Inferior Imitator

ep·i·gone n. A second-rate imitator or follower, especially of an artist or a philosopher.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Per request, the rules for Power UNO: You play like reguluar UNO, execpt there are extra rules. There are only three, but they make the game so much more complicated, so I'll try and cover all the problem scenarios, too. Sometimes, you just have to play it to get the hang of it.

1) If someone plays a card and you have the exact same card in your hand, you can play it, even if it is not your turn. Play then continues as if it had been your turn. This means that you have to play quickly, because you might get skipped otherwise. Say someone plays a Red 7, and you have a Red 7 in your hand, but it's not your turn. (I need illustrations!) You can play it, but only if you get it onto the pile before the person whose turn it really is. If it's your turn, you need to get your card onto the pile as soon as possible, because someone else might be able to jump in and play a double card, and you would, in effect, lose a turn. If you have two of the same card in your hand, you can play them in the same turn, but you have to lay them down one at a time. No laying down two cards at once.

2) If a Draw Two card is played, and you have a Draw Two of any color in your hand, you can play the Draw Two and play passes on until a player does not have a Draw Two to play, and they must draw the sum of the cards that have been played. So if three people in a row lay down Draw Twos, and the fourth person does not have a Draw Two, he/she must draw six cards. I think we've had people have to draw up to fourteen cards before. The only way to get out of a Draw Two pile is lay down a Reverse of the color that was just played, to reverse it back onto the last person who played. So if that third person layed down a Yellow Draw Two, and the fourth person had a Yellow Reverse, he/she could play it and the third person would have had to draw.

Things get complicated when you combine those first two rules, because you can always play a "double" card. If there is a Draw Two pile going on, anyone can jump in with the same card. So if play is going to the right and you lay down a Blue Draw Two, and the person to your left has a Blue Draw Two, he/she can lay it down and play continues to you. If you don't have another Draw Two, you will have to draw four cards. Same goes for the Reverse. In that Yellow scenario above, if anyone in the game had the other Yellow Reverse, he/she can lay it down, and one of the players beside them (depending on which way the play is flowing) would have to draw.

This rule also applies to Draw Fours. If someone lays down a Draw Four, you can pass it on if you have a Draw Four. You can also reverse the draw. If you have a Reverse card in your hand of the color the person calls, you can reverse that Draw Four right back onto the person who played it.

3) The last rule is a little easier. If you play a Zero card of any color, you can call time-out and exchange hands with any player at the table. So if you have twenty cards in your hand, and the player across from you has only three, play that Zero and switch. It doesn't work so well if you have two zeros in your hand, because that player might be able to play the Zero you gave them and switch right back.

There is another thing, because I'm not sure what the official rules say: we play that if you don't have a card in your hand that you can play when it's your turn, you draw until you can play. There's some strategy involved, since you don't have to comply with all the rules. You don't have to lay down a double if you don't want to. Say if you have a double card in your hand and the person whose turn it is has to draw, you can hold that card while they draw cards, and you can decide whether or not to play it until another card is played. You can let them draw seven cards and then play the card. It will make you an enemy, but you can do it. You don't have to switch hands when you play a zero, even if someone has less cards than you.

We also call time-out when someone has to draw a bunch of cards, to let them organize them. Since you have to be aware of what is in your hand at all times, it's a good idea to at least organize by color, preferably also by number, so you know if you have doubles in your hand. You're at a disadvantage if you have a drink or food at the table, because if your empty hand is occupied with holding a glass, you might miss out on an opportunity to play. Especially if you're playing with experienced players. And I have to warn you, this game can get violent. I think my sister still has a scar from when Mom drew blood trying to play a card.

Thanksgiving, we were playing with so many people, we had to get out a second deck. That was crazy, because then there are FOUR of the same card. Ever see four people trying to play the same card at once? Then we had to figure out who played the last card to figure out how play resumed. I got a few 'oohs' and 'ahs' when I speedily played the four Yellow Five cards in my hand in about three seconds.

Good game.

Monday, November 28, 2005

I would like to congratulate my brother, who has been offered a co-op with Rolls Royce. He will be spending the spring and summer semesters at their Mt. Vernon, Ohio facility. This pushes back his graduation date, but he'll have a much better chance at a job after graduation with this experience on his resume. Poor kid has all these logistics to figure out now, like subleasing his apartment, moving (again), and he and Dad spent a good chunk of time this weekend looking for a truck to be able to haul his stuff around, all while preparing for finals. Fortunately, Rolls Royce has housing and moving assistance to help him on that end, so it's just getting there that he needs to worry about.

We're so proud!

Sunday, November 27, 2005

The best conversation all weekend happened over a game of Power UNO. Emily may be the only one to really appreciate this, because she'll be able to hear it in her head, and it's one of those had-to-be-there things.

