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by The Impeccably Arranged Snark of The West Pacific Master Dispatch. . 413 reads.

The Western Post - August 2021

Announcements!

  • Our Regional Commendation of Westwind has passed, but you can participate in the process of choosing the next nominee to be regionally commended! Get involved in the drafting by joining the Hall of Nations Linkhere.

  • The Security Council commendation proposal of our former delegate The Holy Principality of Saint Mark has been submitted. If you are a foreign delegate, feel free to approve the proposal so it reaches the queue; otherwise wait until it is voted by all nations so you can vote in favor!

  • Be sure to participate in the LinkEkklesia Festival, an event hosted by TWP together with the region of Catholic to celebrate our recent friendship. This event will run from August 6th to August 7th, with activities such as trivia, bingo, virtual carnival games, and a Q&A about the Catholic faith and culture, so don't miss it!

  • Next weekend (August 14th), you can set sail with us for The Launch Show™️ live on The West on The Waves, TWP's brand new radio channel. The Launch Show, hosted by Wymondham and featuring a range of guests, will kickstart a schedule featuring shows hosted by the likes of Blue Bubble, Zoran and Wym. Further details will be announced on our LinkDiscord Server shortly!

WAR Update
By Aluminum Oxynitride, Deputy Minister of World Assembly Recruitment

July was a busy month for World Assembly Recruitment (WAR). As part of the Casserole of Humanity, the Really Weird House Cup was set up as a WA engagement drive for new nations to join and endorse our Delegate; Overthinkers was promoted to Guardian and Minister of Writing’ Things; and Bobki resigned as Deputy WAR Minister, leading to Aluminum Oxynitride’s promotion. We are excited to see what we can accomplish working alongside OT.

WA membership has been dropping across NationStates and every region is seeing a decrease in endorsements. But your eyes can deceive you; don’t trust them. Due to non-WA nations moving out or CTEing, the percentage of nations endorsing Dilber has remained constant. Finally, be on the lookout for a project from the UTWP students!

Card Club Update
By Giovanniland, Card Czar of the West

Welcome to another Card Club Update! It's a small update for this month, but still very important.

Firstly, just like in previous months, Punday Monday card rewards were announced after the last winning pun of the month was chosen by our Delegate. Three of our regional residents and one foreign visitor received legendary cards, including one Season 1 copy of Koffee. If you want to try your luck and get some cards, the key is to participate in upcoming Punday Mondays! Your pun will be added to our Big Book of Puns and you will win a legendary card if Dilber chooses it as the winner.

Secondly, the Card Club is proud to announce our Happiness Card Contest! It's a collection contest with a legendary card prize, part of our Happiness Happens month activities. Of course, the thread to submit collection entries is located in Linkour special subforum, which might require a registered account on the West Pacifican forums in order to access. These are all the major card-related news in TWP for now, but stay tuned for more announcement and another update in the next edition of the Western Post!

Blue's Reviews: The Simon Snow Trilogy
By Blue Bubble

I was a real book nerd in High School. Okay, I am still one, but I like to think younger me would love that I have gone from reading Young Adult novels to... LGBTQIA+ Young Adult novels. In my defence, I do also love modern classic dystopian fiction too. Either way, one of the novels which set me on this path was Carry On, the first novel of The Simon Snow Trilogy by Rainbow Rowell. One thing to note about this book is that if you were around for the release of this book, it wouldn't be the first time you had had a brush with this fictional universe.

Go back to 2013, and Rainbow had published a book called "Fangirl", about an awkward book nerd going to university and learning to cope with the change in her world. A major point of this book was that she was a ‘fangirl’ for a set of books about a young magician called Simon Snow and was trying to finish her fanfiction (called "Carry On, Simon") before the release of the 8th and final book in the series.

You see where I am going with this. Rainbow has said Carry On (the real book) is not the fanfiction from Fangirl, but the novel is considered a spinoff of Fangirl. It is also considered a parody of Harry Potter, but without the yikes, and J.K. Rowling (she is not a vibe), and with actual gay characters. Not ones just mentioned on Twitter, they actually are stated gay in the first book!

Now, this is a trilogy, but with the first book, Carry On, you can sense the "this will be a one-off novel" vibe from the ending. Now writing a queer version of Harry Potter, I can understand why this is a thing, as it was released in 2015. Which is why I understand the sudden change of scenery in the second novel, Wayward Son, where the gang head off to America on a road trip. This second novel opens up more for the final novel to wrap up, and honestly, I am unsure that Any Way The Wind Blows completes that quest. I do think that it was a big thing to do within one novel without opening more plots and scrambling to resolve them at the end, so Rainbow instead ignores them, and mainly focuses on the relationship aspect of the resolving, with weaker plots to keep the story moving.

Don’t get me wrong, I finished this final book within a couple of hours, and absolutely loved it. It was everything I could ask for considering I cannot remember the ending plots from the second book, but for a reader who is going straight from one to the other, I truly believe another book is good to just wrap things up in the universe. I think this happened because of 2 things: Rainbow doesn’t normally do book series, and Carry On was designed to be a stand-alone book.

I love this book series, as there is a lot of things brilliant about it, there are queer relationships, a twist to the ‘chosen one’ story line, a clear universe where there are class divides which you can direct into politics, and a unique way of magic - where the user uses common turns of phrase like catchphrases, songs, and phrases like “Head over heels”. Rainbow creates an amazing world, with a lot of space to do things, but then doesn't do anything with it because the characters are not bothered by it. If you want to read a good queer novel or two, I recommend skipping the middle book as you will get the idea of what has happened in the final book anyway.

