As told to Fuentana, Poet Laureate of Haiku
Crabs of the Apocalypse artwork by Bran Astor.
The oft-misunderstood ancient genre of apocalyptic is a literary style that addresses the “now” time of the reader or listener by using symbolic language and imagery. It is often “dualist,” emphasizing a sharp distinction between forces of good and evil, light and darkness, truth and lies. Finally, though it communicates visions that have to do with the future in a general way, it is less a means of predicting “the end times” and more a means of judging current situations and speaking of a future that will dawn. Thus, famous religious apocalyptic texts such as the Book of Revelation (not Revelations) are not literal and sequential predictions of the future but deeply symbolic and charged critiques of the present—it’s a real beast of a job to study, but quite fun. Let the reader understand this apocalypse, for wisdom is needed here: crab.
In the days since the fallout cleared, we also discovered another scroll. We are pleased to also publish the Sasquatch Apocalypse by our favorite artist Bran Astor.
The Apocalypse of Rock Lobster the Crustaceologist
1 I, the Rock Lobster, was deep in my research of all things crab when one day I saw a vision before me of a woman with the appearance of an old hag. She was carrying a jar filled with rotted garlic. Her face was that of an ocelot, and her eyes burned with radiation imposed on the day of a previous nuclear apocalypse.
“Son of crab,” she said, “Go to the NationStates region of Hell, and there, open up the scroll that you will find on the ground.” And so I scuttled across the realm of NationStates, leaving the West Pacific Crab Sanctuary, trekking through The Rejected Realms. I took a brief respite in Karma and decided not to stay in Edlhus on account of a founder who wants to butter me up. Eventually, I arrived on the shores of Hell full of trepidation. This is not normally how apocalypses work.
2 But upon arrival, I saw before my left claw an unopened scroll. Suddenly a voice cried out from somewhere that said, “If you are worthy, open the scroll.” With no small irritation, I replied, “Crustaceans don’t have thumbs, you ninny. How shall I open this scroll?” Then suddenly, one looking like a perpetual zygote appeared to me. He wore on his arm the mark of a question mark, and on his forehead was written, “The West is Best.” He said to me, “I can open this for you, but first you must answer my question.” With curiosity, I said, “Open, and I will answer.” So this zygote opened the scroll and let me read. But then, silence. “Don’t you have a question for me?” After a pause, he replied, “I have so many questions that I don’t know where to start, so just keep going with your quest thing.”
3 And so I read the scroll myself.
“Avenged, St. Xoriet will be.
Soon, the crabs will roam free.
Behold, horsemen will ride
With five million nukes to provide.”
4 Then I saw a vision of one like a platypus and a man crossed together. He held in his left hand a famous herb. In his right, he held a book of deeply symbolic artwork. I immediately flung my tail to retreat three feet, but he said, “You have no reason to fear. For the future is crab.” Then the one like an old hag reappeared next to him and said to me, “Nuclear war leads to the peace of total elimination. Prepare for the end.”
5 Then I saw the vision of a hundred gamers playing an antiquated simulator. By day and by night, without end, they clicked mouses and button mashed with hot keys and containers and obsolete extensions. They were gathering their shields and nuclear weapons by the millions as they awaited the great day of wrath. Some fainted from lack of sleep and water, while others squirmed because they were on watch but needed desperately to use the bathroom. Others raved like crabs.
6 Then I saw a pot of water simmering. I heard from elsewhere a voice saying, “Son of crab, do you understand what you see?” And I said back, “What are you smoking?” He replied, “Pain medicine.” I said back, “Well, how can I understand it? You suck at symbolism and setting the scene like they usually do in apocalyptic literature.” That said, I feared that this vision could portend doom. The sight of a pot of boiling water triggered memories of the day when my father was taken from me, only to be lowered into a vat of boiling water, never to be seen again. I thought of all of my people, unfairly subjected to hammers, knives, and scalding water. I thought of the great Angry Clam, revered by mollusks everywhere. But the voice said, “Draw closer, and the pot will become transparent.” So I approached ever so carefully, and with every crustacean step, the walls of the pot grew increasingly transparent. Soon, I was so close that I could feel the heat starting to cook my claw flesh. Then the pot revealed its contents. Boiling inside were dozens of potatoes.
Then I saw a masher appear from the sky to crush the potatoes. I asked, “What does this mean?” Then the voice said back, “Wisdom is needed here. Let the reader understand.”
