This Vero Thing Kinda Sucks. Let’s Have Some Fun With It.

So I joined Vero a few days ago and I’m going to be honest, I’m still not entirely impressed. I got over their serious server overload issue (I’ve sat through enough games to know the score) but there’s still something missing that will make it an Instagram-killer.

Don’t get me wrong, what the app offers is cool. Algorithm-free, more post options, selection of who can see your post – those options really go after a lot of crowds. Doesn’t cover up the fact I might have to end up paying for it, or that the owner basically committed human rights abuse back in the Middle East.

So my days on the app are rather limited. I won’t extend my “brand” there – Haiku Mixtape, photos, and other stuff won’t be posted there – because this is just a fun transient thing. When the going gets fatalistic, the fatalist gets funny.

I’m putting up a different kind of poem/passages on my Vero. Consider them as manifestos from what drives me insane on IG and poetry in general. I think of my Vero account as a rage-dump, something were I can poke fun at the waves and waves of insipid content I see day after day.

I’m writing on borrowed time here. The moment they ask for my credit card, I’m going straight for the long, arduous process of deleting the account. Until then, #veropoets, let’s have some fun, shall we?

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Confabula Baraja – A Card Game Mash-Up

My previous post was about Emma Larkins’ Confabula Rasa storytelling card game. I went into it as a word generator for poetry, but this time around I got a bit weirder. That tends to happen when you dive into tarot.

Always Playing With Weird Stuff, Aren’t You?

I said that I was going to play around with tarot cards and Confabula Rasa at the end of the previous post, so I’m following through. I already owned a deck of baraja española cards from a few years back. Almost any Latino is well-acquainted with this deck of cards – they have at least one auntie that has one hidden in a drawer somewhere that reads cards to your mom from time. I’ve seen readings with these cards personally growing up, so I’m used to seeing them if not play around with them before getting smacked upside the head by some bruja.

So, What Are Baraja Cards?

Anyway, they are a bit different than the tarot cards that you may see in the stuff you see in popular media. You can actually replicate it with a normal pack of playing cards, but the iconography is so tied to its cultural and spiritual significance it just seems cheap to perform it that way. That’s why I bought a pack, as well as the fact that there’s no way in hell my aunt would let me borrow hers.

The Confabula Baraja Set-Up

The cartomancy of baraja cards works alongside the numbers and suit of the card. I used the baraja deck in a 40-card format taking out a few numbers from their suits. I then chose one of the many spreads available, a planetary spread. Here’s how the spread looks like:

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With just some cursory research on the suits/cards and their meaning, I formed a system before I used the Confabula Rasa cards. For example, the top card, the three of clubs, represents magic, packages, religion, etc. So you can imagine how this can serve as a bedrock of sorts for the words you will form from the Confabula Rasa cards.

The Cartomancy And Logomancy Meet At A Crossroads

Here’s where the beginning of my headaches started. I decided that it would be a fun idea to use the very same spread to put down the Confabula Rasa card. needless to say, it took a long time to get the words out. I will give out props to Emma for her Power Cards, but I feel as if the game might need more, or at the very least there is room for more ideas for Power Cards somewhere.

So it was time to put together the mysticism with the game. I came up with eight words, and with the interpretations for each card, I formed this strange mini-fic out of thin air. Is it amazing? Probably not. But I will admit the combo was a stronger engine than what I had done previously.

The Thieves Of the Sea (Or What Came Out Of Confabula Baraja)

Here is what came out:

I packed my bags and headed towards the sea – more like ran away from this podunk town. I was on my way towards the arms of a woman with her wits about her, hiding all kinds of clever tricks and unknown pleasures beneath her rags. Our plan was to steal something of worth from an emir of considerable power. The man curiously left his precious platinum ore in an abandoned clinic. Once we pulled off the job, the deal was made with our connections in the underground before we could even take off our disguises. It was the mob’s problem now, and my lady and I could now enjoy the spoils of our heist for decades to come.

Final Remarks

Seeing the effectiveness I reached, I think I might try this again. I will use this for a longform poem in the near future, and after seeing what the baraja cards can do as the basis of a gaming device (kind of what Weave is doing for roleplaying games) I think I might try to do something in the future as well, perhaps something that really represents Latin culture.

Confabula Rasa – A (Poetic) Review

So I received a test copy of Emma Larkins’ game Confabula Rasa today. From her page, it is an ” a cooperative word construction and storytelling game” where players take the role of kids who found scraps of paper in a creepy house in the woods. The way you win is that you have to figure out the story on the paper or the ghosts will get ya.

Now, I can’t give a review of the actual game, as it is a minimum of two players and I’m missing one. When we spoke earlier she also wanted to know if it’d also work as an idea-generating/solo storytelling tool. I kept that in mind when she asked if I would test the game.