The game is fast, so I'm not paying much attention to some car talk going on between my brother and father. I hear something about switches and ask for a recap of the conversation, because Lew can barely control the laughter:

Lew: "You know what [Dad's] doing? He's going to work in his Carhart overalls and pulling his big ole cap down over his head. I look into the car and there's these holes along the side there with these switches that control two auxillary heaters in the front seat, because the heat don't work in the car. I'm like, 'What's the matter with you, man?!? It ain't like you don't have money, you don't have to drive this thing."

Dad: "I want to hit 200,000 miles."

Mom: (rolls eyes) "You could drive it in the summer."

Dad: "The air conditioning don't work."

He just bought himself an SHO Taurus to commute to work in, and he's got half a dozen other vehicles that at least have heat in them, but he wants to run this one into the ground. That's my father.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

So now I have dead flu viruses floating around in my bloodstream. Or perhaps, more accurately, congregating in my left deltoid. Mom's suggestion to rub it and work the vaccine around didn't help much: I've been sore all day. Everyone else is fine, it's just me that's sore. Lucky me.

I didn't work my arms too hard last night, either. It was a pretty informal practice since the University is on Thanksgiving break, so I spent the hour trying to remember all my forms and fixing my formal back stance. It's suprisingly hard to transition through front stance-side kick/hammer fist-back stance without my back stance looking like a horse stance. And since only two of you have a clue what I'm talking about, I'll move on.

Except I have little else to talk about. My evening will consist mostly of laundry, so I can pack and be ready to go when Lew comes to pick me up for Goblet of Fire. Anyone want to take bets as to whether I'll finish the last 177 pages of the book before the movie? Let's see...three hours worth of reading, give or take...I think I can do it.

Monday, November 21, 2005

I haven't had this much fun in a weekend in forever. It makes me wish I was still young so I could do it every weekend. But I paid for it in the number of sleep hours I needed to compensate.

Friday night we went out for Kristen's birthday. I actually went to TKD, since T minus two practices until I test for my red belt. Remind me to practice my forms over Thanksgiving! It was a really good workout, and I felt better afterwards, so I'm glad I went. It was also good, because I invited J.R., who ended up providing most of the entertainment for the evening. After meeting up with the gang at Quinton's I was just in time to leave - we made a quick stop at Bo-James, which was crowded as hell. (Not that I've ever been there. Hee!) So we headed to Joe's Place, where we spent the rest of the evening.

We sat around and talked for a while, and then the table next to us opened up, so we spread out. J.R. started absent-mindedly spinning quarters on the table, and I was like, "Whoa! You're doing that with one hand!" Of course, I had to try it myself. Chelsea, J.R. and I ended up spinning quarters on the table for at least two hours. I had to learn how to get it down, and then how to flick it when it slowed down in order to keep it going. At a quarter after twelve, I looked at the time and exclaimed, "It's after midnight! And I'm awake!" I couldn't believe it. My houseguests Matt and Susan and George (George is from Mexico, so it's pronounced Hor-hay. He tried to Americanize it, but Matt thought Hor-hay was much cooler, so Hor-hay it stayed.) showed up around then, and there was a game of video bowling played. I play video bowling about as well as I bowl for real, and that's not saying much.

We closed down the bar (almost - there was last call, at least) and then I lost my original group and continued back to my house with Matt and Susan, stopping by Marco's stand for grilled cheese. Mmmm...grilled cheese. Got home about 2:30 and completely crashed, woke up again at 7:00 a.m. to tailgate. Waaay too much beer in 24 hours. After a through shellacking of the Minnesota Golden Gophers, more tailgating, and then I collapsed. I napped on the couch, woke up around 7:30 p.m. went to bed, then didn't wake up until 9 the next morning. Whee! Sleep overload!

Went to see Walk the Line (by myself) Sunday afternoon, which was very good. It had that jumpy, bio-pic feel only at the beginning of the movie, then settled into Johnny and June's love story quite nicely. It's a "recommend" in my book.

I'm putting off going to Goblet of Fire only because my brother asked me to. He called Friday night, asking if I would wait to go with him so he'd have someone to go with. I agreed. Must mean I actually love the kid. Which means that instead of going to a movie with the girls tonight, I'm going to the traditional pre-Thanksgiving workout for tae kwon do. I'm a glutton for punishment.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

I've got faith in people; I figure they're basically good until they let me know otherwise. That being said, I'm not buying from anyone "new" on eBay ever again. They're gonna have to get some street cred buying stuff first or something. This is the second time I've been gypped into buying a knock-off DVD and the bastard gets suspended before I can get my money back.


Wednesday, November 16, 2005

There's snow on the ground. Only a dusting, but snow. The snowflakes were soooo huge last night. Silver dollar sized. If one came down and smacked you in the face, you would splutter and your face would be wet. It was the best night to curl up with a blanket, a book, and a hot drink.

