Tag Archives: gaming

Don’t Judge a #Writer by Her Word Game Scores


Many fatal errors exist in this internet age: the reply to all email when you meant to reply to one bashing criticizing everyone but the “one”; the inadvertent post of a crappy blog; connecting all your contacts in your smartphone with your contacts on LinkedIn or Facebook and then having to apologize or the gaffe; or finally, for me anyhow, the linking of your Facebook profile to Words with Friends, or Word Scramble.  I the first two errors: I’ve made in my sleep, I was a pro. The third error, I just clicked “OK” to something that I thought meant the opposite and the fourth, the inadvertent linking of my random iDevice with my Facebook profile has all but done me in.

play me if you wish, but i warn you: i will lose and i won't care. publicly.

play me if you wish, but i warn you: i will lose and i won’t care. publicly.

People who read writers like me make a ridiculous natural assumption connection that just because I can words together string to sense make that fantastic be at will games word I. Especially the timed kind.

Nothing, my friends, nothing — not the popular underground theory that Bonaparte was a good guy or the CIA is just a misunderstood neighborhood watch program, could be more untrue.

I SUCK at word games. I don’t understand the use of Tokens in Scramble, and it’s proof positive that my scores of 215 to 790 in the first round, that I will never ever beat anyone at these games. Word Scramble is timed and when I play it, I become literally unhinged if someone asks me a question or if the house is on fire or we’re being raided by the CIA or if I have an itch somewhere because …

I can’t take it. You have to drag your finger along the screen’s mosaic of letters to make words for points and then the dopamine rush starts and you see the word TOP and then STOP and TOPS and POTS and POST and OPTS and you want to take hostages because you can’t make the E and the D part of the chain, so you cry and you yell for everyone to just stop, stop talking to you, stop asking you questions, can’t you see this is important? I can’t help you, just roll under a wet towel, the flames should go out… doesn’t anyone pay attention to that film strip anymore in Sister Marie’s Fallout Shelter classes?! AM I THE ONLY ONE WHO WATCHED THE FILM STRIPS?!

And what about the fickle nature of the dictionaries in Words With Friends or Word Feud or Scrabble (which frankly is my margin by which I base all other online dictionaries) where PHAT is a word as well as QAT (an Arabian bush):

Screen Shot 2013-03-28 at 2.32.32 PM

is a word but QUO is not.

Often, I’ve been heard stating this sentiment, “Oh, thank you Harrison, just place the Qat beside the Willow, it will be simply phat there.”

What’s a player to do? How many times must I execute: QI or XI or ZA or ZIT to earn the points?

What’s a writer to do? Would that I could, my favorite word would be JOULES. I don’t know why, but I can’t wait to use (?) that word. The J is 10 points, but I don’t even care that it mightn’t be used on a TW (that’s triple word) or TL (triple letter) tile; I yearn for the opportunity to use, JOULES, MIEN, REPOSE, GLOAMING, FECKLESS … HARKEN … these are the words I would like to play. Just because I have a writerly vocabulary doth not mean I’m able to EXECUTE it.


I prefer the fanciful nature of Draw Something anyway. Look at what I’ve done, and taken to an obsessive level, I might add, when inspired to sketch out a word…

This is “Lavender”:

yes, i take out my repressed and constrained creativity on my unwitting friends who must wait for my image to come up...

yes, i take out my repressed and constrained creativity on my unwitting friends who must wait for my image to come up…

and SAFARI (oh, I had fun with this one — it was for only 3 coins, but I didn’t care; I had just gotten destroyed in a WWF game with another writer — it was something like 4338 to 12):

and wait... I think that's me driving one of the trucks...

and wait… I think that’s me driving one of the trucks…

or try this — “CUSTOMER” — after a while, I’ve noticed that my people are starting to have stylized feet and shapes…

do you like their feet and hair? I had just lost another WWF game, 512 to 6.

do you like their feet and hair? I had just lost another WWF game, 512 to 6. My husband, who was the innocent recipient of this image thought it was a bank hold-up at first. He beats me at WWF. now that i have a stylus, it’s amazing. 

So the moral of this story is that you may ask me to play these silly noninteresting pedestrian word games that get people like Alec Baldwin tossed off planes excused from a flight, but I will likely lose because I can’t stoop to the tiny-brained fettering rules that squash scuttle my brilliance brilliance.


Thank you.

Holiday Shopping Guide: Fjord Games – (Pleh. That’s a Crappy Title…)

Holiday Shopping Guide: Fjord Games – (Pleh. That’s a Crappy Title…)

So I hope this post is mostly photos with amazingly witty captions. I’m in a mood, peeps.

Yesterday Thing 2 who is 11 was diagnosed with a sinus infection, poor baby. He’s been handling it well. Better than I do. When I have a sinus infection people hide.

