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Monday, November 05, 2007

my regularly updated journal is at

Started while I wait for my ride home from the Allergist - In honor of it being the tenth -

Ten Things I really like:

1. Road Trips / Walkabouts. (especially with BHK) - It's always fun to explore and discover new places... or even new things about a place you've visited a hundred times before. Additionally, the journey is often more fun than the destination. Grab a bagel, and out for a new adventure!

2. Almost the opposite of #1 - Lounging around the house, not leaving all day long. Having a headquarters full of love, entertainment, food and climate control is pretty dang appealing.

3. Change of seasons - I love, love, love seeing the Yellow-Green Spring change to Dark Green Summer to all of the Autumn colors... only to have the trees go bare and then start again. Snow is fantastic... I see just enough to want more, but not so much that it's a peril or a nuisance.

4. Rain / Snow / Fog - Precipitation. Rain generally means that things are cooling off, being fed, getting life. (I suspect that video will be fodder for BHK in her "we should get some ducks" argument.) I've long preferred traveling in a mist or fog, especially on a hike. I enjoy a traditional "nice day", too. Let's just say I like most weather - anything that doesn't kill me or make me sweat too much is good in my book.

5. monkeys and robots almost equally... Monkeys have a higher spiffy factor due to the biological aspect, I think. Emotion, awe, chaos are all pretty amazing stuff. That said, streamlined new-style and old school aluminum robots alike are pretty keen, even the unfriendly ones that want to destroy we humans for being a fleshy parasite on the surface of the globe.

6. Learning new things - That was really the other third of gaming that I enjoyed quite a lot - along with the social side, and imagination stretching. I love to learn new bits of things, from reading or a live good teacher, preferably. Wiki / Google is a good start, but I've found that developing skills from a more interactive knowledge source speeds things along for me. Example - How to make country-style "cat head" (called so based on size and relative shape, not ingredients) biscuits this weekend from Larry.

7. My new family unit. Duh. BHK, Pye and Newt make every day one with elements of love, affection and care. Extended family is also nice - I dig my in-laws quite a bit. Both are people I can learn and grow with in a very positive way.

8. Playing Games. Boardgames, Role playing games, video games... trifles that promote both social and brain activity are something to embrace. I don't like solitaire games so much... seems to lack something. Even Video games are better if you're playing them with a human cooperative or competitor-type next to you, or on-line somewhere. Even in those cases, a LAN party in the same room works better for me... however, the upside of on-line play is you can cut connection any time you like, and play in your jammies... (well, you can do that in person, too - depending.) The social aspect has to be with people I enjoy being around... I can't get into gaming just for gaming's sake.

9. Kind people. Folks that go out of their way to be respectful and helpful while not being a doormat. I've been really blessed to know and have known a huge number of terrific people... more than I suspect is average. Surrounding yourself with good folks is a fun way to learn about being kind yourself. Hanging out with an assortment of geeks, hippies, gamers and just general fans of being nice has helped me to become a better person, I think.

10. Helping others (see #9, above). I really like to do good works. I'm long overdue to donate some blood... one of the easiest acts of charity I can perform. I feel good when I believe that I've done something to make someone's life better. I try to offer a kind word or make at least a simple gesture whenever I can. I get immediate feedback for it, even if the person isn't grateful... how they react isn't as big a deal as is the process involved for me.

1 year ago - Put in my notice at ACIM, many pictures, helped out at swensons, bruce moose / love cube, laser newt, beach us
  • Pictures taken - PF Changs, Curious George, Weapons of Mass Destruction

2 years ago - saw Phoenix, mortgage, broward traffic lights post wilma, smarts quiz, newt fan mail

3 years ago - power out, Danny & the lions, wonder twins, network tools, adp off call, then repeals it, Florida mean to homeless

4 years ago - Comics, Local Events, silly joke. cancer bullet, Sea Monkeys, travels, programming thoughts, virtual schools, werewolf cult, phys therapy, vamp game, how lj works

5 years ago - steal this book, McDonalds Theory of War and Peace, "Big Books"

6 years ago - tortboy, tropicon, ken kesey passes away

7 years ago - fae friend gone Geotarget

Friday, October 26, 2007

9038 - First payperpost review... oddly enough, it's for payperpost.

