Wednesday, November 26, 2008
So you can image what a delightful afternoon I had earlier this week. I found myself at the elbow of a dear friend, perched at a makeshift picnic table outside an un-cutesified roadside oyster bar in Tamales Bay on Hwy 1, chowing down on a plate of Hog Island beauties. The picnic table faced the bay and the very oyster beds from which my lunch in the quiet late afternoon sunshine had been hauled mere hours earlier. It was all "eat local" bliss and mindless digestion until I zeroed in on the empty cellophane oyster cracker package I was rolling between my fingers. "Made in Vermont," the printing on the packet declared.
The exquisite but inexpensive menu items we paid for came from within eye-shot, but the freebie simple carbohydrates had to be flown in from the opposite coast? The crackers aren't even on the menu! You're simply welcome to take as many packets as you can stuff into your face with lunch and your purse for the ride home (not that I would do that... I'm just saying....).
All of a sudden, the carbon footprint of our lunch took an exponential leap forward. Not to mention: where did the cellophane come from? Did they ship it in from Minnesota, get the printing done in Taiwan, fly the packets to Vermont so they could pack them with half an ounce worth of little balls of lightly baked flour, water, and salt, and then ship them back in large boxes to California?
I have since checked both the Kraft Premium Saltines that, with ginger ale, saw us through a nasty stomach bug last week, and then again at Whole Foods today with a whole box of oyster crackers. Wanna guess the seat of their creation? What, you're giving up already? All right, then: East Hanover, NY, and "Olde Cape Cod," respectively.
I don't care what the papers say. There IS an East Coast oyster cracker cartel, and I'm going to write letters to every editor I can think of until I get to the bottom of this outrage. Let's give the bakers of Tamales Bay, and 50 miles in all directions, the freedom they deserve to schlep their confections of flour and water in safety and with impunity. Plus, let's spare the earth the indignity of airplane pollutants pooped out across the globe. We, The People, want to enjoy local oyster crackers with our local oysters!
I feel a movement coming on.
Wait... maybe it's just the oysters.
Friday, November 14, 2008
But that’s not how games work. It is the unknown element of who will come out ahead this time that means the difference between a game and, say, a meeting with a timeshare “consultant.” In a game, the outcome is unknown at the outset. With the timeshare carny, the outcome is certain to end, every time, in one of two specific outcomes. You either sign up for the worst real estate investment of your life, or you walk away wondering how you got suckered into wasting an entire afternoon with an obnoxious schlepper of bad deals when you could have been diving with the pretty fishies or getting quietly gerschnickered under an umbrella on the beach. But I digress....
In the world of legitimate games, there are wide ranges of sophistication. And here (finally) is the thesis of this particular rant: it's the source of variables involved that separate the sophistication level of games.
In some games, usually the farmhouse-after-supper variety, it's the roll of the dice or the random deal of cards that mixes up the outcomes (that, plus the age of the players and if/how much moonshine has been consumed). In others, the variables involve two human minds learning first what the rules of engagement are, and then discovering the millions of ways you can playfully break them, just because it's fun and you can.I like both.