Friday, January 28, 2005

Au Revoir, Lillipilli

I'm easily distracted. It's thus that during a web search for a place to eat on my birthday the other day, I discovered that the Lillipilli restaurant in Sydney closed last year. Christina and I visited this restaurant in July 2002 and enjoyed such foods as emu triangles, roast kangaroo, and barramundi baked in eucalyptus bark.

I have no trips Down Under on the horizon, so I lost no planned meals there, but it's a little sad to hear that a place we enjoyed is no longer in business.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Go Blue!

I had occasion to take pride in my alma mater's basketball team recently -- however, not for its on-the-court achievements. First, though, let's start with the shame. One of Michigan's star players was booked on a domestic violence charge. This sort of thing has happened enough to players on my favorite teams that I go through a fairly standard set of reactions. First, hope that it's not true. Second, realize that it probably is (although who knows). Third, hope that the team will suspend him. Fourth, realize that they'll probably, at best, wait until the athlete is facing some jail time before doing anything. (See the recent case of Jamal Lewis of the Baltimore Ravens -- not one of my favorite teams, and even less so after that incident.)

But, hey, what do you know, they suspended him.
"Given the seriousness and sensitivity of the situation, we feel it is in everyone's best interest that we suspend Daniel pending further review," U-M Coach Tommy Amaker said. "We feel this is the right course of action at this time."
After the Fab Five scandals of the 1990s, I'm glad to see Michigan's determination to run a clean program.

Christina expressed less pride in one of her alma maters this morning after being informed of last night's "riot" in downtown College Park.
One student standing in front of Wireless Solutions resisted. When two officers tried to push him back, a surge in the crowd sent the student and the two officers into the window of the store, causing them to break the glass.
Then again, they did beat Duke, so a lot can be forgiven.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Civilization: The Board Game

In a previous post, I mentioned that we had punched out the pieces for Sid Meier's Civilization: The Board Game. Sunday, as part of a pre-birthday fiesta of sorts (more on that later), we broke out the actual game.

Martin, Ben, George, Paul and I started out. We were learning the rules as we went along, but we forged ahead. Martin put down in Asia, Paul in Europe, me in Africa, Ben in S. America and George in N. America. Here you can see the basic layout.

(Martin was purple, Paul was green, I was blue, Ben was red, and George was orange.)

We stuttered through expansion for a few turns. Martin had to leave, but initiated an attack on Paul first. We left his pieces dormant for a turn, but Steve showed up to take over where Martin left off.

That included the attack on Paul. Here we see them at the special "battle table" we set up, with Ben refereeing.

Ben managed to expand to Australia and George to northern Europe before the game ended early in the Medieval age. It ended there because we were playing the "short game" which took us 3 or 4 hours. If we knew the rules as well as we do know, we could probably play the "medium game" in that time frame.

It was a fun game, but confusing. The element of luck in the game seemed a little bit high. Also, some rules were a bit weird -- if you discover a minor civilization, a new city goes not to the discoverer, but to whomever has the fewest cities. While this might mitigate the luck, it added to the sense of unfairness. Maybe over a longer game (with better strategy), this luck would even out. Also, because all minor civilizations were discovered when there was a tie for fewest cities, the city ended up being a barbarian instead.

When the game came to a close, Ben and George were tied with the most points. The rules gave no tiebreaker, but we ended up declaring George the winner. Now I can't remember why.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Stat Boy, Vikings Chapter

After watching yesterday's episode of Pardon the Interruption, I was moved to send them the following e-mail:

Subject: Wilbon & the Vikings

Dear PTI,

Where was Stat Boy on this one? Today (1/24), Wilbon said that the
Vikings ended up 8-8 and exited the playoffs in the first round. Tell
that to the Green Bay Packers...

Jon Grantham

(Many of you will recall that Minnesota bested Green Bay in the first round of the playoffs.)

This morning, I got the following response from Stat Boy:

Yeah - I guess I blew it... Didn't even hear that one. Had four other
errors, but this was a big one. My bad.

Good job outta, you, though. I hereby promote you to Stat Boy, Vikings
Chapter. Hold the office with honor.


Hmm, maybe I can get traded to Stat Boy, Redskins Chapter as part of the Randy Moss trade.