Cook’s Kitchen – Fire Water & Other Tales

I’ve been reminiscing all morning, I can’t help it. I’m currently at work with not much to do this morning and I can’t stop thinking about all the great times I’ve had on road trips to events. Some at Grand Prix and others more local such a Jupiter Games, but that’s not really the point. All of this thinking started happening last night. I got a text message that read, “So Providence is this weekend, so are we planning a trip? Because I know you said something about it.” This isn’t actually what caused the thoughts, I sent out a message to the people I’ve been on travels with as of late and no one seemed to have any interest in travelling to Rhode Island for a Star City Games event. Then later on I received a phone call rejection, in which we started talking about the trip but ultimately decided against it. During this conversation I brought up how gorgeous the city of Providence was when I visited for the Grand Prix last summer.

This is what sparked my memory, sometimes events are more about the travels than slinging cardboard. Especially my trip to Providence, while it was nice to day two my second GP even through the nightmare known as Mental Misstep with The EPIC Storm, the city is what I really remember from that trip. After our Day one, we walked around downtown Providence until we stumbled upon the “Waterfire scene at the river – It was gorgeous. The river was in the center of the city, most of the lights in the city were out, it was very dark but lit by bonfires on pedestals in the center of the river. There were thousands of people out conversing, drinking, and dining. We as nerds, just finished a nine round event and were starving. Luckily, there were several restaurants on and overlooking the river scene. For the life of me I cannot remember the name of the place we chose, not that it’s important, I was at a table of close friends dining* and having a great time. Our friend Carl had moved a few months before to New Jersey and this was the first time we had seen him since. Seriously, he left us for New Jersey. We picked up our check to returned to the Waterfire dying down, how unfortunate.  We grabbed some drinks only to return to the place we were staying.

*I say this loosely, I was shoveling food – I was starving. Once a fat kid, always a fat kid. There’s still a part of fat seventeen-year-old Bryant with a huge stomach somewhere in my body. This kid often comes out and wants garbage plates when drunk. That’s another story.

(I ended up finding some people who are going to Providence this weekend, so for those of you going, see you there!)

I guess I should have given a disclaimer: This article is going to be pretty random and lack a lot of useful information. It’s going to be a mess of experiences and memories.

The first GP: Columbus (a.k.a. GP: Flash) was a crazy experience. I lost my voice on the way there thanks to Barnello’s four disc long mix where the entire car (Barnello, Colin, Mike Teachout, and myself) was singing/screaming along. Playing in a GP without a voice was pretty difficult, but we’re not there yet. We a made a stop in Cleveland to get some food, we ultimately decided to stop at Pizza Hut because it was close to the exit, we ordered two extra large Buffalo Chicken pizzas. I love me some hot sauce but after three slices I was stuffed. Actually we had an entire pizza that no one had touched. Colin refused to leave until we ate everything, which resulted in him eating the entire pizza. Literally. For those of you who haven’t met him, he truly has a bottomless pit for a stomach. He’s one of those guys whose metabolism is so high he can eat anything he’d like and not gain weight. I’m not sure when this happened, but we went to a Chili’s once, where he and Dave Price had an eating competition. Dave Price was a big guy at the time. Colin buried him, and then finished what Dave couldn’t eat. It was truly disgustingly awesome. – but back to Cleveland. As Colin, finally finished, we decided to hit the road headed straight for Columbus. We’re leaving when there’s a guy looking at Mike’s car, we ask him if there’s a problem.

“What’re you guys pushin?”

Um… Nothing

“Bullshit, I saw your plates. Ain’t no guys from New York not pushin anything”

Guys, get in the car.

“What are you guys moving, I want in”

Magic Cards


As we drove off he pulled something out of his coat, it looked like a knife or a gun. We weren’t interested in going back for a second look.

That Carl guy I just mentioned up above, he’s a great guy to be around on trips. Carl, Colin Chilbert, Dan Walton, and myself went to the second Legacy GP: Columbus together where Carl spent most of the time there trying to get ladies to interact with us. From the classic “Show us UR BOOBS” signs to playing car games with cars full of girls, it’s always just a good time to be around this guy. He actually got a girl to drive next to us without a certain article of clothing from about Rochester all the way to her Pittsburgh exit on I-90. During the same trip, we couldn’t find a restaurant to save our lives. Colin decided to take charge, he picked a random place on the map, and off we went. He couldn’t of picked a place with a better name, if I recall correctly, the name of the place gave away that it was a gay bar. Rainbow streamers were all along the outside of the bar, after some careful considerations we turned left and found a place that was closing. Being the jerks that walked in ten minutes before close we didn’t expect great service or food. We were wrong. That place probably had the best french fries any of us ever had, the buffalo chicken* wasn’t bad either.

*At GP: Chicago, Colin and I went to a Subway and asked for Buffalo Chicken subs, only to get a dumbfounded look back. “We don’t carry that” WHAT!? “No, we don’t have hot sauce.” Ridiculous.

Speaking of GP: Chicago, one thing I learned from that trip is I’ll never take another train to an event. It was uncomfortable, loud, and exhausting. I couldn’t sleep, my body finally shut down around 4AM only to have to wake up at 7AM to switch trains. A terrible experience, not to mention, it should’ve been GP: 45 minutes south of Chicago. We didn’t really get to experience anything besides switching trains, the 45 minute walk around Grand Central area, and the middle of nowhere. Although, we did order two Chicago style deep-dish pizzas – two slices was too many. That was certainly a bright spot in that trip.

Not all stories happen at the Grand Prix level, back when Jupiter Games was beginning, I went down with Matt Kadillak, Geoff Smelski, and Adam Phillips. It’s the story of a night I don’t remember. I ended up finishing in the money and the guys decided they wanted to get me drunk. It began with Geoff ordering three shots of Jack for me.

“I don’t like Whiskey”

“Six shots, if he says anything else, make it nine.”

I slung back all six and puked in my mouth a little bit. That’s how the night started, I don’t remember much besides waking up practically naked on Eli’s trampoline. I dry heaved for an entire day afterwards. For those of you who have never been there, I envy you. Although, karma certainly did get Geoff, Adam, and Nick Wowelko back at the second GP: Columbus, where they got so drunk the previous night that they couldn’t play in the event. From what I hear is Geoff had the bathroom, Phillips took the trashcan, leaving Nick with his hands? … to puke in. Rough night.

When reading tournament reports these things are usually left out, why though? They’re usually the most interesting parts of the event. When I write a report, I copy and paste the previous report and start there because it’s already formatted. Reports aren’t exactly the most interesting reads, however, if written correctly they’re full of valuable information. I always try to incorporate some of the story and trip into every report, after all, we’re people. Fun and interesting things happen every time we travel, share these experiences. It’s probably a better read this way. More people care about the journey than the Goblins player you crushed round four. Thinking back and reminiscing this morning has been great, but I should probably do some work.

Well that’s all for this week, come back again next week! Until then, keep Storming!

Bryant Cook

Bryant Cook on MTGthesource

One thought on “Cook’s Kitchen – Fire Water & Other Tales”

  1. Great article. Gameplay reports are nice and all, but reading about the nontournament stuff is much more captivating to me as a reader

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