TWP's Famous Landmarks, Major Cities To Go Into Hiding After Ominous Music Starts Playing
By Roland Bay of Podium

In a coordinated press statement conducted by Polaran, Andolian, and Auran diplomats just moments ago, it was confirmed that the landmarks, cities, and geography of the West Pacific were in the process of being secured through removal and obfuscation in direct response to the foreboding music which, since its sudden appearance less than half an hour ago, has been steadily increasing in intensity as some unseen disaster likely readies itself to strike. “Plans to preserve and protect our most recognisable locations have been in place ever since 2012—the movie, mind you, not the year—and that preparation has now allowed us to act decisively and efficiently,” noted Saint Mark Secretary of State Antony Winken as he made sure his fingers were still entwined with one another. “Had we not anticipated a slow-building orchestral score coming from nowhere in particular as a sign of impending doom all those years ago, I suspect we would now be in a much worse place in terms of getting these places to safety in time.”

While some landmarks were seemingly easy enough to hide away (such as the flattening of the Fontaine Tower achieved with an ACME-brand anvil, or the strategic placement of wild bicycle herds throughout Clarendon), the very official nature of the statement has meant those still in the process of being, and even yet to be, secured are now under intense public scrutiny, especially by those living in close proximity to them. “I’m, like, not even 10 minutes away from hashtag-bigred over there,” complains cyber-pervasive vegan mocha micro-brewery owner and Spring City native Atticus Ruby Silas Eloise, “and my hashtag-goodvibes would so totally be killed if I were too, so the fact I can still see it in the background of my post-meta-ironic polaroids is very problematic and needs changing, periodt. Hashtag-notmyapocalypse.”

Perhaps most controversially of all, the nations of Doll Guldur have openly communicated their intention to simply allow whatever disaster is coming free passage through their cities, claiming that “the complete and utter annihilation of our largest metropolitan areas would likely have a net positive effect on the economy”. In order to prevent a premature beginning to the catastrophe, citizens across the West Pacific have been advised to panic as much as they physically can, since advising the opposite is almost always ironically timed, and therefore all but guarantees the appearance of some horrifying WHAT THE HELL IS THAT WH


Roleplay in the West: a Spotlight
By Zoran

The roleplay (RP) community in the West is more than just the occasional RP Sports event that have been covered in previous editions of the Western Post. Storylines, artwork, news articles, and factbooks are made by community members very often and in this edition of the Western Post we will look at some of the things that our RP members have done.

The Arifiyyah Royal Wedding Ceremony

Let’s start with a short but sweet event thread made by Arifiyyah. The Arifiyyan Sultan, Arif Nazhim Shah ibni Almarhum, is getting married to his future queen, Isabella Nur Hudson. The event was attended by several heads of state and delegations from various countries. The event was written in the form of a news broadcast describing what was occurring at the ceremony and detailing exchanges between certain attendants. It details a tentative with the approximate times at which certain events will occur and there was collaboration with other members in some of the posts in the thread. It is a creative event and I encourage you to give it a read Linkhere.

Demographic Map of Fujai

Fujai is one of the Cartographers that works on the roleplay map, besides also being a RP Loremaster and former Minister of Cultural Affairs, and he has recently created a population density map for his nation. It has been a long running joke that there are hardly any people in Fujai due to how low their population density is—but they recently created a population density map that shows where all the rare Fujansk are located.

As the map shows, a lot of the Fujansk are located in Keiserholde, off the mainland of Polaris, with most of the population concentrated in the northeastern part of their country. The main reason for this our community’s favorite landmine enthusiast Dalimbar. Dalimbar sees the land of the Fujansk as theirs and they have launched several wars in the past to take land from the Fujansk, many of which have been successful. For that reason, Tara and Cambray (Cambria, aka Bran Astor) has fought alongside the Fujansk against the Dalimbari, being their protector to this day. With that lore dump out of the way, the map itself is extremely detailed and well made. I particularly liked the color scheme of it as well as how the data was presented. This shows how time and practice can result in work like this, even if you don’t consider yourself artistically talented you can make work like this if you practice, something which is encouraged by many members in the RP community.

Giovannilandian 1421 Chess Tournament

For those who aren’t part of the roleplay community, you might think that this event is taking place in the past, but this is not the case. In West Pacifican roleplay, the years don’t revolve around the birth of Christ like in the real world, due to the fact real world religions don’t exist (though there are religions based on real world religions). Instead, the years revolve around the founding of The Holy Principality of Saint Mark. In order to get the RP equivalent of a certain real life year, you take that year and subtract 600 from it to get the RP year. So the year of 1421 is the RP equivalent of 2021—but with that out of the way, let’s take a look at Giovanniland’s chess tournament.

The way the chess tournament roleplay was done is similar to what is done with the major RP sports events. Every three days or so, Gio would post the results of the chess games that took place and would follow some commentary on the results of the matches. To go along with the commentary, Gio has also made some great logos and designs for the tournament. If you wish to read the thread and take a look at these designs you can read it on the Linkforum.

Introducing the new Leader of Blue Bubble

Blue Bubble has been an upcoming newcomer to the region and the RP scene. This thread is presented through an interesting second person perspective, where you and the reader are actively reading through a magazine in a doctor’s waiting room in Blue Bubble. It is an interesting and yet creative way of narrating what is presented in the thread. The magazine in question covers an interview with Blue Bubble’s newly elected president, where she is asked questions about the election and how they will approach certain events. But this is more than just a transcript, as Blue has gone as far as to actually design the pages of the magazine themselves!


