04/11/2011 MM: "A Roseanne By Any Other Name, Part 3"

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This thread is for discussion of this week's Making Magic, which goes live Monday morning on magicthegathering.com.
The only way out is through.
Wow, a great conclusion - I enjoyed the first two, but the finale is where the real meat of the series is. There is a lot more content directly related to magic, and the life lessons are more interesting and thought provoking. The story of Tarmogoyf has been mentioned before, but it's great to see it in detail. It's too bad development didn't stick with Maro's original version of the card, because Tarmogoyf is clearly too good and makes too many other creatures unplayable in comparison. I am also glad to see the comparison drawn with GDS2 winner Ethan Fleisher, whose design work I am very excited to start seeing in the real world. I think it would be great to see some updates from Ethan about his design work now that he is on the inside. Hopefully he will have time to do some writing for the website.

I'm sure leaving Roseanne felt like a setback at the time, but the world of gaming is a lot better off for it. Whoever fired Rosewater from the show may have made the world of sitcom writing poorer, but magic players are grateful.
Mark, thank you so much for writing your Roseanne 3-parter.  It'll be one of my favourite series of columns of yours for awhile, I'm sure.
You know, this Roseasse series has reminded me how great MaRo's writing is even when it has nothing to do with Magic. 

One day, when MaRo semi-retires from Magic (much in the way Richard Garfield is retired from Magic) after he pusblishes Mood Swings, I want to read a column where Mark just talks about things. It can be about anything at all, and he could make it interesting.

Through the years, MaRo's column has been the only one that consistently jumps off the page [with the exception of a string of four equally fantastic House of Cards writers] and can be counted on to be good every single week. I don't want to name names, but half the time I fall asleep halfway through [Steve Sadin's name redacted]'s column. Contrast this to MaRo, I feel he doesn't get enough appreciation for being able to make ten thousand words about anything he writes about genuinely interesting.

Disclaimer: I realize that Sadin has to write in a certain way because the audience for his column topic is interested in a very specific set of information. That doesn't make Rosewater's feats any less impressive. 
I am also glad to see the comparison drawn with GDS2 winner Ethan Fleisher, whose design work I am very excited to start seeing in the real world. I think it would be great to see some updates from Ethan about his design work now that he is on the inside. Hopefully he will have time to do some writing for the website.


I would love to see a rotating Alexis/Ethan/etc column about breaking into Magic and what it's like just starting out (well, their advice about breaking in wouldn't be terribly helpful, but you know what I mean).

Not that I'm saying there's a column we could lose (COUGHCOUGHTOPDECKSCOUGHCOUGH). 
The Head Writer told me to lay low, so I did. In retrospect, though, I made a very big mistake. If I was going to stick around, I needed to make my worth known.



So in other words...Damned if You Do, Damned if You Don't.  No single strategy will guarantee that your chances improve, so you might as well just throw darts at a phone book and hope for the best.

Every so often there's a Magic article that explains that the key to getting better at Magic is accepting that you are the cause of your performance. If you lost, it was because you did something, or more often many things, that led to that loss.



Or it means your opponent could afford to spend $4000 on a deck and you couldn't.  When you can't afford Jaces and dual lands and everyone else can, you're pretty much hosed; any strategy you build to defeat the most broken deck in the format will fail against the second most broken, so there's really nothing you can do other than play only against friends who will let you win once in a while by not bringing their A-game (or just not having an A-game comparable to the tourney circut).

I know you're trying to sound profound with your life lessons, MaRo, but get real.  Sometimes life just plain sucks for no reason and nothing can be done about it.  We're not omnipotent or omniscient, so personal responsibility only goes so far.  I get a little tired of hearing the new age crap about how believing in your dreams and thinking positively will fix all your problems; try telling that to people who are getting murdered by their government in Libya or dying of radiation in Japan.  You lost your Roseanne job because life isn't fair, that's really the only lesson I see here.
My New Phyrexia Writing Credits My M12 Writing Credits
As far as the benefit of the rest of Magic is concerned, gold cards in Legends were executed perfectly. They got all the excitement a designer could hope out of a splashy new mechanic without using up any of the valuable design space. Truly amazing. --Aaron Forsythe's Random Card Comment on Kei Takahashi
I was expecting a little more drama, some intense confrontations and clashes of ego. You know, etc.

I got kinda sleepy but that's because I have been working intensely on my yu-gi-oh deck. It sucks. And my previous inquire got unanswered, but that's what I get for being a yugioh player I guess. Yugioh yugioh yugioh.

