Monday, December 27, 2010

Christmas is over, Charlie Brown

It ended today, around 2:00 pm, amidst a game of Yu-Gi-Oh. Attitudes manifested and words were exchanged. By the end of the scene, one son was in his room, grounded for the rest of the day and the other was sitting on the couch in tears, upset by the way his younger brother had treated him out of frustration.

My wonderful wife, who did NOT lose her temper during the episode, began to debrief with the older (11 years old) sibling. They discussed how the younger brother (10 years old) sometimes had problems treating others with respect and ran his mouth without the benefit of a Common Sense Filter. That dear friends is life with ADD, and I assure it that it is harder on the boy than it is on us, because we believe in consequences.

Anyway, my wife became concerned and brought the conversation to my attention because the older son was describing, in detail, how to go about disposing of the body. His younger brother's body. She became a bit alarmed, but I reassured her that all young boys & men considered thoughts of this sort, especially if they were the type NOT to assault their fellow human beings in idle retaliation. And that the subset of those young boys & men who grew up to become serial killers was quite small indeed. Now please leave me be so that I can return to watching my Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Saw marathon.

Actually, I was watching a documentary called Big Rig, about the life and culture of the American truck driver. It was quite accurate and well done, although all of the subjects in the movie were quite upset with the government and their taxes, fees, and fuel prices. The film was made in 2007, during the height of our country's unreasonable fuel prices. Great documentary, I highly recommend it. It brought back many sights, smells, and experiences of my childhood. I practically grew up in cab of an 18-wheeler.

Several hours later, I am happy to report that the younger sibling is still alive, albeit subdued after a long nap. The older sibling has for the most part moved on after the dispute.
Now reading: Pax Romana by Jonathan Hickman

Monday, December 13, 2010

Game review: Family Business

Family Business is a fun mobster card game. Each player has a mob "family," which are card sets made up of real-life gangsters and robbers. The idea is to keep as many of your gangsters alive as possible, while trying to kill the gangsters belonging to the other players.

Meanwhile, everyone is playing action cards to 'finger' other players' gangsters (pointing them out to the authorities), trying to kill those who have been fingered, and trying to rescue their own gangsters from the line up.

As gangsters are fingered, their cards are played in a line up in the center of the table. Eventually, due to card play or after a certain number of gangsters are placed in the line up, they start getting killed (and removed from play), at a rate of one per turn. Since the execution happens at the front of the line, a gangster's position in the line is important.

We found this game to be very intense and game play became almost cutthroat as players tried to gun down opponents' gangsters while keeping their own gang out of the line up. I suggest this game as a good way of channeling the competitive players in your group. I enjoyed this game a lot, but it took a little while to learn. Meaning just a few minutes. I suggest playing a practice game just to get familiar with the different cards and eb and flow of game play.

Now drinking: Saranac's winter sampler, where I'm reminded again that Saranac makes a bitter stout. The copper ale is good, but the rest of the box is mediocre.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

On Geckos and Persuasive Maneuvers has great info & photos.
As my wife and youngest son were leaving school the other day, they ran into another teacher and her pet albino gecko. No, I don't know the circumstances, maybe the teacher was taking the gecko for a walk. She took the time to let my son pet the beast, and told him a few things about taking care of geckos.

"His skin feels like chicken flesh. Is he cold?" No, that's just his skin. 

She told them that she also has another gecko, but left him in the tank because "he's the mean one." It hisses at people and doesn't like to be touched. The teacher went on to explain how it once lost a fight with a dog and was still angry about having to regrow a leg and part of its tail. I'm guessing that it probably started the fight. 

Naturally, when they came home and told my other son and me about this awesome gecko, the conversation quickly got out of hand. The boys lined up and faced off against us on the scrimmage line, in a verbal game of football. The potential gecko was the figurative ball that they attempted to move down the field to the goal line of our home. They began their drive with a listing of those attributes that make geckos great pets:

They're cute. Five yard gain.
They're friendly. Incomplete pass.
They're quiet. First down.
They're easy to care for. Gain a few more yards.
They eat crickets. Interception.

Penalty called: 15 yards, offense, crickets on the field. Replay the down.

My wife doesn't get along with crickets. She had a frightening encounter with a swarm of crickets invading her yoga class in college. As she lay on the floor, her consciousness floating in the aether of peace and harmony, a cricket jumped on her face, like a face-hugger attempting to implant its egg in her stomach. To this day when she encounters a cricket, she jumps higher than it does.

In a last-ditch effort to reach the goal, the youngest rushes up the middle. "You know mom, if we got a gecko, you'd only have to take care of four pets." And he doesn't even make it back to the line of scrimmage.

"Wait a minute. WHO would be taking care of them?" Incomplete pass. "And what do you mean FOUR pets??" The defense mounts a strong line.

"Well," The center snaps the ball to the quarterback. "Yes...there's the dog, the gerbil, the gecko, and the crickets." Fumble.

But wait, the ball is recovered by the offensive team as the other son jumps in for a save. "Yeah mom. And you know what? Tarantulas eat crickets too!" And that's a sack. In their own end zone.And the ball explodes on impact.

Here's to hoping Santa doesn't show up with a box of crickets at YOUR house. He's certainly not allowed to bring any here.

Now reading: Jim Butcher's new book of short stories, Side Jobs.