The cover and interview pages respectively. Full versions available here: Linkcover and Linkinterview.

While the artwork of the town on the second page is not made by them, the colors and the design of the magazine is great and it stands out among other roleplay posts. This is an example of how members use artistic talents in their roleplay and how story and artistic design can mix together in a RP setting.

The Blue Falcon Pact (with some analysis)

Nation roleplay would be lacking if it didn’t include some politics. Larxia and Blue Bubble have recently signed an agreement to promote cooperation between the two nations. The specifics of the agreements can be found Linkin a forum thread but let’s take a look at what it covers.

The document is primarily economic, with a trade oriented nature. It ensures free trade between the two countries and holds both parties accountable for ensuring that this trade remains open and to support each other in economic development. In Article III, there is also the acceptance of each other’s currencies, but this will be to the benefit of Blue Bubble as Larxian dollars are more valuable than Blue Bubble blues (for reference, $1 international dollar = 0.53 Larxian dollars = 8.70 Blue Bubble blues). The circulation of a more valuable currency in Blue Bubble will allow for further economic development and the potential domination of cheaper Blue Bubble goods in Larxia due to the lower value of Blue Bubble blues. While Larxia will be getting cheaper goods, this could hurt local Larxian industries in certain sectors in the long run.

The other focus that the document has is on industrial research. The two nations have agreed to share research with each other in specific fields, something which could help the two nations economically in the long run. This is further expanded upon with the clause that permits citizens from both nations to attend each other’s universities and for professors to promote research in each other’s universities. The ultimate goal of this is to eventually develop an international organization that promotes research among all nations, a goal Larxia is hoping to achieve.

The final aspect of this agreement is cultural and travel related. The agreement talks about the opening of embassies and consulates between the two countries as well as permitting visa-free travel of citizens between their countries. Blue Bubble has only started to open up to the international community fairly recently so this would be a big step for Blue Bubble, but this could also start some xenophobia in the country. To reduce the impact of this, there is a clause that promotes cultural exchange and understanding between the citizens of each country through the education of each other’s cultures in universities in both countries. The effects of this will be seen in the future.

War Looms over Andolia (Project New Dawn)

Speaking of Larxia, they have been working towards starting a war arc in their nation’s storyline. They aren’t going to war with another member on the map but in one of the unclaimed areas on the map. Unclaimed areas aren’t uninhabited, they are the opposite. There are nations and peoples in those areas that just aren’t shown on the map. That is the in character explanation for the blank areas and Larxia is planning on expanding their territory to reclaim land that used to belong to their country in the past when they were an empire. The thread Linkcan be found here, and so far it is up to an interesting build up. In order for someone to expand on the map, they must have an extremely well detailed RP story that goes above and beyond. Expansions are not given easily, so Larxia has a large task ahead of them, but they have the opportunity to create a great storyline. Their country has recently abolished their democracy in a step taken by their king to rebuild the Larxian Empire—all power has been transferred to the King, who has the aspirations to bring Larxia back to its former glory. I would say more, but it would just spoil what has happened so far. I highly recommend reading the thread and to keep up with the story as it is a good example of the writing talents of people in the RP community.

Factbook of The Kingdom of Giovanniland

Factbooks can be time consuming but when someone puts the time and effort into it, they can be well detailed and written. Giovanniland is an example of this effort. Gio has spent weeks (maybe months) working away on updating their factbook and their work has paid off. You can find the factbook in NS under their factbook section or by going to the Linkoff-site forum. The factbook covers the long history of their country from being an empire to who they are now as well as covering their politics and government. They also cover the various districts in the country, their economy, infrastructure, political parties, demographics, etc. They created an entire factbook that covers everything that could be found in a real life factbook on a country. Their efforts are applauded and stand as an example of what any member can achieve with time and dedication.

Want to join the fun?

If you want to join our regional roleplay, then read the TWP Roleplay Dispatch for more information on our RP and how to join the map. Also consider becoming an active member in the community by joining the Linkmain discord server and our LinkRP server, we hope to see you there!

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The Consolations of Philosophy: Making Happiness Happen With the Mind

By Fuentana, Poet Laureate of Haiku

Human life is about happiness, and yet happiness often feels elusive. This appears to be why Western education trains college students to turn to philosophers—a great irony, since the study of philosophy seems to be more a matter of suffering than happiness. It takes philosophers an awful long time to clarify what happiness is and what it isn’t. One takes the rather unhappy journey of figuring out the words “metaphysics,” “ontology,” “teleology,” and the ever terrifying word “hermeneutics,” and thousands of pages later, many a philosophy student will simply find oneself perplexed—or at least doubting whether they exist, if not doubting what all the hubbub is about philosophy.

That’s often how things go until you finally make it past Descartes and Kant and arrive at the “sexier” philosophers that make it easy to slam dunk others in conversation. (Spinoza was always great for posterizing other students in class, but if you really want to show you might belong, try Wittgenstein—it’s all language games anyway). Some happiness, then, may be attained through the utility of refutation and suspicion.

There is still another stage that is available to the philosophy student who finally understands the first twenty words of any given book. In pre-COVID urban settings, many a philosophy student will find happiness by purchasing a fresh copy of some late modern or contemporary philosophical classic and staking out a spot in a coffee shop somewhere in the East Village, or perhaps in Le Jardin des Tuileries. There, you will find one such student dressed fashionably, sipping a cortado, and trying to figure out the next twenty words of that given philosophy work. How do I know this? I’ve tried it (usually in New York, occasionally in Paris)—except that I always showered in the morning and can’t wear skinny jeans. Eventually, others will notice, and voila! Friendship, happiness!

