, Rain, Wind, Storm, Cloud as your 5 patterns of weather, which then correspond to very different effects.

 

Sun

  • The additional action has to be different from the two previous actions performed by the player.

Rain

  • The Rain can only target irrigated plots (the Rain does not irrigate a non-irrigated plot).
  • If the target plot does not carry any bamboo sections, a section is added to the plot.
  • If the target plot carries a fertilizer improvement, 2 bamboo sections are added to the plot.

Wind

  • The player can perform the same action twice (but does not get a third action).

Storm

  • The panda can be moved to any plot in the playing area, including the pond tile. It doesn’t have to move in a straight line.
  • The panda will eat a bamboo section from the plot he lands on (if the plot carries any bamboo).
  • The bamboo section that gets eaten this way is placed on the player’s mat.
  • If the player chooses to apply the effect of the storm, he has to move the panda to another plot (the panda cannot stay where he is in order to eat a section there).

Cloud

  • If all improvements have already been drawn, the player can choose any other side of the weather dice.

 

And apparently I was wrong, you don’t even have to use the effects of the all-knowing, “Ghandie”. So, why is the mechanic even there?

After the Ghandie is rolled, the player draws three random plots. Yes, the draw blocks of land out of thin air; from pink, green, blue, or yellow. The player then chooses 2 actions, these consist of: drawing a card, moving the panda, moving the gardener, placing a plot or adding an irrigation channel. Actions are used to fulfil objective cards, and the objective cards is where it gets real silly. For instance, on the gardener card there may be 4 green bamboo stick in which you have to have before you earn points with the gardener but if I have 9 stacks on my card, each a different colour and ol’ mate has 3 of just green, who has it easier? There’s a silly advantage in that, the 3 greens can be worth 6 and my poor gardener/panda has been running around aimlessly while the Ghandie is thrown in excess of 10 times trying to gather my 3 different stacks of bamboo for 2 points; and even then I need to irrigate the plots so my bamboo grows. After you’ve completed the objective, your objective card gets placed on the action board, where you attempt to become the first to reach 6 completed objectives. I mean this game takes a big steamy dump on my hard work by the simple fact that I have to run around the world to be most likely 3 cards behind the other players.

Despite that I’d rather be chasing a light around a dark room, because that’s what this game feels like sometimes. The game looks gorgeous. The board eventually composes of bright pinks, greens, yellows and blues; complete with a wonderfully crafted panda character and an even more carefully sculptured gardener. Even after the pieces and plots, the bamboo sticks feel as you would imagine a Japanese game would, smooth and silky. Not to mention they stack on top of each other. The other wonderful thing about the making of the pieces is that you actually have action chips that ‘activate’ your actions, making you feel as if you’ve played a yu gi oh card that’s come to life and blinded the board with moon like white light. Sometimes you feel like you’re Kratos placing a puzzle piece in a slot, just to step into the next stage of your adventure.

 

This game is a lot of work, you feel as if you’re never going to get even one point and it may well take 3 hours. But when you do, it’s really not that satisfying – you know what though, it doesn’t matter cause you get to continuously roll and trick yourself into thinking that maybe one day you will in fact own a block of land.

 

Score: 5/10

 

Donald Trump and The Philosopher’s Stone

Everyone is concerned about the outcome of the US Election, to be fair you’ve all got a right to worry. I mean a fascist, sexist, racist billionaire running the country and threatening to build a wall specifically to keep Mexican’s out is pretty fucked. But before you decide to pop a couple of Valium and pretend this is all a bad dream, I’ve got some news for you – it’s not a dream, this is happening and unfortunately we’re all to blame.

The western world has been under neo liberalism for a good 30 years, billionaires and corporations having a colourful orgy and climaxing on the middle class. That doesn’t sound good, does it? But I don’t see anyone running to the nearest shower and washing off the ever pungent odour of Rupert Murdoch, Rothschild and anyone associated with Gina Rinehart. Because, that’s what this is, class warfare, so complex that even someone studying American politics and globalisation can’t seem to fathom how on Earth it came to this. I’m no professional but the concept of Trump used to be a big meme. I remember seeing a Funky Town remix of Donald Trump, purely made up of “bing bong” sounds , and until about a week before the election it was all a joke “ha, Ray Charles has a better chance of reading music than Trump becoming President”.

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Who looks stupid now?

