Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Creative Card Play

Last week Jr. came to me and convinced me that I really needed to play cards with her. So I worked in a few games of UNO in between playing in George's pretend band and eating my dinner (George got to be lead guitarist, but I played a mean couch cushion drum).

What really made the UNO game interesting was the way it was played. Before I get into how the game was played, I think I ought to point out that at my house Monopoly and many a grown up game is played with very unique rules. For instance, when you land on a property on the Monopoly game board and it is not owned and choose to buy the property, you get to immediately choose to place a green house or a red hotel on the property, thereby marking your territory. Houses and hotels do not affect the going rental rate by the way. This is a habit picked up from Disney Princess Monopoly; however, in Disney Princess Monopoly everyone gets castles in their own color, which helps to distinguish who owns what. One day someone is going to show them the real Monopoly rules...heaven help that person!

Back to Jr.'s UNO game. Apparently when you play UNO with Dad the rules dictate that you get to place all the "Wilds" and "Draw Four Wilds" in your own hand and then deal Dad a normal hand. Thus after I would play a card from my hand Jr. would wallup me with a "Draw Four Wild" and then choose a color that she knew I didn't have. Then she would let me continue drawing until I found the color I needed.

This worked pretty good for Jr. until she got down to one card left and I said "UNO" before she remembered to or I played my own "Draw Two" card as this caused her to pick up cards that weren't "Wilds". However, Fred soon came to Jr.'s rescue and whenever Jr. was forced to pick a card from the pile, Fred would make sure to look through the deck for Jr. and find a nice skip or reverse in the color Jr. needed.

The upside to all of this is that my misery of holding half the deck in my hand would generally go by pretty quickly as games didn't last that long!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Cubs Win, er, Lose in Dramatic Fashion...Again

Every year for the last 3 or 4 years a couple of guys from my work and I drive to a baseball game at one of the "close" major league ballparks near Las Vegas and catch a game. I say close, but the trips are generally 5 plus hours one direction and after the game we climb back into our van(s) and head back home (mainly because we are masticates).

Our core group consists of a Dodger's fan, a Yankee's fan, and two Cub's fans. We've hit Dodger's Stadium, Bank One Park, and this year we hit Petco Park. This year's match-up featured the Padre's vs the Cubs and, as one of our group's Cub's fans, I was looking forward to it - though I almost didn't get there.

Yes, that same demon that makes the Cubs perpetually lose, chose to pick on the two Cub fans for this trip. The demon chose to take out my wife's van's water pump 5 minutes before I was supposed to head out to the trip rendezvous point, while the other Cub fan's wife went through a miscarriage. As I wouldn't wish the latter scenario on anyone, especially not a fellow Cub fan, my heart went out to them, and still does.

Despite the demonic tampering, I managed to square away the water pump situation and then was able to continue on with the rest of the group and my daughter, Fred, to the game.

The game itself was quite uneventful for the first 7 innings. Then, in the eighth, the Cubs managed to break through (after leaving something like 10 men on base) and scored a run. Going into the 9th, the Cubs were still on top, one to nothing. Our closer came in, Kevin Gregg, and started to work on the Padre's line-up. After walking one Padre and getting two others out, Kevin started to work on his fourth Padre batter. Kevin worked the count full to three balls and two strikes.

So there we were, sitting in Petco Park, the Cubs one pitch away from winning the game. Lucy from Peanuts couldn't have thought of a better scenario to mess with our heads. Surely we'd get a strikeout or a pop-up...and then Kevin Gregg guessed it, a grapefruit. The batter jumped on that pitch and hit a double between the left and center fielders - Lucy was pulling the football away from Charlie Brown yet again. The runner on first base had a great jump as he was in motion due to there being a full count and two outs - that jump enabled him to score from first to home on that double.

The Padre's then sent in a pinch hitter and the Cubs chose to walk him as no one was on first base and that made it so the Cubs could get a force out at first, second, or third.

At that point, I sat back and thought, "We can still get them in extra innings." Just like Charlie Brown, an eternal optimist.

Up comes the next Padre batter; Kevin throws him a strike and a ball. So the count is one ball and one strike, there are two outs (Lucy is dangling that football a little again) and then Kevin Gregg pitches up another grapefruit, the batter swings and sends the pitch over the deepest part of the ballpark (400 plus feet) - homerun, and the Cubs have once again snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. Oh well, at least I've got 5 plus hours to listen to Yankee fan and Dodger fan ridicule the Cubbies...

Quote of the night:

Fred, "Where's the Green Giant?"
Me, "What do you mean?" I'm wondering if someone told her about the Jolly one.
Fred, "You know, the Green Giant...isn't it supposed to be here?"
Me, "Oh, you mean the 'Green Monster'."
Fred, "Yeah, where is it?"
Me, "Boston."
Fred, "Oh, I want to go to Boston Dad." Grandpa would be proud!

None dare call it conspiracy


Monster Miata


Flying in a squirrel suit