There is yet another stage, proper to the advanced major or early-stage graduate student. These students probably understand one chapter of the work, and will pick up other books in contemporary continental philosophy and critical theory—probably for the sake of attraction. The insane thing is that sometimes it works. Even former President Obama mentioned that Linkhe tried to pick up girls by impressing them with his college reading. (But if you’re trying to impress me, I’m spoken for, and no amount of Derrida, Arendt, Butler, Althusser, or Habermas can get me to change my mind).

But in fact, there is the possibility of the “eureka!” experience that releases joy in the face of perplexity, or the wisdom that points to happiness in some lasting mode. And so in this column I want to share a little bit about some philosophers of happy memory. (Imagine that: philosophers that I associate with happiness). This is hardly an exhaustive list, but I didn’t want to exhaust you, dear readers. Like Derrida, they don’t always speak in paradoxes, but when they do, they don’t. Actually the ones I like usually don’t, but they might describe paradoxes.

Aristotle

Happiness, virtue, friendship—that’s all you need to know. Reading the Nicomachean Ethics was a great moment for me in philosophy class because it was finally something engaging and convincing and fairly clear. Sorry, Plato! (P.S., the opposition people usually narrate between Plato and Aristotle can be a bit overblown). Bonus points to Aristotle for some awesome writings explaining how poetry works, but I’m still not sure what Aristotle was up to in De Anima. Then again, who makes college freshmen read De Anima?

Thomas Aquinas

Aquinas was a big figure. (No really, he was apparently quite large). What I love about his intellect is that he was a generous and synthetic mind. A close reading of the Summa Theologica would show that Aquinas was not into slam dunking. He took the best differing opinions seriously, generously quoted from lots of people ranging from Aristotle (especially on virtue) to Boethius to Averroes/Ibn Rushd and Avicenna/Ibn Sina, and remained attentive to the fact that in the end, it is all about mystery: one can know that God is, but not what God is. There’s happiness in knowing, for the Christian philosophical mind, that faith is not about certainty but encountering mystery.

Immanuel Kant

Actually, I have no content of Kant’s that makes me happy, but I guess I can be satisfied with the goal of the categorical imperative of securing a moral disposition. That doesn’t take away the pain of having to read Religion Within The Limits of Reason Alone a dozen times and hating every single moment of it. But here’s how Kant brings me happiness: Linkat least Immanuel tried, and this apt Linkrejected book title.

Paul Ricoeur

A pro at explaining the dreaded word “hermeneutics,” Ricoeur in reality has some wonderfully clear and evocative things to say about the happiness that comes from justice. Ethics, for Ricoeur, is “aiming at the good life for and with others in just institutions.” Ricoeur builds on lots of philosophers to show that friendship is a site for justice with the “other” that I can see, and that creating just institutions ensures the rights of the “others” that I cannot see. This is a wise formulation from a wise and careful philosopher. Another one I like is Ricoeur's observation that "love proceeds by poetic amplification." Ricoeur argues that justice is like prose: it depends on establishing sound rules to enable speech and writing. We need rules. But for love, you need the imagination that comes from poetry, from drama, from literature. These have the effect of opening up a different world and different possibilities of acting. I can pursue true happiness by thinking about the other and drawing from the art of storytelling. Plus: Ricoeur is a happy philosophical read because he is so clear.

Hannah Arendt

Arendt is somewhat underappreciated. A Jewish thinker from Germany who fled during the rise of Hitler, Arendt was an impactful thinker in the aftermath of World War II. Her commentary on Adolf Eichmann’s trial in Jerusalem is a must-read. She wrote evocatively that “Evil comes from a failure to think.” Moreover, in hindsight it is easy for us to see Eichmann for what he was, but Arendt pointed out that he wasn’t singular: there were many like him who seemed normal. Like many thinkers responding to the catastrophe of the Holocaust, Arendt accents how evil became so normalized that no one thought twice about it in Germany. This concept of the “banality” of evil is a harrowing insight to remember. We need to be on guard against it. You might wonder—how does this bring happiness? Well, it helps one guard against what happiness is not and should never be, and it should mobilize a person to the authentic happiness that many philosophers name.

Happiness is not just feeling nice, it is about what Aristotle called eudaimonia which we usually translate as flourishing. That flourishing takes place through character and virtue, and never just in isolation but in the context of friendship and the good of a city or community. Philosophy at its best asks critical questions, makes you think and wonder, and helps you safeguard against bad thinking. Bad thinking has consequences. If there is any real consolation to philosophy, it is that it points to the human drive to know what is right, what is true, what is wise, what is just, what is beautiful, and to banject all that stands in opposition to it.

P.S., if you really want some philosophy humor, check out the ever classic LinkMonty Python Philosophy Soccer Football skit, LinkExistential Comics, and Linkfollow Philosophy Matters on Twitter!

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Spades, chess, casseroles, oh my!
By Giovanniland

The month of July 2021 was certainly busy if one thinks about all the regional events that happened in the West Pacific. Besides our usual Today in the West posts that take place in our Regional Message Board and the activities that come out of those, some of our regional residents also went out of their way to plan some special events and tournaments throughout the month, so that people could know about the region and its residents better or just have a bit of fun between tiring real life duties. These events were open to both residents and foreign visitors, and will be nicely resumed by this article in a few paragraphs for all of our readers to enjoy.

