Monthly Archives: June 2006

Game Day 06/17/2006

Barn Swallow

John is a temporary bachelor. So he invited us over for gaming. I arrived a little late because I gave myself the luxory of a shower after disc golf. John’s house is pretty close to mine. Which is nice. He did warn me about his new dirty neighbor, another barn swallow in a mud nest. Complete with bird poop.

Age of Steam

Age of Steam

I brought some meaty games to play: Indonesia, Byzantium, Zepter of Zavandor, and Lexio. We ended up playing Age of Steam… with Adam… who is a very strong player in this game. However, Adam was really nice and consentented to give us some advice during this game. I also took some pictures of the board (although I did miss some turns in the game). In fact, I should have brought my tripod with me to set up and automate taking pictures. Sigh. I did take pictures with my new lens though. I pushed the aperature as narrow as I could (a little too much… the shutter speed was 1/15″ and the aperature 4.0… which resulted in a little bit of shaking. I miss the image stabilization of this 2.8 lens. It is interesting how dark our gaming environments are and how little light there is when you want a full depth of field).

Anyways, back to gaming. Adam was generous in giving helpful advice. Which was a little detrimental in his maintaining of the game’s state (he is usually very good at that). Mike initially jumped out in the lead. He was shipping some good intermediate length routes. I tried to concentrate on the east side of the board. Building routes that would eventually allow me to ship length 6 goods. Adam concentrated on engineering his locomotive. He also heavily borrowed money. Much to his detriment later on in the game. I was able to locate some stealthy yellow goods and deliver them along 6 cities. Adam tried breaking into my eastern territories (Mike only built two routes over there and never used them) but was too late. I was able to jump into the lead and stay there.

It was a good educational game. I hope Adam writes some good tutorials about this game. He needs some competition. Jeff has left and Mike Ashley-Rollman is leaving. Oh yeah, Marty is leaving too.

Disc Golf 06/17/2006

Tough shot

We were planning on playing disc golf at Cat Hollow today. But when I woke up it was raining (and fortunately turned off the sprinklers). As is was still raining at 9am, I started making calls. John was no where to be found, but Jon answered and was still game to play. We switched to Old Settlers Park because it still playable when wet.

And boy was it wet out! The tiny river was swollen and the lake had overflown its banks. Fortunately, hole one was playable. The rain had also churned up the water and turned it into a murky mess. If we threw a disc in the water, it would be likely that it would be lost. So I aimed away from the water.

Bridge under troubled waters

It didn’t seem to me that it rained all that much at my house to account for all the water here. It rained heavily for an hour and lightly after that. In fact, it cleared up as we were playing. 2 inches of rain at most. And yet the pedestrian bridge is under water. The water was up to the pole for hole 16. And hole 17 was under water.

We played that any new water was not a hazzard. Which was lucky for us. Jon threw his disc into one of the many temporary streams. And mine skipped into the murky lake at hole 4. Fortunately, Jon saw it go in and was able to rescue it.

Game Day 06/15/2006

Key Lime Bars

Ahh, game night. Time to experiment with recipies and get unsuspecting people to sample them. Tonight, I tried a recipie from Cook’s Illustrated: The Best Key Lime Bars. And they were pretty good…

Game #1

Mermaid Rain

Marty suggested that we play Mermaid Rain and I was happy. I have been wanting to play this game. Ever since I bought it during my trip to Japan. Which has been a while… Sigh.

Anyways, this game has a number of elements from different games:

  • Elfenland: where you play cards to walk around the board and visit locations
  • Havoc: the Hundred Years War: where you play cards that form a poker hand. Two down initially and you may add one card or pass.
  • and set-collecting majority of treasures

It was an interesting game and one that I want to play again…

Flea Circus

We convinced Marty to stay for one more short game. And Flea Circus it was. And boy did the fleas hate me. Ed, Marty, and John were drawing 6s and 7s. I was stuck with 0s-4s. I played one set down. And, later, when I had two more sets that I wanted to play, I tried just drawing one more card for some points. And, out of the one card that was displayed on the table, it would always match. Which would end my turn. I didn’t get a third chance because Marty ended it with a gala of 6s/7s…