We went to Target to fill his prescription. We had to wait thirty minutes for the people who work behind the desk on the platform elevated about 12″ higher than we are to mix the powder with the liquid. I am not knocking the profession.

But being in Target with an 11-y.o. boy possessed of a vivid imagination means going to the toy aisle which isn’t a toy aisle at all, it’s an entire department. Of course there’s the pink aisle comprising Barbie and supposedly girly toys. Because girls can’t use toys manufactured in primary colors, didn’t you know that? We can’t see anything but lavender, pink, white, buttercream yellow and pale blue. It’s a scientific fact. Plus, anything without opalescent wings or long eyelashes looks like mold and smells like the Kaohsiung Fisherman’s Wharf, in Taiwan… maybe near where the toys are made.

I digress. It’s been a while since I’ve done that. I’m about to go over my word limit goal…

So, while we were in the toy ward, I couldn’t help but be drawn to the board games. I love board games. I love family game night, I even have a rack of board games — many classic and many new but all are fun — in our playroom:

told ya. lots of games.

I’m gonna feel sorry for myself for a moment: I didn’t have lots of kid board games when I was younger. My mother wanted us to be geniuses so we were only allowed games like Scrabble and chess and checkers. I think relatives gave me other games but I thought they were candy, so they didn’t last. That game near the bottom “Stop Thief” is one I remember getting from my aunt; I loved it. It fell apart I played it so much, so when I saw it on eBay for $16,000 I decided I had to have it. My kids love it too, so that’s good. I would feel awful spending $16,000 and having no one play it.

Have you been in the board game section lately? Here’s what’s going on:

Children needn’t learn how to read, just know the S&P 500. And maybe some Monsanto brands…

Cash is dead. Long live plastic and electronic banking. No math skills? No problem! In all fairness, original Monopoly is still available, in the back the shelf behind all the sharp power tools.

Websites become games and games become weird. What is the context? How does one win at this game?! … “Oh! I remember that photo, I saw it on Hal’s Dad’s sister’s cousin’s cable installer’s iPhone…”

MmmmmnnnNo. They want two Jacksons for this?! MmmmmNo. They should put it by the pharmacy. I know: leave a copy in the doctor’s office! “New from the CDC! Everyone! Learn how to track an epidemiological virus to its origins and you win!”… ugh. Prescription to pediatric dosage for Xanax not included but highly recommended. 

And if a website isn’t how you wanna play a game, then let’s go straight to the apps. This isn’t the only one: there’s a game made after Angry Birds and Cut the Rope and Where’s My Water? I mean, why not just skip the smartphone altogether? Right? RIGHT?! Am I the only one seeing a 180˚ here? I know, how about “Angry Birds: The Board Game of Irony.”

When all else fails, buy the German Toy of the Year Award winner, “Ticket to Ride” about a train. In Germany. Over 2 million sold. I’m stopping there. I wonder… do people think anymore?

The Parker Bros must be rolling in their graves. Never did they see this coming: a complete hijack of their beloved Scrabble, renamed and rebranded under a smartphone app. Now it’s cool to play word games with friends, as long as you don’t try playing TEXAS or ZEN or OHIO….

When all else fails, or your book becomes supremely ubiquitous, turn it into a board game. For a Jackson and a Washington, you can have the game now.

Or your Barbie could be stripped of its cute cotton candy colors and turned into a vicious and bloodthirsty diminutive blond vampire. Not surprised it’s on clearance, eh? They should have made her outfit violet.

And just when you thought this game couldn’t get any more annoying, there’s now a “SHOUT IT!” command. That’s a bonus for all you parents out there who think your kids need to get more excited about plastic, batteries and flashing lights.

But in the end…

It’s All Too Much. (Please tell me you get that reference….) 

I titled this post “Fjord Games” because I think some of these games are taking a giant leap across a fjord. What’s the lesson learned from this post? Don’t go to Target with me when you don’t have to and if I have to explain the reason for the title… maybe I should rethink the title altogether.

Told ya I was in a mood…

Thank you.

Tuesday Morning Press #3 – Zip Lines of Life


Ok, Tuesday Morning Press #3 here. The rule for this post is there are no rules, except that I really can’t edit much other than ridiculous typos and phrases that make no sense. It’s all off the cuff – if I go astray, I need to get myself back on track.

So I’ve got less than my usual hour here because I walked with a friend back toward her house after dropping the kids and then I made the fatal error of staring at the sun come through the trees and then I went on facebook, which in the chronology of fatal errors was only #3, but in the aspect of its time suckage, was like error number -289.

I went on a field trip with Thing 2 yesterday. He is 11 and an apple of a child: heart-shaped face, copper eyes and a smile that sends a smile along my spine. He is tempestuous, smart and occasionally insecure and was genuinely T-H-R-I-L-L-E-D I was along on the trip.

