Monthly Archives: January 2007

Pizza octdux

Pizza with curry

What is this, my eighth posting in the pizza series? I must be boring you folks by now. But I could care less. After all, this is my journal, dammit!

I followed through with the threat I made last time and cooked up some curry sauce! I used three cups of water, one of the packets of solid curry (which kinda looks like a bar of chocolate), and four teaspoons of cornstarch. I wanted a gelatin-like consistency and boy did I get it. Since I like the Japanese meal of breaded pork, vegetables, curry sauce, and rice, I cooked a peppercorn marinated pork tenderloin. I also sauteed a mix of vegetables: corn, peas, broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots. I was a little worried about the mozzarella cheese. But I shouldn’t have been. Oddly enough, cheese was an ingredient in the curry mix.

cooked Pizza with curry

Mmmm, all nice and cooked. It was not bad even. I would certainly make it again. Hrm, I wonder what to make next. Perhaps pancetta ham, asparagus, Béchamel sauce and Gruyére cheese? I’m telling you, the possibilities are endless! However, I will run out of prefixes for my Pizza -dux entries…

Disc Golf 01/19/2007

brick markers

John and I braved the cold weather for some disc golf. It has been a while because of the rain. And it looks like they are going to install concrete tee pads for the winter course. The disc golf group has been talking about it here. We also had someone volunteer to join us for a round of golf. His name was Matthew. With John and myself, all we were missing was Luke.

flooding basket

The rains have not drained off yet. There were still puddles and mud around here.

brush cutback

Interesting, it seems that they have cut back all of the trees and brush that had grow up along the fence line. I wonder why?

new river

And I don’t seem to remember that river either. Maybe the landscaping has changed the drainage? At this point, John bailed out on us. He said his nose was too cold…

H.E.B. Commercial


I stopped by the H.E.B. during my lunch break to pick a few things up. Normally, I like to get in and out as fast as humanly possible. Why spend more time in this place than you have to? There was a little bit of a congestion around the frozen food section today. It seems they were filming a commercial for the Super Bowl with Emmit Smith. There were a couple of policemen hanging around, so I was wondering why they were needed. And I only found out when I went through the checkout lane.

Game Day 01/18/2007

Game #1

Der Elefant im Porzellanladen

Ed brought out this light filler that he had ordered on the last Adam-Spielt order. Adam suggested Tichu and boy did I regret not playing Tichu instead. But Elefant a new game, and I had to try it out at least once. The mechanics are simple. You can either buy cards that you can score with. Or, you can take a card that forces you to discard cards for money. Maybe it was because we had five players. Or maybe it was because I started last. Whatever the reason, I spent the entire game being forced to make moves that would hose me. The vast majority of the moves were automatic. And on the few times where I had a choice (either take a point card or take a discard card), I felt that my choice had little impact on the game. Ugh. I doubt that I will give this game a second chance.

Game #2

Struggle for Rome

Ed also brought Struggle for Rome which is the new Settlers game. I definitely wanted to play this one. It fits within the Settlers family quite well. Some negatives about this game were:

  • there was not much trading going on
  • the board is static. However it does make for a good map of Europe
  • there is likely more robbing with the thief in this game
  • there are a lot of routes on the map that take time to figure out which one to use

Some positives about this game are:

  • On your turn you roll dice until you come up with four unique rolls. Everyone gets the resources for these rolls. This evens out the unprobable dice rolls
  • good niggly bits: two tribes, wagons, gold coins
  • thematic fit of barbarians invading Rome

It was my first game of this, so I took quite a while figuring out what to do. I didn’t want to make any beginner’s mistakes. Ed and Susan could have helped by pointing out what worked for them in the past and where the good spots were on the board. I tried to go for the 2 point bonus that you get if a tribe conquers all five areas. And I was able to get that for both of my tribes. I probably wasted a turn on both tribes since I got two tokens for one of the five colors. And I was able to get the largest army equivalent (in this game it is the biggest diplomat). So all I needed for the win was to settle in four spots. Which I was able to do. Unfortunately, Doug was able to get 11 points on that turn for the win. Still, it was an interesting game. And one that I will play again.


First, I must give credit to John. He called an awful lot of Tichus, and made most of them. He also called a couple of Tichus before the pass. Way to be aggressive, John. Doug also called some Tichus as well. Adam just continued his string of poor card luck and was silent the whole game.

On my second Tichu call, I called Tichu first. John then over-Tichus me. He bombed in with an eight bomb. Later on, I responded with a three bomb. Which Doug promptly over-bombed with a nine bomb. Unfortunately for Doug, he could not pass control over to John and I went out first.