I get a little tired of hearing the  new age crap about how believing in your dreams and thinking positively  will fix all your problems;


...
What?? I am not sure what you are talking about.... Mark pretty clearly said that we gotta work to reach our goals. It seems you need to re-read it...

I for one, when I read this kind of thing I mostly react thinking "yeah whatever, we all know this." But sometimes knowing is not enough. I think it was nice to read this, it certainly gives me a liiiitle motivation. Not enough, though :p.
try telling that to people who are ... dying of radiation in Japan.



No. This is bullshit, and I WILL NOT allow this misinformation to spread. Sorry MaRo, I'm hijacking the hell out of this thread.

No one is dying from radiation in Japan.

The dose you get over the course of an entire day near the Fukushima reactor is less than ONE PERCENT of the dose that you would need to be exposed to to have symptoms of radiation poisoning. And that dose is an accute one, not one over the span of a day. Stop reading sensationalist bullshit and actually do some research. Here's a good introduction to doses and effects. If you'd prefer a bit less detail, but more colors, Randal Munroe of xkcd has done a chart as well. You can look at the actual current doses on a map displayed here. There's video of Japanese journalists entering the area, with radiation levels reported. Wikipedia has a reasonably good page on the effects as well. You'll note that only two people have been hospitalized, both of whom were standing in cooling water.

Magic players are a smart bunch. Can we PLEASE see some of the brainpower normally used for evaluating decklists spent evaluating the real danger before spreading misinformation?
Another great article fom the best writer Wizards has to offer

Trolls aside, this part of the three part article is by far my favorite... Because I can relate to it most likely. The wisdom here about how to Seize the Initiative made me realize a few things about my own situation in the real world.


:3 Perhaps I might not be very ambitious, but every now and then we all need to GO FOR THE THROAT!!!!

IMAGE(http://i998.photobucket.com/albums/af108/acatan/sigwynzermancopy.png) Signature by IMAGE(http://www.poke-amph.com/heartgoldsoulsilver/sprites/258.png)
At a superficial level this article is about chasing your dreams and not giving up, but at a deeper level it's actually more about looking to the past for your strengths and weaknesses and then looking to the future to try and use these to your advantage. This article really made me think about my own life. Thank MaRo for that
What a surprise: another piece of self indulgence from a nobody intern that the Roseanne studio didn't want to pay in the long term.  How inspirational!  Maybe I too can get a job with mediocre skills and parlay it into unemployment six months later only to luckily get in on the ground floor of a card game that made it when thousands of others don't, resulting in my megalomaniacal stance that I have made this game great with my innovative and never poor decisions!

A boy can dream, right?  Keep up the great work, oh messiah of Magic!
I just wanted to chime in that I loved this article series.
Especially the life lessons at the end.
The Head Writer told me to lay low, so I did. In retrospect, though, I made a very big mistake. If I was going to stick around, I needed to make my worth known.



So in other words...Damned if You Do, Damned if You Don't.  No single strategy will guarantee that your chances improve, so you might as well just throw darts at a phone book and hope for the best.

Every so often there's a Magic article that explains that the key to getting better at Magic is accepting that you are the cause of your performance. If you lost, it was because you did something, or more often many things, that led to that loss.



Or it means your opponent could afford to spend $4000 on a deck and you couldn't.  When you can't afford Jaces and dual lands and everyone else can, you're pretty much hosed; any strategy you build to defeat the most broken deck in the format will fail against the second most broken, so there's really nothing you can do other than play only against friends who will let you win once in a while by not bringing their A-game (or just not having an A-game comparable to the tourney circut).

I know you're trying to sound profound with your life lessons, MaRo, but get real.  Sometimes life just plain sucks for no reason and nothing can be done about it.  We're not omnipotent or omniscient, so personal responsibility only goes so far.  I get a little tired of hearing the new age crap about how believing in your dreams and thinking positively will fix all your problems; try telling that to people who are getting murdered by their government in Libya or dying of radiation in Japan.  You lost your Roseanne job because life isn't fair, that's really the only lesson I see here.




I don't know. On the one hand, I totally agree that life (and the distribution of awesome broken cards in booster packs) is not fair. I'm much too cynical for La La It All Evens Out In the End bull droppings too.

However, I also think there's something to be said for what you make of your life, too. There are lots of people out there who fail at something huge and just give up, and their life becomes Bitterness Chronicle, vol. Might Have Been.

And that's not healthy, and... while whatever original bad thing that got them there may or may not have been their fault (let's assume it totally wasn't, for clarity of point here), what they do with that is. There's a point at which things stop you because you let them.

