October 2015 was a period with many Synod developments. Reading about Synod developments has been shown to increase happiness and ability to keep current on Synod and its members. We hope you will enjoy reading this Synod newsletter for information and activities.
And now here is the !
Month in Review
- Greg became curious about early Synod history, so we focused our attention to the Original Hangout. As Greg had not been With Synod at that time, we added him to it. To our surprise, the act of doing so appeared to bring the Original Hangout to the attention of others! Andrew Hussie left the hangout, wordlessly. [Despite being in the Original Hangout, Andrew Hussie has never been a formal member of Synod. This newsletter does not seek to claim any affiliation with him or his works. -Ed]
- Barry left and rejoined Synod a few times, using his alter ego BC to facilitate this.
- Ben saw a play based on A Softer World, a webcomic by non-Synod people. He reportedly did not think it was very good.
- In travel news, Bianca flew to Denver and Lewis visited Boston. Both travels were done for complicated reasons unrelated to the pursuit of Synod goals, but not in conflict with them.
- Ashley's birthday presented us with a challenge. We needed to work out who was geographically closest to her, but both of the usual candidates were traveling. After some calculation, it was determined that Lewis was still closest, being en route between New York City and Boston, and therefore the recipient of the Birthday Compliments.
- Matt started a Patreon, available online at https://www.patreon.com/OuterCityMatt. Readers desiring a way to support the existence of Synod art are encouraged to consider backing it.
- In Synod Meetup news, Lewis and Nadia met in person in Boston. Nadia dressed up as a giraffe and they watched Star Trek.
- Vincent took a sabbatical from Synod, to the surprise of many. Greg and Matt reacted by proposing a Synod newsletter. Ben was nominated as editor-in-chief, and accepted. Several identities of Synod members were redistributed, but as of this issue's publication, nearly all members have resumed use of the names they held prior to the redistribution.
- Barry and the Synod parted ways amicably, for secret reasons.
- We migrated to a new hangout. As usual, the old one is retained for archival purposes, merely deprecated as a place to chat. Synod discussions, video calls, and so on should be conducted in the most recent main Synod hangout.
- Matt gained control of Greg's creative activities through some sort of Patreon action, and had him focus on writing and recording songs.
- The Afghanistan game Greg was running came to a close, with victory going to the Coalition faction. For more about this, see Greg's column.
- Several Synod members were contacted by a friend of Kimberly Kubus, investigating possible connections between him and Jack. The replies made are outside the scope of this newsletter.
- Bianca and Ben discussed the idea of making a TV show about Synod. It would be a sitcom about our real-life activities living together on a farm. All members are encouraged to relocate to the farm at their earliest convenience to prepare for this.
- We celebrated Bianca's six-month anniversary of joining Synod. [Bianca technically joined Conclave then, not Synod, but this has been retroactively applied toward her Synod tenure for purposes of determining her starting date. -Ed]
- Lewis got a haircut!
- Aaron will be getting married, and chose to have his bachelor party in the form of a Synod road trip to Toronto with Lewis.
- Ben got shot in the face with lasers, on purpose. He is in stable condition.
- Lewis got talked into joining a [REDACTED -Ed]. He has not provided photographs of this for the newsletter.
- Ben went to a Taylor Swift-themed corn maze with some friends, while Matt drove to Denton to see a band he didn't care about. Nadia filed appeals for Medicare audits or something like that.
- Several members discussed missing sex, but ultimately agreed that the Synod-wide vow of abstinence is to everyone's benefit.
- Ben locked himself out and had to resolve this through a ladder adventure with his landlord.
- Bianca reminisced about her history as a phone phreaker.
- Lewis adopted a dog and named her Scully, after the character from Shaenon Garrity's (non-Synod) webcomic Monster of the Week.
- Matt went back to work at Kroger, but a different location than the last Kroger he worked at.
- Matt drew two character designs for Bianca to choose between or her Life With Synod representation: a human with a meatball head, and a meatball with arms and legs. She selected the latter.
- Ashley maybe inherited a quarter of an art store? It's kind of unclear what the deal is.
- Ben put a bunch of Request Comics strips on display at Artomatic, an art festival in DC. This will be up until December 12, and interested readers are invited to go view it in person if able.
- For Ashley and Nick's anniversary, Matt drew a creepy owl picture (not included in this newsletter).
- Ashley went to Syracuse to visit her father.