Here’s the thing I don’t seem to have happening in my life yet: my kids aren’t embarrassed of me. They actually like me being around them and their friends. They want me to meet their friends. As in last Friday Thing 1 went to a couple social events at school which was so great for him and I was so excited for him that I wasn’t going to do what I wanted to do: stalk him and hang around. I didn’t do this because he’s got 1) a great head on his shoulders and isn’t easily swayed by moronic peer-pressure behavior … YET, and 2) I really wanted to sit on my butt at home on my couch and watch “Law & Order” reruns.

Before we went he said, “Come with me, you can meet Javier and Katarina and Hagar” and I loudly thought, “WHAT?! when I was your age I wanted to hide my mother in a laundry bin and feed her sunlight through a tube.” But I didn’t say that… I said, “No, thanks though! I will meet them another time… this is your time…” and he sorta looked downcast. Did I blow it? He ended up staying later for the game, which was great, but I didn’t make any plans to meet anyone there so I went home. Because he went and stayed, he was invited to a “we aren’t going to homecoming so we’re just gonna have a party instead” party at a friend’s house the next night and HE WENT! The parents were home and we called to see if there was anything we could bring… (hint: do this – your kids can’t get all ruffled when you offer to do what any normal guest would do – and you get to chat with the parents about the plans for the event and get a feel for the vibe). He had a nice time and is generally pleased with himself that he opened his social windows a bit.

This was supposed to be about my other son’s field trip. Get back on track… 40 minutes to go…

So this field trip was at a place called “Camp Hemlock” or “Hemlock Camp” or “Camp Camp” – I can’t remember but it doesn’t matter. The entire campground is all about problem solving and team work. This experience excelled for the kids by way of having them solve physically and mentally challenging exercises and experiences to arrive at a team conclusion where everyone wins. Think of it like “Survivor” for kids and within a six-hour timeframe. T2’s team, like all the others, was about 13-kids large and it seemed random enough to me until I noticed some of the teams were all the jocks and then all the smarties and then the kiddos who are normally normal: fit in everywhere and nowhere. The middle zone.

So much for stretching our envelopes. ANYway…

The duty of the chaperones was quite simple: 1) stay off your phones, 2) don’t assist the kids, 3) make sure rocks stay on the ground and branches stay off the path. That was A-OK with me. I had a great time with our other chaperone; I have known this person from very cheap seats for a few years as our kids have been in and out with the same teachers for a few years but I got to know her on a level that was almost cosmic and almost fate-granted. (Well, all of life is fate-granted –even the stuff we don’t like– we just have to be willing to accept it as such.) I made a new friend who is quite funny, has her own stories of how life has shaped her and we felt safe with each other. The best part of chaperoning: when you think you’re the only one who has a seven-fingered great uncle grandmother who ate pickled chocolate babies using a grapefruit spoon out of a beer stein while dressed in a Groucho Marx suit sitting in a chaise lounge atop the widow’s walk of the family compound’s main manor overlooking the Galapagos: you’re not alone. Everyone’s got a story.

The best part of the field trip was undoubtedly the zip line. To get to it after we donned our super sexy climber’s helmet and bladder tickling climbing harness we had to scale a 12′ rail-less stepladder and then get buckled in to more gear that somehow makes you feel like you could swing from a flaming helicopter as Tom Cruise’s next stand-in (he’d have to grow out his hair for me because there’s no way I’m cutting mine) in his next fairy-tale inspired action flick: “Rapunzel and the Pусская мафия (Russian Mob)” or the working title: “Blonds Prefer Death.”

Brave boy. My love: Thing 2 walking like a squirrel 15′ above the ground.

Then we walked across a tight-wire which started at 10′ off the ground but ended up about 15′ and then the zip line which began above a precipitous drop into a valley which sank to about 75′-80′ below the line, but the line is horizontal, it doesn’t drop. So I got across, got strapped into more lines and other gear and then sat down on the ledge above the valley and nudged myself into the abyss. Despite the description of the cables being the same as those used on aircraft carriers to stop jets when they land, I still thought for less than a second: “this shit’s gonna break and I’m gonna bounce off that bank and roll into that valley” but I was overcome with wonderful confidence because 11 little kids, including my own son, had vaulted themselves into this ride and I went for it.

What happened next was just… SUPERAWESOMEGREAT. I was flying! Free and fast and by the time I screamed “I LOVE YOU THING 2!” it was over. Eight seconds max and I was at the other end, my knees bent and my heels were instinctively ready to absorb the expected impact of landing on the ground. “OH MAN! AGAIN! AGAIN!” is what I said. It was exhilarating. What do I want to do next? I think I’m ready for another ride. Maybe base jumping?

The trainer we worked with yesterday asked his team to come up with a movie which best described the day. For me, it was like “Steel Magnolias” because I made a friend and I just grabbed what the day had given me by the horns and didn’t look back. We have to do that for ourselves every once in a while: push our own envelopes because then we are freer, just a little bit.

Thank you.