The first event of the month was a Trivia session together with our friends from the United Regions Alliance (URA). For some context, TWP and the URA recently signed two Memoranda of Understanding regarding World Assembly and Cultural affairs, with the latter of them encouraging events such as festivals and game nights to be held. Therefore, this Trivia session happened on the 7th of July and featured several residents from both TWP and the URA answering questions about various themes. West Pacificans who participated included Aluminum Oxynitride, Bobki, our Delegate Dilber, Fuentana, and Overthinkers; while the URA side featured residents from several of their member regions, for example URA Founder Ellenburg, Quinceria, Scalizagasti, and Vilverin. It was a nice event overall, and we in the West Pacific hope that our alliance with the URA continues for a long time, hopefully with many more cultural events to come.

Two days later, the first TWP Spades Tournament took place, organized by Aluminum Oxynitride (ALON). Three other residents besides ALON participated—Altino, Giovanniland, and United Adaikes—and the tournament was thus decided in three games of two people against the other two, with the pairs switching once a game ended. LinkSpades is a trick-taking card game, in which a trick is an unit of play where each player attempts choosing the highest card among all cards played for that trick (an ace being the highest card and two being the lowest). There's a twist that marks this specific card game—any card of spades overrides all other suits, with the decision then coming to the highest card of spades in that trick—however, cards of suits different from that of the initial card played in a trick are only allowed if the player has no remaining cards of that suit.

In Spades, the full deck of 52 cards is divided equally between all players so that an equal number of tricks can occur in each hand, so in this case each player received 13 cards. Each player then bids the number of tricks they expect to win, with the end goal of meeting this exact number, since this results in a bonus of ten times the successful bid. Failing to complete a bid deduces in a penalty of points equaling ten times the failed bid, while winning more bids than predicted does award the successful bid amount of points but also generates bags, which result in penalty of 100 points once 10 bags are accumulated. There is also an option of bidding zero (nil), which results in a bonus of 100 points if fulfilled, or a penalty of 100 points if the bidder fails to not win any trick. Points are then noted down at the end of each hand, with the three games of this tournament having eight hands each.

The tournament started at 8 PM EST (UTC-4) of July 9th. The first game happened with Altino & Giovanniland on one side, and Aluminum Oxynitride & United Adaikes (UA) on the other. After some initial mistakes by the Altino & Gio team in the first hands, they almost managed a comeback, but eventually fell just short of winning that round, with ALON & UA taking the win instead. The second game saw Altino & UA win against ALON & Gio, while on the last game, ALON's several successful nil bids led them and Altino to win against Gio & UA. The final scores per player were then calculated by ALON, with each player receiving 50% of the positive score achieved by their team on each round, and 50 points per successful nil bid. The scores were ALON with 940 points (640 + 6 nil bids), Altino with 715 points (665 + 1 nil bid), UA with 420 points, and Gio with 405 points (355 + 1 nil bid). All competitors then received participation medals, while the winner was also awarded a fancy 1st place medal, both designed by ALON and shown below.


The participation and 1st place medals respectively.

Later in the month, a tournament of LinkUltimate Tic-Tac-Toe took place on the 18th of July—this game is a special version of the commonly known Tic-Tac-Toe, in which each of the larger grid's nine squares also contains a smaller grid of nine squares. The gameplay involves the two players marking boxes within the smaller grids, aiming to win those grids just like in the normal version. This is because if they get three in a row in the smaller grid, they win that box of the larger grid, so that in the end one must win several of the smaller grids to get three in a row in the larger grid and win the game. The catch, however, is that one doesn't get to pick which of the nine boards to play on—it’s determined by the opponent’s previous move. The square of the smaller grid that was marked by the opponent determines the box of the larger grid one must play in next, in order to make the game more interesting. But once a smaller grid is won by a player or filled completely, no more moves may be played in that grid, so if one is sent to such a grid, they may play anywhere else that has not also been won.

The tournament was played in a round-robin format, in which every competitor played exactly one game of Ultimate Tic-Tac-Toe against every other. It was organized by Blue Bubble, with the participation of Giovanniland, Ecornia (Qostaoyae) and Westime (PineMelon). Furthermore, Arifiyyah had also expressed interest to join, but was unable to participate, so each contestant had to play three games. In the end, Giovanniland earned first place in the tournament after winning all games. Blue Bubble came in second, with two wins and one defeat, while PineMelon achieved third place after winning once and losing twice, and Qostaoyae came in last since they did not manage to win any match.

Meanwhile, during the same week, there was also a Chess Tournament organized by Fuentana on the 20th July and hosted on Lichess. Open to both residents and our friends from other allied regions, it included a two-hour standard chess tournament starting 2 PM EST, an one-hour atomic chess tournament starting 4 PM EST, and correspondence chess games that are still going on as I write, due to their nature of having at least one day for each move (we chose exactly one day to make it a bit faster). I am sure everyone knows what standard chess is, but as for atomic, it's a variant in which any captures result in an "explosion", through which all surrounding white and black pieces other than pawns are removed from play, and there is an additional way of winning the game other than checkmate, which is to explode the enemy king by capturing a nearby piece.

