I have a passel of projects that I need to start, advance, complete, or abandon, and I’m going to devote the remainder of March to sorting out which are which.

defective yeti will return April 3rd. In the meanwhile, the favorite posts page has been updated for your perusing pleasure. See you soon.

Friday Afternoon Scrachpad

Practice What Your Preach

Today I saw a guy in a “Rage Against The Machine” t-shirt angrily slapping the side of an ATM.

Venomous Verdict

Dear Peoples of Teh IntarWeb: you can stop sending me this quotation for inclusion in the Bad Review Revue:

“If it had been called V for Vasectomy I could scarcely have found it a less enjoyable experience.” — Jonathan Ross, BBC

Though I appreciate everyone who did.

Carefree Throws

I love that there’s a Basketball team called The Cavaliers. I like to imagine their courtside huddles go like this:

Coach: Okay, guys: there’s only forty-three seconds left on the clock and we’re down by five. We’re going to need some major hustle to win this.

First player: Oh, it’s always “win, win, win” with you. There’s more more important things than winning, you know.

Second player: Seriously. It’s just a game, coach — chill out, already.

The Doctor Is Back In

Someone must be sending around the link to my Dumbass M.D. post, because I’ve recently received a spate of email from folks begging for the answer.

Well, I kept you in suspense for two and a half years … I guess that’s long enough.

Go read the puzzle, try and figure it out, and, if you get stumped, highlight the following paragraph:

Cut all three pills exactly in half, taking care to keep the two groups of halves separate. Take another Pill A, cut it in half, and add one half to each of the groups. Each group now contains two Pill B halves and two Pill A half. Take one group of halves today, the other group tomorrow.

Three Games

  • flOw: Hypnotic little game, beautifully made. Reminiscent of the forthcoming Spore. Browser-based flash.
  • Dumb: The Game: Forty-four puzzles to solve, ranging from laughably easy to I-don’t-even-know-where-to-begin difficult. Browser-based php.
  • Truck Dismount: Sadistic & addictive. Download.

All via Jay Is Games.

Dollars & Scents

Sean “Diddy” Combs has come out with a new scent called Unforgivable.

As The Queen will attest, I too have produced some unforgivable fragrances in my time — especially after jambalaya night — but I never once thought to bottle and sell ’em for $25 an ounce. I guess that’s the difference between me and Mr. Combs. Well, that and his impressive collection of risible nicknames.

Games: Colossal Arena

Despite my 2005 Good Gift Game Guide, my post naming the 2005 G4 runner-ups, and my list of my favorite games of last year, I somehow failed to mention Colossal Arena. This was a rather grievous oversight, as Arena was my game group’s favorite of last year. (At least until I taught them Tichu …)

First, a word of reassurance. Colossal Arena bills itself as “the game of titanic battles,” and the art on both the box and the cards would have you believe that the game is one of fantasy melee, a raucous brawl complete with unicorns and trolls, mages and demons. Yes, that is the ostensible theme. But you won’t have to roll up a character or dust off your 30-sided die to play — Colossal Arena is, despite the RPG trappings, a traditional card & gambling game, albeit an exceptionally clever one.

Eight Monster cards are placed into a row before play begins. The main deck consists of 11 cards for each Monster (ranked 0 though 10) and 11 wild cards (called “Spectators,” also of values 0-10). On a turn, a player may place a bet on one of the Monsters and must play a card. Cards are placed below the corresponding Monster, and the value of the card dictates the Monster’s current strength. Spectator cards may be played onto any Monster. Players may put cards on top of cards already in play — a Titan 2 could be placed onto a Titan 8, for instance, thereby lowering that Monster’s strength by 6. This continues until every Monster has at least one card associated with it, at which point the weakest Monster dies and all bets placed on it are lost.

After the death of a Monster, a new round begins with a new row of cards. The game ends after five rounds and five causalities, leaving three Monsters alive. Bets on the survivors pay off, and the player with the most points wins.

There are plenty of twists to liven up play: secret bets, Monster powers, and a risk/reward system in which bets placed in the early round (when they are the most perilous) pay-out higher than those placed near the end of the game. But the heart of the game is the playing of Monster cards during a round, and the tension that builds as a round progresses is delicious. If you hold a low card for a Monster that your opponents have bet on, playing it late in a round can cripple that creature and ensure its ouster. The other players will be trying to hamstring your favorites, of course, so you must play strategically to avoid giving them the opportunity to do so.

Colossal Arena is a remake of the out-of-print Grand National Derby, which simulated horse racing. I wish Arena’s theme was as prosaic, as the violent and fantastic artwork masks a game that is perfectly suited for casual card players and families. Indeed, nearly everyone I have taught the game to has wanted to play it again and again. It’s also especially good (best, even) with three-players, which is something of a rarity in strategic card games.

You can read more about Colossal Arena here, and see a PDF of the rules here.

