Thursday, June 30, 2011


This is a game I played a few months ago, but I just got a copy recently. (Thanks, John!)

I liked the way it played enough that John decided to find a cheap used copy for me.

This morning, I realized Havoc could ALSO be played very effectively and themeatically true with the rules from another game I liked, Parade. The original rules are fun, but getting a second game out of the same deck? Awesome!

To modify my Havoc deck, all I really needed to do was remove the cards that were not approriate, espeially the named-battle cards and tokens and most high numbers.

You see, I originally thought about using regular playing cards (I have a GI Joe poker deck) but archery seems to fit better. Moreover, these are great cards with a theme I rarely see (the 100 Years' War). Even more moreover, it just didn't work as well. A Parade deck has 6 suits, while poker decks have only the four. However, I realized Havoc has 6, and also the numbered cards that are needed.

Parade uses the numbers 0-10. For the Havoc adaptation, I used the number 0-12. Twelve being the archer just made it make thematic sense to me. But 18 (Havoc's Battle King) was just overkill (pun for a wargame! haha)

I feel badly for the makers of Parade. I suppose this is poor behavior on my part, but I just didn't feel the Alice and Wonderland theme!

A New Zealand merchant who explains it in only one page: (recommended printable)

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

house rules for Kill Doctor Lucky, etc

I taught my copy of Kill Doctor Lucky for only the second or third time yesterday, and I am pleased to say it went VERY well. I am learning better how to explain the rules, but also which rules I should ruthlessly rip from the game design.

First, a few of the game items (cards, tokens) need a better description for visualization and understanding of game logic. One, "Spite tokens" should be described as "Pissed-Off Tokens" (or for PG audiences maybe Frustration Tokens). The idea is that after each failure you accumulate frustration, becoming more and more pissed off. Second, the Failure cards can be described as "Trip" cards, or used to trip up your opponent.

Most importantly, the by-the-rules game mechanic of auto extra terms if the Doctor moves into a character's space is just way too confusing. I simply it to merely "you get an extra swipe at the old man". No cards, except weapons, and no moves. Just murder attempt, or not. The game proceeds pretty smoothly without this. I tried taking out the "extra" event upon Doctor Lucky walking in on you, but that made the game drag on forever and was much more irritating. That was an error I fixed for further games.

Further, in the by-the-rules version, when the draw deck (which is large) is exhausted, you re-shuffle most of the cards and keep going. The concensus yesterday was that when we run out of cards, the Doctor wins, and we all lose. The night is over, so to speak. I was pleased with this suggestion.

Another suggestion which I liked was that the various character images on the Failure cards be used, somehow, via a house rule. It seems reasonable that if the character matches the one attempting, the Failure is +1 or perhaps even doubled. All characters are represented, I think.

On another gaming topic, I played "Parade" a month ago or so, and I loved the gameplay itself but the theme bothered me a lot. I also realized the game could be played fairly easily using regular poker playing cards. A military "Cover Me!" theme seemed to me a very good idea. Whether archers or machine guns. I have a deck of GI Joe poker cards, and maybe I will adapt it. Face cards do need to be removed before play, but otherwise I think it works.

This is interesting.

A New Zealand merchant who explains it in only one page: (recommended printable)

Monday, June 27, 2011

JHW: This world stinks.

in my ongoing Job Hunt Woes series (and existance) I have a new post:

Well, I was listening to NPR a day or so ago and there were two very interesting interviews discussing job hunting skills. One was a former Mobster who had gone clean while in prison and written a book comparing Mobster business practices with "legitimate" business ones. I loved how his comments rang so true, especially about modern business being more ruthless than the mob, more dishonest, more lazy, less responsible, and less proactive.

Disheartening, but nowhere near as disheartening as having to live through the realities of society.

The second interview touched on that, sort of. It was a job coach fellow who was giving "tips." What I have learned is that even good advice, sometimes the most honest and effective advice, is to sacrifice your principles. You need to pretend to like every job you've ever had, every job you are applying for. If the job is asking for a red-haired Martain, well, by golly, you are one and just need to fix your hair. I am disgusted.