And now it’s hit you in the face with a pie and you’re sitting there wondering if you should scrape the cream off or accept the fact that you’ve just been completely and utterly fooled.

But if I’m honest, Hilary is also a product of this aggressive neo liberal Western world. She pledged her allegiance to the Trade Pacific Partnership and is happy to follow the same routes of her predecessors in driving America slowly into the ground. And if Hillary did win the election, would she actually make a difference? I’m not sure. It’d be like sitting in a car and repeating “are we there yet” to realise that mum’s been driving in circles for 4 years.

This might be an outlandish, ridiculous, inconceivable statement but with Donald Trump being completely antiestablishment and forward about his insane views, he will bring change. Not change, like you know … Kim Kardashians lip size but a change which I don’t think any of us are prepared for; a change that could possibly stimulate people to actually give one fuck. I for one, have no sympathy for the America – we’re all products of this. Australian’s flap their gums about what a terrible thing Donald Trump is but Pauline Hanson is the same, maybe even more oppressive but because she has no real power, people act as if she’s just another meme. If she could build a wall to keep Muslims out, she would.

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Pauline Hanson right now.

 

Unfortunately this is not only a failure for America, but an unequivocal failure of the fundamental principles of democracy. The public within our modern world are not at all informed and this is the result of it – a world divided by fear, and I said, I have 0 sympathy. Humans were born with the ability to critically analyse, so before you blame Donald Trump for being an ugly, decrepit, nose breather, look at the world and how it stands; America refused to analyse, WE refused to analyse.

I’m interested as to what will happen, because for once people are looking into the future. They may be looking at the future like a new Susan Boyle video featuring David Hasselhoff but at least it’s with interest and quite understandably horror. America wanted “different”, well they fucking got it – strap in, we’re in for a wild ride.

Refugees and Why Being “Chilled” Isn’t Good Enough Anymore

On Wednesday night I decided I’d watch Monday’s Q and A, because I’m either deprived of any entertainment or maybe I want to watch adults squabble over the fact that they have the integrity of Scar in the Lion King. To my disgust, I watched as Tanya Plibersek and Arthur Sinodinos agreed with each other on the claims that “we can’t take in refugees right now”. It’s 2016 and our “leaders” are looking for third country options rather than taking in a little over 1000 people, which would not be as much as a blimp on the radar in our country of 23.5 million people, boasting a land mass the size of Europe. There is never any justification for these outlandish claims that “we can’t” take refugees in – well, why fucking not? We could take them in the 70’s, 80’s, 90’s but as soon as the 2000’s creped along we wanted to become a world leader in abuse of refugees. When at this time we require compassion more than ever, there’s 10’s of millions of refugees coming in from Iraq: that’s without mentioning displaced people all over the world and it’s getting too late.

 

The Four Corners program last week aired on the ABC to allow an insight into what conditions are like on these death camps. The claims are empirical made by the ABC and STILL we have more people protesting against lock out laws, and that’s an absolute travesty. “Yeah fuckin’ Mike Baird won’t let me get my wet pussy shot at 3am; what a fascist. But, like the kids just won’t stop complaining hey, like why don’t you come like every other refugee? Skippin’ the cue, takin’ mi jobs ya mussi; you keep at em’ Dutton ya champion, bring back Tony Abbott”. People should be appalled by this behaviour, there’s not a first world country who hasn’t questioned our morals. Unfortunately this ideology and apathy is all too common within our own borders, where we’re too “chill” to care about the lives of others. Another example is the fact that the Great Barrier Reef will be dead in 5 years, but no one could give less of a fuck: so would it be outlandish for me to say that the “chilled” side of Australians has gone way too far? Where instead of wanting the best, we’re okay with mediocre?68326467

“Chilled” is a funny way to put it, and I get
annoyed because people see chilled as a good thing. I tell you what, disagree with me all you want, tell me to go back to where I came from, and tell me to “fuck off” if I don’t like it – but slow down and smell the roses for a second. We’re now living in an economy with record low interest, record low wage growth, record high housing prices (and pretty steep smashed avo), a healthcare system being torn apart from the inside, a country more divided than ever, cities in regional Australia that struggle to afford food and an Aboriginal population that still has a mortality/morbidity rate that blows white people’s out of the water.

