[games] Magic: The Gathering (Redux)

I pulled out some of my old Magic decks this weekend. I haven't played in a long time and Dollar expressed an interest. I brought my stuff over to his place and let Adam use my blue and red deck while Dollar used his own green and white deck. Now at one point, when Dollar wasn't getting any land and therefore wasn't a threat, I directed all my attacks toward Adam. He had a 2/2 creature out and I played an instant to give it -2/-2, which means that that creature DIES. Here's what happened:

AMY: And I'll play this instant and give your troll -2/-2.
ADAM: [shrugs] Okay.
AMY: So it dies.
ADAM: No it doesn't. That's just affecting it's attack and defense, so it's defense is zero now.
AMY: Yeah, which means it's dead.
ADAM: No it's not. It's just at zero.
AMY: ...

I let it slide, but on the inside I was like, "MEGA-BITCH: ACTIVATED!" I thought that if you brought a creature's defense down to zero (or less), that creature dies. In fact, I am right: "The second number is its toughness; if it receives that much damage in a single turn, it is destroyed, and sent to the graveyard." I spent the rest of the game trying to slaughter Adam and Dollar. Adam even left the game early, I think because I was taking all the fun out of it.

So here's the dilemma: I play as hard and as carefully as I can, whatever game I'm playing. I'm not a sore loser (I think) and will always want to play again. But if I'm so serious about it, is that ruining it for the other players? It's just a friendly game, not the World Championship of whatever game it is. Take this for example:

Angela game over to play Balloon cup. She plays a card that hurts my chances of winning a specific race and I sit, thinking about what I should do next. Angela takes my lack of playing as a sign that it's her turn and plays another card. What I should have said was: "Excuse me, friend. You just played a card and now it is my turn. I apologize for taking so long." What I did was screech: "What are you doing? It's my turn!"

Amy needs to take a chill pill. I think my problem is that I'm more focused on winning than enjoying the game. But I think winning is important, so I want to play right. Which makes me act/sound/behave like a nit-picky bitch. So... So what should I do? Take a valium before every game I play? And when someone asks, "What's the rule about this?", I'll just say, "Whatever man, just, like, do whatever you feel is right." No! There are rules for a reason! AGGH I'm getting stressed out just thinking about it!

I will admit that before the Magic game started and I was looking through my cards, I probably shouldn't have laughed maniacally and said, "You guys are dead. I'm going to kill you guys dead. Dead dead dead. Give up now, it's over."


[knitting] Stash Bust 2006

I've got so much yarn, it's not funny. I've been thinking of issuing a strict stash-busting challenge unto myself: NO BUYING YARN IN 2006.

Crazy? Perhaps. But I think this will help me save money and finish unfinished projects. I'm hoping that by the time I use up all my yarn, I'll find other things around the house to knit with (old clothes or plastic shopping bags cut into long strips). I know I've got enough yarn for at least 3 sweaters and dozens of smaller projects- I'm not worried. Yet.


[knitting] See Eunny Knit!

I can't stand this girl - everything she knits is amazing. That vest? So cute. Floral felted bag? Beautiful. Butterfly? Breath taking.

That vest, though, makes me want to do one. She wrote an incredibly comprehensive series on steek. Here's a bit:

* * *
Why bother with a steek in the first place?

To quote, uh, myself: "In practice, setting, knitting, and slicing a steek is just a handy way to knit an entire sweater in the round by creating a bridge of waste stitches wherever a separation would be, i.e. between front and back for an armhole, or between the right and left sides of the neck, or all the way up the front of a cardigan.

Pictures are worth a thousand words. On the left is a stylized image of a pullover body. As you can see, the body could be knitted as a tube up to the armpits, but the front and back would have to be worked back and forth, as would each side of the neck. On the right, you see what a steek allows you to do - by filling in all those openings with a bridge of waste stitches, the entire garment may be knit as a tube, in the round, with all your armscye and neck shapings done in the sweater body.

Why should we care about knitting in the round? For a variety of reasons, stranded colorwork is easier and faster in the round: the knit stitch is quicker to form than the purl stitch; the pattern is always visible, allowing the knitter to read his work; seams are minimized or eliminated altogether. Production knitters favored the method for its speed and ease - as do hobby knitters now.
* * *

See how the vest knitted up before cutting?

