March 2008 Archives

An Australian company believes that affluent couples in Redmond are so tired of being forced to sit among the hoi polloi that they'll be willing to shell out $35 a ticket at the new Village Roadshow Gold Class Theater opening in Redmond Town Center. Each of the complex's eight theaters has only forty seats, arranged in pairs and equipped with call buttons for service from the theater's gourmet restaurant and bar. Valet parking is, of course, included.

The division of the world into coach / first class continues.

Comments (5) | last by Ellen Beeman, Apr 5, 5:02 AM

Eli's Big Adventure

Bill Harris, author of the videogame-focused blog Dubious Quality, gets my Father of the Year award.

His 6.7-year-old son Eli mentioned off-handedly one day that he wished he could go on a big adventure. So Bill created one. He created a fake will from a fake pirate describing how to get to his buried treasure. He put the will on heavy, weathered paper, had it delivered "from an old friend" via FedEx, and led his son on a grand adventure that culminated with Eli digging up a buried treasure chest with authentic-looking pirate coins inside.

That alone is fantastic. But the coda to the story is what happened afterwards, as Eli's enthusiasm and joy made Bill feel guilty for selling his son a lie. He handled it beautifully, and I find the whole story enchanting and inspirational. Eli himself sounds like a great kid-- I should be so lucky when my time comes. The way Bill manufactured not just a single experience for his son, but a whole future relationship based on creativity and shared play fills me with warmth, and the hope that I can accomplish the same thing with my own future children.

Perhaps those years behind the Dungeon Master's screen will turn out to be more valuable than I thought.

Comments (2) | last by wholesale nfl broncos jerseys, May 11, 7:20 PM

I was literally giggling with glee at the result of this week's Survivor tribal council, as Joel reaped what he had sown. The beauty of it is that even though he recognized the poetic justice of the situation a priori, once the axe came down on his head his final remarks indicated he could dish it out but couldn't take it. "How could they vote to keep someone like Chet?" he asked. He should know the answer to that, because he did it twice himself!. Joel went about the game all wrong from the start. The Fans should have banded together from the outset under the theory that the advantage would be with the Favorites' greater experience, and so they needed to remain united to have any chance. Instead Joel began by picking off the greatest threats to him personally, ignoring the larger needs of his team. Good riddance to bad rubbish, says I.

But let's talk about Cirie, who looked like she'd swallowed the canary during tribal council. That woman is playing the game harder than anyone else on the island, and none of the other players even know it. If they realized how crafty she's being, they'd bounce her in a heartbeat. She's doing all the right things. To stay alive, she has to band together with other "weaker" players and pick off the strong ones until the merge. While it's a team game, the physically weak are vulnerable, but once it becomes an individual game the equation inverts and the physical threats need to watch their backs while the weak cruise forward. Her game is all about surviving to the merge. I'm a little surpised Ozzy and Amanda agreed to oust Joel-- I'd have thought they'd have been confident enough to keep him around for the sake of a stronger tribe. All they have to do is make it to the merge and get reunited with James and Parvati, and the four of them are in a potentially great position.

I can't wait to see the faces of the other tribe when they learn that Joel was voted out. I'm predicting slack-jawed shock all around.

That was a brutal reward challenge. I suspect the producers had no idea it would become such an injury factory. But really-- Joel and Chet? How either of them agreed to that pairing is a mystery. I hope Jonathan isn't removed from the game because of his injury. That's just a horrible way to leave Survivor, not knowing if you'd have been able to make it to the end. But that wound looked nasty, and a choice between staying in the game and risking death is no choice at all.

Comments (5) | last by Peter, Mar 26, 8:13 PM

The Wall

Sorry I've been inactive lately. Moving into a new house, unpacking, and generally making the place livable and homey has left little spare time for blogging. I've been too busy at work to slack off and write entries there, either-- a situation likely to be the norm for a while (which, frankly, isn't a bad thing). But I figure loyal Zombies deserve something, so here's a photo of the new Wall O' Games in the new game room. The other three walls are almost entirely windows, from two feet off the ground to a foot from the 9' high ceiling. Big windows = great light, but not a lot of room for storage. So all the games have to go on the front wall, as does the brand-spanking-new 52" HD LCD screen (we considered a projector, but then we'd have to mount a drop-down screen to the ceiling, and did I mention all the windows?). That's seventeen of the wall's eighteen feet, solid games from the floor right up to the ceiling, except for the space in the middle carved out for the television.