I mean, it’s easy for millionaires to sit amongst their pedestal and boast about “how there’s never been a more exciting time to be an Australian”. Personally I can think of more exciting times, for example when Karl Stefanovic said something funny on today, or when Ian Healy fell off a Segway. Personally, staring down the barrel of a 34000 dollar degree in an Australia riddled with degree obsolescence it’s difficult for me to slap the knee and say “good one Malc”. Because, in reality, I’m probably better off selling my knee than slapping it, just so I can pay my piece of paper off.

Personally I’m not okay with modern Aussie ideologies, I’m not okay with Pauline Hanson inciting hatred and I’m certainly not okay with the 105000 people on the street and 3.3 million living in poverty in our beautiful country. But when it comes to a vast majority of the people I am so similar to, they’re so different to me and that’s what makes being an empath so fucking difficult – and I’m sure you can relate.

Bitten By Something

Well, it’s officially over: England, France, Belgium, Netherlands, Czech Republic, Austria (my home), Germany, Greece, Turkey, Albania, Montonegro, Croatia, Bosnia, Serbia, Slovenia, Poland, Hungary and Ireland were all part of this unforgettable journey. And are definitely in the “must revisit” category. Europe contains 51 independent states.

Shoutout to everyone who made this a trip of a life time (special shoutout to my boys Luke and Jordan), and the friends I’ve made for life. There was a shit load of partying, fun, sightseeing and relaxing done but the 2nd half was proper traveling where I and all others who solo travel developed as a person – which became my favorite part: the failure. Failure is frowned upon by those who never have failed. Failure is the basis at which we begin to succeed – we weren’t born walking, we had to build up that knowledge and strength from crawling: but most of all knowing that if we fall down we will do anything to get back up again. So where did that determination go? Just because we’re 20 years older, doesn’t give us an excuse to accept mediocrity.

People will be asking me and have already started if I’m dreading going back home. What is to dread? That we lived in a fantasy for 4 months of this year and are forced to go back to reality? Or is it working a full time job that was our fantasy from a young age? Personally I believe we dread the fact that we opened our minds enough to realize that we don’t want to be part of this linear system that is ingrained into our little sponge brains when we’re in primary school. That we must have a job, a partner, a house and finally establish a family to be successful and live our dreams. We don’t, believe me, we don’t.

I’m not dreading the opportunity to again work towards that life I’ve lived for the last 4 months, I’m not dreading starting again. They say that if you love something you’ll do anything to get it back again, well how much do you love what you just experienced? I’m not dreading falling back into a routine but we all have had epiphanies overseas and what we want to do in life has completely changed – not one person is the same. I’m looking forward, not looking back because when you’re in that time capsule all you can do is willow in nostalgia and watch the memories fly by – but why be sad about that? These memories that become intangible developed who we are now. Travel shouldn’t be a thing people have to pay incredible amounts of money to do, travel should be a skill taught when you’re young. Because when you walk out into that open, foreign world immediately you begin to learn: whether you like it or not, your mind begins to open.

These are just the ramblings of someone you’d imagine who sat there in Kindergarten eating PVC glue. We are told that we must get good marks at school to succeed, that a distinction is worth more than a pass, that a truck driver is less intelligent than a doctor. Open mindedness is as intelligent as a human being can get. Any fantasy can become a reality my friends, so don’t ever resent the fact that you can’t currently, in this moment be sitting there with a six pack of somersbys in Berlin, because you’ll be there again.

“I believe human beings were designed for accomplishment” – Zig Ziglar.

RUOK? I am now man.

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Despite that some dickhead keeps on kicking my seat on the way to Krakow, I’m trying to be extremely reflective while writing this.

RUOK day isn’t just fad people partake in to get a chance to be important and gain some attention – it’s a chance to tell your story and let people know how much they mean to you and how incredibly fucked your life might be at the moment.

But today I’m talking about our individual selves and how we use positivity to beat negative thoughts/situations, and for the record this is just a story, this is more about my beliefs than about me.

As some of you know I decided to leave my best mates after two months of epic adventure and travel through places which not many people travel, and I left them because I didn’t want my negativity impacting them. Shit happened to a lot of people at home, and a few things were getting to me in Europe – I had developed anxiety whilst traveling the most amazing cities in the world and it just feels as if it keeps piling on when you’re in that mindset. I needed to sort my own life out, so I got on a bus to Trebinje with no air con and 7 Bosnians that could not speak a lick of English. Traveling by yourself in some of these places where no one speaks English is difficult to do. But the books I read, the beauty I witnessed, the situations I overcame, people I met and languages I learnt developed me as a human being.