This fellow was talking further about branding yourself on facebook, and how you can basically have no life in order to conform. He didn't exactly say that outright.

It reminds me of this scene from a movie I saw recently:

I just want to hear on of these job coach "experts" admit that the job hunting arena is a horrible dishonest dirty unethical mess.

Martian nipples

It's CORAL...chill

But, while I'm speaking of things Martian, I have realized it'd be good to add a "house rule" to my Martian Fluxx card game. Well, two. I am adding these mostly for my own reference, lest we forget. The Mothership should be able to destroy, once per turn, either a City or a Pyramid. I mean, it just makes sense. The other Martian Tech Keepers usually have special abilities. And perhaps the Space Modulator should allow the owner to "modulate" their hand at some point, but I haven't decided. Okay, #2, the Traitor (fully compatable but from a convention giveaway, not this game) should be considered a human and also wearing a hat (for all intents and purposes).

is this what you were expecting?

Captain Kirk is climbing a mountain. Why is he climbing a mountain?

This is great! Oh, wow, I can't get it out of my head! It almost redeems Star Trek V. Well, almost.

The above appears based on an actual interview (shown below) given prior to Star Trek V.

Since I am labeling this as "moment of zen" I had to also include the Axolotl Song. And if you don't see the humor in this, forgive me, but I thought it was hilarious.

Some more Axolotl fun: You get the humor in the Leopard soundtrack, right?

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Enable your bliss.

My blog title is a take on the phrase: "Follow your bliss"
Well, I love love love the new television show 'River Monsters' on Animal Planet. It tickles me for a various reasons. It's intense, unlike many 'nature' shows, even so far as described as "Action/Adventure." Further, it plainly shows the anthropolical and cultural distinctness in the areas he goes. I realize it is entertainment, and take it all with a grain of salt, but regardless is it very cool.

But that isn't what this blog is about. I want to let others know what I have discovered, and to further encourage others to find ways to enjoy what they enjoy. There are entertainment forms I want nothing to do with, and even consider with revulsion, and yet I like to see people happy.

Well, I do not find cable affordable, and even if I did I might not get Animal Planet. My uncle has the same problem. I told him what I am telling you.

I went and found a pizza restaurant that, for the price of a burger dinner, can enjoy my one of my favorite past-times. I used to use a laundramat for similar purposes, although it was far less...comfortable, but also cheaper. So, think about it.

I have a friend how loves UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championships) but only sees them when he makes it out to a sports bar. This really isn't hardly any different.

(ah, and don't ask me why:

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

what have you read in Persian poetry?

Probably not much. I think poetry from the Islamic world is fairly accessible, especially if you count the whole of the Quran. But Persian is fairly specific, and rather antiquated to boot.

So, I came across a small collection by Scholastic (circa 1975) at the local Goodwill. The book was a translation of poems of an 11th-century philosopher and scholar, and since it was cheap and uncommon-seeming I bought it. I was pleased, and suprised. Let me share a bit with you.

The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam:

Myself when young did eagerly frequent
Doctor and saint, and heard great argument
About it and about: but evermore
Came out by the same door where in I went.

The worldly hope men set their hearts upon
Turns ashes -- or it prospers; and anon,
Like snow upon the desert's dusty face,
Lighting a little hour or two--is gone.

Alike for those who for to-day prepare,
And those that after some to-morrow stare,
A Muezzin from the tower of darkness cries,
"Fools! your reward is neither here nor there."

Why, all the saints and sages who discuss'd
Of the two worlds so wisely -- they are thrust
Like foolish prophets forth; their words to scorn
Are scatter'd, and their mouths are stopt with dust.

'How They Eat in Heaven'

I just finished reading The Bean Trees by Barbara Kingsolver this week. One of the best passages tickled my fancy for human decency and thoughtfulness and intentional living, and now I am going to share the parable with you:

'How They Eat in Heaven' is the title of Chapter 7, wherein is found this story:

Transcribed text found at:

Turtle, wielding a chopstick in each hand, had managed to pick up a chunk of pineapple. Little by little she moved it upward toward her wide-open mouth, but the sticks were longer than her arms. The pineapple hung in the air over her head and then fell behind her onto the floor. We laughed and cheered her on, but Turtle was so startled she cried. I picked her up and held her on my lap.