Game #3


On Memorial Day, Mike Chapel brought a new game for us to play. He took one for the team and bought it on spec (Ystari has made good games in the past). Mike read the rules to us and we played it. Well, tonight Ed and Susan wanted to try it out. So I explained the rules as we learned them. And what a mistake that was! Apparently, there are two schools of thought on this. The first is fast and furious. Break open the game, puzzle out the rules, and play the game. The second is to spend a couple of days reading over the rules, play test the game with a gamer significant other, visit forums to answer any questions that come up, patiently teach the rules while people interrupt you with their random thoughts, and then play the game for real. It seems like some people prefer the latter. Sigh.

On going over the rules, I noticed one picture that demonstrated expanding pieces from an existing one. It pointed out a broader aspect of adjacency that we missed the first time. It changed the strategy of how you would play the game. But it was no biggie. We moved on. I won by keeping with my previous usage of Mr Brown and getting a high multiplier for his cards.

And then the chit hit the fan, so to speak. Accusations started flying, mistakes were pointed out, recalls were demanded…


Ahh, Mike and Adam stayed for a late night game of Tichu. All three players were mentally tired after their longer than usual game of Antiquity. And you could tell from the play. Adam called Grand Tichu at the start on a rather weak hand. But he persevered and made it. Adam also did the dreaded random wish and this time it was for an Ace. When Mike passed and I had to play an Ace, I was happy that everyone passed and that Ace took the trick. Jon later calls Tichu. Fortunately, we were able to stop him.

After we were up by over 400 points and the end of the game was drawing near, the other team started calling desperation Grand Tichu calls. And desperate they were. For the second Grand Tichu call, I went over Mike’s straight and with DrAAQQJ left, I over-called Tichu. And made it. But I would have been mocked if I did not make that call.

When went through the game data I noticed something interesting. If the other team had not made the loosing GrandTichu or Tichu calls, then we would have been tied at 1000 vs 1000. They grabbed 100 more points than we did which we made up with our extra Tichu call!

The scorecard for a game of Tichu

GT or T bet made or lost

This team scored more points than the other or one twoed

GT/T Team #1 GT/T GT/T Team #2 GT/T
MarkH & AdamR Jon & MikeA
  240 GT+  
  290     10 T-
  290     210  
  290   T+ 510  
  690 GT+   510  
  T- 575  
  875     425 GT-
T+ 1000    

Lunch Time Tichuers 06/15/2006

Adam’s first GrandTichu call was apparently close. Mike had played a King on one of Adam’s singles. And apparently if it had been lower, Adam would have made it. Oh well.

Ed’s Tichu call was amusing. He leads a length 7 straight (with no wish) and calls Tichu. Adam then plays his length 7 straight. Mike then plays his length 7 straight. I felt like Mike had the Dog here. I look at my hand. It is a Ace-high, length thirteen straight. After checking the played cards for bomb potentials, I split my straight into two and called Tichu. Apparently, Ed should have led his straight last (which is what Mike did in another hand).

For our one-two, I did not call Tichu like I normally would. I was so burned by my string of bad luck recently, that I didn’t want to take a remote chance of being set.

In Mike’s first GrandTichu call, he was set by Adam. Who’s highest card in his hand was a 10.

The scorecard for a game of Tichu

GT or T bet made or lost

This team scored more points than the other or one twoed

GT/T Team #1 GT/T GT/T Team #2 GT/T
Ed & MikeA AdamR & MarkH
  15 T- T+
T+   315  
  GT- 160  
  340 T+  
  435 T+  
T- 375    
  425   T+ 675  
  425     875  
GT-   905  
  530 GT+  

A Michael Jackson dance move was patented


Method and means for creating anti-gravity illusion


A system for allowing a shoe wearer to lean forwardly beyond his center of gravity by virtue of wearing a specially designed pair of shoes which will engage with a hitch member movably projectable through a stage surface. The shoes have a specially designed heel slot which can be detachably engaged with the hitch member by simply sliding the shoe wearer’s foot forward, thereby engaging with the hitch member.