This might be a fun, fast, cheap way to introduce myself to steeking (although I may want to make a cat sweater for Gatsu first as a practice practice one).


[boardgames] uvGamingClub = Fun and Easy

I ordered a couple games from Game Surplus: Balloon Cup and Shadows over Camelot. I used to order all my games online from Funagain, but I just learned that the games at Game Surplus are cheaper than at Funagain and shipping costs are lower. I got the two games and changed my shipping from standard to 3-Day (it was less than a dollar more) and it STILL came to less than just the two games at Funagain (without shipping costs even added). Here's a list of board game stores that I'm bargain hunting through- gotta find the best deal.

Anyway, I've played Balloon Cup before and it's my favorite two-player game. Odin's Ravens can be kind of boring, Lost Cities never grabbed me. Carcassonne: The Castle is good but long, involved and not too portable. Balloon Cup is perfect.

Shadows over Camelot has gotten really good reviews at Boardgame Geek. The description sounds interesting and it can play up to 7 people.

Which brings me to the 2nd meeting of the uvGamingClub- We played Citadels. There were 8 people at my place this past Saturday. I have only 6 chairs in my entire apartment. I sat (or rather, bounced) on my exercise ball at one corner of the table and someone else got to sit (reign?) in a plush armchair (throne?) I pushed from the living room into the dining room. I gotta get some folding chairs. Next month I'm going to have 4 gaming dates, to reduce the number of players- two Thursday nights (smaller group), two Saturday afternoons (larger group).

I like these designated gaming times. It's very casual- and I don't cook! I like to go out of my way and cook something nice Book Club as a reward for people who finished the book. Besides that, a good meal begets good conversation. For the gaming club, it's pretty much: Fend for yourselves. People can walk to the convenience store next door for soda/snacks or down to Big Fatty's for BBQ.


[knitting] Girls, okay? Guys, gay?

Check out this article on a men's knitting night in NYC.

A lot of male Farkers appear to be sexually insecure.

There's also a reference to "shocker mittens" at Craftster. Took me a while to get it...


[misc] Local Link Dump

  • Brand spanking new uvMix page.
  • I've been wanting to be a member of DigitalSpark forever now, but Adam won't sign me up because I'm not cool enough. It's like High School all over again.
  • This just in: Psychomat sides with strippers. What a suprise.
  • Angela updates Cheap Cheep.
  • You can witness Valerie's rapid descent into knit addiction at Knit Free or Die.
  • DJ TrollD for all your musical needs.
  • Tune into the uvScene for all the Upper Valley happenings (NOTE: This year's Valentine Auction is in the works...)
  • Dan Grover
  • Dr. Nik mentions the game of BANG! played this weekend (and the fact that he blew himself up with dynamite as Sheriff).
  • [amy] On Weeks and Weekends

    During the week, Boyfriend can't get to my place until after midnight. Instead of waiting up for him, I go to bed at my normal time and get up when he arrives. I used to wake up when he pulled into my driveway but I've become such a sound sleeper (or has he become such a stealthy driver?) that now I don't wake up until he's standing over my bed, staring down at me like a murderer. I feel bad that every time he comes over late, we have to go through:

    AMY: [startled awake by a malevolent presence]

    BOYFRIEND: It's okay, it's me.

    AMY: [doesn't understand, starts to whimper and breath heavy, paralyzed by fear]

    BOYFRIEND: Hey, it's okay, it's me. It's me. [reaches down toward AMY]

    AMY: [kicks foot out directly into BOYFRIEND's groin]

    BOYFRIEND: OH! [drops to floor]

    AMY: Sweetie? Is that you?