Doesn't mean everyone will get all they want in life. Certainly doesn't mean everyone who wants it bad enough will get the limelight,  the fame, the rewards.

But it does mean that the people who get all that will be more likely to be the people who don't let things stop them.

Also, a lot of people who succeed do so after failing, and failing big. It's very common for people to assume that people who succeed do so because they've got a silver spoon in their mouths and they're never screwed anything up ever. In some cases I'm sure that's true... but in many, show me someone who's succeeded like crazy and I'll show you someone who's failed just as bad... but didn't let that crush them.
What a surprise: another piece of self indulgence from a nobody intern that the Roseanne studio didn't want to pay in the long term.  How inspirational!  Maybe I too can get a job with mediocre skills and parlay it into unemployment six months later only to luckily get in on the ground floor of a card game that made it when thousands of others don't, resulting in my megalomaniacal stance that I have made this game great with my innovative and never poor decisions!

A boy can dream, right?  Keep up the great work, oh messiah of Magic!



If you like Magic as it currently is even a little, you have Mark Rosewater to thank for a decent portion of what you enjoy about the game. There's really no two ways about that. 
The nice thing about the philosophy of "it's your own fault" is that it gets you up and moving rather than sitting around and whining. So even if it isn't really your own fault, acting as if it is will lead you to more success. Blaming other people will get you nothing except a reputation as a loser.

And you know, if you can't afford to compete in Constructed play, compete in Limited. If it really isn't your own fault that you're losing, it's just that you can't afford the good cards, then in Limited your skills should shine through and you will win enough prizes to parlay into further competitions without undue expense. And along the way you will be able to accumulate the expensive cards you need for Constructed. Unless, of course, you're not good enough to do that, in which case "it's your own fault."

What a surprise: another piece of self indulgence from a nobody intern that the Roseanne studio didn't want to pay in the long term.  How inspirational!  Maybe I too can get a job with mediocre skills and parlay it into unemployment six months later only to luckily get in on the ground floor of a card game that made it when thousands of others don't, resulting in my megalomaniacal stance that I have made this game great with my innovative and never poor decisions!

A boy can dream, right?  Keep up the great work, oh messiah of Magic!


If your going to troll, be do it in a less bad way.

Also, how in the hell can you spend 4K on a single magic deck. Really, Mr Jace is going for less then$100 right now and he never was over $120 from what I've seen. So even at max price a play set of the most expensive card in standered sets you back about $500. Now using Caw-Blade as the example, the rest of the deck will set you back about another $400 so your spending about $900 on the current top deck. I can understand exaggeration, but 4K is over shooting it a lot.


Now to get on the topic of todays article. Started off a little slow for me, but the ending, and the series, was great.

The nice thing about the philosophy of "it's your own fault" is that it gets you up and moving rather than sitting around and whining. So even if it isn't really your own fault, acting as if it is will lead you to more success.


So true.  I think so many people today are addicted to Notmyfault®.  Sure, you could get up and do something and try to effect some change, but it's so much easier to take a big does of Notmyfault.


I had a professor who had us read The Seven Habits of Highly Successful People and he said right out "If you take this to heart you'll be harder on yourself for the rest of your life."  He was right.  It's a lot harder to blame "luck" when I know there are things I could be doing differently.  Which reminds me, I should probably log off this Magic site now...



If you're on MTGO check out the Free Events via PDCMagic and Gatherling.

Other games you should try:
DC Universe Online - action-based MMO.  Free to play.  Surprisingly well-designed combat and classes.

Planetside 2 - Free to play MMO-meets-FPS and the first shooter I've liked in ages.
Simunomics - Free-to-play economy simulation game.


You mention playtesting and compare it to filming in front of a studio audience in order to work out what isn't working, but everything I've read indicates to me that most playtesting is very insular. Is there any kind of system where you put people from outside the company under NDA's and let them slap the cards around a bit? Did they miss things like Tarmogoyf and Skullclamp ?

I'd really love to hear more about this process.


And as for the big lesson about "keep your head down" vs "actively work for what you want", one also must be careful to not seem like a crazed bull in a china shop in your quest to get noticed. Remember, the toes you step on during your climb to the top, are connected to the hindquarters you have to kiss on the way down. 

Mark made it work, but I'd wager his actions were less "the last several Magic sets sucked and here's why" and more "this game is great, and I have these ideas to make it even greater" . 