I replied, “OK. But I haven’t written this text yet, so how can the reader understand?”
7 Then there was silence. Then I saw missiles flying in the air in numbers too great to count. On one side were crabs and crab-horse hybrids, which courageously flung shields up to protect themselves. A few hundred crabs were stomped and swept away, but the majority remained. Then I saw the crabs launch salvo upon salvo of missiles at the rest of the world. Decimation and destruction soon surrounded me. Then I saw the crabs toy with their meals, negating the launches of others with massive iron claws.
Then I saw the head of a bald man declare, “It is finished.” Then he disappeared to write another book. I looked around, and all I saw was carcinization. Then the world was at peace.
Then I saw the woman I first saw. She was now radiant with light and no longer an old hag. In her hand was a jar of correctly pickled garlic. Next to her appeared the apocalyptic horsemen (and horsewomen), and then the one with questions. Every question was answered, and the questioner was at peace. But I did not see Dilber, because he has ascended to the most high. Then I saw a DJ booth, with my maker happily queuing songs of victory and writing haiku on the side.
8 Then I saw a multitude of undead in the billions. They smelled of sulfur and rotted salmon and brought terror with their fiery undead eyes. I immediately retreated, only to find this multitude pursue me until I found a crevice to hide in. Then I saw a great crab decked in haz-mat armor approach laterally. He had in his claw the divine flamethrower. And then I understood what I had to write.
I, the Rock Lobster, am the recipient of this apocalypse. I saw, I heard, and like many other crustaceans, I conquered. I bear a message unto all of you, a message that is true, and because it is true, it is something you must do. Let those who do good persevere in doing good. Let the fash be bashed. Let the farmers farm. Let the world know that all evolves unto crab. Know crab, know peace. But when the hordes appear, the crabs shall not bring peace, but the final death.
The Sasquatch Apocalypse
Then all the crabs said, "Amen."
By Giovanniland, Card Czar of the West
In the October 2020 edition of the Western Post, I wrote about notable card collections in the West Pacific. Collections are groups of cards pertaining to a certain theme, and they come in all types and sizes in the card universe, many of which are certainly deserving recognition. For those not in the know, I also maintain the Collection Collection v2 thread in the NationStates forums, meaning that I often look at collections to see if they're worthy of inclusion.
After a year since the previous spotlight for collections made by TWPers, I've decided to write a second edition. This article will not only feature some of the collectors already listed in the first edition and that have had significant updates to their decks since then, but also notable new collectors in the region. Furthermore, the nation doesn't need to have a high deck value, as I have also stumbled upon collections of lower-ranked residents, some of which are certainly worth noting. Another change was the addition of screenshots for certain collections I found interesting.
In the previous spotlight, I talked about my Season 1 and Season 2 regional collections of every nation in the West Pacific. The Season 1 one had already been completed by then, but only in March 2021 the Season 2 counterpart achieved all 6,839 cards—I even wrote an article about that. However, the regional collections are not the main focus of this self-spotlight. Instead, I also own multiple other collections with cards about various themes, including seven hundred related to the Himalayas, nearly four hundred Brazilian-like flags, two hundred about George Orwell's 1984, and even some related to chess. In addition to those collections held in puppets, my main also hosts a few other collections, for example TWP-themed ones and a large display of cards featuring wreaths.
A screenshot of the Brazilian flags collection by myself.
Meanwhile, Fhaengshia is a newer collector to the scene, considering that their collections were all built after the first spotlight. But they have already been mentioned in other recent card-related articles, such as an interview of the TWP residents that completed a legendary collection. Besides this golden feat, though, Fhaengshia also collects many other cards. Most notable of them all is probably the complete collection of every Season 2 Delegate, which is currently being transferred from Fhaengshia to their puppet Naughty Catboys. But there are other collections worth mentioning as well, such as Fhaeng's complete set of every nation that has had a commendation or condemnation repealed, and more recently a list of collectors that have achieved the first-place position in the deck value leaderboard.
Elegarth, mentioned in the first spotlight as the only TWPer to have a complete set of Season 1 legendaries, is also included again since some of their collections have received notable updates. One example is their Season 2 legendary collection, completed between the two spotlights. This makes Elegarth one of the few nations to own every existing legendary card, and of course the only in the West Pacific to have reached this feat so far. Furthermore, Elegarth also owns a Rick and Morty-themed collection in their puppet A King who Waits for the End, featuring over fifty cards, and of course their complete collection of their over two hundred puppets.
