da weekend

Friday evening, we took the kids to a special event at the zoo’s reptile house where we got to take a tour into the areas behind the exhibits where they prepare reptile food with vitamins and so on. They keep new reptiles in quarantine for a little while until they’re sure they don’t have any disease. They had a large chameleon with three large lamps pointing at it. It seemed pretty happy right in the middle of the lights. (The chameleons drop dead rather easily, they said.) They had a refrigerator full of anti-venom for various kinds of snakes. This supply is pretty expensive to keep in stock, apparently. They’ve only had one bite in about 40 years, which is a pretty good record. A cobra in quarantine behind glass flared its hood at Sean.  He did not think to do the karate kid cobra dance.  The guy who gave the tour has something like 14 snakes and several at the zoo have been in his collection.

Saturday, we helped a friend take some loads of grass to the dump.  The piles of grass had begun composting and steaming underneath, which was interesting to see.  It turns kinda white under there and smells like elephants.  The area where it was resting will probably have some very good soil now.

We played a game of Shoots and Ladders with Sean and Mia last night.  Mia enjoyed tapping her piece on the board.  I was thinking that we need a good board game that Sean could play.  Shoots and Ladders is so random.   Lego Creationary is looking good.

Sean got up strangely early this morning and showed me that he’d lost his first tooth.  I asked to see it and he had to go up and search around his bed a while before he found it.  You apparently lose 20 teeth as a kid, including the 2 premolars behind the canine.  That’s more than I remembered.

Mountain biking and power grids

Went over to visit my sister’s family in the Manzano Mountain area yesterday.  Played Power Grid with my brother-in-law…not a bad board game, but kinda long at 2 hours +.  We went on a great mountain bike ride where I saw a couple of wild turkeys, a dear, and Kyle chased a squirrel along the path, which was pretty funny.  Those clip-in petals seem kinda dangerous so far.  Several times I found myself trying to scramble uphill over a steep rock or dirt and spinning out.  That’s normally when you’d slam your feet down on the ground to catch yourself.  Now imagine your ankle is cuffed to the pedal.  You’re going down, buddy!  We saw some of the largest yucca fruits I’ve ever seen.

Kyle touched one of them and it just fell off, so we had a taste.  It was like watermelon in taste and banana in texture.  Later, we played an Alhambra expansion with diamonds and gates…it wasn’t much different from regular Alhambra.

ZYQAX isn't a word!

Mattel (who owns Scrabble in the UK) is going to change the rules of Scrabble to allow names?  That be wack.  The reason they weren’t allowed in the first place is that people would just make up high-scoring names like Zyqax and say, “what?  I could name my kid Zyqax.”  I hate boardgames with subjective rules that are wide-open to interpretation and you just spend the whole game arguing.  Outburst had this problem.  “Things to eat that start with C.”  “Cardboard…what?  You could eat cardboard!”

bo'd games

My board gaming uncle was visiting recently.  We played Caylus Magna Carta, Dominion, and the Pandemic expansion.  We found out we’d been playing Pandemic wrong and in a much harder way because I misunderstood one of the rules.  No wonder we could never win.  (Unfortunately, we’ve tried this cooperative board game again a couple of times recently and still never win.  That game is teh hard.)  Dominion is a pretty good card game in which the cards have the rules written on them.  (I usually don’t like card games because they’re often random, but this one’s good.)  Every round of Dominion can be different because you can select what cards you want to use in that round.  You can play Dominion and other boardgames for free online at this German site.

Stone Age

Another trip to Peralta and another game from Uncle Keith’s case o’ games. It was Stone Age. It takes a while to learn and play the first time and we made a lot of mistakes, but it’s a good game. The most amusing part of the game was that it comes with a manly leather dice cup and many illustrations of large-bearded men. It changed us somehow.

Outbreak! Nooooo!!!!

We visited my grandparents in Peralta yesterday. My uncle brought his famed case o’ boardgames…obscure boardgames that are often pretty good. We picked Pandemic, which turned out to be a really good cooperative game. Four of us tried to find cures for four diseases around the world. It was good enough that we played it three or four times, even though we lost each time. The diseases suddenly outbreak and spread around the globe, so it’s very difficult to contain them before they’re out of control. It really got into our heads while we were trying to sleep, so we were having obsessive thoughts/dreams about it. One funny part about the game is that you determine who goes first by whoever was last sick.

Orange you glad I didn't say…

Vanessa just got a board game called Bananagrams. Well, actually, it’s just a bunch of Scrabble-like tiles. Both players play simultaneously and independently, trying to use all their tiles to make a freeform crossword. When you use all your tiles, everybody has to draw another tile. If you can’t handle stress, this is a bad game for you. You can get badly behind and feel like Lucy Ricardo when she was working on that candy assembly line and falling so far behind that she was having to stuff candy into her mouth. It’s possibly a bit more fun than Scrabble because there’s no ten minute wait for someone (me) to take their turn. A minor annoyance is the self-marketing nature of the game. Players are supposed to say Banana(tm)-related phrases as a part of play. “Split” to start. “Peel” to draw another tile. I assume it’s to make sure that any guests remember that the name of the game has something to do with bananas, so that they can be sure to buy it when they get home. Instead, say “start”, “next”, and “done”, and replace the banana game pouch with a normal bag. Fight the marketing! Wait a minute…I’ve just created a huge ad for them.

I was just watching a video of a big crowd of people on a Zero G airplane flight. I was wondering what the cleanup crew for that plane gets paid. It’s hopefully a lot.

We played Scrabble en Español the other day with some friends who actually speak Spanish. We learned many words…although I can hardly remember any of them now.