If you have been browsing a bit here and there in the blogosphere / lj-land recently, you’ve probably already seen an image something like this:

Hire Me Direct

PayPerPost introduces people looking to get paid for reviewing services with services looking to pay to be reviewed by people. It appears to be a solid method - people get paid to review goods and services and the sellers get feedback on their product.

Some folks write what appears to be *pure* cut and paste from the advertising section of the place that they're reviewing, but there are others out there that are willing to break things down into the nitty gritty of a real review- both good and bad. That's what I'm planning on doing - Keep things honest, and well-rounded. (The official disclosure and ethics policy advises this, which also gives me reassurance.)

As I mentioned above, the business model looks to be a good one, and it seems that they will be able to keep link farmers out by filtering each journal and blog out by hand. It took them a little over three weeks from the time I applied to the time I got my approval letter. Since I got no negative response about doing paid posts every here and again, I figured that I'd give it a shot. I am a little nervous about losing visitors, but I hope that I'll get some feedback one way or another before everyone leaves town.

It looks like you get better opportunities according to page rank - the more visible you are on the 'net, the more lucrative opportunities become. It seems that most pay between $5 - $10, which doesn't seem too unreasonable, given that most of the services reviewed are websites. Of course, if someone comes directly to you via the button above... you can set your own price. I set my rate at $5 to start, which may or may not go up, depending on the demand for such stuff. If anyone like me to review something, now's the time while the price is right.

As a starting incentive, they also offer $20 to review the payperpost service itself, which is what I'm doing now. I'm still brand new to the service, and will likely return with an updated review whether they decide to pay me for the follow-up or not. I think that once I have a couple of reviews under my belt, I'll be able to give more lucid thoughts about how things work as a whole.

An added bonus is that Payperpost can either pay you via paypal, or donate to a number of charities (Current list - American Red Cross, Habitat for Humanity, and Alzheimer's Walk) directly. This may be my newest ay of continuing to do good works, or just a way to pick up a new video game, depending on how well the finances flow.

The website is very easy to maneuver, and the help files/FAQ pretty much covered any questions I had. I'm looking forward to kicking the tires, seeing some new things and getting an opportunity to dust off my writing skills.

Links - get paid to blog


Friday, August 31, 2007

tracker test

Friday, August 24, 2007

Tuesday, August 14, 2007





An Icehouse game for 2 people

Equipment:  1 stackable Icehouse stash. 
Preferable not opaque.

Goal: Get three pieces of the same size in a row
in an imaginary 3 by 3 grid. (This is where the Tic Tac comes in.)

Players take turn placing the Icehouse pieces on
the table in the following manner:

Each piece must be placed in an imaginary square
next to or on top on a piece already in play.  (Diagonally counts as next
to.)  A piece cannot be played if it would lie outside the imaginary 3 by 3
grid.  Note: Since you create the grid as you go you don't know where out
of bounds is until you have played a few pieces.  For example, the first
piece you play can either be the center, corner or edge.  Nobody knows
until a few more piece have been played.  You can play a piece on top of
another piece in two ways.  The first is playing a smaller piece on top of
a piece one size larger than another one  forming a tree of pieces. 

This grouping counts as ANY of the pieces that make up it.  For example a
medium piece could be played on top of a large piece.  This tree would now
count as either a large or medium when trying to get three in a row.  A
small piece could then be played on top of the three making it count as any of
the three types.  The second way to play a piece on top of another is to
nest them, larger on top of smaller ones.  For example a medium could be
played on top of a small one.  Later on a large could be played on top of
the nest.  A nest only counts as the outermost (biggest) piece.  So
a nest with a small and a medium only counts as a medium piece.  A square
cannot have both a nest and a tree.  Like chess once you let go of a piece
it is considered played and cannot be moved.

Players take turn putting the piece on the board
until someone gets three of the same size pieces in a row or all the pieces are
placed on the board (a tie).  In the event that a person cannot make a
legal move on his turn the other player wins (I 'm not sure if this is even
possible though).

Oh, the "Doh!" comes from the fact that most of the
time you try to place pieces so that you opponent can't win.  I usually end
up realizing I've screwed up a split second after I've let go of the piece and
end up yelling "Doh!"

Some thoughts on variations:

I think this might work reasonable well as a 3 or
4 person game but I haven't tried it.

If you have three stashes use one size from each
stash.  This makes it easier to see the possible wins and looks pretty cool
in my opinion, especially using red, yellow and orange. 

