Tuesday, November 30, 2004
Alex has a note on his blog asking why some people target winners (the longtime Jeopardy champion as a case in point)
Which, in turn, reminds me of a great piece in the NYT about the inventors of the board game Cranium.
Most classic board games are all about winning and losing. When you play Monopoly or Risk or Sorry! there is always someone crowing in triumph while others quietly sulk in defeat.
in contrast, the philosophy behind game design at Cranium is to produce games "where everyone has a moment to shine"
(they) design games that no single player can dominate; at some point,every player will be the hero. ''And then they have that moment of glow, that moment of shine, that moment where everyone celebrates them,'' (co-founder Richard Tait) says, speaking practically in the cadence of a preacher.
That makes the games particularly appealing to young children, who can be unhinged by the sting of losing. And for parents, it means that playtime is unlikely to end in tantrums. You can win a Cranium game, but no one really cares. It is, as one Cranium designer delicately puts it, ''a softer win.''
The article states that sales of "Legacy" games (Battleship, Clue, etc.) are to Baby Boomers or Gen Xers but that kids don't request these games. If they want to play a win/lose game, computers are more satisfying.
If, on the other hand, the point of playing a game is to spend time with one another, then indeed why NOT have a game that emphasizes strengths, that lets everyone feel a sense of accomplishment?
Tuesday, November 16, 2004
John Hostettler, the Congressman representing the 8th district of Indiana, has been convinced by local religious groups to introduce legislation in the House that would change the name of an Interstate 69 extension to a more moral sounding number.
There are plans to extend the interstate from Indianapolis through southwestern Indiana all the way through Texas into Mexico in the coming years. While most believe this highway will be good for the state’s economy, religious conservatives believe “I-69” sounds too risqué and want to change the interstate’s number.
Hostettler, a proponent of the interstate extension, agrees. “Every time I have been out in the public with an ‘I-69’ button on my lapel, teenagers point and snicker at it. I have had many ask me if they can have my button. I believe it is time to change the name of the highway. It is the moral thing to do.”
Friday, November 12, 2004
What I am doing is reading an amazing story in Willamette Week (Portland Ore's alternative newsweekly) about Tonya Harding-10 Years Later.
To recap...Tonya's Boyfriend, Jeff Gillooly recruited a friend, Shawn Eckhardt to bang up figure skating rival Nancy Kerrigan, thereby improving the chances for Harding.
Tonya herself is just depressing, however Gillooly and Eckhardt rock.
Asked about the thwacking, (Gillooly) says Americans just don't understand the skating world.
"Figure skating was a very political sport," he explains. "That was our way of trying to level the playing field."
"There was never supposed to be an assault," he continues. "Originally it was just supposed to be a death threat."
and the sidekick...
As the owner of World Bodyguard Services, Eckardt boasted of private investigation work in Costa Rica, demolishing Peruvian pipelines and guarding celebrities. In reality, the 28-year-old drove a '76 Mercury, lived at his parents' house in Lents, and collected Star Trek videos.
The artist formerly known as Eckardt no longer exists--because he changed his name to Brian Sean Griffith.
State records list Griffith as the owner of Applied Information Systems Inc. (www.appliedinfosys.com), a network company whose motto is "Imagineering the future."
The company's suite turns out to be a third-floor walkup in a seedy Gresham apartment complex. When WW visited, a few men were tinkering with the greasy innards of an aging Oldsmobile, a couple loaded an old mattress into a '70s Ford, and half-dressed kids ran screaming all around the place.
Though the shades were still drawn when we knocked on the door at 1 pm, it was answered by a bald, portly 37-year- old with long sideburns, clad only in green running shorts.
Are you Brian Sean Griffith? we asked.
"Yes," he replied.
Are you also Shawn Eckardt?
"Go away!" he yelled, slamming the door.
Thanks to Josh for suggesting the above. I'm pleased that two of my letters reference how tasty I am, while a 3rd ("sweet") could also be interpreted that way as well.
Thursday, November 11, 2004
I go to school on Thursdays instead of going to work and then, at 4 p.m. I go to my shrink. So on Thursdays I feel, as Goldberg says, like a cow needing to be milked. Sometimes writing is like milking, as the simile goes, you need the milk and the cow feels better for you having done it. But most of the time writing is a chore, a burden.
At least 3 times this term (it's not even Thanksgiving yet) I have come up against the Thursday deadline without material to polish. No, I face Thursday with material to assemble, to craft, to hone. I know better than this. I, in fact, have DONE better than this. Yet I persist.
For some reason this term, this term where I am only taking two classes, two classes that should be SO up my alley "Feature Writing" and "Magazine Writing" and it's pulling fucking teeth every time.
Worse. I have two instructors (duh, two classes) one of whom is cool and groovy and has the "world beat" beat for the Chicago Sun Times and one of whom is bottle blonde, in her 50's, and has the real estate beat for the (republican) Chicago Tribune.
I am so, so much more invested in the blonde's class than the world beat's class.
I don't like this about myself but there it is. I agree with "worldbeat's" world view but the truth is I didn't go to class last week (too depressed over the election). We had to declare our topic for our final (e.g. most-worked-on) project today and I grabbed a topic that I was interested in, oh, 18 months ago (Gay enthusiasm for NASCAR).
Real Estate on the other hand, real estate reminds me of my high school algebra teacher. I have zero affinity for math and, in fact, this teacher accepted that no one was enthusiastic but, rather, everyone needed to be DRILLED.
Today my bottle-blond instructor said that she was fed up, just plain fed up with our class. We had to go around the room, one side to the other and each repeat this phrase.
"The word 'Internet" is capitalized"
This was dorky, breathtakingly dorky. On the other hand I remembered to capitalize Internet. And I appreciate that she took the effort to preface the whole exercise with a lengthy anecdote about how some classes develop tics that annoy her.
At some point she mentioned that she was raised in Kentucky and perhaps it is this Southern-ness that I am responding to.
Bless our hearts, every one.
Thursday, November 04, 2004
If you want to have gay sex or visit a library, it's probably your last night to do those things. . . I'll be killing two birds with one stone.
Bush just ended a press conference where he announced that he has earned political capital and he intends to spend it. Considering how entitled he felt after not winning in 2000, this is a little disturbing.
From today's NYT, a report of a phone call from Dr. James Dobson to the White House:
Dr. Dobson said he told the (White House) that many Christians believed the country "on the verge of self-destruction" as it abandoned traditional family roles. He argued that "through prayer and the involvement of millions of evangelicals, and mainline Protestants and Catholics, God has given us a reprieve."
"But I believe it is a short reprieve," he continued, adding that conservatives now had four years to pass an amendment banning same-sex marriage, to stop abortion and embryonic stem-cell research, and most of all to remake the Supreme Court. "I believe that the Bush administration now needs to be more aggressive in pursuing those values, and if they don't do it I believe they will pay a price in four years," he said.
Heavy snowfall in the South Plains (Lubbock, Amarillo) of Texas yesterday. NOT in New York, NOT in San Francisco. Fucking Texas. Not quite hell and not quite frozen over.
Talk about heavenly reprieves...