    I went to visit Boyfriend at his workplace last Thursday night. His work kind of relates to mine, so I kept a sharp eye out to see if any top secrety secrets were posted around on the walls, but no such luck. Those cunning mapping devils! Actually, work-related espionage was merely item number two on my agenda- I was bringing supper and some extra guacamole and salsa left-over from Book Club. My main mission was to get all of Boyfriend's co-workers to fall in love with me. Well it worked. I heard the next day from him that all his co-workers were raving about the salsa (and asking after the recipe) and now he has become quite popular at work. [sigh] This is just too easy. I cook for him, stock my fridge with the drinks he likes, bring him supper, give him massages, keep my mouth shut when he tells me to, change the oil in his truck, clip his toe nails- He's the puppet and I'm the puppet-master. ... Wait a minute. How do all these favors factor into my goal of dominating his life? ... Dang it! Back to the drawing board.


    Saturday was a good day. The first meeting of the uvGamingClub met at my place. It was Dollar, Jason, Ken, Nik and myself. We played Bang! Nik was the only one who hadn't been to my place before and I felt bad when he came to my door, asking where to park since the driveway was full. I recall saying, "I dunno, man. Like, wherever. Maybe on the street. Um... Maybe around the corner, like, along Route 14. You'll probably be all right on the street there, though. I mean, hopefully." Could I have been any LESS helpful? A different group of people are showing up at my place this Saturday for a different game.

    Saturday night I went to the Kronos Quartet with Boyfriend. What a great show. They got the oddest sounds to come from their violins, viola and cello. All I really wanted to hear was the suite from Requiem for a Dream. It was amazing. All I could think was, "Wow. They really are amazing musicians. This sounds amazing." And after loving these songs from a CD for so long, to hear it LIVE was moving. It was like someone turned on a faucet in each eye. I honestly couldn't help crying; water was just streaming out of my eyes. Which was so emotionally draining that I fell asleep during the last 15 minutes of the performance. I couldn't help that either.

    Sunday was brunch at Gusanoz and lazing about. Monday was a holiday and I pretty much lazed about all day again. I'm getting closer to finishing the Kiri shawl. I'm only 5 or 6 rows (i.e. 5 or 6 HOURS) away from being done.


    [books] The Library

    Last night I started putting my home Library in order. I already had some books shelved together- Literature/Fiction, Children/Young Adult, Graphic Novels- all arranged by author. Pretty much everything else was shoved/piled in no particular order (Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Religion, Philosophy, Non-Fiction, Romance, Mystery, Poetry, Reference, Text Books). I also have too many knitting/crochet books for the little nook where I've been shelving them in my living room. And I've been trying to hold back from going on a cookbook binge.

    The nice thing about sorting through the stacks was finding books I wanted but didn't know I had. What a surprise. I was like, "Hey, I've been wanting this book... I have it!"

    I like having books because they come in handy. I had a dinner at my place a while ago and the subject of the earth's magnetic polarity flip-flopping was brought up. I got my Earth Science book and found the answer. Some geography question was brought up and I got my Atlas. The question of "sushi-grade" tuna was brought up and I pulled my Gourmet magazine that had a blurb on the subject. There isn't a question you have that a book can't answer.

    I wanted something to read while the votes come in for next month's Book Club and chose Milk Glass Moon by Adriana Trigiani- One of the "I didn't know I had this!" books I found. So far it's only meh. I didn't realize it's 3rd in the Big Stone Gap series, so there seem to be lots of references to things that have happened in past books (and may explain why characters behave/act a certain way that doesn't make complete sense to me). Anyway, it's Lite reading.

    P.S. I need more bookshelves.


    [amy] Double Standard

    [ring ring]

    AMY: Hello? Hey Guy. Uh [looking at BOYFRIEND], not much, you? Yeah. Um [looking at BOYFRIEND], I don’t know. Maybe. Yeah. Actually I’m kind of in the middle of something. I’ll talk to you later. Okay, bye.


    AMY: That was Guy.


    AMY: He was wondering if I wanted to grab some supper.


    AMY: He’s a fun guy to hang out with. I feel bad that all the girls in the Upper Valley hate him because he’s such a philanderer.


    AMY: I’m- Are you- I thought that- I mean- What-

    BOYFRIEND: I’m okay.

    AMY: Are you sure? Because I would be jealous if you were going to have supper with another girl. Okay, pretend you’re getting a call.

    BOYFRIEND: [holding hand to ear like a telephone] Hello, uh, Kate. Yes. Let’s have supper. Okay. Bye. [puts hand down]

    AMY: Who was that?

