Something Pithy Here

"Begin at the beginning, and go on till you come to the end: then stop." -- The King of Hearts

I'm an adopted Texan. As they say, "I wasn't born in Texas, but I got here as fast as I could!" I post pictures and opinions as suits my mood, mostly because I can. Hooray Internet! 

So far I have three blogs here. By the Way is the oldest. I started it in 2003. I lost a couple of years to Vox because I was too lazy to bother to export when they shut down. I consider it an exercise in accepting impermanence. When I followed my husband to Singapore for his first expat assignment, I started (T)expatriate: A Southern Girl in Singapore. That covers 2010 and 2011, give or take. Next came Oslo, and (T)expat 2: Norwegian Boogaloo,  in 2012. Now I'm back home, and back on By the Way.

Pix live on Flickr. I toss links out on Twitter when I feel like it. I'm still not sure what to do with G+ but I kinda like it.


Filtering by Category: Games

Game On!

Nan’s gift certificates + super-cool 3d edition of Settlers for Christmas + awesome friends = potential for January to be a banner month!


So many games, so little time….

KrazyDad is krazy awesome!

Bazillions of killer sudoku puzzles! I first discovered these sometime in the spring when I found a book of them at Issues. I ripped through that book (despite a frustrating predilection for using 9 and 8 to make 16) and haven't seen another on the news-stand since. But now KrazyDad has come to my rescue and I'm addicted all over again. (Ok, so maybe that's not the generally accepted use of rescue and addiction, but tough.)

Let the Games Begin!

We got sucked into Nan's last weekend and bought four, count 'em four! new games. Well, one of them is the Traders & Barbarians expansion for Settlers, so maybe that sorta kinda doesn't count.... At any rate, I never can resist a game, and the MO was in an acquisitive mood as well, so we came home with the aforementioned Settlers expansion, Infernal Contraption, Toledo and To Court the King. We played Infernal Contraption that night, roping TxB into the let's-figure-out-the-rules-for-a-new-game scenario. The MO and I both liked that one a lot.

Anyhow, the point is that we took a good look at our game stack, and realized that it's getting pretty sizable. Enough so that when we get hooked on a new game (hello Quickword), it's easy to forget about great games that we already own. So we decided to set up a play-every-game-we-own tourney. I made a list and came up with 63 titles! Ten through 69 is easy to randomize with a d6 and a d10 so the first 60 games on the list are numbered and we'll slot the remainders into the used numbers as we roll them. We agreed to play at least one game per week, so this experiment should go on for about, oh, ONE YEAR....

Official game night is Wednesday, but we snuck in an extra one tonight. Behold the first result of the Willard Grand Tourney:

lost cities

Woohoo! You know the MO is not going to let this early lead go unanswered for long. Feel free to place your bets here ;-)

Robo Rally

The MO got to play a new game yesterday (I wasn't invited, harrumph) and it looks like a good mind-twister: Robo Rally. At the Avalon Hill link is a tutorial that explains the moves and then an online practice-type mini-game. I'm going to blame it on being late, but I got stuck on level 4. Not feeling too bright right now, but looking forward to playing this in real life....

Currently Playing

BuyWord by Face 2 Face Games. The MO had finally reneged on so many games of Settlers that I proposed he buy me a new game to cancel the debt ;-)

So this afternoon we dropped by Nan's and picked out BuyWords, primarily because it wasn't very expensive ($25) and it has a solitaire varaint (big plus in my book). We're a little wary of word games because Quiddler is just so incredibly ridiculously insanely good that it's really hard to have patience for any other word game. But BuyWord has promise. The rules are very simple and the strategy is pretty easy to figure out (make long words) but there is enough luck involved that so far we've ended up with fairly even games. I'm looking forward to playing with more people and trying some of the variants suggested in the rule book.

Catan Withdrawal

While Mom & Dad were here, we played Settlers of Catan at least every other night (we even took it with us to California) and now I am in serious withdrawal. The MO did find some two-player rules on the net and we played the first version over the weekend, but he isn't usually up for games during the week, so I'm anxiously waiting for the weekend. Meanwhile, Mom & Dad have been playing this 2-player variation at home (we got them so hooked we had to go to Nan's to buy a copy to send home with them, and they bought the Seafarer's expansion for us :-) so I'm looking forward to trying that version as well.

I'm learning that the MO and I have rather different approaches to gaming. (He might suggest that I'm learning this very slowly ;-) He's all about winning, and I'm all about having a good time. I especially don't like to feel like I'm at an advantage just because I've played a particular game more often. You can see where these two viewpoints might cause friction....

Anyhow, we spit at each other every now and then over this (usually lightly disguised as a discussion about "being serious"), and lo and behold, here comes an article in The Games Journal telling us we're both wrong ;-) I am certainly guilty of providing unsolicited advice and he has a penchant for suggesting obstruction of the current leader.... Other than that we're both perfect, I'm sure.