Hey Hey Hey!

I haven’t written about politics much recently. Of course I haven’t written much about yams recently either, another thing that typically makes me want to throw up. Go figure.

Let’s see, what’s going on? Today Bush met with Jason McElwaine, the austic kid who scored 20 points in four minutes for his basketball team.

“I saw the video and just had to meet this kid,” said the President. “In front of all these cameras,” he added. “Because Rove made me.”

Later, he explained motivation for his visit. “As I am clearly unable to inspire this nation, I though I’d come stand next to someone who could.”

Also today, Pew Research released the results of a poll in which they asked people to use a single word to describe Bush.

We need to pull Casey Kasem out of retirement so he can count these down “America’s Top 40” style. “And now a newcomer to the countdown, but a rising star. It’s number 10: ass.”

It’s weird that “sucks” only appears in February of 2005, and “ass” now shows up outta nowhere. Maybe seven people wanted to says “sucks ass” last year but, when they found out they were limited to a single word, they decided to parcel their reply out in annual installments.

And I love that six people describe the President as “President.” What, did they conduct this poll at a National Association of Literialists convention or something? Man, I hope they include me in the 2007 poll so I can say “bipedal.”

Democrats, meanwhile, continued to demonstrate their unwavering commitment to vacillation by reacting to Sen. Feingold’s proposal to formally censure Bush the same way my cats react to a vacuum cleaner.

Feingold’s censure motion appears to be mostly grandstanding, granted, but at least someone in the opposition party has decided to give opposing a whirl. Or perhaps it’s all a clever ploy on Feingold’s part. The Republicans responded to his proposal by issuing a set of talking points headlined The Debate Is Over: Dems Find Their Agenda. And Democrats were all, like, LOL WE TOTALLY TRICKED YOU — WE HAVE NO AGENDA!!

Actually, that’s unfair. The Democrats clearly do have an agenda: don’t say or do anything that could be construed as controversial by anyone anywhere. Who says they aren’t the party of religion? Quite the contrary, they seem to have adopted Jesus’s prediction that “the meek shall inherit the earth” as their official 2006 midterm election strategy.

“I don’t know the key to success,” Bill Cosby once said, “but the key to failure is trying to please everybody.” It’s pretty sad when a political party needs to take tips from Fat Albert, but there you go.

Corleone? Corleone? Corleone?

I watched a DVD over the weekend. First time I’d ever seen this film. Obscure little flick, you’ve probably never heard of it. What was it called, again? Oh God! Book II or Grandma’s Boy or something?

Oh, that’s right: The Godfather. Little known fact: the movie stars Marlon Brando, before he hit the big time by appearing in The Island of Dr. Moreau.

So, yeah: my first time seeing it. And I’m pleased to report that it holds up just fine, even after 30 years of imitation mob movies and television shows. In fact, I’d call it one of my favorites … were it not for one niggling little detail that worried away at the back of my mind for the duration of the film. You see, I’d never really seen young Al Pacino or young James Caan before. And, regrettable, I could not get over how similar they looked to Matthew Broderick and Will Ferrell.

I spent the entire film trying to reconcile the fact that New York’s most ruthless and bloodthirsty Mafia family was being run by Ferris Bueller and Buddy the Elf.

Material Girl

It’s the first sunny day Seattle has seen in a season, and a man in the park is doing tai chi. He performs some maneuvers slowly, methodically, concentrating on his every move. Then he settles cross-legged onto the grass and closes his eyes. His muscles go limp, the emotion drains from his face. He recedes into himself, severing his ties to our world, ridding himself of his Earthly burdens.

He reopens his eyes just as a pretty girl walks by. He cranes his neck to watch her pass. Suddenly the material plane ain’t lookin’ half bad.


“Happy birthday!” cries my father. “How old are you, now?”

“Thirty-five,” I reply.

“All right,” he says. “Halfway there!”

Apparently he knows something that I do not.

Shirk The Violet

Today is my birthday, and it looks like Sony Pictures has sent me a gift.

“Warns someone: ‘Don’t overthink it.’ Sage advice for anyone masochistic enough to watch this pile of poorly pixelated vampire poo. Yet it’s impossible to take: Crank your brain to its lowest possible idle and you’ll still overthink Ultraviolet. ” — Scott Brown, ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY.

“Unscreened for critics and unfit for consumption. ” –Jack Mathews, NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

“In opening voiceover, a superhuman killing machine named Violet warns the viewer, ‘I was born into a world you may not understand.’ Boy hidee, she ain

The Bachelor-Ate

Let’s face it: dating reality shows have gotten boring. That’s why I think they should really push the envelope, with a new show called “Black Widow.” The program would begin with one woman and twelve suitors. But instead of voting one of the guys off at the end of each show, once a week the woman would, after having sex with one of the men, kill and eat him.

See? Now that’s something I would tune in to watch.