HE SAID: Words with Friends

May 27, 2011

There are 3 facts that I know about myself: 1. I am a nerd…I like to think of myself as one of those, “cool nerds,” but even that probably isn’t true. 2. I am in love with my iPhone4. 3. In direct relation to fact #2, I am, quite literally, obsessed with the ‘Words with Friends’ application. At this time, I have approximately 12 games going…and yes, all those games are with actual friends, not with strangers. I’m not that desperate. It might even interest you to know that I am 1-0 all time against “She Said.” In fact, she was forced to resign because she didn’t play a single move after I started a game. I don’t want to say that’s typical of her, but it’s typical of her.

The beauty of having so many games going at once is pretty much at any given time, I have a move to make. This means that I can now cancel all the magazine subscriptions I have (ESPN, SI, & Entertainment Weekly for those wondering), not to mention stop risking my laptop further damage. Why? You might ask. Because I can bring my iPhone with me into the pooper and make a move. And if it so happens that it is a rare occurrence where I have no moves to make, I’ll play some Angry Birds. Of course, the former might be exposing myself to some future preparation H use, but eff it. The games are that fun.

Not that Words with Friends is perfect, mind you. As always, I do have some issues. First and foremost, they need to figure out how to eliminate trial and error from the game. I mean for effs sake, I threw down S-E-X-T-O-N with ‘x’ on a triple letter and the word on a double word for  a substantial amount of points. Turns out the word refers to a church official in charge of ringing the bell. You think if we were playing Scrabble and someone challenged me I would’ve been confident that it was an actual word? Hell no. I only played it because I just went to a Martin Sexton concert last month.

Along those same lines, and this is not the responsibility, but cheating simply should be punishable by banishment of the application. There are some people I play who play multiple words in a row that reek of cheating. There is trial and error (lame), and there is using words that Charles Rudolph Quirk (can you believe there is a Wiki page for ‘famous linguists’?) has never heard of (wrong). I feel like I should be able to point this out to the developers of Words with Friends, and on a case by case basis they can decide to delete the app from the wrong-doers phone and not allow it to be downloaded again. Too harsh?

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SHE SAID: Silly Bandz

July 30, 2010

I don’t get it.  I don’t get it in the same way that I didn’t understand beanie babies and pokemon cards, but that’s to be expected since I wasn’t between the ages of 4 – 14 when those products came out.  Ask me about garbage pail kids and cabbage patch kids and I can contribute something positive to the conversation and will attempt a pathetic defense of why those products are better than today’s options mainly because I have to defend my allegiance to ridiculousness, not because cabbage patch kids were the most amazing toy ever invented.  Garbage Pail Kids, on the other hand, I will defend as art and I wish my mom hadn’t thrown them out because they were awesome … but I digress.

What I don’t understand is why the 28 year old man I talked to today was wearing a Silly Band.  Or the 26 year old woman who told me in great detail how she traded her black submarine Silly Band for a glow in the dark shark after turning down previous offers for a penguin and a multi colored kangaroo.  The cross over to the adult market for shaped rubber bands (that people are actually paying money for), amazes me. And no, these aren’t random oddballs or teachers and people who work with kids and thusly feel the need to decorate themselves in the accepted accoutrements.  This is common enough and widespread enough that I feel the need to post on it.

Go to a bar and you will see adults wearing Silly Bandz.  Okay, maybe not at the swanky I-Banker bars in New York, but most bars.  I haven’t checked with the generation above mine, but I’m willing to go out on a limb and say they weren’t trading garbage pail kids or wearing slap bracelets any time, much less while out at night.  Are we so terrible in our attempts at interaction that we are resorting to the bag of tricks of a fifth grader?  It has to be something other than that.  And I’m not going to credit the designers of the Silly Band for coming up with something so cool that everyone from age 6 to 60 is jonesing for it.

Maybe by crossing the threshhold of 30 I have decended into the age of incomprehension.  Next I’m going to be telling my son how I walked seven miles each way to school with nothing but newspaper on my feet in freezing weather.  Or how much an ice cream cost with I was a kid.  And he’ll be rolling his eyes and sneaking off to spend his allowance on Silly Bandz.


