February 27th, 2019


Good News

Good news includes all the things which make us happy or otherwise feel good. It can be personal or public. We never know when something wonderful will happen, and when it does, most people want to share it with someone. It's disappointing when nobody is there to appreciate it. Happily, blogging allows us to share our joys and pat each other on the back.

What good news have you had recently? Are you anticipating any more? Have you found a cute picture or a video that makes you smile? Is there anything your online friends could do to make your life a little happier?

Flooding Homes

Vast numbers of homes will be flooded due to climate change.   The Paris Agreement that America isn't even supporting?  It would reduce those numbers by a measly 10%.

If you live close to coastal water with a sloping margin, it would be prudent to move away from it.  Coasts with high cliffs are less prone to flooding but still subject to worsening storms.  If you do not live near a coast, don't move there.  If you plan to build a house, carefully research locations and choose somewhere not prone to whatever your local disasters are.

Cold, Dark, and Drinking

People in cold, dark places tend to drink more alcohol and suffer more liver disease. 

One interesting thing this suggests is that if you are struggling to reduce your drinking, check your climate.  If it is cold and dark, consider light therapy, heat therapy, or moving to a warmer and brighter place.

Another is that people really need to learn more about appropriate self-medication.  Alcohol is a depressant and NOT a good treatment for chills.  Instead, use warming spices to support thermogenesis.

Sac Noir

Today I got Sac Noir for Ayyam-i-Ha.  :D  This is an older edition of Bausack Towers, which we also own, and the even later Bandu.  Each of the games is slightly different, with more or fewer blocks of various shapes.  They're all stacking-block games, though, and if you collect dexterity games then I would say it's worthwhile to get them all.  

Bandu is the simplest, made from natural wood, and ideal for beginners.  Even this basic version is much more challenging and interesting compared to Jenga (which I still like).  It's very affordable.  Recommended.

Bausack Towers is a larger, more complex set with more interesting shapes -- but still smaller than Sac Noir.  What makes this game worth pursuing is the fact that its pieces are painted red and white.  One is much slicker, with almost no friction, making it very challenging to stack.  It's more expensive, but absolutely worth it, and a better choice for experienced gamers or people with high dexterity.  Highly recommended.

Sac Noir includes many shapes that didn't make it into the other sets -- and which make some of the incomprehensible pieces make sense.  There are many pieces which are hollow, partly hollow, or have tiny drilled holes in the center.  This is so you can stack them with the many other pieces that come to a point.  There are also lots of matching sets between convex and concave curves.  So it's potentially easier to stack things securely.  I say "potentially" because what it will really do is tempt me to do batshit combinations.  This is a good thing because it levels the playing field.  Without the unique features of the more advanced sets, few people will want to play me because my structure sense means I always win.  Not so fun.  But if I'm trying to do crazy things with the blocks, it means I fail at approximately the same rate as average players.  \o/  Note there is no definitive set on this edition, as the blocks were packed more-or-less randomly.  This is another great pick for experts and collectors, but it's out of print and therefore expensive.  Highly recommended.

Dexterity games are great for nonreaders, foreign-language speakers, and people with high visual-spatial or kinesthetic intelligences.  You always want to have some in your collection if you host diverse gamers.  Stacking-block games are a great way to teach young children how to play games, take turns, and collaborate.  They offer real choices, unlike preset games such as Candyland. 

Another fun aspect is the conversation.  What do you call the funny-shaped pieces?  You can get a fantastic linguistic workout this way, making them an exceptional toolkit for language learners.  If I were taking such a thing into a foreign language class, though, I'd probably paint them more colors.  It wouldn't hurt Bandu, and then you could use color vocabulary too.

If you have players with superpowers, you are going to need the more advanced sets, though.  Bausack Towers and Sac Noir offer different advantages.  Bausack Towers is more physically challenging due to the slippery blocks, while Sac Noir adds a more cerebral aspect because there are so many more shapes "made for" each other.  Sac Noir has a clear advantage if you favor any of the games with a strong strategic element.  (Instructions for several different games come with the set.)  It is easy to come up with new games, for example, trying to make sets of blocks with the same features (blocks with four sides, blocks with a hole, etc.) in them. 

Also worth mentioning: because Bandu has natural blocks while Sac Noir has red and black blocks, these two games can be combined for playing in large groups, and then easily separated afterwards.  Other combinations would better be made permanent, or else dot-mark the sets differently so they can be separated after play. 

New Game: Hako Onna

There's a new horror game coming out, Hako Onna (Box Woman).  It originated in Japanese, making it a great choice for Japanese language learners, and it will come out in English later this year.  Basically, you're playing hide-and-seek with a ghost who will kill you if she can.  It includes elements of strategy, dexterity, and luck.  It's probably a bit creepy for my tastes, but I admire the concept. 

Poem: "Like a Hand-Sewn Quilt"

This poem is spillover from the January 22, 2019 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by prompts from [personal profile] ravan, [personal profile] wispfox, and [personal profile] eseme. It also fills the "Verschlimmbessern (German): To make something worse when trying to improve it" square in my 12-31-18 card for the Untranslatable Words Bingo fest, and the "On Grandpa's Farm" square in my 6-4-18 Mixed card for the Winteriron Bingo Adventure fest. This poem has been sponsored by a pool with [personal profile] ng_moonmoth, [personal profile] fuzzyred, [personal profile] mashfanficchick, [personal profile] erulisse, [personal profile] technoshaman, [personal profile] bairnsidhe, [personal profile] eseme, EdorFaus, and [personal profile] torc87. It belongs to the Shiv thread of the Polychrome Heroics series.

Warning: This poem contains some sensitive issues. Highlight to read the warnings, some of which are spoilers. It features angst, positive telepathic contact, an awkward reunion, ECR Boy is ambivalent all over the place, fumbling conversations about past and present life events, piecing together fragmentary memories, references to difficult past in foster care, tactile orientation, fraught reaction to photographs, sad and happy pictures of Shiv, funny family nicknames, privacy issues, past destructive behavior, alienation from positive feelings, past hunger, holiday issues, Shiv is not a joiner, confession of superpowers, past Family Services fuckups, might-have-beens, Precious gets upset over hearing about the Chyou incident, and Shiv blames himself, Shiv freaks out over being invited back into the family via foster care, Precious can't tell if Shiv even likes her (he does), and other challenges. Hanky warning! Parts of this poem may make some readers cry. If these are touchy topics for you, please consider your tastes and headspace before reading onward.

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