Because I am a huge nerd, I went ahead and wrote up a script for explaining the game to new players. I hope that this will make it easier to get others to play it. Just in case it might help anyone else out there, I'm posting it for the public to make use of. Hopefully it will help someone. You can download my explanation of Race for the Galaxy and see for yourself.
Wednesday, August 31, 2011
I have something to share. Jen and I play a game called Race for the Galaxy. It's a card game that was given to us. The great thing is that it is really quick and can be played over lunch. The bad thing is that it takes longer to explain or learn than it does to play. It was really hard to understand from reading the manual and it took quite a while for us to get it internalized and play it right. Now that we understand it, we want to get other people to play it. However, it is a hard game to explain.
Monday, August 29, 2011
Jen was away on a women's retreat this weekend with her Bible study group, so I was a bachelor temporarily this weekend. It does feel good to stretch out in the bed at night at times. During my solo weekend, I helped some friends from church move. There were a lot of people, so it went mercifully fast. I also went to a game night where we played the interesting economics-heavy game called Power Grid. It's definitely a complex game, and it has some interesting mechanics around supply and demand, among other things. I also went to church and after Jen got back we went down to an open house put on by one of my co-workers.
One awe-inspiring thing happened on Saturday. It was Jen's parents' anniversary this weekend. In an uncharacteristic moment of me thinking about other people, I was inspired to take over a bouquet of flowers to them. After all, this was their 40th anniversary, which is inspiring in and of itself. While driving over there, I saw a strange plane flying in front of me. It banked and I made out the distinctive outline of the stealth bomber. The plane flew past me and out of sight. When I arrived at Jen's parents' place, I was excited to tell them about the sighting. However, Jen's dad was already in the driveway with binoculars. The bomber was circling, so every so often we'd get a good view as the plane banked again.
Finally the bomber broke out of its holding pattern and flew straight towards us. This massive flying wing with the zigzag trailing edge came fairly low and surprisingly quite. Viewed straight on it seemed so thin, like a sliver of black floating through the sky. Then he was directly over us, its unusual shape starkly laid out against the blue Colorado sky. I couldn't help but wave like a 10-year-old boy. It seemed so unlikely that something like that would fly. Then it was past us and heading towards the airshow in Broomfield, and the rumble of the jet engines rolled into to fill its wake. Soon it altogether was gone.
It's not often I am filled with awe. I can get excited. I can be impressed. I can see beauty and ingenuity. I can see the majesty of mountains and feel wonder towards the creativity and power of their Creator. But deep-seated awe is not something I am used to. But that's what this bomber did for me. To see this somewhat beautiful, certainly massive, and definitely powerful craft come quick and quiet right over the top of me and to leave a rumbling sky behind lit up the awe portions of my brain. And to think of the ingenuity of its improbable design and the purpose it serves adds to that awe. It is tempered slightly by the fatal purpose of this craft. All this power, beauty and cleverness was made for the raining of destruction down on enemies from the masking darkness and to guard the lives of the pilots who steer this vessel on its grim and shadowed way. And yet: awe. Perhaps the martial uses of this plane adds in to the sense of awe; its awful power and grace.
The whole event felt like a gift from God. I think the Spirit must have prompted me to take that bouquet over, and I had a nice shared moment with Jen's parents. It left me feeling inspired and grateful. I certainly wouldn't have noticed this circling masterpiece had I been on my couch playing video games or with my nose stuck to my computer screen. Thanks, God!
Friday, August 26, 2011
Well, last night was evidently a catastrophe for my tomato plants. When I came out to water this morning, both had flopped over, twisting the cages they had been planted in. I wrestled with them for a while trying to get them to stay up through the use of stakes, twine, and lumber, but only by leaning them against the fence and reinforcing them with said lumber was I finally able to get them upright. Hopefully they will survive their trauma. They dropped about 6 tomatoes, most of which were green. I may need to make some green tomato pie. Our plants are loaded and heavy with fruit, so if this trauma kills them off, I'm going to be able to make several pies.
The good news is that from one plant I picked a beautiful, perfect tomato. Most of our tomatoes this year have been marred by deep scars that start from the stem and run down the sides of the tomatoes. I'm not sure if this is disease or pest related, or if the tomatoes are just growing too fast. I did discover that the tomato plants are home to quite a few mosquitoes. They got in a few bites while I was wrestling my errant plants back into being upright citizens of our garden plot. I also noticed that my long-sleeved white workout shirt looked like I'd been wrestling in turmeric after my struggle with the plants. I had no idea tomato plants had that quality to them.