I only made one out of three. Pepsi and TV. Blanket was necessary. Speaking of Tuesday night TV, I just need to say how much I enjoy The Biggest Loser. I'm still not happy with the 'voting off' part, but to see these people work so hard and lose all that weight just makes me feel so happy for them. Last night, Dr. Jeff was voted off, so at the end they showed what he looks like now, and how the show has changed his life. This guy was huge when he started, he could barely walk up and down the stairs. But he lost over a hundred pounds while he was on the show and then lost an additional thirty afterwards, and now he's playing soccer with his kids. He came on the show to inspire his patients, and I think he's inspired a lot more than them.

I started out the year trying to eat better and trying to excercise more, and I lost my steam when I got shin splints. I would love to lose twenty pounds. Sometimes I get this weird feeling, like there's this layer on me that doesn't belong there. I can "see" what I would look like without those twenty pounds, and it feels very odd: it's a part of me, but it's not. It's a lot like that feeling you get once in a while when you look at a word and think, "We spell this word really weird."

Monday, November 14, 2005

My friend Ken has often discussed the differences between men and women in his blog. (Check out The Dark Mirror on my Friends list below.) Men don't understand women, and women only think they understand men. I wonder, really, how we expect to understand the opposite sex when it's so hard to understand yourself.

How do you reconcile when there is a glaring difference between your head and your heart? When your head says one thing, but your heart refuses to listen? I wouldn't blame anyone for getting mixed signals from me right now. I don't have any idea what I want, let alone what I need.

I'm usually a pretty good judge of human behavior. I've been told I'd make a decent Dear Abby. But when it comes to my own emotions, I'm just as in the dark as anyone else. I think and I think and I spend too much time playing what-if games. It would be so much easier if I just didn't care. The cost/benefit analysis keeps tipping toward the cost side, but that doesn't matter to my heart. My heart wants the benefits, no matter what the cost. Then it when it finally has to pay, it can't. My head knows what's going on. Why can't my heart listen?

Friday, November 11, 2005

This unusually warm fall weather has really screwed up the leaf schedule. They came around with the vacuumer on October 31st, when none of my leaves had fallen yet. Now that about half the leaves have fallen, I can finally rake, but they're doing the last free pickup tomorrow morning. Saturday morning.

Why in the world would you schedule a leaf pickup for Saturday morning? It gets dark at like 4:30 so I can't rake during the week. Why not give people a weekend to work?

Saturday morning. Someone was really thinking there.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

I finally did my taxes today.

I OWE money! WTF??? Even with my little tax shelter upstairs and my brand spanking new Schedule A, I OWE money. Crap. Here I've been going for eight months or so, thinking I'm gonna get a big refund, and I'd have a thousand dollars or so to put towards my windows. I'm getting money back on state, so I'm actually netting out fine, but what a disappointment.

I've been panicking about the windows anyway, so I canceled them. Not gonna do it this year. I feel much better. It was too much money for me right now. I think I want to sit down and rework my budget before I do commit myself. I want to get a HSA and a Roth IRA in my budget, and not doing that before I spent all that money was weighing on me.

I'm a little sad. But at least Mindi won't be jealous of me yet.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

I have a library! I have a library!

The measure passed with 88% of the vote, and that's all I know. I don't even know when it is effective. I want to know NOW!

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

For Chelsea:

As was trolling channels, watching election results for mention of the library, I saw that Durant reelected their mayor. I know most of you religiously read the Wilton-Durant Advocate, a recap: Durant city council meetings are the best thing to happen to that paper since Thelma Nopolous sent Christmas cards to everyone in the 52778 zip code bragging about her kids. If it's not the council accusing the mayor about stepping over his authority, it's the mayor accusing the council of breaking laws and shady dealings.

None of this is going on (come on, it's Durant - population 1600), but it sure makes for fun reading. I can just imagine Dawn Luethye sitting there, trying to figure out how not to make the whole lot them look like dumbasses. Which they come across as, anyway.

I didn't see anything about the council, so I don't know if the town decided to solve the personality clashes by kicking out council members. But if the citizens of Durant have my sense of humor, they'll keep everyone on, just to have something to look forward to when they get the paper on Thursday.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

I am so grossed out.

Here I was, eating lunch. Lunch was leftover Hamburger Helper. I am addicted to the new Tomato Basil Penne. I take out half a cup of water and add a can of diced tomatoes, and it is sooo good. I also had one serving left of squash, so it made for a pretty decent lunch, especially for a Saturday.

I'm about done when there's this crunch in my mouth that is definitely not supposed to be there, and it tastes awful. I spit out my mouthful and there in the middle is one of those stupid Asian beetles.

Gag me with a spoon! You know how bad they smell...well, they taste that bad. Plus, I had a Bug In My Mouth! Ewww! I want to puke just thinking about it four hours later.

And did you know it was someone's idea to introduce these bugs over here? That they did it on PURPOSE? Whosever idea that was should be shot. No, that's too good for them. They should be locked in a room with about a million of these things and suffocate by beetle. Remember The Creep Show, the very last one where the guy was so paranoid about bugs and would kill them right and left and finally the bugs got revenge by entering his every oriface and killing him? That's what I want.