Maggie @ From Cave Walls asks a Throwback Thursday question about games. As my readers may know, I love games. I have a whole game-themed CD I made too!
1. What games do you and your family play?
My daughters and I enjoy Settlers of Catan, Ticket to Ride, Lanterns, Carcassonne, etc. My friends and I play a lot of Codenames, Dixit, and Taboo.
2. Do you play games on your cell phone while waiting for the doctor?
Of course! And any other time I need a quick break. I have Cat Lady, TTR, and Scrabble (not WWF, ick). Sometimes I enjoy solitaire card games and logic puzzles (on paper) too.
3. Are you a good sport or a sore loser?
A good sport. (Curious if anyone will admit to being a sore loser.)
4. Do board games drive you crazy or do you have stacks of them on your shelves?
I have some but not that many, maybe a dozen or so.
5. What game piece do you choose in Monopoly?
6. Are bridge, canasta, or rummy in your repertoire?
7. What games do you despise?
I can’t stand dumb party games like Apples to Apples or Bunco. I don’t enjoy playing games with people who are insanely competitive ~ this is supposed to be fun. Lately, I’m not fond of anything timed. It’s too stressful.
8. Is there a unique game you or your family played that others may have never experienced? Come on, roll the dice and spill the beans.
We played standard games. I love Chinese Checkers, but most people don’t. My mom and I would use the whole board, 3 triangles each, and I got my daughter into it, but most folks find it boring. It can go on for a while…
This image was my first post on this blog: March 24, 2011. I titled it “RV in Natural Habitat” or something like that. My coworker had bought us some treats from a food truck and I had to snap a pic before nomming. It was so good! Red velvet is one of my favorite flavors, especially when topped with a luscious swirl of cream cheese frosting. I don’t think I’ve had the occasion to repost this image, so I’m doing it now. When I refreshed my blog last April, I deleted hundreds of images (I had a lot of duplicates because WP doesn’t make it easy to search for things in your media library and it’s sometimes easier just to re-upload them), but all the cupcakes were saved. I’m not going to toss out cupcake photos!
Anyway, this is a review post, but I got tired of posting the same image with my reviews. This is why I’ll never be a rich and famous blogger. I keep wanting to shake things up, but success requires discipline, consistency, and reliability. Or something like that. Now everyone will be all confused by this cupcake image on a review post. Sorry. Remember that my reviews may contain spoilers, so read on at your own risk.
1. The Boyfriend by Daniel Hurst. This 2021 mystery novel was OK. I mean, I liked it and read it straight through, but there was nothing great about it. I disliked the protagonist Adele because she was such a drunken ninny. I wasn’t rooting for her fiancé either, since he was a big boring scold. So I didn’t really care what happened to them, but the mystery of who was murdering Adele’s exes was a solidly entertaining plot. One thing I enjoyed was the British writing style and I don’t even know how to describe it. It’s crisper, I guess. There seems to be a ton of novels from British writers available in the Kindle Unlimited program. Or should I say programme? Ooh, my spellcheck does not like that.
2. Baltimore Blues by Laura Lippman. This 2009 novel was recommended to me because I read Lippman’s Sunburn and enjoyed it. I didn’t like BB as much as Sunburn. I found the protag Tess smart, funny, and likeable overall, but I just wasn’t that interested in the murder mystery or Tess’s angsting over her career. I’m not necessarily opposed to angst in general, but it simply didn’t grab me here. A review on Amazon called the side characters “cartoons” and that’s pretty accurate, especially regarding Aunt Kitty. But it wasn’t a bad book, and the descriptions of Baltimore were interesting. I would have liked it more if I’d read it first.
3. Footloose, 2011 remake. I know, I know, we all love the 1984 Footloose because of Kevin Bacon. No question that Bacon was incredible as Ren in the original musical. However! There are many things I prefer about the remake. First, the movie begins with the tragedy, which has a greater impact than finding out about it later. We get the immediate visceral punch of those 5 kids being killed in front of our face. This is important because it shows why the town’s parents are motivated to pass a series of draconian laws to try to protect the rest of the kids. Second, the story of Ren’s mom dying of leukemia is a more believable way for Ren to end up in Bomont with his uncle’s family than the original idea of Ren’s mom inexplicably deciding to move there. Third, Julianne Hough was a zillion times better as Ariel than Lori Singer. Fourth, Dennis Quaid and Andie MacDowell played Ariel’s parents with more depth than John Lithgow and that horribly annoying Dianne Wiest. Fourth, while no one can replace Bacon, Kenny Wormald does a fine job as Ren. Fifth, and most importantly, the remake contains zero Sara Jessica Parker.