Any questions or comments can be emailed to





IceSickle: the Martian Peg Game

IceSickle (1 IceHouse stash & 5x5 board):
Alternate turns placing pieces onto empty squares.

Then take turns jumping a piece,

diagonally or orthogonally,

over at least one other piece

into an empty square.

Each piece can jump over its pip-count in squares.

Remove the jumped pieces, and score their pips.

Continue until no jumps remain.

Play again with a different starting player.

A single stash game for two players -- from Dan Isaac


Rules of play:

Determine who will start the first rounds Placement phase.

The second player will go first in the Jumping phase.

Phase I -- Placement

  • Take turns placing one pyramid from the stash onto an empty space on the
  • After all pieces have been placed onto the board, move onto the Jumping

Phase 2 -- Jumping

  • Take turns making a valid jump[*], which captures at least one piece.
  • If a player is unable to do this on their turn, the game ends.

Score this round, then play a second time with the other player Placing

  • Each player totals up the Pip-Counts[**] of the pieces that they have
    captured, and notes those scores.
  • Then remove all remaining pieces from the board, and play a second game
    with the other player placing the first piece.
  • Total the scores from the two games and the player with the highest
    total wins.

[*] Definition of a jump:

A jump is made by following these steps:

  1. Select a piece on the board.

  2. Move it in a straight line (orthogonal or diagonal)
    over (at most)
    as many spaces as it’s Pip-Count[**],
    and land in the following space
    -- which must be empty.

    smalls can jump over only one space (and land in the second)
    mediums can jump over one or two spaces
    and larges can jump over one, two or three spaces

  3. Remove all pieces that were jumped over ("captured") during the
    and place them in front of the player that made the move.

[**] Definition of Pip-Count:

Pip-Count is the value of a piece based on it's size:

  • Large pieces count as 3 points each.

  • Medium pieces count as 2 points each.

  • Small pieces count as 1 point each.


Monday, August 13, 2007

based on the game of Ataxx (
A game using Icehouse pieces and a chessboard by G. Nick D'Andrea and Sniffnoy
For 2 to 4 players, one stash per player

To Start:
Each player places 1 small of their color in a corner of the board.

On your turn:
You must do one of the following with one of your pieces -
(1) Move/clone a piece
(2) Grow a piece
(3) Shrink a piece

A piece may move up to two spaces in any two separate directions, diagonals included. If a piece is moved to an adjacent
square (including diagonals), then it is cloned instead of moved. Or, in diagram form,
Where 'X' is the piece, 'C' is where it can clone to, and 'M' is where it can move to.
When a piece is cloned, the new piece is of the same size, or if none are available, then the smallest available piece
that is at least as big may be used. If there are none, the play is illegal.

When a move/clone places a piece next to enemy pieces of the same size or smaller, those enemy pieces are replaced by your
own pieces of the same size from your stash. If none are available, you must move your pieces (other than what you have
just moved/cloned or taken) to replace the pieces you have just captured. In the rare instance where you run out of pieces
from your stash and the board, use the smallest larger piece from your stash. If none are
available, destroy the captured piece.

Note: All captured/destroyed pieces are returned to their owner's stashes.

A piece can be replaced by a piece of one size larger from your stash. If none are available, the play is illegal. All
adjacent pieces, regardless of color, are reduced by one size if possible (Smalls are destroyed).

A piece can be replaced by a piece of one size smaller from your stash. If none are available, the play is illegal.
Exception: You may return a small to your stash, with no replacement, for the same effect. All adjacent enemy pieces are
captured as stated as above, regardless of size, and all adjacent friendly pieces are destroyed.

If at any time you have no pieces, you are eliminated.

You win if at any time all of your pieces are on the board or if you are the only player with pieces on the board.



an href="">
Icehouse space exploration game

by Glenn Overby

For two to eight players, using one stackable Icehouse stash per player. Also, three ordinary dice and one deck of Aquarius cards (another Looney Labs game) are needed. Only the 40 Element cards from the Aquarius deck will be used.


Each player starts out with a world of their own, and three colonists on it. Players grow the civilization on their world, eventually developing spaceports and ships to expand to other worlds. (Sometimes this means fights over the same real estate.)

The object of play is to develop an interplanetary empire which is widespread, supported by a fleet of ships, and rich in all five classic elements: air, earth, fire, water, and ether.