 

As noted, a great article to end the series on. I enjoyed the first two, but this one really brought it it home. You are responsible for a lot of what you do, though of course if your opponent can afford a playset of Jace and all the dual lands in standard, well, that's just capitalism at its finest and I'll be over here playing kitchen table with my taplands and Terramorphic Expanse. 
Proud member of C.A.R.D. - Campaign Against Rare Duals "...but the time has come when lands just need to be better. Creatures have gotten stronger, spells have always been insane, and lands just sat in this awkward place of necessity." Jacob Van Lunen on the refuge duals, 16 Sep 2009. "While it made thematic sense to separate enemy and allied color fixing in the past, we have come around to the definite conclusion that it is just plain incorrect from a game-play perspective. This is one of these situations where game play should just trump flavor." - Sam Stoddard on ending the separation of allied/enemy dual lands. 05 July 2013
Is there any kind of system where you put people from outside the company under NDA's and let them slap the cards around a bit? Did they miss things like Tarmogoyf and Skullclamp?


I'm almost certain this does not exist. If nothing else, after each set came out there would be civilian Magic players saying "I'm so glad I can talk about this now..."

The nice thing about the philosophy of "it's your own fault" is that it gets you up and moving rather than sitting around and whining. So even if it isn't really your own fault, acting as if it is will lead you to more success.


So true.  I think so many people today are addicted to Notmyfault®.  Sure, you could get up and do something and try to effect some change, but it's so much easier to take a big does of Notmyfault.


I had a professor who had us read The Seven Habits of Highly Successful People and he said right out "If you take this to heart you'll be harder on yourself for the rest of your life."  He was right.  It's a lot harder to blame "luck" when I know there are things I could be doing differently.  Which reminds me, I should probably log off this Magic site now...






I do wish that when my company sent me to a one-day First Things First class, that they didn't spend half the time trying to sell me a $150 binder. Even though Stephen Covey is literally making everyone pay for his college education over and over, I did get a lot from that day which helps me almost 15 years later. I heard the ones sent to "Seven Habits" got their own binder. I was jealous.

You have to take responsibility for the things that happen in your life. It's amazing how simply doing that changes everything. I ignored the bulk of what I learned in the class for a number of years until one day I had to figure out how to pull myself up by my own bootstraps. (Some of you may recall me talking about an old Magic collection. Well...now you know what happened.) One of my brothers still does not know how to do this, as the world is constantly out to get him. He can't keep a job and is trying to make his own company work, while the rest of us watch to make sure he doesn't screw up his life yet again. And, it's someone else's fault. We were once a lot more alike than we are now.

I have been mostly disinterested in these articles, and this was far from exciting, but he made two excellent points on this topic.

While my post-Roseanne story is not for this column, suffice to say that losing the Roseanne job led to a downward spiral that ended up with me being right back to where I started, possibly even worse off. I walked away from Roseanne learning an important lesson that I believe led directly to my job at Wizards: Reaching your dream cannot be done passively. If you're not striving to make it happen, you are allowing it to not happen.



I want to end today's article by stressing that life is no different. If you aren't where you want to be, stop blaming your fate on everything else. Take a look at yourself and answer the hard question: what am I doing that has led me to be where I am? If you don't like it, take the steps that are necessary to be where you want to be. Yes, not all the factors are under your control, but just as topdecking is improved if you have the right cards in your deck, so too is life if you've taken the time to properly prepare.



Or there is always the quote by Henry Ford:

Whether you think you can or you think you can't, you're usually right.

@Willpell: you appear to be getting more jaded by the day. That's some of your worst work this side of "I hate Spikes, but I'd love to design for Magic." MaRo showed us very clearly how he turned these lessons into his dream job.




What?? I am not sure what you are talking about.... Mark pretty clearly said that we gotta work to reach our goals. It seems you need to re-read it...



Yeah, you can work as hard as you possibly can and still fail, or you can succeed through dumb luck, but mostly the former.  The idea that thinking positively and trying your best are all it takes to succeed, so it must be your fault if you fail because you were too negative or too lazy, is one that I'm thoroughly sick of.


No one is dying from radiation in Japan.



Fine, getting your house washed away by a tsunami in Japan, whatever.  The point is, bad stuff happens to people who don't deserve it, so all the fluffy think-positive crap in the world is nothing but an insult to those who have had their lives destroyed.