In some other good news, I was able to finally win a game of Dominion. Jen and I played a couple of games, and I was sufficiently grumpy after loss #5 that Jen may not have fully pressed me and I ended up with a decisive win. I still like the game a lot, but I'm going to need to think about it differently.
Thursday, August 25, 2011
Tuesday was my birthday. That's hardly convenient for celebrating, so on Saturday Jen and I, along with both of our sets of parents drove up to Fort Collins to tour the New Belgium Brewery and the Odell Brewing Company. I had to schedule our tour of New Belgium 2 months in advance, but it was well worth it. We got 6 glasses of beer, some of which were rarities. The tour was 90 minutes and really enjoyable. Our guide was a good story teller, amiable personality, and enthusiastic employee. Of the 6 beers, the one that surprised me was the Kick beer. It's a sour beer aged in wine barrels that previously housed red wines. It also has some pumpkin and cranberries in it. It's unlike any other beer I've had, and it was quite enjoyable. So far it is not in wide release. I was sad that they didn't have any of the dunkelweiss beer I had enjoyed. Sad.
Odell Brewing was fine, and had I not just been on an awesome tour at New Belgium that included a spiral slide and 6 glasses of beer, I might have appreciated it more. If you go do brewery tours, hit New Belgium last so everything else doesn't feel like a let down.
After the breweries we hopped on I-25 and drove down to Denver for a meal at my beloved Euclid Hall. They did not fail to impress and the food was excellent. I did finally try the bone marrow, and although it didn't taste bad, it's nothing I'll repeat. The texture was more gelatinous than I had expected, so it mainly was like eating fat. But the spaetzle, cabbage, and poutines did not disappoint. Unfortunately, we had to skip the waffle ice cream sandwich, but fortunately it was for a good reason. Back at our place we had ice cream cake from Sweet Cow Ice Cream. Delicious!
On my actual birthday, Jen had to work, so I went and had dinner with my folks. They got me the game Dominion for my birthday, so I taught them to play that. It's a great game with a clever way of slowly building up what you can do. It has a ton of replayability based on different combinations of cards that you can play with. We had played it before with friends, but I was hungry to have it for my own. Last night Jen and I played it 4 times. The first time we tied (though she technically won), and the next 3 times she gave me pretty solid thrashings. I may need to reformulate the way I play...
Thursday, August 18, 2011
Never fear! I persisted and called the Broomfield police's records department and learned the truth: the (not shocking at all) truth behind the police with assault rifles I witnessed. Turns out they were responding to a faulty hold up alarm at the gas station. I know I felt pretty sheepish and embarrassed when I set off the alarm and called the paramedics, but at least they weren't brandishing assault weapons when they responded. I can't imagine how it feels to realize the police are responding with heavy weapons to your indiscretion.
Aaaand in completely unrelated news, my parents are in town. They're on their way to Wyoming for an RV rally, but they're camped out up at St. Vrain State Park and hanging around for my birthday. We're going to tour some breweries on Saturday with them and Jen's folks before heading to Euclid Hall for some birthday like celebrations. I think we'll keep things pretty quiet and mellow this year.
Monday, August 15, 2011
The bats are wheeling around my back yard in the dusk. I'm happy to see them out there devouring the myriad bugs that assault anyone trying to sit out on the deck. It finally is cool enough to make an evening on the deck worth considering. We've even eaten a couple of meals out there. My parents are in town, so perhaps we'll have them over for dinner on the deck.
This weekend I got a new desk. It is a birthday present from Jen and replaces the college furniture grade desk I had before. It looks mature and befitting of someone coming up on a third of a century. I think Jen is more excited about the desk than I am, and I quite pleased to have something more stable and less obstructive of the view. That's how I can see the bats out there while I'm writing this.
Yesterday I had some excitement driving back home from getting my car washed and waxed (also very exciting). I was coming through Broomfield when I saw a patrol car flip on the lights behind a truck. As I watched, however, he didn't pull the truck over, but instead wove through traffic and turned off his lights and parked along the side of the street. I saw him get out and kneel near a gas station sign. I thought he was reaching for his side arm, when I realized in fact he was carrying an assault rifle and taking cover behind the gas station sign. He was drawing a bead on the lone truck at the gas station. Another cop car was coming up quick as well. And then I was past them.