OK, that’s it for now. I’ll have more reviews soon because I am constantly reading books and watching movies. I love writing blog posts, but I’m not so much into working on my “real” writing at the moment. I don’t even know why I call it “real” writing since my fiction and poetry right here have a much larger audience than the stuff I put up on Amazon, which is basically ignored by the entire world. As I’ve previously mentioned, I’ve lost interest in posting poetry on Twitter because that too is ignored even though I’ve put a fair effort into liking and retweeting other poets. Last year, during the lockdown lonelies, I returned to Facebook, but it’s been a huge disappointment. Well, of course! It hasn’t changed (except maybe for the worse), but I have. I can’t bear all the hostility and anger there. People are just looking for fights on the daily even when you freaking AGREE with them. No one is interested in WRITING, not even the so-called writers; they all just want to spout their opinions about current events, as if their words are somehow unique or will make a difference.
I am upset about it. I’ve lost friends, old and new, because I couldn’t bear the way they treated others or “trolled” for fun. Other people I can barely stand and have muted them so as not to see their nasty words. I’m reduced to making posts about songs and cats to avoid hosting ugly arguments and probably will stop interacting completely. FB’s only real usefulness is for coordinating events, if that ~ it appears we’re heading back toward doing nothing in person again, sadly. I was right to delete FB from my life for 2 years and shouldn’t have gone back. My daughters (along with many of you) are smarter and though they have FB accounts, they rarely say a word or interact with anyone. That is clearly the way to go.
Hopefully, my day will get better from here. Thank you all for making this blog community a nice place.
Today Linda asks us to write about the first word that comes to mind from the last picture we took. I took this shot of my fried veggies at the OC Fair last weekend. These were a mix of mushrooms, artichokes, and zucchini. The first two were delicious, but the zucchini was meh. I also had a roasted ear of corn earlier, which was good, but not as yummy as I remember. As I found a seat with my veggies, I saw a place selling mac&cheese egg rolls and I’ve been thinking about them all week. They’re probably disgusting, but I’d like to try one now. I don’t usually eat fried food, except when I have a migraine. I sometimes get a small pack of fries, which makes my head feel better. Idk why. They also had fried frogs’ legs at the fair ~ at the kiosk where my friend bought a bacon wrapped corn dog ~ and I remembered how I tried those as a kid in NYC, not fried though. They really did taste like chicken. Seems disgusting now, but then so does chicken when you really think about it. My mom burned herself badly once when frying chicken and never made it again. I watched her cut open an aloe plant to soothe her skin. I have a big bottle of aloe for sunburn, but I’m generally too careful to get one. I put on lots of sunscreen before I went to the fair. Pretty much all the food there is fried and/or loaded with sugar, so it’s not gonna be a healthy day unless you sneak in your own food or fast.
Do you feel that people are more attracted to one another by their differences or by their commonalities? And why do you feel that way?
You can guess my answer by the post title and photo, right? I can only speak for myself and my observations, but I think it is more likely for people to be attracted via commonalities, and that is the key to long-lasting, happy, healthy relationships. I don’t mean that people need to be clones of one another, but if they don’t have a similar outlook on life, compatible values, and mutually enjoyable activities to share, they’re just asking for arguments all along. Now, here is also another interesting observation: some people like to fight. They thrive from that adrenaline rush they get from being upset, yelling, and then making up passionately. Or not making up, in the case of friends, I suppose, but simply moving on to the next disagreement. I see that all the time on social media. But I find it unbearably stressful to interact that way, and more so the older I get. But to each their own, hey?
But guess what? Yep. I seem to have been attracted to men I haven’t been able to get along with because we are too different. This doesn’t happen to me in friendships, only in romances. The friends I have now are board game lovers, for the most part, so we start from there. Most of us also enjoy concerts and movies, though not always the same ones. Since it’s a largish group, there are always a few who are interested in doing a particular activity. Some enjoy hiking and/or traveling, but I don’t, which is fine because there’s always someone up for a movie instead (plus I don’t need to do everything with other people). We don’t all agree on politics, so we generally avoid that topic. Unlike some, I don’t feel the need to constantly voice my opinions on current events and get into fights about that sh!t.
