New this week:
Guide to Wunderland
- News Archives
to Clean House on the First
By John Seylar
I'm rolling the empty orange lift cart down the hall. John
Marketon is behind me, miming something about the alcohol wipes
he's carrying. (I translate his gestures as something like "where
is the isopropanol?")
stroppy (strop'-pee) adj.
touchy, belligierent [by shortening and alteration of obstreperous]
- Shanghai Noon :)
- A Lo-mein Western!
Kudos to the vulture scene
and the barfight, too.
been swimming in the ocean all week, and hasn't seen any movies
or TV at all.
Emperor of da
||A Week in St. Augustine
On Saturday, Alison went down
to Florida for a reunion of the entire Frane family, and since
she considers us a part of her family, Kristin
and I were invited to tag
along. This gave us an excuse to take the first real vacation
we've had since... well, since the
last time one of our families had a family reunion at the
beach. So, even though I don't really consider myself a beach
person, we took a beach vacation for the second time in a row
(since we can't seem to make ourselves take time off except when
something like a family reunion compels us to). But that's OK,
we had a totally great time. It was both fun and relaxing, and
it also gave us a chance to make a bunch of new friends among
the members of Alison's extended and far flung family, in particular
among her branch of the family tree known as the California Franes.
Alison's cousin Andy Frane is a kindred spirit as well as a namesake
for me... I traded him an Aquarius
deck for a copy of his CD, "Frane's
We also had fun
hanging out with Alec Frane, Alison's brother, but this was rather
bittersweet. In a couple of weeks, he's leaving for a 2+ year
tour of duty with the Peace Corp in China, so this was our last
chance to hang out with him for a long time to come. He's a funny
guy and it's always fun spending time with him. He and Alison
both brought their guitars, and they played together most every
night after dinner. Alec would make up spontaneous blues songs
about whatever was going on at the time, to everyone's delight.
Good luck in China, Alec! We'll look forward to many songs and
stories when you return.
As for the setting, I have to say that, much as I enjoyed
the beach at Nag's Head last year, I liked the beach at St. Augustine
much better. It's wonderfully big, being so wide and flat that
cars are allowed to drive on the beach and the tides roll back
and forth over a huge distance. The swimming there was absolutely
delightful. I swam in the ocean every day, whereas by comparison
I only swam once at Nag's Head, where the surf was so rough that
Kristin found it genuinely frightening. This time, the water
was warm and the waves were comparatively gentle. (But then again,
we got to hang glide at Nag's Head...)
Monday afternoon we noticed a growing column of smoke on the
horizon, and after awhile it became clear that a forest was burning
somewhere in the distance. The arching column of smoke grew thicker
and thicker as it stretched from the horizon, up over our heads,
and out across the ocean. The air was thick with the smell of
burning wood, and charred pine needles began washing up on shore
as Alison and Kristin built a really cool sand cat. It was very
disturbing. (The burning forest, that is, not the sand cat.)
The smell of burning wood remained strong until long after darkness
fell, but by the next day it had cleared off. I guess they finally
got the fire under control. (I read in the next day's paper that
there were actually 43 wildfires burning across Florida that
day, started by lightning strikes...)
We did lots of other
fun stuff during the week... Alison got to fly a kite for the
first time, and one morning, while I was sleeping in, she and
Kristin went out in sea kayaks and got quite close to some dolphins
and pelicans. We also toured a chocolate factory, and even worked
in a side trip to Daytona to catch up with Dale (who just happened
to be vacationing in the vicinity) and check out his parent's
amazingly cool house. Plus, of course we played lots of games,
Aquarius, Volcano, and Q-Turn, not to mention
some more Chrononauts
We also brought the iBook (which is just a totally great machine...
thanks again Marv and
Elaine!) which allowed
us to keep up with our email and made it possible for me to do
something I'd never been able to do before, namely work on the
creation of this web update *while away from home*, which was
extremely cool. It's gonna make travel a whole lot easier.
Anyway, it was a wonderful vacation... but we're home now,
and it's time to get back to work. Origins is just a month away,
and we've got a heck of a lot to do in order to get ready. Yikes!
Speaking of Origins, this year's Origins Awards balloting
has finally commenced, and sadly, Icehouse
isn't on the list of nominees, despite Kristin's best efforts
to follow the procedures necessary to get it nominated. (The
final nominees were selected by the members of the Academy from
a broader list of games, which Icehouse was supposed to be on,
but then wasn't, which is sad because they pick 5 nominees in
each category and there were only 6 other entries in the Abstract
Strategy Games category, some of which aren't really very abstract).
However, we still have a teensy little shot at it... the balloting
is being done on-line, and write-in votes are accepted! Anyone
can vote, so do us a favor if you've got the time (and if you
think Icehouse is a better abstract board game than Button
Men, Deadwood, Elemental, Ta Yu, and Tile Chess), and surf
over to the GAMA website
and write-in a vote for Icehouse! It's not like we really have
much of a chance on a write-in, but if you're a gamer you ought
to vote anyway.
a great week!
|Late one night we took chairs down to the edge
of the ocean and watched the waves crashing in the darkness,
and we noticed these tiny fluorescent specks in the sand at the
very edge of the surf, like tiny aquatic fireflies. What were
|In St. Augustine, we got to play with something
new called the Toypedo (US patent #5,514,023). This heavy rubber
pool toy is 9 or 10 inches long and looks like a tie-dyed zeppelin;
the idea is to hold it just under the surface of the water and
then throw it. It's really cool! Alison summed up the experience
best by likening it to underwater frisbee...
|Since most of Alison's Uncles are color blind,
we conducted a test and the Icehouse set got a perfect score!
They had no trouble telling the colors apart.