I considered for a moment turning around and rubbernecking a bit. Then I thought about the type of situation that calls for assault rifles and figured I should continue on home to my loving wife. Curiosity did spur me to action, and I called the Broomfield police to see if they could tell me what was going on. Unfortunately the lady I spoke with didn't have the particulars, other than that no fire fight broke out afterwards and no one was hurt. She did give me the number for records, which I may have to call up tomorrow to find out what the deal was.
Another thing I'm excited about is that Jen is playing Portal 2 by herself. We played through the cooperative and had a lot of fun finishing that one up. It is such an excellent game; well written and clever. It even has a satisfying ending. And now she's going through the single player by herself, and sometimes is getting through the puzzles faster than I did. This nerdly husband is proud. However, where I find the snarky Glados AI in the game to be hilarious, Jen wants to destroy her. Jen says her perspective is different from having to work with clients who have mothers who are as nastily passive-aggressive as Glados. Ok, yeah. Having Glados for a mother would be a good reason to spend a long while in therapy. But as long as Valve keeps putting out games this good, I'll be returning for another helping.
Saturday, August 6, 2011
So, the lawn is mown. The tall grass has been weedeated. Rolls have been made. The roasted corn and poblano salad is chilling in the fridge. The lime curd is cooling down. The brisket bubbling in the slow cooker is almost ready to be shredded for use in sliders. The laundry is clean, but needs folding. Source Code has been viewed, enjoyed, and returned. Groceries have been purchased. Preparations have been made.
This has been one busy Saturday, and it is not over yet. In fact, the main event is yet to come. We're having some friends from church over for games and fellowship. Right now, we're chilling out a bit; putting our feet up and resting before the next burst of activity.
I love productivity. If I store enough it up, I can feel okay sitting down and zoning out with video games or the Internet. When I feel unproductive and ineffectual, I do not do well, especially if I have actually been expending a lot of effort to do things right, but to no avail. Then I simmer in a potent broth of frustration and fear. I've been feeling a bit of that lately, so a productive day feels so good to me, despite how tired I'll be. It's also nice that it was proceeded by my preparing our first meal of the summer out on the deck yesterday. It felt good to finally use our "new" patio furniture and enjoy the yard we spend so much time maintaining. Here's to productivity and summer meals.
Tuesday, August 2, 2011
I'm very happy to hear that Congress decided not to hamstring our economy. Seems like a prudent choice. Of course, we'll have to debate whether to hamstring our economy again in a few months. Evidently the prospect is tempting enough to some that they want another whack at it.
Actually, I don't even have to speculate. There are some people in Congress who have said outright that they think we should have defaulted on our debts. Congresswoman Michele Bachmann has repeatedly stated her opposition to raising the debt ceiling. It's not that she opposed the deal passed by Congress, but she was against the very idea of raising the debt ceiling. In an interview where a Fox news anchor asked incredulously if she actually can't call the bill averting a disaster a good thing, she said she couldn't, saying that it would lead to long term ruin. Evidently that is not quick enough for Bachmann, who would seem to want ruin in the short term. Letting the US default on its debt because you're afraid the country will get into serious financial trouble in the future is like cutting off your foot because you're afraid you'll run over a cliff.
The part that really scares me, is that Michele Bachmann is considered a legitimate contender for President. Ron Paul, another GOP candidate, also holds the position that we shouldn't raise the debt ceiling. When these people to say we refuse to pay the debts we already owe and instead default, they lose the right to say the words "fiscal responsibility" except when immediately preceded by the words "I know nothing about". These people need to put down those sweet paint chips they've been munching on, toss that mercury smoothie, and get the heck away from the halls of power before they hurt someone or, you know, hamstring our economy. Taking the economy hostage is not an acceptable way to pass legislation.
Not that the rest of Congress or the President have acquitted themselves well. I'd like to think that Speaker Boehner and Obama could have settled this like adults if Boehner could have kept the crazies in line. Even if their plan went nowhere, the only people who came out of this with much respect left were the members of the Gang of Six who sat down together and put together a plan.
Okay, I'm trying to stop this political stuff. I apologize for the rant. This isn't like me. Breathe in, breathe out. Breathe in, breathe out. Breathe in, breathe out.