Yet when I used to date, I ended up with men who didn’t like games, wanted to watch mind-numbing TV shows, and were super into sports. Beyond that, our worldviews clashed. I’m a careful person: I like to make plans and stick to them, avoid risk, and think about the future. But instead of dating men with similar qualities, I ended up with a bunch of nutty unreliable risk-takers who didn’t want to commit to anything. Men who were completely stupid with money. Men who craved constant travel. Etc. I even dated a T* supporter once. How crazy is that?
There are plenty of cute stories about opposites attracting and having a wonderful time together. I’ve read a zillion of them via romance novels, and it’s a romcom meet-cute staple as well. But that’s fiction. Unfortunately, my mind was soaked in fiction for so long that I had a difficult time accepting how it was better to date a boring, safe person like myself with similar values rather than an “exciting” opposite. I too felt the “rush” of roller coaster arguments/making up, wheeeeee! But that’s an unhealthy dynamic. I learned too late that I should have chosen differently and now am no longer interested. But I am thankful to have a great group of friends.
My smile for the week is about the OC Fair! Yep, the fair returned to Orange County and I attended on Sunday with a group of friends. Had loads of fun wandering around looking at the arts & crafts, chomping on a roasted ear of corn, and listening to Twisted Gypsy, an awesome Fleetwood Mac cover band. Along the way, we stopped for shaved ice and mine was mango. So refreshing!
More info about the band can be found on the Twisted Gypsy website. Besides their great name, they did a great job on the most popular FM songs, plus a couple of Stevie’s solo tunes. Niki Bente plays a wonderful Stevie. Not only is there a striking resemblance between the two women, but Niki’s voice is super strong, she’s a lovely dancer, and she has fantastic charisma. She clearly was the star, though the other players did well also. I did miss the British accent though on some of the vocals. You don’t realize it’s there until it’s not.
Last weekend was super-great. I saw friends in person Saturday night for games and noms, and Sunday I celebrated my granddaughter’s third birthday with family and friends. My daughter originally thought it would be a low-key get-together, but the theme was unicorns, and you can’t really do unicorns “low-key.” The birthday girl wore a sparkly purple unicorn dress and a pink princess crown, and she carried a silver heart magic wand. Adding to the festivities were a rainbow bounce house, pastel unicorn party supplies, coloring pages, pizza and snacks galore, and of course fabulous unicorn cupcakes.
I must say I was impressed with my daughter’s cupcakes. I’ve made some good cakes in my time, but she exceeded my efforts in every way. The cupcakes were pink, and she piped on white buttercream frosting like a pro. Then she added sprinkles along with unicorn cutouts, just in case it wasn’t clear that this was a UNICORN PARTY! Honestly, these cupcakes looked and tasted like they came from an excellent bakery. Absolutely delicious. The day began gloomily but ended up nice and sunny for the party. Truly outstanding smiles all around.
Bonus smile: a friend told me about Mother’s mythological frosted cookies, so I brought a few bags to add to to the mix of party snacks. They were yummy! Instead of plain old pink and white frosted regular animals, we had purple and white frosted dragons, sea serpents, mermaids, and UNICORNS! Highly recommend these cookies. For kids, I mean. OBVIOUSLY.
Welcome to my refreshed Monday Peeve! Unburden yourself of an annoyance and you’ll feel better afterward. Or not. Complain in my comments or crab in your own post. Doesn’t have to be on a Monday. You do you.
Today my peeve is about politics online. I hate the way people (ON ALL SIDES) are so damn nasty to each other. Since I returned to FB, I’ve been shocked all over again by how people treat their fellow human beings ~ some of whom they even call “friends” ~ and unfortunately I’ve had to dump some friends due to their awful behavior. I’ve unfollowed a few bloggers over this as well. I’m not sure why people act the way they do online because in real life my experience is that they do not behave so rudely. I’ve read people demanding we give up our real life friends and family members if they support the “wrong” politicians… that’s just so crazy! I’ve seen people call everyone who has a different view of politics “idiots,” “stupid,” “immoral,” “crazy,” etc. Sometimes I get caught up in this binary mode of thinking for a few minutes, but then I return to normal life.