The standard chess tournament featured the participation of seven people. Fhaengshia, Fuentana and Giovanniland were the TWP residents participating, while Ghad (Peter) and Levont (Lev) came from our treatied allies Karma, and Panagouge and Quinceria joined as visitors. Fuentana led the tournament ranking early on, starting with a powerful win streak of seven that earned them 24 points. However, the rising Giovanniland soon achieved second place and then beat Fuent in a close match, ending Fuent's win streak and starting their own. This allowed Gio to take first place for the remainder of the tournament, finishing with 43 points compared to Fuent's 32, although their win rates were pretty similar: 72% versus 71%. Panagouge (3rd), Quinceria (4th) and Peter (5th) had close point amounts at the end, with 20, 17, 16 respectively, while Fhaengshia and Lev joined later in the tournament and thus were only able to score 6 and 2 points respectively. Of course, other statistics can be seen at the Linktournament's main page on Lichess.

The atomic chess tournament then took place after its standard counterpart came to an end. Given the addition of Aluminum Oxynitride but the departure of Fhaengshia, Fuent and Peter, a total of five people participated. This tournament saw Gio lead the ranking for its entire duration, finishing strong with a total of 56 points and a win rate of 94%—the only loss was against Panagouge, who finished second with 26 points. Completing the ranking were Quinceria (3rd) with 14 points, ALON (4th) with 12 points, and Lev (5th) with 6 points. And just like the standard chess tournament, more detailed statistics can be seen at the Linktournament's main page on Lichess. After the dust settled for both tournaments, Giovanniland was declared the clear winner of both tournaments and was awarded the Zoran Cheese Curd Cup—a funny name that came into existence after Zoran read the tournament announcement and misread "chess" as "cheese", and also due to the fact that Zoran dislikes cheese—the prize had a special trophy shown below and designed by Overthinkers.


The Zoran Cheese Curd Cup designed by Overthinkers.

Finally, the last major event of the month in the West Pacific was the 3rd Casserole of Humanity, an annual event organized by Bran Astor. This event is a famous regional tradition that originates from a 2016 dispatch by Big Bad Badger, in which Badger describes TWP culture and community as a casserole of humanity. In this event, nations had to choose between various teams to join the Really Weird House Cup, which featured not only all teams from the previous year, but also the new addition of Penguin Air TravelPlus Rewards Program, in honor of the now-CTE former Delegate of the West, TAO the Watcher, in order to see which team would earn the most points and win this year's edition. The poll that nations had to use to join a team was also different from previous editions due to the fact only World Assembly nations could vote, a measure taken to reduce the number of obvious puppets and to increase WA endorsements for our Delegate.

In the opening day of the event, nations were instructed to flip their custom fields upside down, and also wear a propeller hat in honor of our Delegate Dilber. During the week, the usual activities such as Punday Monday, Haikuesday and Karaoke Friday also earned points for nations participating, as long as they tagged their posts with #ForTheWest. However, those activities also had their own special twists—for example, nations could also post limericks starting with "There once was a dude from the West..." or "There once was a purge of the region..." instead of haikus on Tuesday. Later in the week, casserole recipes were posted by Bran, Blue and Badger. Furthermore, there were also other special activities such as a Drag Queen Coloring Contest, in which Blue Bubble, Teralyon, and United Adaikes took part.

By the end of the week, the scores were tallied by Bran and posted during Sunday. The winners were the newcomers Penguin Air TravelPlus Rewards Program, with their and the other houses' scores able to be seen in the table below. Some notable happenings were, for example, the fact that Aluminum Oxynitride went solo and carried Hufflepuff entirely by themself, earning a total of 8 points. Meanwhile, the MVP of the tournament was a tie this year—Big Bad Badger and Blue Bubble both scored 13 points. Other nations that also scored high were United Adaikes and 2020 MVP Bhang Bhang Duc, both with 11 points, and Teralyon with 10 points. Overall, the Casserole of Humanity was a very fun event that indeed celebrates the best that West Pacifican culture has to offer. A majority of it took place in our Regional Message Board, of course, so if you wish to see all the puns, haikus, songs and more that each nation contributed to the event, feel free to browse between page 10,507 and page 10,514.

Place

Team

Points

6th

Hufflepuff

8 points

5th

Team Rocket

9 points

4th

1962 Green Bay Packers

17 points

3rd

2020 RWHC Defending Champions Westwind's Flying Circus

31 points

2nd

Decepticons

34 points

1st

Penguin Air TravelPlus Rewards Program

45 points

Anyways, this is all for the article describing a truly eventful month in the West! Stay tuned for more events happening or being planned as I write; they will usually be announced in our Today in the West posts together with our usual activities so be sure to participate. See you in future editions of the Western Post for more articles about our events!

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Culture in Focus
By Blue Bubble

Introduction by Giovanniland: Hello there, dear reader! Culture in Focus is a column inaugurated by me on the May edition of the Western Post, focusing on various real-life cultures that one or more members of this region experience in their daily lives. I wrote its first edition by talking about my home country of Brazil, in the second edition Qapaq Suyu described Peru, and in the third edition Fhaengshia volunteered to talk about Australia. All of these countries were in the Southern Hemisphere, but now we travel to the northern part of the world. We continue the series by traveling to Blue Bubble's real life country, but I won't talk about it further and instead give Blue the floor.

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Hello there! I am Blue Bubble, author of the new Blue’s reviews, and one of The West Pacific’s regional guides, and I am here to talk about England, which is where I live.

England has been lived in by humans since the Stone Age, which is a very long time ago. Our name comes from the Angles, which is a Germanic tribe from part of the now eastern coast of Jutland of Denmark and Germany, who settled here in England (and Scotland) during the 5th and 6th centuries. By the 10th century (927 to be exact), we were unified as the English nation, under King Æthelstan. Since then, we have done a lot of things that have impacted the wider world since: The English language, Anglican Christianity, conquering other countries and becoming the British Empire, as well as creating English law which many countries base their common law systems on. We were also the world’s first industrialized nation.

