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Monday, February 13, 2006
(A few things to talk about today so I don't think I'll be able to deliver this post with my usual laser-like focus.)

The Sky is a Hazy Shade of Winter

Curling aside, the general consensus seems to be that the winter Olympics are much more exciting than the more standard summer Olympics. There's still a lot of the same old sentimental bullshit, but the sports themselves seem more thrilling. You got your speed freaks in downhill skiing, and all the bobsledding variations. You got your The upstart snowboarders. You got the graceful traditional figure skaters (with goofy outfits to snigger at). You got your fluid and exciting speed skating. I watched hours of Olympic coverage last night and wasn't bored.

One of the most intriguing aspect of the speed skating is all the controversy tha sprung up with Apolo Ohno's victory by default over South Korea's Kim Dong-Sung in 2002. I managed to find a South Korean broadcast of this event years back and it did not disappoint. When the decision came through that disqualified Kim, the Korean announcer sounded like someone was sucking his intestines out through his belly button.

The Koreans were "displeased". I mean check out this video.

So I was really looking forward to the re-match (sort of - Dong-Sung wasn't racing again instead it was Ahn Hyun-Soo as the Korean favorite). Unfortunately Apolo got greedy and fucked up all the drama.

Another entertaining aspect to last nights games was the company I was keeping. Liz and Pete came over, two friends of mine with deep roots in the snowboarding industry. So watching the Winter Olympics with them is like having Joan and Melissa Rivers on your couch while watching the Oscars. They spend as much time (or more) commenting on what the athletes are wearing than how they perform. It's hilarious. Liz was getting visibly angry at some of the things people were wearing.

Puttin All Kinds of Shame in the Game You Got

As a result of some prodding from the birdman and some simultaneous inspiration from a co-worker, I've become increasingly interested in boardgames. Specifically games in the "German-Style". The way I understand it, there is a whole sub-culture of board games influenced by European designers - many of whom are German mathematicians like Riener Knizia.

Once you start to investigate this world, you quickly discover that the grandaddy of these games is probably Puerto Rico. Phipps put it well when he said, "If I wasn't told that Puerto Rico was the best game ever I never would have picked it up". There's nothing too exciting about it on the face of things, but some friends and I put it to the test for the first time last night and it was really an exceptional game.

It's really interesting to watch a group of people work out a new system of game mechanics and rules like we did on Saturday while playing PR for the first time. There is this initial feeling of trying to find ones way through a dark room in the beginning. Everyone is sort of flailing to make sense of everything. It's cool to watch the transition from total confusion to comprehension to actual strategic decision making.

The game itself has some of the flavors of the classic Monopoly game in that the objective is basically to acquire wealth and build a commercial empire. However, Monopoly is very short on real decision-making, and long on luck. Puerto Rico gives players multiple strategic options and rewards savvy tactics. It utilizes some unusual play-mechanics coupled with some amusingly un-PC elements to make for a great game.

That's all I got for now...


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