I claim:

1. A system for engaging shoes with a hitch mans to permit a person standing on a stage surface to lean forwardly beyond his or her center of gravity, comprising:

at least one shoe having a heel with a first engagement means, said first engagement means comprising a recess formed in a heel of said shoe covered with a heel slot plane located at a bottom region of said heel, said heel slot plate having a slot formed therein with a relatively wide opening at a leading edge of said heel and a narrower terminal end rearward of said leading edge, said recess being larger in size above said terminal end of said slot than is said terminal end of said slot; and

a second engagement means, detachably engageable with said first engagement means, comprising a hitch member having an enlarged head portion connected by a narrower shank portion to a means for raising and lowering said head of said hitch member above and substantially level with or below said stage surface, said head portion being larger in size than said terminal end of said slot and said shank portion being narrower than said terminal end of said slot, wherein said hitch member can be moved through apertures in said stage surface between a projecting position raised above said stage surface and a retracted position at or below the stage surface, and when said head portion of said hitch member is raised above said stage surface, said first engagement means can be detachably engaged with said projecting hitch member, thereby allowing a person wearing the shoes to lean forwardly with his or her normal center of gravity beyond a front region of said shoes, and maintain said forward lean.

Michael Jackson


Web sites as graphs link

Was the 2004 election stolen (with 208 cited references) link via

Tree sweater link via

Fonts on Lost link via

Gryphon single man flying wing link via

101 2 litter Diet Cokes + 523 Mentos = mini Bellagio fountains link via

Interactive photo mosaic link via

Office supplies trebuchet link via

Installing a sixth sense? link via

In 1984, Peter Feldstein set out to photograph every last person in Oxford, Iowa. Two decades later, he’s doing it again link via

Acrimonious attorneys told to settle dispute by playing a round of ‘rock, paper, scissors.’ link

Beware of the cut and paste in SEC filings link via

32 qualified soccer balls link via

Electrical substations that mimic houses link via

Lunch Time Tichuers 06/13/2006

Ugh. More smacking down. What was amusing was what happened after we finished early. We then played a couple of more hands. On the first one, I Grand-Tichued and made it and on the second one, we set Ed’s Tichu call. Sure, when the game doesn’t count, I have great luck…

The scorecard for a game of Tichu

GT or T bet made or lost

This team scored more points than the other or one twoed

GT/T Team #1 GT/T GT/T Team #2 GT/T
Ed & AdamR MikeA & MarkH
  120 T+  
  490     110  
T+   135  
T+   -45 GT-
  1145     -45  

Game Day 06/11/2006

Swallow nest

Mike invited us over for a Deadwood night. It would include a high definition Deadwood showing and board games. One would think the board game selection would be themed like the similiar Rome night. But you would be wrong.

Oh, and do something about that bird’s nest with the poop on the door mat!

Game #1


In keeping with the wild west theme, John brought out Buccaneer. This is a pirate game of robbing ships. On your turn, you have two choices. You can either take one of your pirates that is in front of you and place it on top of a pile of one or more pirates that is in front of someone else. Or, if you have a stack of pirates that meets the minimum height requirements for boarding a ship, then you can grab some booty. There will be an item chip that you can collect (if there are two, you choose fist and the person underneath you can have the other one). These item chips are worth many victory points if you have majority. Otherwise, they are worth one point apiece. There is also money that you receive. However, you have to pay off everyone else in the stack that boarded the ship with you. And sometimes this can end up costing you more than you made. Such is the life of the pirate it seems.

This game played rather dull. You have to wait until the begininning of your turn in order to plan a move. And other people’s choices of moves can be surprising. Or at least they can be unexpected.

