22 October 2005 by Published in: in my life 1 comment

The darkening of days has already begun. I feel the squeezing out of daylight hours keenly; I hate it when the sunlight is foreshortened and when it’s mostly dark. Also, this weekend may bring the first real cold. So far it’s been cool at night and warm in the daytime, so we’ve had two weeks of blissful windows open weather. Projected daytime temperatures won’t break sixty for the next few days. Brrrrrrr. Too soon. Time to get the warm clothes and close the storm windows, I guess.

I’ve often touted the wonders of the local public radio station. This week they had their fund drive, and our family was able to join (which in the spring had been impossible because of the whole two mortgages thing). They did something that I hadn’t heard before in all my years of public radio fund drive enduring. They stated a goal, and when that goal was met they stopped. So yesterday morning, shortly after morning edition, they quit blathering on and on about “call now, call now, make a pledge”, though it was scheduled to go on until Saturday night, because they got the money they had set out to get. How cool is that? While I’m on the subject of NPR, I noted a while back that they had a zillion newsfeeds. They also have a zillion podcasts.

It was with great joy that I heard of the re-opening of Cafe du Monde in New Orleans this past week. I want beignets and hot chocolate and powdered sugar all over my black clothes. Like many things in New Orleans, Cafe du Monde perfectly melds locals and tourists. Sure, New Orleans has tourist traps like anyplace else, but a lot of the institutions of the city that are touted to visitors are also genuinely enjoyed by people who live there. Here’s a list of re-opened restaurants.

While I was away the first week of October, I visited a good friend, Legomancer. He’s a big fan of board and card games, and he was introducing me and my husband to several of his and Mrs. Mancer’s favorite games. We played TransAmerica, Carcassone the Castle, and Fjords (while the husband was there) as well as Category 5, San Juan, and Geschenkt (after he’d gone) all for the first time. He also talked to me about Citadels and Cave Trolls, but we didn’t play those (as discussed in this thread on boardgamegeek), because I wanted to get in another round of San Juan. When the husband returned home with the child, he immediately bought Carcassone the Castle, and we’ve been playing that pretty regularly. It is great fun. I would like to own San Juan as well, at some point, it was most enjoyable. In Jackson we had friends that we periodically got together and played board games with, but we don’t have anything like that here, which is a shame. Simultaneously with our convergence on the Mancer household, Legomancer was exploring all sorts of online versions of board games, which he then posted about. I didn’t try all of those (some looked boring, or had images of spiders that were too realistic for my taste, and others were windows only), but a couple have become staple games for me: the online version of TransAmerica and Coloretto. I love Coloretto!

As you can see below, I’ve finally started on Elizabeth Bear’s Hammered. I’m enjoying it so far. Pacing is good, prose is crisp, characters are engaging. Its flavor and narrative voice remind me of Wilhelmina Baird’s Crashcourse, particularly the first person narrator who is tough, but not tough enough and she knows it. Crashcourse is a book I loved intensely, but rarely hear discussed and when I’ve pressed it on people they’ve responded positively, but no one went “Oh yeah! I’ve heard of this!” I read the two follow up books (ClipJoint and Psykosis) and enjoyed those as well, but the last book was a tangent that didn’t leave me nearly as well satisfied (in fact, it’s the only one I didn’t keep). I’ve also wondered where Baird went, and whether it’s a pseudonym (the internet says it is, for Joyce Carstairs Hutchinson). Is she doing something else these days or did she just drop out of writing? Cautionary tales of the mid-list writer perhaps? It’s kind of sad, because she could clearly write and her stories were interesting and engaging, but she’s apparently vanished. I suppose it’s possible she died. Anyway, if you like Hammered, you’d probably like Crashcourse too.


Sat 22nd Oct 2005 at 10:38 am

When you get the chance again, try Ticket To Ride (http://www.boardgamegeek.co…), which comes in Europe and US versions. It’s sort of like playing Railroad Tycoon back in the day, and it’s darling.

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