Nowadays, we are a delightful nation of about 60 million people. Our capital and largest city is London, and our national Language is English. Almost 80% of the nation identifies as white British. In politics, we have a constitutional monarchy, with Boris Johnson as our prime minister, and Queen Elizabeth II as our monarch. We are located to the west of Europe as part of a set of islands by France, Belgium, and the Netherlands. We make up the UK by being joined with Wales to the left of us, Scotland above, and Northern Ireland just over the way across the Irish Sea.


A map of England.

Our cuisine is much more simple, and is characterized as tasteless by other countries, but I disagree. We love our Sunday roasts, consisting of a roasted joint of meat, with Yorkshire pudding, gravy, and a range of veg: for my family this is carrots, parsnips, broccoli, cauliflower cheese, mash, and roast potatoes. We also eat a variation of this on Christmas day, with turkey as the meat, along with pigs in blankets (small sausages wrapped in bacon). Furthermore, we are also known for our fish and chips (the fish is battered and deep-fried, and the chips are also deep-fried—in the Black Country, you can order orange chips, which are chips which are also battered and deep-fried), and our full English breakfast which consists of bacon, sausages, grilled tomatoes, fried bread, black pudding, baked beans, mushrooms, and eggs.

However, you will also find other food as well-beloved local dishes. The Cornish pasty is a traditionally savoury pie which has a thick pastry edge on the side, so you can eat it easily. Fillings include beef, turnip, potato and onion, pork and apple, chicken tikka, vegetarian variations, apple and fig, and other sweet and savoury options. The Bedfordshire clanger is a similar pasty, with a savoury dish on one end like liver and onion, and sweet on the other end like jam or fruit. Another examples include Lancashire hotpot (a stew topped with sliced potatoes), Bakewell tart (a shortcrust pastry with layers of jam, frangipani, and topped with almonds), Suffolk Fish Pie (flaked fish in milk sauce with parsley and hard-boiled eggs, topped with mashed potato and baked), and our large ranges of cheeses like Stilton blue cheese and Cheddar cheese (yes, Cheddar is a place!).


A map of interesting regional cuisines in the UK.

We also have been influenced by our time as an empire—we have a whole cuisine which is a fusion of English and Indian cuisine, and you can often see it in Indian restaurants and takeaways. Our Indian food industry is not very authentic to its Indian origins, chicken tikka masala was created in Glasgow apparently and the balti cuisine was created in Birmingham. We also have a love of Chinese cuisine, and many large cities have a Chinatown district.

Over the years, England has released some absolute banging tunes, from Britpop, to Beloved Boy Bands, to The British Invasion. Some say the term "pop music" comes from Britain. When you read a name in the next few paragraphs, it will link to a popular song by the Artist. The British Invasion is a term from the mid-1960s, where rock and pop music, as well as other parts of British culture, became majorly popular in the USA. This was started by Linkthe Beatles, who were already well-loved in the UK. They come from Liverpool, which is recognised by Guinness World Records as the World Capital City of Pop. Other musicians from Liverpool include LinkCilla Black, LinkThe La’s, LinkAtomic Kitten, and LinkGerry & The Pacemakers. Other bands of the British invasion who were English were LinkThe Rolling Stones, LinkThe Zombies, LinkThe Who (I recommend going to 7:50, and you’ll be like 'Oh yeah!'), and LinkDusty Springfield.

By the 1970s, us Englishmen had started to get into rock, leading to classic rock bands like LinkBlack Sabbath, Glam rock stars like LinkDavid Bowie, and Punk bands like the LinkSex Pistols. As we evolved from that, we created gothic rock bands like LinkJoy Division and LinkThe Cure. This led to new pop bands like LinkCulture Club and LinkEurythmics, and then onto LinkShoegaze and Britpop (see below) becoming dominant in the charts. In a roundabout way of things, Britpop in the 1990s was inspired by the 1960s, with bands like LinkBlur and LinkOasis, and Girl band LinkSpice Girls. Nowadays, we are loved for artists like LinkAdele, LinkEd Sheeran, LinkMIA (okay, I just love her music, nothing else) and the English-Irish boy band LinkOne Direction. In the recent decade, there has also been an increase in popularity of British Africian-Caribbean genres, especially LinkGrime.


A photo of Ed Sheeran.

A major thing to note about England is that we have a lot of old stuff lying about. I'm not talking about the stolen historical artefacts of the Natural History Museum (we should give all that back, but Boris isn't replying to my emails—the Boris part was a joke) but of our buildings! We have loads of stately houses and castles lying around, and most of these are museums with local history about the gaff.

There are ancient standing stone monuments like Stonehenge, and two in Yorkshire called Devil’s Arrows and Rudston Monolith. In Bath, Somerset there are the Roman Baths, amazingly preserved thermae from the Roman Empire—and yes, that is why it is called Bath. There are so many castles too, with our well known ones being The Tower of London, Warwick Castle, and Windsor Castle, but sometimes you can kind of stumble across them. Cathedrals basically have their own style too—several were built between the 12th and 17th century, meaning they are English Gothic Architecture. Other examples of places in this style are university buildings, and the Westminster Hall, where our parliament lives and where Big Ben is located.