This past weekend is a good example. I attended a game night with people who have opposing views of politics… and guess what? There was no arguing, no nastiness, no rude behavior. Everyone was happy to be together finally after a year+ of isolation. I also went to a birthday party with a politically mixed group of people and amazingly no one was awful to anyone. Some of us with opposing views even discussed a political issue for a few minutes, found a couple points of agreement, and then moved on. No big deal! But online? Different story altogether. And it doesn’t have to be this way.
It upsets me to see friendships ruined over politics, but all I can do is stay pretty well disengaged and if people persist in being horrible, I interact less and less with them. (Btw, I’m not talking about venting about a particular politician, but rather how you treat people who disagree with you.)
But when I do, I include a ginormous image of them and proceed to go on and on and on with my theories about everything in the universe.
My stats follow a predictable pattern, with some days lighter and other days more popular, but generally staying between 100-200 visitors per day. Yet on May 3, I had a big spike up. Why? Well, I’ll tell you! It’s because on May 3 I posted my “scavenger hunt” results from the April A-Z challenge. I linked about 25 blogs on that post and many if not all of those bloggers popped in to see why I tagged them. Not many commented though, and none followed me or returned to read anything else.
What does that tell us? A few things. First, linking other random blogs is a bunch of work with little benefit. Sure, it was “fun” for my OCD to get nearly a perfect score, but there is nothing to celebrate about a one-time spike in hits if those visitors aren’t actually interested in anything you have to say. It’s a vanity spike, in both directions. I get to feel smug about a wild swing upward; they get to feel smug about being seen. That’s the end of the relationship though.
Second, all those award posts operate on the same principle. It’s actually akin to an MLM scheme. You spend time answering questions, composing questions, and tagging friends. The award creator gets to sit back and watch his hit count rise ~ assuming you link back, which many do. He’s made one post, but he’s now getting zillions of views, for doing practically nothing. YOU are doing the work; he is getting a few bucks from the ads on his page. Nice, huh?
I am starting to feel the same about blogs that post only prompts and no content. In fact, I’m going to quit following them. I never see “Nox,” for example, ever liking or commenting on my posts, even though I’ve linked his blog, The Daily Spur, many, many times. What’s the point of that exactly? It’s of no benefit to me. There are others in this category I will be unfollowing as well.
Third, some of you are not on Facebook or Twitter, so you can ignore this section (assuming anyone has read this far!). But for those who do participate in those media, you may have noticed lately, as I have, an absolute barrage of questions from public pages, such as radio stations and celebrity accounts. I block them all at the source on FB, but it’s a never-ending task, as more pop up daily. (I mostly ignore Twitter except for a few tweeps I like and search out specifically. The feed is impossible to deal with.)
I have asked FB friends WHY they continue to answer these stupid, pointless questions… and no one can really explain. The person who posed the question does not give one speck of a crap what your favorite childhood toy was or which band you liked in high school. Plot twist! They are only trying to ramp up interaction on their posts for MONEY. They’re businesses. Would you stop in the street and take random polls from strangers asking what color underwear you have on? No? Then why answer online? I just don’t get the motivation here. Just bad habits? But the public pages have found this to be a winning format and churn out more meaningless garbage on the daily.
Facebook won’t allow you to block all public pages or limit your feed to friends only. That’s because they are also making money via your engagement with this nonsense. (So is Twitter.) The longer your eyeballs stay on the sites, the better for Mark and Scott. Participating on public pages doesn’t increase interaction with your own friends either. Only individual posts do that. But what it can lead to is (1) a more comprehensive profile of you for advertisers to exploit, and/or (2) a nice big flamewar over a political disagreement, which could result in you getting banned for a month for calling someone stupid. Yay victory.
Blogging is still vastly superior to both FB and Twitter due to that fact that you can curate your feed. That’s one of the biggest draws for me ~ seeing posts from those I’ve followed ONLY, with no trash sandwiched in between. Oh, they try! WP puts suggested post snippets after your followed ones (when you’re not using the app), but it’s easy to ignore them. Most importantly, the whole post doesn’t get shoved in my face a la FB.
What was my main point? Basically a reminder to self: don’t get sucked into contests and other linkypoo crap that is a waste of time and neither helps my writing nor generates sales thereof.