My New Phyrexia Writing Credits My M12 Writing Credits
As far as the benefit of the rest of Magic is concerned, gold cards in Legends were executed perfectly. They got all the excitement a designer could hope out of a splashy new mechanic without using up any of the valuable design space. Truly amazing. --Aaron Forsythe's Random Card Comment on Kei Takahashi
The nice thing about the philosophy of "it's your own fault" is that it gets you up and moving rather than sitting around and whining.



Or it makes you feel worthless and not want to ever bother doing anything.  I think that's by far the more common reaction, but it doesn't make for good press so we never hear about it.  Just millions of lives on a downward spiral, unnoticed even by their own neighbors, as they commit slow suicide with booze and television and a thousand other self-medications for the failures they've been taught are their fault.

Blaming the problem on someone else can make you burn with the urge to get revenge - and the best revenge is living well.  So it's at least as likely that you'll succeed through a negative mindset whereas a positive one would have failed.  It probably depends on how your brain works, perhaps a Myers-Briggs comparison would find a link or perhaps it's some as-yet unidentified factor.

Blaming other people will get you nothing except a reputation as a loser.



Which is entirely because other people are judgmental illegitimi.  They should feel compassion and a desire to help the less fortunate...but our dog-eat-dog society has taught them otherwise, so they're just jerks instead, heedless of who they crush under their feet.
My New Phyrexia Writing Credits My M12 Writing Credits
As far as the benefit of the rest of Magic is concerned, gold cards in Legends were executed perfectly. They got all the excitement a designer could hope out of a splashy new mechanic without using up any of the valuable design space. Truly amazing. --Aaron Forsythe's Random Card Comment on Kei Takahashi
Enjoyed the 3 part series. It has helped me reflect on some of my own past learninig experiences. Great job Mark!

Yeah, you can work as hard as you possibly can and still fail, or you can succeed through dumb luck, but mostly the former.  The idea that thinking positively and trying your best are all it takes to succeed, so it must be your fault if you fail because you were too negative or too lazy, is one that I'm thoroughly sick of.


So, what do you propose? Do nothing? Then I hope you enjoy having nothing in life. Maro out and out says there are things outside of your control, but that shouldn't stop you from trying. Really you can either try and maybe fail or do nothing and always fail. And relying on luck is a horrible way to live since you'll end up leaving most things in life outside of your control. 



Fine, getting your house washed away by a tsunami in Japan, whatever.  The point is, bad stuff happens to people who don't deserve it, so all the fluffy think-positive crap in the world is nothing but an insult to those who have had their lives destroyed.


Where the hell are you getting "fluffy-positive crap." He's not saying be positive, he's saying work hard and when you fail learn from your mistakes and try again. Those are nothing alike. Do you think the people in Japan are wallowing in self-pity? Sure, some may be doing that, but most are working to improving the crap hand they've been dealt to make things better.  


Or it makes you feel worthless and not want to ever bother doing anything.  I think that's by far the more common reaction, but it doesn't make for good press so we never hear about it.  Just millions of lives on a downward spiral, unnoticed even by their own neighbors, as they commit slow suicide with booze and television and a thousand other self-medications for the failures they've been taught are their fault.


I'd like to believe people are able to tell the difference between things that are their fault and things they could do nothing about. The important skill here is knowing the difference. 


Blaming the problem on someone else can make you burn with the urge to get revenge - and the best revenge is living well.  


Revenge on who though? Using Japan as the example, who can they blame? God? How about people that have suffered because of the economy? The government? I don't think living well is a good way to get back at either of them. Really, blaming others does nothing to actively improve your situation

Which is entirely because other people are judgmental illegitimi.  They should feel compassion and a desire to help the less fortunate...but our dog-eat-dog society has taught them otherwise, so they're just jerks instead, heedless of who they crush under their feet.


But they don't know why the are blaming others. And how are they crushing them? For all you know they could be in just as bad a place. The simple fact is blaming others, regardless of the reason, is not a good attitude to have.
Overall, this was a pretty interesting piece of writing (all three parts together).  I am glad that I now know about this time in Mark's life.  I didn't really get much out of the lesson structure.  It was nice to break up the story into little digestible parts, but a lot of the lessons felt forced and left me wondering if there weren't a better way to present these stories.

If you don't like where you are in life, there are two things that always apply.  One, you didn't do more to make it better.  Two, outside circumstances didn't make it better for you.  One of those you can influence, and one you can't, so it's more productive to spend your time and energy focused on the first one.


It's a simple practical consideration, not a statement that you didn't work hard enough or that the world isn't out to get you.  The only tool at your disposal is your own effort, so you have to assume that tool matters, and act accordingly.