Pyramids on a world:

  • Upright pyramids are colonists.
  • Three-pip colonists are also known as spaceports.
  • Sideways pyramids are invaders.

Pyramids off-world:

  • Upright pyramids are transports.
  • Pyramids stacked on transports are marines.
  • Sideways pyramids are fighters.
  • Both transports and fighters are also called ships.

Worlds (built with Aquarius cards):

  • A territory is one printed zone of an element on one card. Cards may have one, two, or four territories.
  • There are five elements: air, earth, ether, fire, and water.
  • A region consists of two or more territories of the same element, which touch each other along edges. (A lone territory with no neighbor of the same element is also a region.)
  • A tile is one-fourth of a card. Each territory can be one, two, or four tiles in size.

  • Territories are adjacent if they touch each other at either an edge or a point. Note that adjacent territories of the same element are not necessarily in the same region, unless they touch along an edge.

Off-world zones (used only by ships):

  • Each world has an orbit, represented by a face-down card next to the world.
  • Space is a single infinite zone, adjacent to all orbits.


Deal out the 40 cards into eight face-down piles of five cards each. Each player receives one pile. Unless eight are playing, one pile will be designated as a neutral pile. Extra piles are set aside, out of play.

Players each build a world, using their pile of five cards and the World-Building rules which follow. A neutral world is also built from the neutral pile, by consensus. If no consensus can be reached concerning two or more legal card placements for the neutral world, decide by lot.

Each player then places a colonist on each of three territories of their world. The youngest player will then take the first turn. Other players take turns in order of increasing age.


  1. Turn over the first card of the pile.
  2. Turn over each of the next three cards, one at a time, and place it next to the card(s) already in this world.

    • Cards must be positioned long edge to long edge, or short edge to short edge.
    • The third and fourth cards must be placed in relation to the first two to form a 2 card by 2 card rectangle.
    • If it is possible to place the card so that an element on it forms a region with a territory already on the board, the card must be so placed.

  3. The fifth card remains face down. Put it next to the world to represent that world's orbit space.

If this world belongs to a player, and it is impossible to build a spaceport on it (no territory is adjacent to four or more others), turn the orbit card face up, and replace one card now in the world with the orbit card, following the usual rules. (The replaced card is turned face-down as the new orbit card.) If the world is still not playable, the player must take one of the extra piles to build a different world, and set these cards aside out of play. Should no extra piles be available for this, gather up all cards and re-deal.

The Turn Cycle

There are four parts to each player's turn: Expansion, Survival, Movement, and Fleet Battle.


Take one action on each world where the current player has pyramids. The two possible actions are Expand (place a pyramid) or Civilize (change a pyramid's size).

  • Expand: Place any size pyramid available in the stash upright in any unoccupied territory on the world. Be warned that while it is legal to expand in any open territory, the new pyramid may not survive in a given location. However, it will survive long enough to have an effect. In other words, sacrifices are allowed.

  • Civilize: Replace a pyramid of the current player with a pyramid from their stash one size bigger or smaller. If the desired size is not available, the civilize action is not possible. A pyramid may not change size from one pip to three, or vice versa, in one action.


Check each world where the current player has pyramids, to see what pyramids survive. All pyramids on the world are checked, regardless of ownership.

Colonists survive or die based on how much support or pressure they get from their neighbors.

  • Small pyramids need at least two neighbor pyramids, but can't stand more than three.
  • Medium pyramids need at least three neighbors, but can't stand more than four.
  • Large pyramids need at least four neighbors, but can't stand more than five.
  • The size, color, and status (colonist/invader) of the neighbors do not matter.
  • Neighbors include all adjacent territories, both at edges and at points.

Knock over all unhappy colonists. Leave them in their territories as they are dying, not yet dead. (They don't become invaders; knocking them over is a convenience for checking.) They count as present while evaluating their neighbors on this round. Do not remove dying colonists until all pyramids on the world have been evaluated. After a pyramid dies and is removed, their former neighbors may be left with too few neighbors, but they will not die before the next Survival check on this world.

Invaders survive or die based on off-world support.

  • An invader survives if a transport of its color, large enough to transport that invader, is in orbit to support it.
  • If a player has two or more pyramids on the world, they are no longer invaders. Turn any sideways pyramids upright and check them for Survival as colonists instead.