Next up we have Mediobogdum, who also makes a returning appearance in the spotlight. The first edition mentioned their notable collection of every Season 2 epic card, which was the first one to be completed, as well as a few other collections featuring puppet series with interesting card. Some of their more recent collections are their complete Season 2 legendary set, also mentioned in the interview of TWPers with complete legendary collections, and other sets of cards pertaining to holidays, such as their Halloween and Christmas collections. It is worth noting that Medio's Halloween collection was also an entry to one of the OcTWPerfest card contests that happened last year, summed up in this article.
A screenshot of the Christmas collection by Mediobogdum.
Aluminum Oxynitride (ALON) was previously mentioned as a casual collector—military gameplay is more of a passion to them than trading cards—but that doesn't mean they don't have interesting collections. Since the publishing of the first spotlight, ALON has built collections about various themes such as Harry Potter, STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics), and others. Some of them have also been entries to regional card contests, such as the winning TWPride submission. Furthermore, ALON's great wordplay has meant that they often receive card prizes as part of Punday Monday, as seen by the Big Book of Puns that has registered a total of 10 wins for them as I write.
While perhaps less known to the active community of the West, the collections owned by the resident nation of Kisovec must not be overlooked. One example is their owl-themed collection, featuring a small but significant amount of cards, and also the interesting title of "A message of hope for those who choose to hear it and a warning for those who do not" that cites song lyrics. There is also an almost complete set of cards whose nations had a first-place badge in one or more censuses at the time of the Season 2 snapshot, with 47 of 48 available cards, and lastly a self-collection featuring their animated flag.
A screenshot of the Owls collection by Kisovec.
Moving on to other new additions to the spotlight, we have Varanius. Although they don't card farm often, the bank that results from using hundreds of puppets has certainly aided in funding their self-collection, which is also the largest in their deck. Another interesting collection in Vara's deck is a set of cards whose nation names contain the world "old", which is ironic considering the player's known young age—although there's not much to be said about Vara's deck.
Last but not least, I bring this article to a perfect end by bringing to the spotlight another less known nation, namely Belililou. They have a collection called Surrounding Seas, which features many aquatic animals, marine scenery photos, and several other cards. Furthermore, the collection is also related to the nation's overall theme, which seems to reference a state of Palau, a small real-life nation composed of many islands in the Pacific Ocean—a detail that makes the collection more interesting.
A screenshot of the Surrounding Seas collection by Belililou.
Anyways, that's it for this article! I recommend checking all collections I have mentioned in this article if you haven't already, and of course other collections curated by TWPers that I may not have mentioned here. If you wish to build a collection and need help with that, be sure to join our regional Discord server and ask questions at #twp-card-central: the home of every TWP card collector. Thanks for reading the article, and stay tuned for more card-related articles in the future.
The West on The Waves logo designed by Bran Astor.
In the previous edition of the Western Post, one of the main people behind our growing radio program called The West on The Waves, Wymondham, sat down and wrote about the history behind the creation of our regional radio, and also talked about its first few shows. After this article, several more shows happened in September, with many residents of the West or from afar tuning in to listen. Therefore, as a spectator present in most of these shows, I've decided to write a summary of those that happened until I started writing this, so that hopefully more people get interested in the shows, or perhaps even decide to participate in the future. Without further ado, let's start!
The month started with the third edition of What's a vibe anyway? by Blue Bubble, a show in which the host prepares sets of 10 songs for people to listen and guess the vibe. Blue then selects the vibe description she likes the most, and then the winner can select the first song, artist, or genre that will be played in the next week. As for the third set, the winning description was "like a turn your lights off and just vibe a little vibe" by Evil Mother (Icarus). There were later editions throughout the month, namely Show 4, Show 5 (with United Adaikes describing it as "just got out of work at night, just driving chill, but not wanting to go home yet as i feel like i want to chill more outside..."), Show 6, and The Lost Vibes, the last one featuring songs from everyone who helped create the first 6 shows.
Three days later, the first episode of In The Mines with Zoran happened, featuring host Zoran and guests Teralyon and Varanius. Current events in the region were discussed at first, such as the elections for the Speaker of the Hall and HoN Guardian positions that resulted in Zoran and United Adaikes being re-elected to their respective positions, and happenings in the Foreign Affairs and World Assembly Recruitment ministries that could be publicly discussed. Later discussions featured Security Council proposal drafts such as Condemn Dalimbar, with the joke suggestions to Commend, Declare and Liberate Dalimbar as well.