I had the thought of perhaps keeping a number of enemy pieces out of action by taking a stack that is 1 away from maximum size, capping it with my piece, and then never using it. But usually those stacks already have a couple of your pieces on them so they weren’t candidates for my hosage. Also, a couple of times during the game, it would be possible that the next person had to pass because they were out of pirate tokens. But the previous person would instead board a ship and release some tokens to that player. All in all, rather boring. And People were not livening it up with pirate speak either…

Game #1


Mike really wanted to play Hacienda. Which kept with the Deadwood theme… not! As is usual with this game, I was the start player. And aparently, John had never been the last player in this game. So he took every opportunity to cause scorings and end the game. Which worked well for him since he was in first. I was just too money starved during this game. Sigh. Can’t score too many points if you can’t afford water holes and haciendas.

Game Day 06/10/2006

Bread Pudding

Ed held another game day. This time without the grilled Brautwurst… boo! I made a bread pudding. Actually, more like an egg custard. It was quite rich. The recipe called for Croissants instead of bread, 3 cups of heavy cream, 3 1/2 cups of whole milk, 9 large eggs, and 9 large egg yolks. I was able to successfully guilt some people in taking some home since I told them that I would just throw most of it away.

It was good. A little runny perhaps. Next time double the amount of croissants and perhaps add some corn starch to thicken it up a bit.

Game #1


The main point of this game day for me was the playing of Roads and Boats. But since one of our players was running late, we started a game of Bluff as a filler. I spent the whole game getting smacked down by the dice and their non-averageness. Everytime I didn’t believe a statement, the dice proved otherwise and I quickly was out of the game.

Goose Thief #1

Roads and Boats

So we finally started Roads and Boats. We picked an interesting four player map where there was a main mountainous island surround by a ring of land. Three of us chose to start on our sections of the ring where Traci instead started on the island. I chose to try a rock factory instead of the rock pit. It takes a little longer to set up but produces more rock once it is going. I didn’t like it that much. I also realize that I should breed some donkeys as well.

The notorious Goose Thief Susan was one of my neighbors. And I was a little worried about her. But she proved benign. Instead, Adam took up that crown in this game. He stole many resources from the newbie Traci. Not just once…

Goose Thief #2

But twice! She was out of the running of the game at that point. And since it was a learning game for her, she tried her hand at Goose thiefing… against me! Gah! She was able to wall of my newly created mine… So I focused my efforts at expelling her. She also dropped off a wagon in my land. However, I was able to take my revenge and wall off her rescue attempt. And she gave up on it after that. This put me out of the running as well.

You just can’t take your focus off of the goal. So I tried to see if I could force the game to end early by helping to build the wonder. Traci was building bricks in the wonder as well. But I learned that you really can’t quicken the game that much. And certinally not before others can build stock certificates…

Game #2a

Another aspect to this game is trying to make the components fit back inside of the box. And after much struggling and reconfiguring, we succeeded!

Game #3


Adam, Mike, and his sister had to leave soon. So they roped me into a game of Tichu. After explaining to rules to Catlyn, we were off. My first two hands were great. I called and made Tichu. However, I didn’t get very many points for my efforts. Mike called and made Grand-Tichu. Both teams scored one one-two. So we were even in Tichus but behind in points. After Mike made another Tichu call, our team needed to call Grand-Tichu. Adam forced me to call it. But Mike had all of the winners and was able to stop me for the win.

The scorecard for a game of Tichu

GT or T bet made or lost

This team scored more points than the other or one twoed

GT/T Team #1 GT/T GT/T Team #2 GT/T
AdamR & MarkH MikeA & CatlynA
  90 T+  
  390 T+   110  
  390   GT+ 510  
  420   T+

I left early to finish setting up my desk. But before I drove off, I took a picture of Ed and Susan’s new house…

New home office desk

Old Desk

I am finally getting rid of my old computer desk! I had that thing ever since I bought my first computer. Way, way back in college. In order to get rid of the old desk, I performed the time-honored technique of placing it out on my curb. And within a couple of hours, it had dissapeared… It works quite well for getting rid of old lawn-mowers and bbq grills too.

New Desk

I went looking for some office furniture and finally found one I liked. So I bought it. And they delivered it today. Now I have a real desk! Who needs to save money when you spend it all on a desk…