Stately homes are like a smaller castle or palace, where rich people live. Think of Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet, or Downton Abbey. These are large homes and may have a mix of styles as lords and ladies of the manor will have added buildings to the home over the years, or that the manor will have been built in a different era to the next one nearby. It was these Stately homes which created the English landscaping scene. The English garden is very idealistic of nature, and centres on these homes. These consist of eye-catching monuments like bridges, statues, and tea-houses, with trees decorating a backdrop, with gravel paths, flowers, and water features. A lot of these gardens and stately homes are looked after by trusts, two well known ones being English Heritage and the National Trust. The Chelsea Flower show, originally created to show off the art of English landscaping, is one of the most famous garden shows in the (perhaps gardening) world. It is attended by members of the British Royal Family, and the show offers a platform to launch new plants and older varieties coming back into fashion. It is a fashion show, but for plants basically.


Left: the Tower of London. Right: the Queen at the Chelsea Flower Show.

Thank you for reading! This article was lovingly checked by fellow englishmen Wymondham and Hertfordshire and Jammbo. See you all in the next edition for another Culture in Focus article, and if you liked this concept, then the Western Post invites YOU to talk about your own real life country's culture—contact Giovanniland by telegram or by Discord at Giovanniland#8272 if you are interested.

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With A Little Help From Our Friends: A Foreign Affairs Feature
By the Ministry of Foreign Affairs

For a fair amount of us, it is summer time! Following Fuentana’s previous writings on music like “Crabby Tunes,” “Music That Sets the Bar,” and “Toto Live,” and with the concept of songs of the summer (broadly speaking) in mind, we decided to see what friends around the NSVerse were listening to and why (even if it’s winter where you are). Here’s what we found!

Interviewee: Illahee of The Sasquatch Republic
Song: LinkConan Gray - I Know A Place (Cavetown Cover)
Short explanation: The founder of TSR, Illahee says that his song choice is based on Skies' submission for Cryptovision, TSR's annual song contest and is what he chooses as a way to describe TSR. -Interviewed by Teralyon

Interviewee: LollerLand of Caer Sidi
Song: LinkHome by Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zeros
Short explanation: There is nothing you cannot love about this song- the melody, the lyrics… everything just works. This song reminds me of my girlfriend, as she loves this song, and it feels like summer in the way it makes me feel warm inside. -Interviewed by Blue Bubble

Interviewee: Evil Mother of Caer Sidi
Song: LinkMean A$$ Drunk by Watsky
Short explanation: Upbeat good mood songs are the definition of summer songs to me, and this song is a party song you don't need a party to vibe to. One of my best internet friends showed me it, and he's had a very big positive influence on me and my life, so I associate it with him. Summer is the time of the year where I spend a lot of time with friends, and this song just lets me relish these moments of absolute happiness with them. -Interviewed by Blue Bubble

Interviewee: Isaris of Equilism
Song: LinkDark Lady by Cher
Short explanation: It's an old song but I love the way Cher tells a story with her lyrics! -Interviewed by Gryphonian Alliance

Interviewee: CaveDweller of The Pacific
Song: Link ‘Me and the Sky’- Come from away
Short explanation: One of my favourite songs is "Me and the Sky" from Come from away. It is a great example of musicals using the songs to develop the plot and character development. It's a song about the pilot of the first all female crew on an airplane, it talks about her struggle to get a job on a commercial airplane due to sexism. It then hits a climax when she talks about the grounding of planes in 9/11(this musical is based in the time of 9/11) and always chills me to the bone. Besides from that, the actual song is amazing.

The musical itself is in Newfoundland, which had a refuelling station for airplanes that travelled across the sea from america, which becomes useless once planes didn't need to refuel. So during 9/11 when planes weren't allowed to enter the american airspace 48 planes landed in newfoundland, they had more people land than actually lived in newfoundland. It talks about how the people of newfoundland did their best to welcome the "come from away"s and how it came off. -Interviewed by Wymondham

Interviewee: Xoriet of The Pacific
Song: LinkTurning Away - Sum 41
Short explanation: I've been listening to the song because the lyrics resonate with a past situation. I also like the sound and instrument of it. It is pretty upbeat music despite being a fairly dark song. Generally music I listen to indicates mood or mindset with me. That song is for once mostly due to enjoying the lyrics compared to resonance. When I find new music, I tend to cycle it for a few days before I plug it into a playlist and don't repeat that specific song. In this case, I've paired Sum 41's Turning Away with Anberlin's The Feel Good Drag. The two of them together have been on repeat for a while, though the former has no lyrical resonance and is simply because I like the song. -Interviewed by Wymondham

Interviewee: Tethys 13 of Osiris
Song: Link ‘Agnus Dei - Samuel Barber LIVE’
Short explanation: My favourite piece of music is Agnus Dei, the choral version of Barber's Adagio for Strings. However, it is not particularly 'summery'. Or 'fun or catchy' for that matter, it is the saddest music I have ever heard. I like it because it is the most emotionally powerful piece I have encountered. Gah, listening to it still makes me cry, even after all of these years. -Interviewed by Hertfordshire and Jammbo

Great tunes abound. Special thanks to all our friends, and here’s to hoping you wanna take all of these great songs along with you too!

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The Western Post Staff - Delegate-in-Editor-in-Chief: Dilber Editors: Fuentana, Fujai, Giovanniland – Staff: Aluminum Oxynitride, Blue Bubble, Bran Astor, Fhaengshia, Gryphonian Alliance, Nieubasria, Overthinkers, Podium, Qapaq Suyu, Recuecn, Teralyon, United Adaikes, Zoran, and YOU
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