Then, in the 11th of October, the Wym Show returned with its third episode, which featured several former Delegates: TWP's The Holy Principality of Saint Mark, TNP's Francois Isidore, a guest appearance from TWP's Bran Astor, and technically also the host Wymondham, as the nation was temporarily Delegate of Osiris for 12 hours. The perils and perks of GCR delegacies were the initial theme, with later topics being, for example, people's guesses as to who the next TWP Delegate will be.
The Wym Show later had its fourth episode on the 19th of October, this time featuring Kavagrad and Greylyn from The Leftist Assembly. The history of that region was the initial theme, with later topics being current happenings in both TWP and TLA, the real life countries of NationStates players, and real world politics from several countries. This episode is not available yet on Spotify as of now, but stay tuned since it will appear soon.
Finally, the latest show as I write was the crossover episode between Europeia's Europeian Broadcasting Corporation (EBC) Radio and The West on The Waves, that took place during the 3rd of October at 3:30 PM UTC. It featured Blue Bubble and Wymondham from TWP, while President of Europeia Lime82 and Minister of Radio Poulton-with-Fearnhead (also known as Nate) represented Europeia. Planned topics were current happenings in Europeia and TWP, the recent N-Day event, and the German elections in real life, with other topics later discussed. This episode went smoothly, and both participant regions hope for the potential of this partnership to become a more regular occurrence. Just like the 4th episode of the Wym Show, the recording is not available as it still needs to be edited, but it will of course be made available soon.
That is all for this month's radio retrospective, although fret not! Many shows are happening during October, so join our regional Discord server if you want to listen to future broadcasts. This article should also turn into a regular feature of future newspaper editions so that everyone can see what happened within The West on The Waves each month. See you until the next edition!
Introduction: 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. Five editions have been written already, namely about Brazil, Peru, Australia, England, and Hong Kong. Sadly, there was no volunteer for this month, so I decided to fill in for this edition and write not about my country (since it has already been featured in the 1st edition), but the state where I live.
So, for those not in the know, I come from the South American nation of Brazil, a country with 26 states and one federal district. I live in the southernmost of these states, named Rio Grande do Sul (Portuguese for great southern river), which really doesn't fit with the usual international stereotype people have of Brazil as a tropical, hot country with lots of beaches. In fact, it has snowed here in the past, and even the temperatures in the summer aren't as hot as the rest of country. But anyways, this is a state that borders Argentina to the west and Uruguay to the south, with a history and culture greatly intertwined with those of our Spanish neighbors. In this piece I'll talk about history, demographics, and culture itself.
History and Demographics
Just like the rest of the Americas, this area was inhabited by native peoples before the Age of Discovery. However, unlike northeast Brazil that was immediately occupied in the dawn of the 16th century, the importance of what is now Rio Grande do Sul would only come much later. In fact, if the first treaty between Spain and Portugal (the Treaty of Tordesillas) continued until today, this area would speak Spanish. But the Spanish were uninterested in here at the time, with their Pacific coast colonies providing gold, silver, and gems, and their main focus in the Atlantic coast being the seaport of Buenos Aires on the River Plate. The first actual European settlers were Jesuit missionary priests who had the goal of converting the local native peoples, the Guaranis, to Christianity.
However, during the Iberian Union between Spain and Portugal, Portuguese settlers advanced west of the initial treaty line and built several settlements, which caused Brazil to achieve more or less the shape it stands today. Some of these settlers, called bandeirantes, stumbled upon the Spanish missions in the 1630s, and decided to destroy them in order to enslave the Guarani inhabitants. Seven Jesuit reductions were later refounded (the Misiones Orientales), but in the Guarani Wars of 1756 the resistance was crushed by force. Luckily, some of the buildings founded in that period still stand today and were recently declared an UNESCO World Heritage Site (see photo). The Badajoz treaty of 1801 handed over definite control of the area to the Portuguese, and more or less at the same time, immigrants from countries such as Germany and Italy started to arrive and found many cities; the culture they brought still influencing the state's culture to this day.
Brazilian independence from Portugal happened in 1822, with a monarchy then ruling the country until 1889. However, during a period of 10 years from 1835 to 1845, the state was temporarily a republic under control of the Farroupilha rebels who sought to establish an independent state, and to protest the uneven market competition between their beef products and the imports from neighboring countries. The revolt was eventually defeated, although the Brazilian government conceded some of the rebels' demands; this was also the only conflict in the region in which there was no victory imposed on the battlefield, but rather agreed upon in a treaty. The state has been part of Brazil ever since, with modern history not much different from the rest of the country. Of course, this history helped shape its modern culture, which is the main topic of this article.