HE SAID: Golf

May 19, 2010

I am not as bad as Charles Barkley

So I joined a country club this year. The most rinky dink country club I think I’ve ever seen, but still I am a member.  Bear in mind this is a 9 hole course, the clubhouse looks closer to a squatters mecca than it does to most clubhouses, and last time I went to play (at 1 pm) there was not a soul on the course or in the clubhouse…yet a board still had to approve my membership.  Anyway, that’s besides the point, I could write a book on the many idiocracies surrounding golf (the pants, the mens lounge, the shitty golfers who think they are good, social memberships, yada yada yada), but in this post I want to focus on the game itself, and why I continue playing even though most of the time it is similar to torture.

For a frame of reference, you should know that I label myself an “accomplished hacker.”  I am past the point where I hit a ground ball every other shot, thought admittedly that does still happen. For 9 holes, I’m generally in the 45 range, and for 18 closer to 100 (I fall off the map after hole 14…when I am loaded I’m going to build a 14 hole golf course).  My score is high because I can’t hit any more than one or two really good shots each round.  Generally when I play, I’m frustrated more than I’m happy, I get blisters from walking, and I attain what many refer to as “swamp ass.” Doesn’t all this, mainly my success rate, beg the question – why the eff do I bother to play?  Or for that matter, considering I’m better than the average person I see on the course, why does anyone bother playing?

Not my future wife.

One reason I know is not true is to meet females.  I’ve been to many a courses around New England, and saying they are not ripe with single women in their 20′s would be the understatement of the century.  The only women I see at the golf course are usually there to appease husbands…I hope the man is not forcing his significant other to play by agreeing to seem some stupid movie like “Letters to Juliet” later that evening, yet I digress.

Is there anything else in life that so many people do shittily yet continue.  Think about it…I am completely satisfied with a shot only a couple of times in a 4 hour round.  Add into that the ass sweat and there really isn’t a rationale reason I should be playing.  Oh of course there is the argument, “well you are outside in the nice weather, perhaps enjoying an adult beverage or two with some friends.”  I can do the same thing at the beach (where there are lots more single females, and I don’t have to wait for four senior citizens to use the ocean like I might have to for 18 straight holes).  But I guess I’ve already answered my own question…it’s that one shot that brings me back…that one drive that I actually hit straight…or the sand shot that somehow manages to hit the pin…or the beer at the 19th hole.


SHE SAID: DJ or band?

April 29, 2010

Jeremy and I have already posted on our love of attending weddings and I can vouch for him being one of the more entertaining wedding guests OF ALL TIME.  Actually, I lie.  Jeremy and I have never attended a wedding together and so I cannot regale you with tales of his chicken dancing, his talent for toasting, or about that time when he tripped while coming off the dance floor and had to be rushed to the emergency room to get a splinter taken out of his palm.  But we both have some weddings under our belts and I know that he enjoys partaking in the merrymaking as much as I.

This past weekend I went to a family wedding and was a little disappointed, at first, to see a DJ’s table in the reception hall.  I don’t mean to offend any DJs or aspiring DJs out there, but I have to confess that when I get to a wedding, seeing a DJ setting up is almost as bad as seeing that the lead singer of the band is sporting a serious mullet and white platform patent leather boots.  You can’t help but start conjuring exit strategies and calculating how much time is appropriate to spend tolerating the music before you can ease out the side door without offending the new couple.  Things could be worse, I’ll admit; a cash bar or some Disney theme …

After the cocktail hour (during which my date and I dominated the bar and thusly were the most obvious candidates to welcome a DJ enthusiastically), we headed into the main room to welcome the bridal party fresh off their photo shoot, toast the couple, eat, and ultimately, dance dance dance.  Only, before the toasting commenced, the DJ had us twirling our napkins over our heads while he paraded around the room in a chef’s hat and managed to get one unlucky fellow (who happened to have said yes when I suggested attending a spring wedding in Connecticut) doing the twist as a demonstration for the whole table.  I was downing drinks faster than a pre-teen who had just discovered virgin piña coladas and anticipating high tailing it after the cake.

And then somewhere in there, the DJ became totally okay.  It was fun hearing songs I hadn’t heard in forever.  It was fun spending the entire night dancing.  I saw my date’s face light up with unbridled enthusiasm when a country favorite was played, my niece jumped at the chance to dance to some Train, and my mother almost cried when Lady in Red started to play.  There was some line dancing, some twisting, some Charleston-ing and some confusion explaining to my mom that it’s okay for two women to dance together – thankfully she got over it and I was able to throw her around on the dance floor a little.