"Tortolita, let me tell you a story," Estevan said. "This is a South American, wild Indian story about heaven and hell," Mrs. Parsons made a prudish face, and Estevan went on. "If you go to visit hell, you will see a room like this kitchen. There is a pot of delicious stew on the table, with the most delicate aroma you can imagine. All around, people sit, like us. Only they are dying of starvation. They are jibbering and jabbering," he looked extra hard at Mrs. Parsons,"but they cannot get a bite of this wonderful stew God has made for them. Now, why is that?"

"Because they're choking? For all eternity?" Lou Ann asked. Hell, for Lou Ann, would naturally be a place filled with sharp objects and small round foods.

"No," he said. "Good guess, but no. They are starving because they only have spoons with very long handles. As long as that." He pointed to the mop, which I had forgotten to put away. "With these ridiculous, terrible spoons, the people in hell can reach into the pot but they cannot put the food in their mouths. Oh, how hungry they are! Oh, how they swear and curse each other!" he said, looking again at Virgie. He was enjoying this.

"Now," he went on,"you can go and visit heaven. What? You see a room just like the first one, the same table, the same pot of stew, the same spoons as long as a sponge mop. But these people are all happy and fat."

"Real fat, or do you just mean well-fed?" Lou Ann asked.

"Just well-fed," he said. "Perfectly, magnificently well-fed, and very happy. Why do you think?"

He pinched up a chunk of pineapple in his chopsticks, neat as you please, and reached all the way across the table to offer it to Turtle. She took it like a newborn bird.

Summary found at:

Estevan tells a story. He says that in hell, people sit around a big table with plenty of food, starving to death because they must eat with long-handled spoons and cannot manage to get the spoons in their mouths. Heaven, he says, looks just the same: same table, same food, same spoons. But in heaven, the people use the long-handled spoons to feed one another. Estevan demonstrates by feeding Turtle a new piece of pineapple.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

tutoring and Robin Hood

I have taken it upon myself to try and encourage my young 2nd grade nephew/cousin. I found a young reader of Robin Hood stories. I think it's a great beginning. We read the first chapter yesterday. The first chapter was about 8 pages long. And actually, since this was his last week of school (and he whined that "summer means fun, not schoolwork"), I talked him into me reading to him and then quizzing him on reading comprehension. Later, I'll have him read to me.

He's behind where his potential lies, and I can see it. He's smart, but unpracticed. At his age, I read books on an 8th grade level, like Swiss Family Robinson and Robison Crusoe and Lord of the Rings. Granted, I was too young to fully apprecaiate many things in those books, but still I did. And here he was complaining that this childish reader was above his level.

He knows practically nothing of medieval Europe and castles and knights. At least he knew what a bow and arrows were. He hadn't heard of England before.

Well, he hasn't seen the old Disney Robin Hood (he's sadly deprived like that) and I don't want to introduce him to it until he's finished the book.

Robin Hood and Little John, walking through the forest...

Intro credits "The Story of what really happened..."

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Mountain Music

Appalachain Folk music, rather. Or, rather, the unique Appalachian blend of many worldwide folk music traditions.

I was talking to a friend about my distinction between country music (which I am not fond of) and what I call "mountain music." I'm not sure what the distinction is, if any, between mountain music and Bluegrass, but I would think there is. I suppose the instruments of the fiddle and the banjo are common to both, and perhaps the dulcimer. The Cedar Flute and the Jaw Harp are mixed in there somewhere.

I also was saying that I don't own any CDs of this mountain music, which I suppose is sloppy of me.

Well, I was curious to find some, and here it is:

see also:

What do you think the difference is, if any?
Something I learned a while back is that "mountain folk music" is not really preserved in an original form. Much of mountain music popularized has been cleaned up, made very PG, whereas true mountain music is quite... well, not.