In the topic of demographics, in contrast with the country's nearly equal numbers of European-ancestry whites (49%) and people with mixed indigenous, black and white ancestry (43%), the Rio Grande do Sul state has a clear majority of white at 83.22%. The main minorities are mixed-race people (10.64%) and people with full black ancestry (5.5%), although there is also a small number of inhabitants with Asian (0.33%) and Indigenous (0.31%) ancestry. As for religion, over half of the state is catholic (68.8%), although there is also a significant number of protestants (18.3%), spiritists (0.8%), irreligious (5.3%), and followers of native faiths (4.4%). Finally, about language, the Portuguese language is spoken by most inhabitants, although there is a fair minority of German and Italian immigrants who brought their own languages, that have now developed into regional dialects with the influence of Portuguese and indigenous languages: the Riograndenser Hunsrückisch and the Talian languages respectively.
One of the most important parts of culture, in my opinion, is the cuisine. Due to region's history of being a place where many livestock were raised to be sent to other places of Brazil (such as the gold mines in the Southeast), one of the most iconic meals is the churrasco (barbecue), which features several types of meat. Meanwhile, the regional drink could probably be said to be the chimarrão, a local version of the mate drunk in neighbouring Uruguay and Argentina, which is made by soaking dried leaves of Ilex paraguariensis (commonly known as erva-mate, or yerba-mate in Spanish countries) in hot water.
In areas inhabited by Italian immigrants, there are several famous wineries and even a festival called Festa da Uva (grape festival) to celebrate this piece of culture brought from Italy, which is commonly served with other typical Italian meals such as cheese, pasta, and salami. The same happens with meals and drinks brought by German immigrants, such as beer, kuchen, sauerkraut, eisbein, and others. Some cities celebrate their own versions of the Oktoberfest, a famous German event, with influence from other cultures. Therefore, for this very interesting mix of culture, the state of Rio Grande do Sul is renowned as one of the most culturally rich states of Brazil.
In regards to tourism, the state receives over 3 to 4 million people from outside Brazil every year, and many more from within the country. While the local beaches aren't often as good as the ones in the more northern part of the country, mainly because it can be too cold, for this same reason the inland parts of the state often attract many people wishing to experience a different weather while also keeping in touch with Brazilian culture. The ruins of the Jesuit reductions, mentioned earlier, are visited by many people, while the cities in the highlands of the country and their culture brought by immigrants have also created many unique events. One particularly interesting event that I have chosen to mention is the Natal Luz (Christmas of Lights) event in the city of Gramado, which is a Christmas celebration gathering around a million people yearly and one of the longest Christmas festivals in the world, running from mid-November to mid-January. Meanwhile, in the southern part of the country, the often untouched nature of the Taim ecological reserve and the southwestern pampas are also worth seeing.
The regional music is a blend of many styles, such as the chamamé, milonga, polka and chacarera that are also common across the border in Argentina and Uruguay; while regarding sports, football is the most common one just like in the rest of the country: famous teams from Rio Grande do Sul are Grêmio and Internacional. Finally, one thing I must not forget to mention while talking about Rio Grande do Sul culture is the concept of the gaúcho. While the word is commonly used as a demonym for any inhabitant of the state nowadays, it originally referred to the migratory horseman that were skilled in cattle work present in Argentina, Uruguay, and Rio Grande do Sul. Perhaps it could be said as a Brazilian version of a cowboy, but the specific concept is quite unique, and today a common activity during the state's official holiday (20th of September, also the start of the Farroupilha revolution) is to dress with this outfit often featuring ponchos, lassoes, and a type of trousers called bombacha.
There are of course many more details, but in order to keep this article succinct I will finish it here. I hope you learned something new about my country by reading this article, and if you are interested in this topic feel free to telegram me or search about it in the internet. Furthermore, before closing this article, for the next edition of Culture in Focus I'd like to make you all an invite for a special feature—as part of our halloween-themed activities, we are planning to have a special feature on scary folklore from different cultures! If interested, please contact me (Giovanniland) by telegram or by Discord (Giovanniland#8272), and see you all in the next edition.
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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, Podium, Teralyon, United Adaikes, Zoran, and YOU
All your chocolate belongs to Darkesia
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