And all of a sudden, my anti-DJ stance went out the window and I owned that dance floor, despite the pain my being out there caused any innocent bystanders.  And maybe the lesson here is that alcohol can make anything fun.  Maybe it’s that we shouldn’t let our stereotypes stop us from having fun or changing our hell bent stance on something.  Maybe it’s that with a little help (be it an informed friend, a strong drink, or an unexpected encounter), an experience we weren’t anticipating or even one that we were dreading, can be a hell of a lot of fun and even memorable.

Although, and this is the one draw back of a DJ, I come from a singing family.  An overwhelming, enthusiastic, and very loving family that happens to love to jump up on stage and start singing, especially at weddings.  My sister has one of the best voices I have ever heard and thankfully, it’s usually her that’s up there.  The one draw back of a DJ is that were one to sing, it ultimately sounds like karaoke.  No matter how stunning the vocals.  And that is where the band comes out the clear winner in this comparison.  Because while karaoke is fun at a dive bar with friends and a healthy sense of confidence, a wedding is neither the time nor the place.

And yes, I was most definitely trying to convince the DJ to let me up there for a few songs on Saturday.


SHE SAID: Halloween

October 15, 2009

knight_halloween

When I was younger, Halloween seemed a whole lot cooler than it is now.

Back when my only worry was running into my older brother and his friends who were equipped with shaving cream cans and eggs, and we didn’t have to worry about that AND the neighbors putting razor blades in our popcorn balls or candy apples.

Back when my biggest disappointment was having to put on my down coat underneath my ghost costume that I had spent at least ten minutes on since the eye holes were apparently necessary, however much they compromised the costume and missing meeting up with friends.

Back when Unicef was still unquestionably good and all of us struggled blissfully under the growing weight of our candy and the little orange boxes as the night progressed.

Back when pumpkins were all hand carved and not created by following one of the five included patterns.  Although, I will admit the little tools are a lot easier to work with than the ten inch butcher’s knife.

Back when we kids owned the neighborhood, even if only for the evening.  And we roamed aimlessly, hitting up every lit house for candy and sometimes hopefully knocking even on the dark house’s doors, trying to amass the largest group of people we could as the twilight eased into darkness.

There was one rule.  Be home when it got dark … or a little past dark.

Now, my mom says she only needs one bag of candy since she only gets about three trick or treaters.  Parents drive their kids from house to house, packing their families into mini-vans until the kids are old enough to go out on their own.  And when that is the case, they stay on a few streets that are populated with tons of people.  You start trick or treating at 3pm and are done by 6.  You don’t trick or treat from people you don’t know and you don’t accept any candy that wasn’t pre-wrapped by Mars, inc.  Costumes are mostly store bought from places that specialize in mass marketed outfits that reference a popular TV show or widely recognized icon.  I can’t remember the last time I saw a punk rocker, now it’s Hannah Montana, the Backyardigans, Disney.

And because of this mass produced Halloween, how many kids are going to be able to recount the time they went as a mummy, completely wrapped in toilet paper, which seemed like the greatest costume ever until you started dancing, it deteriorated and you were mortified because you hadn’t anticipated that little problem and so didn’t have anything on other than underwear.  And yes, that means no bra either which was MORTIFYING in sixth grade.

I get the reasons behind some of the changes – safety being the obvious one due to the creep who hid razor blades in candy apples.  But it still makes me a little sad for what was lost.  And I plan on making my son wear home-made or pieced together costumes.  Because making them is so fun.


HE SAID: Halloween

October 15, 2009

I can write forever on Halloween in the 80’s and early 90’s, my heyday of acquiring candy, egging people & toilet papering houses.  Unfortunately, or fortunately, I do not have a child of my own and really have no idea what goes on these days for Halloween.  Well, I should say I have no idea what goes on Halloween these days for children.  Based on the number of absurd photos I just detagged myself from on facebook, I am quite sure I know what goes on Halloween for adults in the new millennium.

But first, I do have a quick bone to pick with Nifer…I am quite sure growing up we did indeed have to worry about those creeps that tried to feed razorblades to sugar hungry children.  We were always told not too accept unwrapped candy from houses we didn’t know.  Maybe you are just THAT much older than I am, or maybe that ritzy little ‘hood you grew up in didn’t have crazies.  Just kidding, it’s not like I grew up in Watts or anything like that.