- Synod celebrated Halloween! Bianca dressed like a unicorn, Ben dressed like Rick from "Rick and Morty," Greg dressed like an elephant, and nobody else had any costumes whatsoever because they don't care enough about Halloween.
- And of course, the last thing we did in October: look forward to November being even better!
Lewis's Crossword Challenge
Greg's Game Greport
The "Distant Plain" of the war in Afghanistan is an abstracted flatness far away from the
perspective of a random citizen of the United States of America, much like a board-game or the
monitor of a device. We seek to worm into that abstraction, to flex our coils by placing a softer
social framework within the hard chunks of roles codified by design. As the larger drama played
out upon the map through snapshots and brief After Action Reports, each role exhibited a unique
inner life. Let us look now into the eyes of these competitors and see how their inner gremlins
The Warlords (Ashley, Ben Heaton, and Barry)
To one extreme was The Warlords. Other than Ashley's occasional assertions that she did not
want to participate, The Warlords were essentially Ben Heaton. This is interesting given the
multiplicity of what the Faction represents (a variety of regional strongmen who don't necessarily
cooperate) that maps well with how The Warlords can be played effectively, that is, methodically.
So, just as in the game ideal strategy for what should be a chaotic Faction is a more single-
minded planning and follow-through, this group of three acted with the mind of one. And that one
Ben Heaton absorbed quickly the rules of the game and, mastering the levers of power, used
them to steadily move towards his goals of Uncontrol and Money. Unfortunately, the Warlords
want a longer game in order to have time to build up the infrastructure they require, and the game
ended at the second Propaganda. In a multi-player dynamic the winner is an unwilling consensus
of all the players.
The Coalition (Aaron, Jen Redwood, Nadia, and Vincent)
The Coalition behaved as a relay team; the baton of control passed fairly linearly through three
separate periods. First was the Age of Vincent. Being the most ever-present at the time, it was
natural that Vincent should be the one to have to make decisions. It was a burden he bore until
his discovery that Aaron had played the game before. His confidence gave way to the notion that
his intellect would be found wanting when compared to experience and deferred, with a few
exceptions to Aaron until his fifty-seventh departure. Despite the difference in experience,
however, very little changed between the Age of Vincent and the Age of Aaron– Paktika and
Events were the orders of both days.
When Vincent left for the 57th time, the Coalition was left in a lurch. Aaron and Jen Redwood
were distressed with squabble and the game was in danger of getting bogged down on the
Coalition's turn. Nadia had recently become active on behalf of the Afghanistan Government was
brought in to fill the hole Vincent left. Ben Heatonesque in her quest to understand the levers she
could pull, her Age involved a shift of focus from Taliban inhibition in Paktika to building Support
across the country. With the help of a key Police-placing Event triggered in an earlier Age, the
Coalition won the game under her management, despite her lack of experience.
The People's Democratic Republic of Afghanistan (Eli, Lewis, and Nadia)
The story of Afghanistan's Government is one of frustration, relief, and frustration again as felt by
Lewis. The Faction began the game with a solitary voice – Eli and Nadia were not there – and that
voice was not pleased to be playing this horrible game. The Government's role is not a simple
one; bound to the Coalition yet needing a longer game to reach their ambitious goals of corruption
and Control, a green player can be easily overwhelmed. Not knowing how to play the game while
caring about its outcome was a recipe for soul-crushing angst.
And so his heart rejoiced when Nadia surfaced. Having finished her private chat with Eli, she was
anxious to involve herself in the affairs of state. Unfortunately for poor Lewis, her success made
her a ripe target for poaching when a position opened up in the Coalition. So the weight of the
People shifted back to Lewis' beleaguered shoulders until the game's completion. A bystander
has no choice but to rate the Government a success, however, because for all his lack of will or
pleasure, Lewis did it anyway.
The Taliban (Matt, Meatball, and Steve)
Whereas The Warlords spoke from one mind and mastered the mechanisms of the game, The
Taliban was an active trinity that quickly came to love their Gorillas. Their Faction became an
encouraging community that, inspite of their goal to foster Opposition, ended up Supporting each
other both in their game endeavors and in their broader lives.
Theirs was and continues to be, as of this writing, the world of the primate; grooming each other
of the snags and insects of a traumatic environment while sharing in food, fellowship, and an
interdependent life. They have rallied a base of sticks on a distant plain. They have inhabited the wood through their screens and named it home.
