We started out with the short game For Sale. This was the first time that I played it (which is sad since I have owned it for a while now) and I liked it. The quality of the game is nice. The artwork is pretty and the card quality is solid.
The first half of the game plays like a game of chicken. Players can either take the worst building or offer money not to take a building yet. If a player takes the worst building, then they give half of their money that they offered to the bank. The last player left gives all of the offered money to the bank and takes the last card. Any remaining money will contribute to your score. In the second half of the game, players compete for checks which are the other part of their final score. This part of the game involves blind bidding where players select a building from their hand and reveal them simultaneously. The person with the highest building takes the most expensive check.
We decided to play another quick game since some other people might show up soon. I suggested a speed game of Strand-Cup. This is a good game and it fits its theme well. As long as people do not agonize and play the game like they would a volleyball game, you will have a fun time. Doug and I felt the pain of not having a well rounded hand of cards. However, the game can accomidate that by allowing you to discard a card during the serve and rolling a dice instead, or having another team mate volley the ball.
There is a randomness to the game with the dice, but it is offset by the number of points that is needed to win the game. However, Doug was having bad luck during the game. He rolled 1-1, 2-2, and 1-2 when he was trying to volley the ball. He should not have been on the sand that day!
In this game, I was the start player. I only had two types of cards and I did not have my city out, so I decided to draw counters and put them on my mat (and fortunately, I drew my city). On my next turn, I put my city close to Jeff. On Jeff’s turn, he decided to hose me and put 3 roads around my city. After that I was out of the running to win the game. Had Jeff played better he could have won the game. Instead, Doug won it.
Euphrat & Tigris
I suggested that we play this game. This is another game that I wish we would play more of. During the game, I did not have the right mixture of tiles when I wanted to go on the offensive and attack. Consequently, I didn’t do much during the game and lost. We had new players in the game and I was surprised that it was a quick game.
Tonight, the only game that I played was Goa. The russcon group has been infatuated with word games recently. And tonight was no exception. Almost everyone wanted to play Letras. I decided to sit it out and wait for more people to show up. When another person showed up, I suggested Goa.
Another problem with russcon folks is that they take longer to play games. Goa says on the box that it is a 90 minute game and we took 3 hours to play the game. Some of the reasons for that is people get up to talk to other people, or to get food, or to talk on the phone. But that doesn’t account for that much of the wait. This group just operates on a different timescale.
It is a shame that Goa is not played that often. We seem to play it once a year. Because it has been so long since I last played it, I did not remember any old strategy or things to look out for.
Idaho recognizes Napoleon Dynamite link via
Laser-controlled headless zombie flies link via
I wonder why we lost that contract? link via
Nintendo a cappella link via
Flash photo gallery link via
Four block world link via
Guide to moving the Earth link via
Police want to add a monkey to the SWAT team link via
How not to drink a flaming shot link via
Make fire with a Coke can and a chocolate bar link via
The state of our airport security link via
The Mag-7 Star Atlas Project link via
Exploding toads baffle German experts link via
Scientists have begun putting genes from human beings into food crops link via
10 things your banker won’t tell you link via
Leet hacker link via
SUV owners get free gas — courtesy of Uncle Sam link via
My complaint about Mr. Dan Becker link via
Capturing the Unicorn link via
Today, I played Manifest Destiny as my only game. This is a somewhat complex game and we were asked to read the rules before playing. Unfortunately, I did not have enough time to do that, but, during the drive to Ed’s house, Adam explained the rules to me (well, as much as you can with no visuals). We started around 6:30pm and ended at 10:30pm which made it a long game. The map is centered on the United States and includes Canada, Mexico, and small boxes representing other areas like the Middle East. There are three eras during the game (the last being our century). Your goal is to expand an empire, but I did not really feel like I was playing a civilization game. There is a lot of randomness to this game in determining the success of attacking, defending, and researching technology (which gives you special powers). The bias is towards attacking, so your are constantly growing and shrinking in your area. Your strategy is determined by what action cards that you draw. These cards are mostly malicious so expect a lot of swings in who the leader is at any one point in time.
I was surprised that I won this game. After all, I was playing with Marty and Adam. Both of who have played this game before. I think that I won because no one picked on me during the game. Adam and Jon were both leaders at one point and then heavily mangled by other players. For example, Jon was decimated in one area by one action card.
Sadly, as elated as I was when I won the game. It quickly turned to shame when I accidentally spilled my beer on Adam’s game!
I have just found out that my grandfather died last Wednesday. He was 90 years old. And I was hoping to see him again this year. He was always kind and loving. I remember travelling up to see him during the summers as a kid. I hope my grandmother is doing alright.
I tried another bread experiment today. My goal was to figure out a basic recipe for my current sourdough culture. If you remember, I switched to a more watery pancake-like mixture.