Once every pyramid on a world is checked, remove all dying pyramids simultaneously. Remember that only worlds where the current player has pyramids are checked!

Last Round: If the current player has 13 or more pyramids in play after all Survival checks, the Last Round begins. Finish the turn. Each player, including the current player, then gets one more turn, after which the game ends.


The current player may move all, some, or none of their pyramids in the following strict order.

  1. Each one- or two-pip colonist may migrate to an adjacent empty territory.
  2. Each spaceport (three-pip colonist) may perform one launch or return. A launch moves a colonist from a territory to that world's orbit. The colonist may become a transport or fighter, or may become a marine by boarding an empty transport of the same size or larger. A return moves a ship or marine from orbit to an empty territory on that world's surface to become a colonist.
  3. Each fighter or transport in orbit and not carrying a marine may change its status. Fighters may turn upright to become transports; transports may lie down and become fighters.
  4. Each transport in orbit carrying a marine may land that marine, placing it into any empty territory on that world. The marine becomes an invader or colonist, according to the type of the current player's other pyramids on the world. If the world now has two or more invaders of that color, all turn up and become colonists.
  5. Each invader may move from a world's surface to board an empty transport of its color in orbit. The invader becomes a marine. A transport may only hold one marine, which must be of the same size or less.
  6. Each transport or fighter may move from any orbit to Space, or from Space to any orbit. Any number of ships of any colors may occupy Space or any orbit.

Fleet Battle

In any orbit where the current player and one or more other players have ships, fleet battle takes place. (Fleet battles never take place in Space, which is too vast.) The current player determines the order in which the various worlds have their battles. At each fleet battle site, the following steps take place.

  1. The owner of the world may fire each of their ships once, at a ship of another color. (If this is the neutral world, there is no owner.)
  2. The owners of the ships just fired upon may fire each of their ships once (not just the ships that were attacked) at a ship of the world's owner.
  3. The current player, if not the world's owner, may fire each of their ships once, at a ship of another color.
  4. The owners of the ships just fired upon may fire each of their ships once (not just the ships that were attacked) at a ship of the current player.
  5. Any other player with a spaceport on the world and ships in that orbit may fire each of their ships once, at a ship of another color. (If there are two or more such players, each takes a turn in ordinary turn order counting from the current player.)
  6. The owners of the ships just fired upon may fire each of their ships once (not just the ships that were attacked) at a ship of the attacker.
  7. No ship or player is ever required to fire.

To fire a ship, name a target for the ship, and roll a number of dice equal to the firing ship's pip-count. A transport may not be a target if that player also has a fighter present.

A transport scores a hit for each 6 rolled. A fighter shooting at a fighter scores a hit for each 5 or 6 rolled. A fighter shooting at a transport scores a hit for each 4, 5, or 6 rolled.

Hit ships immediately roll defensive dice equal to their pip-count. Each 6 rolled cancels one hit. Any hits not cancelled reduce the size of the hit ship by one size per hit. If the proper size pyramid is not available in the player's stash, reduce the hit ship by another size. A ship reduced below one pip is destroyed.

A transport which is reduced to the point where it is too small to carry any marine now on it also removes the marine.

After each world's battle is resolved, take up another world until all battles are resolved. When all fleet battles are finished, it becomes the next player's turn.


After the Last Round has ended, each player receives six scores: Air, Earth, Fire, Water, Ether, and Progress. Each element score is the score of the highest-scoring region of that element occupied by the player. If the player occupies no territories of an element, that element score is 0.5. The Progress score is 1 point per ship, plus 3 points per world on which the player has pyramids.

A region's score equals the pip-count of your largest pyramid in that region, multiplied by the number of tiles in the region. Two or more players may score for the same region, and these scores may differ.

Multiply the highest element score, the lowest element score, and the Progress score together. Add the other three scores to this product to get a player's final total. The player with the most points wins.

Version 1.1

Designed by Glenn Overby

Expansion and Survival mechanics modified from "">
by Kerin Scheisser

Aquarius designed by Andy Looney

Playtesters still wanted! The major issues right now are: 1) The interaction between colonists and invaders. 2) The die rolls in space combat (Too bloody? Not bloody enough?). 3) The timing for the start of the Last Round.

Home | "parlor.html">Parlor | Salon | href="library.html">Library | Mailbox

Copyright © 2001 by Glenn Overby and
Chrystal Sanders.

