Hey kids. It has been some time since I last wrote about the quintessential American existential gripe, right? So today’s post offers two short bits of recent news about little victories I enjoyed, and yes, one of them is about driving.
Celebrate the little victories in life because if you wait for the big ones, it may be a long, long wait.
–Tom B. Taker
Offered herein are a pair of true stories where yours truly came out on top, no matter how thinly sliced the margin may have been. And both stories feature some small element of chance and odd elements of coincidence, enough so that my mind couldn’t help but notice.
So strap yourself in for this strange and peculiar journey to the winner’s lane. Don’t worry, I promise I handle it like everything else in life, in a very calm and mature manner.
Our first story finds me driving down the street as innocent as Bambi playing in the pure driven snow…
Continue reading →
OK, it’s like, here’s the situation. I found myself on a quest for world domination…
Sitting across from me, my opponent. I estimate his age to be about 10 years old. He is a snot-nosed little twerp. For the sake of convenience he will be referred to as “Snot Nose” from here on out. To my right sits his twin brother (luckily not identical) who is actually a pretty cool kid.
I steal a moment to lament my luck, look to the heavens, and plaintively (but silently) query the damn universe, “How in the name of all that is holy did I get in this situation again?”
Yes, it was game night at the local library.
Allow me to backtrack for a moment and set the scene. Mrs. Abyss and I decided to attend our local library’s first ever “game night.” We both like playing games so we figured we’d step out of our comfort zones and go check it out, maybe even meet some new people. Now that I think it over, it’s rather odd that we both decided it was worth doing and on the same day. 🙂
So we grabbed our Blokus (more about this game later) and made our way to the library.
Once there we met a charming gentleman who was sort of the unofficial emcee for the night’s events. We ended up at a round table with a very nice woman and her two young boys. They were twins although they sure didn’t look like it. They were pretty much night and day opposites of each other. Their older sister was also there, and she was nice and got big bonus points from me every time she looked at Snot Nose like he was a bug deserving of being squashed. Oh, also, it was the woman’s wedding anniversary. Mrs. Abyss and I were both glad to meet her although I secretly wished it had been sans kids.
Our emcee got the table going with a dice game called Dancing Dice. The object was to roll some six-sided dice and come up with two “dances” consisting of three dice each. A roll of 1-1-1 was a “Boogie,” the best dance you could get. A roll of 2-2-2 was a “Tap Dance,” a roll of 3-3-3 was a “Cha Cha Cha” and so on and so forth. It was a fairly enjoyable game. Being master of the dice like I am, I won the game with Snot Nose nipping at my heels.
After that, the table split up. Mrs. Abyss and our new friend headed off to play some word game, I think. I ended up with our emcee and the two boys for a game of Risk. I’m still not sure how I got corralled into that. It had been some time since I played Risk so I figured it was worth checking out. What I neglected to remember was that some games of Risk can take up to six hours. Dun-dun-da!
The emcee set up the board and as Snot Nose took his seat across from me, I was already trying to figure out how to safely extricate myself from this bad scene. Snot Nose had snatched up a bottle of water and was blatantly ignoring the “no food or drink at the table” rule. Rather than drinking from the top of the bottle he somehow had punched two small holes in the bottom. (Most likely using his fangs.) It was from these holes that he would suck hard and noisily whenever he needed to slake his thirst. It wasn’t very efficient, though, so by the end of our playtime together his shirt was completely soaked.
The emcee was gracious and extremely patient as he got the game underway. (In other words, everything I’m not.) First up was Snot Nose. “I want to attack.”
“Don’t spread your armies too thin, or you’ll easily be picked off. You’ll want to reserve …”
“I want to attack!!”
The emcee and I shared a wry look that the youngsters were too young to catch. “Go ahead. Attack to your heart’s content.”
Damn, what a frickin’ dumb ass. It was basically three rounds of that. When Snot Nose wasn’t attacking, he was gone from the table ignoring the rest of us (thank God for that rudeness), over at the snacks stuffing his face, and generally bothering everyone in sight. Strangely enough, mom had made herself real scarce. Go figure!
The other kid, though, surprisingly seemed alright. He was thoughtful, polite, well behaved, and seemed interested in learning the game and “I wanna attack!” was not the only phrase he knew. I actually enjoyed our interactions.
Then, the unthinkable happened. The emcee pushed up from his chair, looked me in the eye and said, “Looks like things are going well. You can handle it from here?”
Every fiber in my being silently screamed out “hell no” and “get me out of here!” but what really happened was I nodded, said “sure” and gave him a little smile. Why have I suddenly lost control of my body, I thought in vain to myself!
The next thing Snot Nose pulled was blatant cheating. I began to realize he was rolling a lot of sixes, which in Risk are the holy grail of rolls. I watched him carefully and caught his two techniques. First, he’d hold the dice about one-eighth of an inch with the six spot facing up. That was his “roll.” Or he’d place the dice on the table, again with six-spots showing, and cover them with the cup. The cup would be moved around a bit, then lifted to reveal, you guessed it, more sixes. I finally threw down and said, “You either roll them bones or I’m outta here!” He actually had the verve to feign ignorance.
It was a few more rounds of torture before I was finally able to escape, make my excuses, and me and Mrs. Abyss were finally out the door. It was inevitable, anyway, since those young attention spans had already been stretched way beyond their limits.
Oh yeah, that brings me to the point of this post. 🙂 The game, frustrating as it was, got me interested in Risk again. I went searching the net for a way to play online. You would not believe the size of the “Risk community” that is out there. It’s pretty amazing.
Eventually I found my way to a game called Lux Delux. It basically the same game as Risk only with a different name.
You can download a demo of the game from their web site. You can play up to 30 games before deciding if you want to buy it for $24.95. I think the game is well worth it and I plan to register my copy soon.
Once you learn how the game works, mainly the left-click vs. right-click and stuff, it’s actually very intuitive and a lot of fun. There are 11 AI opponents of varying skill for you to play against and you can also play against other people online, although I was never able to figure out how to get into an actual live game. There are also over 700 maps to play on, but I mainly just stick with the classic globe layout (which duplicates the real game of Risk) as shown in the picture here.
Overall I did enjoy game night, did something outside of my comfort zone, and even owe Snot Nose a bit of thanks for helping me rediscover Risk, even though that was accomplished at great risk … of my patience and sanity!