By Bran Astor
One of the best things about being a Culture Czar and Feeder Delegate is getting to know the folks who make up this West Pacific community. In many ways it’s superior to real life and there’s none of that pesky pandemic to worry about. However, lately, I’ve been craving a deeper connection than the routine check-ins concerning governance. To that end the few remaining peons and interns from my tenure were tasked with carefully replicating a set of late night talk show questions found streaming online meant to dig beneath the surface and lay a Westerner’s soul bare. It’s called Questions & Branswers.
First up, Teralyon.
What is the best sandwich?
Pulled Pork Sandwich.
What is one region you really want to purge?
Hard to say, probably one of those large puppet storage's like TNP.
Who's the scariest guardian?
Hands down, Fuentana.
Fuentana? Really? I mean... really?
Look, hear me out! I know out of the current Guardians everybody would pick Bhang Bhang Duc or Fujai, but they're wrong. BBD just cares and wants everyone to succeed and sometimes that requires tough love. Now I ask you this, have you ever seen anyone speak ill of Fuentana? No? Know why? Fear.
Why do you hate former Guardians?
Sir I do not hate any former Guardi.... Wait a minute.. Was this all a ploy for me to say it was you?! Well you dun goofed, you said scariest when you should of said bestest
Apples or oranges?
Definitely apples, much more versatile than an orange.
Because it's the bong you can enjoy with peanut butter?
Well.. Well yea.. I meant more that you can use them to keep cakes fresh or use them to ripen tomatoes but I'm not gonna lie that I've done at least one of those things you've mentioned.. Remember kids! You can enjoy an apple a day in more than one way!
Have you ever asked someone for their autograph?
I've met a bunch of famous people but I can't say I've ever actually gotten or asked for an autograph.
What do you think happens when we CTE?
I've heard imaginary Canadians can't really CTE so I might be safe, but just in case that's not true, I'm going to say we join the big op in the sky and raid evil wherever it shows up.
Favorite action hero?
The Savior of Christmas, John Mcclane.
Do you have a favorite smell?
Yes. Hard to explain, mix of sea air and lavender.
Do you have a least favorite smell?
The washrooms in some underground mines are some of the worst smells imaginable.
Pineapple: Does it pizza?
Pineapples are a gateway drug to Swedish banana curry kebab pizzas.
Flat or sparkling?
Sparkling. I'm classy like that.
Most used app on your phone?
Spotify apparently, though Discord is right behind it.
You get one never-ending pasta bowl for the rest of your life, what is it?
Fettuccine with Traditional Meat Sauce and crispy Chicken Fritta.
What number am I thinking of?
I can neither confirm nor deny the use of any sort of magic or magical artifacts. All I can say at this time is Polaris4Lyfe.
Describe your TWP experience in seventeen syllables.
Some of the best people
I have met are from TWP
Never a dull moment.
There we have it. Now you know Teralyon.
In order to build even deeper relationships and start 2021 with fun activities, the West Pacific had interregional events with some of its close allies.
The flags of the West Pacific and Europeia.
The first of those events was a Region of the Week festival with Europeia, owing to the long-standing Treaty of Friendship between the two regions, signed under then-Delegate of the West Elegarth and then-Europeian President Trinnien. The idea was first suggested by Giovanniland, and then Europeian government members such as President Pichtonia and Minister of Foreign Affairs Jermeny greatly helped with planning and coordination. This type of event has been hosted by Europeia several times, in which an allied region is invited to have fun and increase relations for a week.
The festivities happened on a Discord server and started on January 7 with a "get to know you" voice chat, for residents from both regions to introduce themselves and talk about various topics. Daily polls were also created by Lime82 (Europeian Minister of Culture) and Jermeny, ranging from common themes—such as favorite color—to unusual questions, for example whether one would eat spiders to gain supernatural powers for a certain time.
On the following days, several games were hosted by Baobab-bumbaria, Giovanniland and Rotasu. Examples of games played during the event are Among Us, Board Game Online, Skribbl.io, Secret Hitler, Trivia, and Uno, whose sessions sometimes lasted for hours. Furthermore, people could also play with the Pokémon and Taco Shack bots on a dedicated Discord channel. Last but not least, a tag raid was organized on the final day of event with participation from TWPAF pirates and ERN (Europeian Republican Navy) sailors. This concluded a week of fun with one of our treatied allies, with the hope that more events with Europeia will be held in the future!