So, I decided to start with 2 cups of flour by weight (240 grams). Next, I added 8 grams of Kosher salt. And then I started to add the culture in small amounts. I would stir and check to see if all of the flour was incorporated into a ball. If there was still dry flour left, I would add more culture and continue the process. I finally stopped after adding a total of 300 grams of the culture. Of course, what is the hydration of my current batch of culture? This is the big unknown in the equation. There are amounts of flour, water, yeast, lactobacillus (what do pickles, cheese, yogurt, bread, salad mixture in a bag, intestines, and a female reproductive organ have in common?), and ethanol. This is an exercise that will be left up to the reader.
The result was a dough of 545 grams (3 were lost) that was formed into an 10″ x 5″ x 1/2″ rectangle and put into a silicone bread pan. I sprayed water into another pan and put it on top and then placed them both into the oven (with the light on) to proof. After six hours, I baked it at 425 degrees Fahrenheit for 40 minutes. After taking the loaf out of the pan, I discovered that it rose 2″ for an increase of 4X. Not bad! This tells me that I need to double the recipe for one loaf of bread.
4 cups of flour (480 grams)
2 tablespoons of Kosher salt (16 grams)
18 ounces of starter (600 grams)
P.S.: I bought some halogen work lights to illuminate the bread. Wow! What a clear example that I need to learn about the white point feature of the camera. And I need to save the images in RAW format, so I can try to undo mistakes like this…
Pictures after the cut:
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This is a light filler game. I am glad that we finally played this, since I own it. I bought it because it is an Alan Moon game that I thought was Capitol-lite. For my first playing of this, I really didn’t feel the Capitolness. However, perhaps more playings of this will coax out that Capitol feeling that I was looking for. On its own, its a quick game with not much player interaction besides the usual moaning and groaning about your poor cards.
This is another light filler game. The theme is about ice cream and it seems to fill it well. It bears some resemblence to Coloretto. It is playable by both kids and adults. You need to keep in mind how to set yourself up for the next round of play as you hose your opponents.
Ticket To Ride Europe
This is the next game in the Ticket to Ride series. Since the original game was so popular, it is no surprise that a franchise has been created. I like this game better than its predecessor. It has a mechanism that helps you out when your route is blocked. And it introduces new features to the game such as tunnels and ferries. In this game, I was having some bad luck trying to draw colors that I needed. When the game ended, I had many cards left over and only played about half of them. Consequently, I lost because I wasted so many turns trying to draw needed cards. This game still has some of the aspects of the original game that I did not like. They are: initial route cards may not be close to one another, and other people will cut you off in the route you are going for.
This is still an interesting game, although I had bad luck in it. The key to winning is controlling when a “scoring” occurs. If you can do it, then you can pick up a tile that helps you and hurts others. The other part to the game is trying to match up to other tiles so you can take points from the player to your right.
Here are some videos that I took at the races with my phone:
Fox blocker link via
How a Slate scientist changed the NBA forever – or at least a week link via
Katamari Damacy movie link via
V48 motorcycle link via
Mechanically scanned display link via
Watch a solar eclipse by looking at shadows link via
Death of a printer link via
Shakeutron will never judge you. Shakeutron is here to help. Shakeutron would like to buy you a nice steak dinner. Shakeutron did not mean to offend you. Shakeutron would like you to come back. Shakeutron cries 1.5 gallons of tears. link via
Computer monitor arch link via
Some women spend $1700 monthly on beauty, more than many women pay for rent link via
How long could a human survive if exposed to vacuum? link via
Sin City comparisons link via
CAP Movie Ministry Entertainment Media Analysis Report: Sin City link via
Live baseball to cell phones via realtime cartoon animation link via
$300 – Two bedroom share link via
Interim CEO paid $58,000 a day link via
Japanese museums link via
The man date link via
Well, I finally completed one of my todos. When I purchased my beast, I started keeping the gas station receipts. And, today, I completed entering the data into XML format. After that was accomplished, I wrote a Python program to perform some rudimentary data analysis. And this is what I found:
Total Mileage Driven : 15712.7
Total Gallons Consumed : 1178.019
Total Cost : $2162.67
Cheapest Price per Gallon : $1.399 on 12/03/2003
Most Expensive Price per Gallon : $2.349 on 04/06/2005
Best Miles per Gallon : 15.362
Average Miles per Gallon : 13.338
Worst Miles per Gallon : 11.605
Lowest Total Paid At The Pump : $18.59 on 06/02/2004
Most Expensive Total Paid At The Pump : $43.22 on 03/10/2005
I have always suspected that the beast guzzles fuel and 13.338 Miles/Gallon confirms it. What was surprising was that fuel prices have risen one dollar in 16 months! Now that’s inflation!