Thanks to everyone who helped with the design of the plane of Golamo in the Great Designer Search 2!
My Decks
These are the decks I have assembled at the moment:
Tournament Decks (4)
Kicker Aggro (Invasion Block) Sunforger/Izzet Guildmage Midrange (Ravnica/Time Spiral/Xth Standard) Dragonstorm Combo (Time Spiral/Lorwyn/Xth Standard) Bant Midrange (Lorwyn/Shards/M10 Standard)
Casual Multiplayer Decks (50)
Angel Resurrection Casual Soul Sisters Sindbad's Adventures with Djinn of Wishes Sphinx-Bone Wand Buyback Morph (No Instants or Sorceries) Cabal Coffers Control Zombie Aggro Hungry, Hungry Greater Gargadon/War Elemental Flashfires/Boil/Ruination - Boom! Call of the Wild Teysa, Orzhov Scion with Twilight Drover, Sun Titan, and Hivestone Slivers Rebels Cairn Wanderer Knights Only Gold and () Spells Captain Sisay Toolbox Spellweaver Helix Combo Merfolk Wizards Izzet Guildmage/The Unspeakable Arcane Combo Niv-Mizzet, the Firemind and his Wizards Creatureless Wild Research/Reins of Power Madness Creatureless Pyromancer Ascension Anarchist Living Death Anvil of Bogardan Madness Shamen with Goblin Game/Wound Reflection Combo Mass damage Quest for Pure Flame Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle/Clear the Land with 40+ Lands Doubling Season Thallids Juniper Order Ranger Graft/Tokens Elf Archer Druids Equilibrium/Aluren Combo Experiment Kraj Combo Reap Combo False Cure/Kavu Predator Combo Savra, Queen of the Golgari Sacrifice/Dredge Elf Warriors Eight-Post Sneak Attack Where Ancients Tread Zur the Enchanter with Opal creatures Tamanoa/Kavu Predator/Collapsing Borders Esper Aggro Mishra, Artificer Prodigy and his Darksteel Reactor Theft and Control Unearth Aggro Soul's Fire Vampires Devour Tokens Phytohydra with Powerstone Minefield Treefolk Friendly? Questing Phelddagrif Slivers Dragon Arch Fun I'm probably forgetting a few...
For once I agree with willpell
The Head Writer told me to lay low, so I did. In retrospect, though, I made a very big mistake. If I was going to stick around, I needed to make my worth known.



So in other words...Damned if You Do, Damned if You Don't.  No single strategy will guarantee that your chances improve, so you might as well just throw darts at a phone book and hope for the best.


You can almost set your watch by the time it takes Willpell to come into MaRo's thread and wilfully misinterpret something.
Jeff Heikkinen DCI Rules Advisor since Dec 25, 2011
Is there any kind of system where you put people from outside the company under NDA's and let them slap the cards around a bit? Did they miss things like Tarmogoyf and Skullclamp?


I'm almost certain this does not exist. If nothing else, after each set came out there would be civilian Magic players saying "I'm so glad I can talk about this now..."


He doesn't make a big deal of it, I'd imagine for legal reasons and also because it would involve development more than design, but MaRo has mentioned things like this from time to time.
Jeff Heikkinen DCI Rules Advisor since Dec 25, 2011
Interesting read, although MaRo should also read Malcolm Gladwell's excellent book "Outliers" which espouses quite convincingly that success is more circumstance-driven than we like to give it credit for. Viz, perhaps you would have to have been knocked to the rock-bottom to have signed up for such a "dead-end job" when you did, to have become the big muckity-muck you are now when that one-in-a-thousand took off. Dreaming schmeaming.
I can really relate to MaRo's "Runner" story. As a former accounting associate at a multinational accounting firm, we were tasked to do menial tasks as well. Not fun, but like what MaRo says, "When the boss says jump, you ask how high."

Thanks for sharing your Roseanne article and I enjoyed your insight and stories. I must admit, I never watched the show (my parents told us to play outside rather to watch TV when growing up) but when I did, I never thought it was funny, sorry. To me, it was just a loudmouthed annoying fat woman screaming and complaining. (Her annoying laugh during the intro made me turn the channel right-quick).

I may have read 10% of rosewater's articles. While sometimes they may feel formulaic there is almost always a point to them.

I chose to read all 3 of these back to back and it was very informative and more then a little entertaining. ;)

Ultimately whether your a Johnny, Spike or Timmy I think there was more then enough in this triple article to denote it was an excellent read. Anyone can follow a writing formula, but only a few writers can stand out and make their mark.
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