01/18/2007 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 JohnG & DougG
    140 T+
  75   T+
    455 T+
T+ 445     455  
  485   T-
  510   T+
T+ 725   T-
    500 T-
  T+ 640  
  1015   T+

Ice day 4

Ice bush
Ice malibou light

I did not drive into work today either. The winter weather advisory was still active until 10am. The toll-road was still closed (since it is entirely elevated for the majority of the road). I would be forced to take IH-35 and I imagine that it would be painfully slow.

All thats left of our little ice storm are these melting reminders…

And WTF is up with Austin running out of sand and de-icing supplies??? After two and a half days, both TXdot and the airport ran out stuff. They had to close the flyovers. I think it should be mandatory to keep at least 7 days worth of supplies!

Ice day 3

Icy grass

Today was a real disappointment. Yesterday, the weatherman was showing a contour-map that depicted possible snowfall levels. Each line was supposed to be 1/2″ of snow. And Williamson county could get 1/2 to 1 inch of snow! Bah! Even one day in future, weathermen are still clueless. There was no snow this morning. Or sleet for that matter. Only a quarter inch of ice on the half dormant lawn.


Icy driveway
Icy roof

Ugh, it is turning out to be quite the ice event here in Round Rock. Yesterday was icy. Today was even more icy. And tomorrow promises snow.

But the ice accumulation wasn’t as bad as in the past. I remember having to run my garden hose over a tree one day because it was bending down and touching the ground.

Mmm pizza…


Another great Mexican pizza just came out. This time, I slowly rotated it so that the rotisserie burner could brown the crust evenly.

Game Day 01/13/2007

Game #1

Call My Bluff

Gamers abhor standing around. So a quick filler game was brought to the table. I like this game. Especially when there are abnormal rolls. For example, on four dice, I rolled all stars. So I put the bid on 4 stars even though the odds said that it was likely that there was another one out there. I was called and it turned out that there were 6 out there. The picture shows another unlikely occurrence. Everyone rolled a five or a star! When it was stated that 5 of the six dice were fives, someone naturally called it. And lost!

Game #2


Next up on the table was Imperial. This time we finally used the advanced start rules where there is a once around process where you buy shares in a country. I definitely like that version better. But this game still needs another tweak. You should be able to buy shares in a country when that country is done with its turn. It just takes too long for the investor marker to make its way around to you. I had money in my pocket that was just not utilized. Especially when Adam ended the game just before I was able to improve the multiplier in my country.

Game #3a

Lost Valley

Next up on the table was Lost Valley. And I definitely wanted to play it. It has been a while since I last played it. This time, I decided to buy a boat and a sieve and run along the river while exploring for river-gold. Sadly, I didn’t find that much of it. I was able to get ten chips for a total of 12 gold. And at that point I had a decision to make. I could end the game, but it was likely that Curt had more gold than I did. I would be playing for second place. So I decided against that and decided to start mining some mountain-gold. My river exploration had turned up a nice pile of it at the end of the river.

Game #3b

But the game turned into a version that I really hate. And that is the fact that you cannot complete getting victory points in one operation. You must first open up a mine. And then spend actions to mine the gold. However, other people can take advantage of the work that you did to mine the gold on their turn. Due to the load of supplies that I was carrying, I could not open a mine and then mine for gold immediately. If I opened the mine, then Curt and Adam could mine out all of the gold before I would be able to get some.

It turned into a Mexican standoff. Unfortunately, Curt was in the lead at this point and I needed Curt to open up the mine first. It was in Curt’s best interest to just wait. But eventually he succumbed and went off to start a mine. Adam chased after him and I was able to start another one myself.

And at the end of the game, the score was close. I had scored 18 gold and Curt and Adam scored 17!

Accident #1
Accident #2

When John and I drove home, we came across an accident that had still not cleared after 6 hours! Apparently the rain had caused an 18-wheeler to run up the side of an overpass.



My Adam Spielt order finally arrived from Germany. It was shipped out on 12/08 and arrived on 1/12. Five weeks is longer than average for them. I guess the various postal carriers took a lot of holidays during that time.

But the disincentive to order from them is building. Most of the German games are coming out quicker than ever here in the states. Yspahan, Imperial, and Space Dealor were all orderable from U.S. before my games arrived. But perhaps the biggest problem is the dollar is falling against the Euro. The conversion rate was 1.3626320196645147348802031279544. Ouch!