The only thing that kept me positive was the smile that would appear, almost sub consciously across my face that would say “we’re starting another adventure, and there’s a good chance we’re going to fuck up”. When I got to these places the nature filled me with a fresh air and the sense of community made me appreciate life that extra little bit. I met people who had been shot, seen their friends blown up by shells, witnessed their mum cooking worm infested rice, their beloved bridges being destroyed and cultures being torn apart – but one thing stuck in my mind, they all lived. They may not have lived well, but they lived and they loved one another in communities that thrived as a result (as much as they could). I’m not telling you all this so I can get some attention, everyone gets anxiety and I’m just one of millions. But I’m trying to show that you can develop it at anytime/absolutely anywhere and overcome it with a lot of strength and willpower, getting lost in a rainforest is a good way to start 👍🏽

So this RUOK day, as well as speaking to the people around you about how they feel, teach them about the power of your mind and what jumping into the deep end once in a while can achieve. Because, if a legless Bosnian man can yell “Dobro dan”, wave and smile at a random Aussie tourist wearing a singlet and a straw fedora – we can overcome anything, not through therapy, or drugs but through unity.

Animal Cruelty isn’t cool you know?

Because Orca whales are sentient beings it means we should respect their rights, right? Well, humans are the dominant race and people are still raped, killed, disrespected, compared, categorised and vilified – so if we can’t live as equals, with civil rights how on earth are we supposed to take care of Orca’s? Funny I mention that, because WE DID. I dunno about you but I’m impressed that we can stop killer whales dying, but we can’t prevent people from living on the streets: well done world. I’m not saying that humans are more important than whales but imagine if media backlash was as severe when it was affiliated with inhumane treatment of refugees, or the falling commodity prices of mining exports – there’d be windmills and rural housing everywhere; no matter how ugly!

 

But seriously, animal cruelty man, not cool at all. I’m saying this, despite I’ve got a plateful of fried rice which is heavily laced with delicate dices of bacon (cue homer noise). So, do I personally care how an animal is killed? I mean, I’d rather not see it or someone describe even the smallest detail about how poisonous gas is causing the pigs’ nervous system to go haywire but then again I’ve heard someone describe to me, how one of their testicles was ah… dislodged from their sack and said that was pretty painful. Instead of putting pigs in gas chambers like an animal Auschwitz, surely we can just euthanize them, as expensive as that would be its a lot more humane – technically they’re just having a big sleep :D. As much as the RSPCA claims that pigs are euthanize, all of them clearly are not.

The other thing is, chicken. Well, animal rather. Chickens are viewed as purely a giant hit of protein, whether it’s a cheeky poached egg from a hen or a big breast from a chicken, we don’t consider their feelings, what did they want to do in life? I don’t really care but apparently according to Annie Potts chickens are in fact quite intelligent beings, sexist (because most of the males are killed off) but intelligent. Sounds a bit like human kind (ha). Potts states that “Chicks are taught how to forage, range and perch by their mother. . . Initially she (the hen) chooses a perch close to the ground, but once her chicks are imitating her behaviour the hen moves higher eventually to join other perching adults at night” (Potts. A, 2012). So, basically these little girls and small minority guys are pretty smart little vegemites, but it’s not as if they’ve invented anything. Yes, they have complex chemical reactions in their brain which allows them to comprehend things in a more complex way than we can even imagine HOWEVER, I need a big protein hit and they live a life you know, like dinosaurs lived some kind of life before being shredded into a million pieces by a tyrannosaurus rex. Stegosaurus was a real victim of that one ah.

This week I just wanted to throw in a few of my own thoughts, not specifically on veganism, just on how the world, and especially agriculture industry operates in general – wait for it, yes; hypocrisy people, that’s how it all operates. I’m working with vulnerability which you will hear more about! But in the meantime, how are we supposed to laugh when we don’t render ourselves vulnerable to looking like a pelican?  To have a good time we’ve gotta look like a F***whit people.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-03-17/seaworld-says-it-will-stop-breeding-killer-whales/7256522

http://www.businessinsider.com.au/rio-tinto-earnings-halved-2016-2

http://animalsaustralia.org/features/not-so-humane-slaughter/

Potts, Annie. Chicken. Reaktion Books, 2012.