The Magna Hearta's logo, used as flag for both the region and the founder nation.
The other major interregional event happened in the end of January. Called The Magna Hearta, this event was held together with our The Pacific and Balder allies, and was unique in regard to the fact it all happened within NationStates. The major driving force behind the planning was Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Varanius, who coordinated with the Pacifican and Balderan governments to make the event happen.
The password was lifted and the event officially started January 25th. The first day was filled with puns, and there was Norway one could miss it because the puns were all Nordic-themed. Once the day Finnished, there was also a twist—a nation would be banned from the region for having the worst ranking on a random stat—and the first one was Authoritarian Giovanniland for the Rudeness stat. In the second day, the participants posted haikus about the theme "Order," in the hopes that order would be maintained and they would not be banned at least on that day.
The following days saw two AMAs, first with Delegate of the West Dilber and then with King of Balder North East Somerset (NES). Questions ranged from NationStates history and community themes to other non-NS topics (all questions and answers can be seen in The Magna Hearta's regional message board). There were some similarities between each AMAs, such as the answers about the most interesting or favorite part of the game — in which both answered the community. More shockingly, when asked about their opinion on pineapple pizza, both Dilber and NES expressed their support for this controversial food.
Last but not least, a Karaoke Friday was held in which participants posted pirate-themed songs. After the event finished, the few lucky people still not hit by the banhammer were now removed from the region, and a password was imposed again to preserve the message board. In the end, it was surely a fun event with our friends at NPO and Balder, which saw the building of deeper relations between all regions. Overall, it was an eventful month for TWPers who took part in these events! More interregional festivals will come soon, therefore stay tuned for announcements.
By Fhaengshia, United Adaikes, and Fuentana, Poet Laureate of Haiku
New year, new haiku, same snark and beauty.
The Haiku Review is excited to share our selections for January’s favorites. We have each picked several favorites and offered short commentary on them. We hope you’ll also enjoy the wisdom, wit, and wonder conveyed in these combos of 17 syllables.
Comment: A picture is worth a thousand words, far too many to fit in a haiku. Yet Teralyon shows us exactly the reasoning behind our frequent trebuchet fireworks shows. That and it paints a pretty picture in the regional happenings feed.
Bhang Bhang Duc’s haikus have managed multiple entries this month. Whether capturing mischief or the mundane, the master of snark regularly makes us smile with mirth.
Haiku are structured around a rule mandating their syllables. Like other forms of creative writing, haiku can benefit from breaking the rules now and then. Most notably in the West, this was seen with a celebration of the hukai, a Tao the watcher creative innovation, but Fujai’s haiku here shows no theme is necessary to structure a scenic haiku outside the regular bounds.
Comment: Though we generally like the different days of activity in TWP, we at the Haiku Review duly agree!
Comment: After a month of honoring TAO, we all can be The Watcher (you can be acutely obtuse if you want, or obtusely acute) in our own little ways (that is for you to find out how). And what is there to life that is not an adventure? (And why do we only celebrate life on certain days when we can celebrate it every day?)
Comment: All day, every day, baby! All day, every day bad days for spammers, and all day, every day strong TWP!
For my selection, I chose humorous haiku.
Bhang Bhang Duc’s haiku about Welsh weather was saturated with a sense of frustration, but damp and dreary days are par for the course in the United Kingdom. As the saying goes, when it rains, it pours. I often imagine what Earth Wind and Fire would have written if they originated in the UK. “Never wasn’t a cloudy day” is not so uplifting, I guess.
I loved Wellington Bingbong’s funny take on an experience many a foodie has had: thwarted plans to cook something because a key ingredient was missing. No wonder we privilege the “meat” of the argument. Without it, the spices have nothing to do.
Finally, I got a chuckle out of the beautiful and ironic insight of Demonos. Like a bat out of hell, Demonos proclaims woe to the faithless when it comes to love. Could tormented souls shed light? Indeed they can. (This is also as close to hell as I’d like to get).