Whether you agree with the points in the linked article or not, I do suggest that you check out The Games Journal site (if you're a gamer, that is). I find the articles well-written and interesting, and certainly on topics near and dear to my heart. (Discovering that the MO likes to play games ranks as serious Eureka! moment in my life.)

[In my defense, I don't like to be on the inexperienced end of the teeter-totter, either, so my advice-giving is (in my mind, at any rate) a do-unto-others type impulse, and in his defense, I can get a bit pissy about it if I feel like I've made a bad move out of ignorance. Unfortunately for him, I feel pretty damned ignorant about MTG no matter how many times we play. Have I mentioned that he is a very patient and forgiving man?]

Stumped at Beer O'Clock

The MO's homebrew bottlecaps have rebus puzzles on them. They're usually pretty easy to figure out, but this one has me stumped:


I figure the first word is "you'll" (ewe + L) but I haven't the faintest what the rest of it might be. There's a K, something that looks a lot like a string of pearls, and a "ton". k+necklace+ton? k+pearl+ton? k+string+ton? And then maybe that first thing is supposed to use "baa" instead of "ewe"? Maybe that L is an I? Ball (baa + L)? I just don't know....

Based on another bottlecap, I think the necklace is a "lei" but I still can't make the phrase be anything meaningful. baa+L K+lei+ton? ewe+L K+lei+ton? Crap.

More busyness

PS - The MO is busy, too. I've heisted this entire entry from Lileks only because I'm not sure there is going to be a permalink when he reinstitutes the Bleat. MO assures me that Lileks is spot on....

The following is copied from and presumably copyrighted by James Lileks, who is wonderful and someone I really really really would not want to piss off because I like his writing very much.
April 13 update: All work, no play, etc: I was sent a sign. In the middle of today"s huge print & edit session the doorbell rang. The dog barked. UPS. A box from Amazon, with all the movies I intend to watch after the book's done - and Doom 3. I'd promised myself I would play it when the book was done. Well . . .no. Stick to the goals.

But. By the end of the night I'd finished printing everything I could print. Sure, I could work on the last few pages, but I'd been going since the early AM, and the day"s work had included two columns for my day jobs. Surely it wouldn"t hurt to see what the game was like.

I know I've mentioned this before, ad nauseum, but one of the moments in gaming I'll never forget was in '94, when the first Doom came out. Second level. The warehouse. Flickering lights. Monsters panting in the darkness. If you played the game, you know what I mean. Compared to modern games it"s practically a Muybridge strip, but at the time it was pretty cool, and genuinely unnerving.

Well. This is worse. And by worse I mean better. It"s the same old story, those careless scientists opening up portals to Hell again. Will they ever learn? What"s the point? Do they think they can get monopolize the tourist traffic? It"s just like Half-Life, inasmuch as you spent the first part of the game walking deep down into the complex, then something goes Horribly Wrong, and you have to fight your way out. Been there fragged that. What sets it apart are the graphics, the claustrophobic design, the darkness, the audio. Pretty harrowing, if you"re in the mood to be harrowed.

And I was. I turned all the lights off. I put on the headphones. I was down in a dark corridor, hearing the screams of the Marines on the communications systems, the bangs on the wall, the groan of bending metal; I had my shotgun. I stepped towards the stairs, looking up at the shadows swinging on the wall, expecting to see some hellspawn feasting on the entrails of a scientist, when the door opened and out came the zombies. I fell back, crouched, pressed into a recess, waiting, waiting, waiting...

All the while, unbeknownst to me, Gnat had entered my room. She came up behind me and grabbed my headphones and ripped them off my head, and ladies and gentlemen: I jumped 20 feet and cried out the Name of Our Savior with such force that plaster wafted from the beams above.

So is Doom 3 scary?

Why yes. Yes, it is.

(PS: looks great on a stock Mac dual-processor G5. Decent frame rate with minor lag before you enter a new room; levels load reasonably fast. Audio is impressive, but you'll get a headache from the shotgun. Creature design is mortifying. It's taken many cues from "Aliens," which is a good thing. In that oh-my-god-no bad thing sort of way.)

LMA Completely O

Thank you, Danny!!!

My friend Danny loaned me the Karaoke Revolution xbox game

with assurances that it was at least as hilarious as Dance Dance, and OMG was he right. Andy and Louise came over for a sumptuous venison dinner (thank you John for the M.E.A.T and Mr. Man for the chef-ing) and after a few bottles of wine we were ready to tackle the karaoke game. Mind you, none of us has ever done this before. And I don't know about the others, but I have severe reservations about my singing ability. (Thus the wine.) But we ponied up, went through the training, and jumped right in. What a LAUGH RIOT this game is!! I honestly can't remember the last time I laughed so hard. The highlights of the evening both came with the male renditions of Donna Summers' Hot Stuff. Holy cow. Let's just say I'm going to be hearing "Hot hot hot stuuuu-uuufff" about three octave lower than intended for days now, and with Andy's alternative (not-safe-for-anybody-anywhere) lyrics.

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