Also, I don’t know about you (Nifer, our 18 readers, etc), but we also never did anything too egregious.  Maybe it was the small town thing, but a couple eggs here, or rolls of toilet paper there, were pretty much the extent to our shenanigans.  We certainly never threw shit on someone’s door, leading to exchanges such as this one.  Actually, this scene brings up two good points 1. going as Ronald Miller and Cindy Mancini would make a kick ass couples costume and 2. what the eff happened to Amanda Peterson?

This brings me to yet another point – couples dressing as lame couples for halloween of really lame.  Two M&M’s, Fred and Wilma, plug and socket are all examples of ideas that I can not endorse.  Now, the aforementioned Ronald & Cindy or Axl & Slash, these are something I can get into.  But I am just far too lazy to do something that cool.

I realize that this post has no semblance of structure, so I’ll wrap it up with two final thoughts.  While halloween is fun as an adult (dressing up like a jackass, seeing girls dress up as skanky as possible, getting extremely inebriated, etc etc etc), there is no doubt in my mind the joy I felt as a child going from house to house with my friends was more pure and unadulterated.  Even when my effing parents dressed me up as a bunny rabbit or pumpkin.  There was a sense of innocence that has been lost.  And maybe that’s the issue with today’s kids and Halloween; with all the TV/video games/internet crap that’s out there, maybe they have lost their innocence at a younger age.

Since it is not within me to end on such a serious note, might I suggest all adult females go for one of the following costumes a couple of weeks from now.


SHE SAID: Gambling

August 30, 2009

gambling_chipsI know why I had not been gambling.  I don’t know why someone else thought it would be a great idea to bring a competitive, addictive and stubborn person gambling, but as chance would have it, I found myself walking into Foxwoods giving myself all sorts of boundaries for the night ahead.  Or the remaining hours of the night ahead.

We walked past the pits of slot machines to get to the tables.  Mesmerized people sitting with huge bags of change just pulling on levers over.  And over.  And over.  The flashing lights and dizzying sound standing out in stark contrast and almost mocking the actual lack of activity going on.

The first span of gambling was spent looking over shoulders at the black jack table and studying this handy piece of information.  My goal was to memorize it because I felt like it would be cheating to have it at the table while I was playing.  And I was terrified of coming off like I didn’t know exactly what I was doing.  Which of course, made it all the more evident that I had no idea what I was doing.

Let me take a minute to delve into my experience with blackjack.  I love cards and have spent long hours playing hearts, canasta, bridge, pinochle, solitaire (all variations), asshole, spit, go fish, poker, spades, rummy (and gin rummy), war, cray eights and even some low moments that included indian poker.  I have not spent much time playing blackjack and whenever I did play it was usually because someone was peeing and we were waiting for them to commence playing whatever real game we were playing.  My experience with blackjack was a couple of hands and the one rule I had been told was, don’t hit when you have over 15.  Which made it all the more fascinating to me that people were betting large amounts of money on such a lame, luck centered game.

I realized I may have been too quick to judge when I saw how elaborate the “cheat sheet” was.  And after watching hands that included such snazzy sounding phrases like “double down”, I settled in for a long night of learning.

Fast forward a few hours, and I’m sitting with the big kids at the table, trying to reclaim my original chips and resisting the urge to treat my chips like Monopoly money while the eighteen year old to my right is playing with $100 chips bemoaning the eight grand he’s already down, the guy on my left is deciding to hit or stay while his very pregnant wife whispers over his shoulder, “stay, just stay” as she has been for the last few hours, and the nervous looking slight woman in the corner surrenders almost every hand.  It’s intense, it’s funny, it’s sad, it’s awesome.  How it is depends on if you’re winning or losing.

I love gambling.  The utter disappointment, the unrestrained fist pump, the wordless focus, the general sense of unease exuding even from those that are most comfortable, the love affair between excitement and fear, the occasional addiction that is excruciatingly unbearable to witness.  But these are also the reasons why I don’t like gambling.

I find the whole scene fascinating.  I love how your mind can convince you that you are going to win, that those last chips will come back to you, that chance is on your side.  That you aren’t one of those pathetic losers, unable to walk away, mindlessly frittering your money away.  That you’re in control.

I walked away with $50 in winnings.  Which made me pretty happy since I was expecting to lose more than I had intended.  Thankfully, I was with someone who kept an eye out on me and made sure I wasn’t banging on the table at the end of the night yelling “HIT ME”  in between running back and forth to the conveniently located ATM’s.  Because that could have so easily happened.  Only later, I totally would have won it all back.