We continue to honor our favorites, and look forward to more great, zany, silly haiku. If it gives you any motivation, write a memorable haiku and it will be enshrined forever in our growing volume of the West’s best poetry.
Want to get more involved? Contact any of the authors to join our work as members of The West Pacific Fine Arts Society, a branch of The West Pacific Cultural Trust.
By Gryphonian Alliance
TWP kicked off the new year with its snarkiest, brightest, spiciest puns as part of our weekly tradition of Punday Monday. Here are some of the winning selections from the month of January.
Leche is just Spanish milk that doesn’t know how to say cheese in French.
(And I bet the students lost domestic interest coming home after that stinky econ class!)
I would traffick my thesaurus to you, but I meditate that mine isn’t much better.
Do hurricanes always hit Florida because all the old people can’t run away?
And my personal favorite:
(While I’m not quite sure how this kangaroo got ahold of a computer or why he decided to settle in TWP, his pun-making skills wallaby appreciated by all.)
Congratulations to all the Punday winners for this month. Join us on the RMB every Monday for more clever puns!
In a game all about nations, flags are a pretty big deal. Along with your nation’s name and pretitle, your flag is the first thing someone sees of it. Because of that, it’s important that it’s designed well, so this month, we’ll go through an inexhaustive list of some tips for what makes a Good Flag™.
Don’t use eye-hurting colors
On screens, colors are created by showing different amounts of red, green and blue (RGB). When a color has too much of one or more of red, green or blue, the color can look rather harsh. Because some programs (e.g. MS Paint) have these very pure colors in their default palette, some beginners use them in their flags. To fix this, all you have to do is fiddle with the color until it’s easier on the eyes, as in the example below:
Watch how many colors you’re using
The general rule of thumb is to use 3 or fewer colors, with 4 as a max, to make your flag less busy. However, some flags go against this guideline, such as South Africa and the Aymara Wiphala, so just be careful.
Make sure your colors go well together
The heraldic rule of tincture says “some colors don’t like to sit next to each other, so make sure they never touch.” There’s truth in this, but the heraldists go a bit too hard with it, in my opinion. I generally wouldn’t put red and green next to each other, but sometimes it works. Take a look at other flags and see how they use colors.
Use more pink and purple
That’s it, that’s the tip.
Post-publishing addition from Aluminum Oxynitride Check your contrast in greyscale
Put your flag in greyscale to see how well your colors contrast with each other. Very slight changes in the RGB values can make a huge difference in making your flag more visually appealing.
Less is more
As in many things, less is more. For the extreme, see: Switzerland, Palau, Japan, etc. On the other hand, high detail can look incredible too, see: Iran, Kazakhstan, Belarus, etc.
Maps on flags aren’t Cool
Please just don’t do it, I’m begging you.
Sometimes it can look alright (e.g. Kosovo), but it depends more on the shape of the country than anything else, so it’s best to just not.
Don’t make a seal on a bedsheet
The flags of US states are the biggest offenders here, but many other countries’ states and provinces do the same. The issue here is that they generally don’t look good and there’s no creativity involved.
Don’t use clip art and don't make a flag that looks like clip art
Seriously, it just doesn’t look good. See the flags of Liberian counties for examples.
Colonial flags aren’t as cool as you think they are
There are hundreds, if not thousands, of nations on NS who use some variation of the British Blue Ensign, with a union jack in the canton and a seal on the fly, and they all look exactly the same as each other at first glance.
Tricolors aren’t evil
Some people don’t like tricolors, but I think they look neat, especially with fun colors.
There are better ways of incorporating coats of arms without just slapping them on a flag
Recuecn introduced me to a publication called “Translating Coats-of-Arms and Emblems into Flags” by Marcel van Westerhoven of the North American Vexillological Association, and I highly recommend giving it a read.
Do something different! Be bold! Be creative! The sky is the limit, so you shouldn’t let yourself be constrained by convention (beyond tips for making things better)
The Western Post Staff - Delegate-in-Editor-in-Chief: Dilber Editors: Fuentana, Fujai, Giovanniland – Staff: Aluminum Oxynitride, Bran Astor, Fhaengshia, Gryphonian Alliance, Nieubasria, Overthinkers, Podium, Recuecn, Teralyon, United Adaikes, and YOU
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