    BOYFRIEND: Kate.

    AMY: Who’s Kate?

    BOYFRIEND: A friend.

    AMY: You’re going to have supper with her?

    BOYFRIEND: Um, yes?

    AMY: Where?


    AMY: Where?

    BOYFRIEND: My place.

    AMY: What? I thought you just said-

    BOYFRIEND: Yeah, we’re eating at my place.

    AMY: Well… How long have you known her?

    BOYFRIEND: A long time.

    AMY: O-kay. Well, when are you going to eat?

    BOYFRIEND: Tonight. I don’t know.




    BOYFRIEND: Are you mad?

    AMY: Well this girl calls you out of nowhere and you’re going-

    BOYFRIEND: Okay, the phone call wasn’t real. Okay? It was my hand.

    AMY: Whatever.

    [amy] Misc. Update

    I'm back from vacation. Actually, I've been back for a while but things have been busy. My Christmas/New Year break was nice, apart from various apocalyptic disasters that had me contemplating a lifetime in jail.

    Christmas was nice. I got nice "JVC 1000W 5.1-Ch. Home Theater System with Progressive-Scan DVD/CD/MP3 Player". Music and movies have never sounded so good, myes. And I got lots of books.

    New Years Eve was fun. There's photos here and here. Adam and Dollar's house party was off the chain- It was a night of drunken debauchery, people passed out face down on the floor, strangers conspiring to steal stuff, beds pee'd on, etc. Seriously, I thought the guys were paranoid to lock certain parts of the house up every time they throw a party but now I realize it's because they don't know what sort of unsavory characters are going to show up.

    Also, my sister's cat, Gatsu, is living with me now. He's getting used to the place but he was really nervous at first. Boyfriend doesn't like cats and I remember him saying a looooong time ago: "When you buy a cat, you're buying a free-loader." I was nervous how he was going to react, but he considers Gatsu a "made" cat (Boyfriend may be part of the mafia, I'm not sure yet). Actually, it's not like I'm all that great with the cat. We were watching a movie and I said, "Hey, where's Gatsu?" Turns out, I accidentally locked him in my bedroom closet. Ehh... heh heh heh... Um, oops.

    UvBookClub is meeting at my place tomorrow night to talk about Under the Banner of Heaven by Jon Krakauer. I've been looking up Mormon recipes to serve for supper but everything I come across is jell-o molds, deviled eggs and "funeral potatoes". I'm SO not serving "funeral potatoes" to guests; that's just asking for trouble. I will, however, offer The Mormon Surprise.

    uvGamingClub is meeting at my place this Saturday and next Saturday to play games. Either Settlers of Catan or Carcassonne or Bang.

    I'm going to the HOP today to pick up tickets to see the Kronos Quartet this Saturday night.

    And I've got some boring, art-house movies from Netflix to watch. I decided to class up my queue (seems all I ever watch is brainless pop culture stuff) but as I was watching one, I said to myself, "This is so boring... No one's talking... Nothing's happening... What's with the subtitles? Am I watching a movie or reading? Jeeze! I HATE THESE PSEUDO-INTELLECTUAL FOREIGN FILMS THAT I DON'T UNDERSTAND DUE TO CULTURAL DIFFERENCES!" I'm going back to Smallville, Gilmore Girls and anything HBO.

    Knitting-wise, I'm almost done with my Kiri shawl (which I started last summer). I've only got the edging left to do. I knit Jason a Jayne hat for Christmas and my sister a green scarf. I knit myself a blue scarf and my mother a brown hat (my first Fair Isle attempt). Next up, I'd like to knit Gatsu a kitty bed, a pair of slippers for myself and Boyfriend's Star Wars hat.

    [books] A Million Little Lies

    The Smoking Gun exposes Frey for what he really is. I'm now tempted to choose this book as next month's fiction choice for uvBookClub.

    Which reminds me, we're meeting tomorrow night at my place to talk about "Under the Banner of Heaven" by Jon Krakauer. Hoo-boy, those crazy Mormons with their plural marriages and racism and subservient women! How come nobody told me that the Latter-Day Saints are party animals?!