Picking Apart The Scraps – First Try

I’m working on a personal poem side-project I’m keeping under wraps for now. I’m working on it at a strict rule of three and three lines per day. I wanted to see what the card “scraps” could do in generating ideas for lines. For the sake of my sanity and simplicity, I tossed the rulebook aside (sorry Emma!) and kept it to five cards:

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I’d written one line earlier after noticing something from the design of tiled walls:

unique is a blue diamond –

and worked from there. The first word that came to me was the first I saw staring at me – sed, or thirst in Spanish. I jotted it down and went on my way as I scanned for what else came from this tangle of mangled letters.

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This is where I made my first break using Confabula Rasa in Idea Mode. I found the word “crack”, which became pivotal to the line. From there I found other words – “dives”, “disarm”, “match”, “altar”, and “bed” -which eventually became the three lines I needed:

unique is a blue diamond –

cracked tiles forming entry

to an altar that matches a bed

Picking Apart The Scraps – Second Try

I used the Confabula Rasa rules this time to work on on a complete six-line poem this time around. I set up the deck as the rulebook said and dealt card. I started with the first word I formed, “one”, and went on from there. out came a logorrhea mess.

 

I was stumped for a while, so I actually had to use one of the mechanics of the game, the Power Card and played it so I could discard the card in my hand so I could play another. I found the product more creative but slightly rough and in need of an edit, so I won’t post it. It was interesting that I had to resort to the Power Card in order to keep going.

Additional Thoughts

Confabula Rasa as a creative engine shows these peculiar signs of promise if you aren’t inclined to play, or just don’t have a buddy on deck and feel like making a game of your own. Work along the rules still produces a playing experience of its own, and there’s enough there to make homebrew stuff.

I wish I could check out the entirety of Emma’s design right now, but from what I could do with it, I would recommend it as a novel way of thinking up new ideas. Writers looking for more unorthodox writing prompts can really cook up something with the scraps hidden in Emma’s cards.

I found an old tarot card deck that I might mix with this and make a Confabula Tarot mashup and see what I can do with it. But I do recommend this for an atmospheric experience with friends and family.

 

 

 

The Gears Are Spinning

Something I’ve been working on for a few months is finally making its way out of design documents. I’ll put up some updates as it comes along.

A Lost Generation No More

A post shared by Jesus Garay (@the_jesusgaray) on

 

A few minutes ago I was of a generation that saw the World Cup qualifiers as a gloomy cloud. Now, I can finally take that away from me. VAMOS PERU A RUSIA CONCHESUMADRE.

Epil(NaNoWri)epsy Month Thoughts

November is an interesting month for me, personally. I always try the NaNoWriMo thing (never completing, because it’s just not something that works for me but hey it’s fun). But also that it’s also Epilepsy Awareness Month (because that that’s not so fun, but hey, it completes me as the person I now am).

One day, I probably should combine the two. But I don’t know how. Some ideas have popped into my head, but they’ve all come out like both writing a novel or having a seizure – erratic, auric, and confusing. In the meantime I’ll just ramble on this month, working on both with one on haikumixtape and the other perhaps here, perhaps on things that will never see the light of day.

My Cosplay Pics From NYCC 2017

My time at New York Comic-Con this year was pretty low-key. Didn’t go to any panels or take as many photos as I regularly do, but I still had a lot of fun taking them. Here are my faves.

Festival in Reverse

These were the best photos that came out of the chaotic fun I had at Governors Ball NYC I had last weekend. I saw around 19-ish acts, give or take a few more.

 

The interesting highlights were explaining Wu-Tang to a Guatemalan guy from LA who’d never heard of them, discussing US politics with a Canadian before the Avalanches set, and shutting down some punk kid who said he didn’t “respect” DJs.

As to why this was in reverse. It was after the Wu-Tang show that it occurred to me. I had started listening to them and by extension all of their work in earnest when I was in college. Flume, who I saw the night before, was now.  Tool who I saw on Sunday was emblematic of my teen years. It was as if I watched what I have been listening to for the last fifteen years in reverse, right in front of me. An oddly cathartic and spiritual feeling.

ello, guvna

So, I heard that ello, the ad-free minimalist social media platform, has become a sort of deviantART/Colossal hybrid. I probably linked to my old account in the past, but I’ve decided to use it as a way to post some of my older work in a new place, and as a new avenue for Haiku Mixtape as well.

I also have my first patron on the HM Patreon as well. Why don’t y’all kick in a buck, there’s a few exclusive haiku I’ve put in there already.

I’m on Patreon Now, Too

Patreon

Here’s the link.