The shelving is one of the ubiquitous mount-a-rail-to-the-drywall-then-hang-uprights-from-it systems, in this case from Storables, custom cut to our measurements. We actually have two extra shelves, because we thought we'd space them closer together and fit another one on each side of the TV, but in practice it made more sense to make each shelf taller. We originally thought we'd also hang a track in front of the shelves and put up sliding doors, fabric panels, or shoji panels, but I have to admit I like the open display of gaming goodness-- it makes the room feel comfortably casual to me. We'll see how the fiancee feels over time.

And yes, that's all my games. Well, except for one small box of party games that are in my office right now. When those come back, they'll simply replace a few games whose borrowed time would have long ago expired if I didn't hate the hassle of selling and trading crap online. I'm looking at you, Proverbial Wisdom. And all the small-box card games, which are in an Ikea CD tower across the room which, its former purpose now obsolete in the age of MP3s, has been repurposed to a higher calling.

The room also holds my Addams Family pinball machine, Boccerball set, a couch and a game table, and the ceiling has built-in Dolby 7.1 surround speakers. It's a vast improvement on the old gaming space. We had our first game night here this week, and I can't speak for the rest of the group but I really dug it. The vibe was just much cosier and more adult, whereas the previous space was definitely collegiate / early bachelor. Unfortunately it's a longer commute for everyone-- only time will tell if they stick with it or if we break up the band.

Comments (11) | last by Wei-Hwa, Apr 2, 4:39 PM

I'm not sure why they bothered with the "Micronesia" subtitle this season. Even Jeff Probst has dispensed with the tribe name malarky, just calling them Fans and Favorites.

Palau winner Tom Westman was the only previous winner invited to participate in this mini-All-Stars season, and he wisely declined with sage reasoning. He won his season without ever having a single vote cast against him. He has nothing left to prove, and playing again would only result in tarnishing that achievement. The rest of the Favorites are eager for a second shot at the million dollar brass ring. Except for Fairplay, who only deepened my disaste for him by taking up one of the coveted spots in the cast and then asking to be voted out (and had the gall to insist at tribal council that it wasn't a "quit"). Here's Osten's phone number. Have some drinks.

Jonathan continues to get a bad rap. As I remember it, the man never lied or backstabbed anyone during his season. He was simply tagged as being untrustworthy, likely because of his accent and pushiness, and it stuck. He's certainly shown more leadership and loyalty toward his alliance this season than others have.

I don't understand why the Yau-Man stick got so far up Cirie's butt as to impair her judgment. Yau-Man is definitely a weaker player physically, and from that standpoint a reasonable candidate for eviction. But Cirie wasn't playing that angle. She was so terrified of likable yet weak, one-dimensional Yau-Man getting the immunity idol, she sided with two couples to evict him. No alliance is a bigger threat than a couple. With only one other person to be loyal to, couple alliances don't fall prey to internal squabbling or playing one member off another. They're dangerous. When one member of the couple is one of the strongest physical players in the history of the game, that alliance is terrifying. When TWO such alliances exist, only a fool would pass up the chance-- the imperative-- to break them up. The possibility of that move paying off for her in the long run doesn't change the fact that strategically, it was beyond stupid.

I'd love to know how Ozzy managed to get everyone to agree to send him to Exile Island. If I were a Favorite, the LAST person I'd put within reach of an immunity idol is Ozzy. What the hell were they thinking? I really hope the guy wins-- he's a phenomenal physical player, and it's been a little while since we've seen one of those win the day. Taking a page from Yau-Man's book by creating a fake immunity idol is genius. I just hope someone falls for it!

Meanwhile, over at the Fans' camp, we have the biggest egomaniac ever to play the game. Joel was so bothered by the idea of someone else on the tribe calling the shots-- or thinking he was calling the shots-- that he twice opted to weaken the tribe rather than let that slight against his manhood go unchecked. Major props to Tracy, Yoyo-Ma to Joel's testosterone-riddled cello. Brilliantly played. Fear her.

Kathy, meanwhile, is so starstruck at meeting past players that she's blown the major advantage of being on Exile Island three times by completely bailing on the quest for the idol. When she gets voted out, she'll have nobody to blame but herself. That idol had her name written all over it.

Next week's shuffling of the tribes should change everything, depending on who winds up where. I'm quite enjoying this season. The mix of new and old faces struck a perfect balance, and all it cost was a tiny bit more of Mark Burnett's soul.

Comments (3) | last by Travis Eberle, Mar 8, 9:12 PM

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