Matt's Hot Takes
Synod Hangout Titles for October
- Synod Focuses On 3 Founding Principles
- Someone take some notes on what Lewis missed during Boston flight of fancy
- Synod Nature Hike/Costume Sale
- Winken Blinken and Synod
- The Cutest Synod
- Synod: Whoever Migrates the Chat Wears the Crown
- Synod: Lewis is Going to Sleep, So don't do anything too wild
- The New Cutest Synod
- Synod Naps In Pudding
- Synod: Coalition: Sorry I had to change the name here it was really confusing me
- Girly Chat
- The REAL synod (sort of)
- Recuperar La Noche (Gorilas)
- Synod's Big Weekend
- Encouraging the Cartel
- Appreciating the Cartel
- ¿Naranja Contento No Dijo "Banana"?
- Synod Tech Support
- Bianca and Joe Poop Like Crazy
- Synod's Lament
- Synod Meets Scully
- Synod Magazine Company
But wait, that's not all...
Ashley's Dog Pics!!!
1 the RPG where no one has to get hurt
9 when you're not really into someone
17 this is like the dig, but with magic
18 proud affirmation of a PUA
19 this is if you had a road but it was special in a certain way
20 children or a greasy side
21 model from the 70s
22 good to know on a takeout menu
24 free this g-g-g-ghoost!1
25 virus code
26 important physics in your day-to-day life
28 one says this to get attention
30 a common test for very young children
31 no one saw it coming
34 abbreviated form of a short word
36 in a future that also has cows...
37 crude, but implicitly possessive
38 some tolkien shit
40 commonplace pronoun
41 looks real
42 Cut this cancer from my soul!
46 volcano world
47 diminutive name
48 scary face
51 many colleges have interest floors for this
53 grande is the canonical example
54 Phantasia producers
55 something you make through the stars or woods
56 a well-known brand/model identifier
57 german tree people listen to this
58 Neo, breaking the fourth wall
60 party for lonely sadsacks
61 party activity, often macabre
62 also known as Molly
63 likes to yell at Israel
64 500 kept in many bottles
65 yo la _____
67 some stupid abbreviation
68 some stupid video card thing
69 raging villain of a gloomy short story
70 everyone's least favorite weather phenomenon
74 turn off that fucking noise!
77 a place to go if you got hurt real bad
78 blue man
79 ...tap, ...call, ...ice, ...Star.
80 Cloud's career track
83 you'll do this to the day! and you won't like it
84 famous zombie adventure
85 of course we can build your stupid hellchurch
88 for when you needed DOS to do something behind the scenes
90 only kept online now
91 he has a learning disability you asshole
92 shows you around
94 a pair
96 angry homos like to call themselves this
97 personal wreath
98 standardizes many mounts and ports
99 some jerk plays this in the woods
101 with fire!
102 these produce baby food
103 retail's bread and butter
104 most are hoping for a good one
1 a punchy kicky robo
3 some stupid goddamn game for kids
4 bikes, tents, and expensive trinkets sold here
5 well-arranged and very appealing
6 ? ? ?
8 you know, like this:
10 ees a trah-jeek feegyuur
11 the part where you don't know who you are
12 first two primaries
14 a part of speech
15 ? ? ?
16 radical wordsmiths
22 very sharps
23 would appear to imply constipation
26 mysterious grouping of letters
27 i'm gonna _____ boy but good!
29 the most important place on earth
31 up a hill for these
32 not quite there
33 an important pig/director
35 childish insult
39 "oh _______, take me!" *BLEEP BLOOP* *VZZOOOOM*
43 piss drinker
44 odd storage suggestion
45 you don't want this emanating from a desert base
50 it's the end of the world as MY EYESSS
52 stockkeeping units
53 a measurement in paper
54 confidence in your birthday suit
59 to bathe
65 powerful nerds
66 describes teachers, where concerns plagiarism
68 extra unique
71 a thing a thing has
72 mean thing to call a heavy person
73 to unintentionally drip
74 still learning despite the appearance of mastery
75 a singular example
76 just as small _______
81 yeah, yeah, get it right up there
82 ____ step
86 famous warrior
87 beverage of sex champions
89 the opposite end
92 a pot for your nose
93 only 90s kids will remember this stupid thing you can say
95 typical attribute of pods, corders
98 feminine nickname
100 stands for a state that white people don't like
101 a passive or dismissive expression