All rights reserved.

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a solitaire Icehouse game

by Becca Stallings

Number of Players


Number of Stashes

Any even number, preferably four or six. Opaque colors make a more
challenging game.


You are a botanist hired to genetically engineer Martian flowers for
colonists to plant in their gardens. Your employer gives productivity
bonuses, so you want to produce each flower with the fewest possible
generations of breeding.

The genetic structure of the Martian flower consists of six pyramidal
chromosomes arranged in a linear configuration or «stack». When flowers
breed, they produce two offspring, with three chromosomes from each
parent going into each child. The three chromosomes from one parent
always remain in the same order relative to one another.


Before beginning the game, write a list of the flowers ordered by your
employer and set it aside for reference. (The longer the list, the
longer your game. Make sure your list does not require more than five of
any one kind of pyramid.)

Next, collect some breeding stock from the wild and set up your
greenhouse: Put all the pyramids into a bag, draw them out without
looking, and form stacks of six. Line them up on the table, leaving some
laboratory space between you and the greenhouse.


  1. Select two flowers to breed. Take them from the greenhouse into the

  2. Unstack each flower, being careful to keep the chromosomes in order,
    so that you have two parallel rows of six.

  3. Decide which three chromosomes from one parent will combine with which
    three from the other parent, and slide those pyramids into the area
    between the rows, keeping them in order.

  4. Next, decide how the three from one parent will mesh with the three
    from the other.

    • Chromosomes from the same parent have to stay in order
      relative to each other, but they can intersperse in any way with
      those from the other parent. That is, if one parent
      contributes one of each size red (1R, 2R, 3R) and the other parent
      contributes one of each size blue (1B, 2B, 3B), the offspring's
      genetic structure might be:

      • 1R, 2R, 3R, 1B, 2B, 3B

      • 1R, 1B, 2R, 3R, 2B, 3B

      • 1B, 1R, 2B, 2R, 3B, 3R

      • 1B, 2B, 1R, 2R, 3R, 3B; etc.

  5. Stack the chromosomes to produce one offspring.

  6. Then stack the remaining six chromosomes, using the same rules, to
    produce another offspring.

When breeding is complete, you may choose to place both new flowers in
the greenhouse and select two different ones to breed, or you may keep
one new flower and breed it with any flower from the greenhouse. You
may not breed the two new flowers with each other, as such incest
will cause deadly mutations.

Continue breeding until you have produced all the flowers on your list.

Example of Play

Suppose one of the flowers on your list is pure purple, with two smalls
on top of two mediums on top of two larges.

1P, 1P, 2P, 2P, 3P, 3P

From the greenhouse, you choose a pair of flowers which together happen
to contain one of each size of purple,

Flower 1: 2B, 3R, 1B, 1B, 2P, 3R
Flower 2: 2C, 1P, 1C, 1R, 2B, 3P

and select the purple chromosomes plus enough extras to make a flower,

From No. 1: 1B, 2P, 3R
From No. 2: 1P, 2B, 3P

and stack them together into a half-purple offspring.

1P, 1B, 2P, 2B, 3P, 3R

The remaining chromosomes are

From No. 1: 2B, 3R, 1B
From No. 2: 2C, 1C, 1R

and you stack them to make the other offspring.

2B, 2C, 1C, 1R, 3R, 1B

For your next turn, you put the non-purple offspring back into the
greenhouse and breed the half-purple offspring with another flower from
the greenhouse, which happens to contain at least one of each size

1P, 1B, 2P, 2B, 3P, 3R (your offspring)
3P, 1P, 2P, 2P, 3R, 3P (greenhouse flower)

and you set aside one of each size in the needed order from each parent,

From your offspring: 1P, 2P, 3P
From the other one: 1P, 2P, 3P

which you then combine to fill the order.

1P, 1P, 2P, 2P, 3P, 3P (congratulations!)

If more flowers remain, play would continue by combining the remaining
six chromosomes from your success into a new flower, and then either
pairing it with something in the greenhouse or bringing out two
greenhouse flowers.

Comments by the Editor

Becca posted this to the Icehouse mailing list in June of 2002, and it
disappeared from sight shortly thereafter. I stumbled across the old
email a few months later, and thought it worth preserving on the Web.
Becca gave permission, so here it is.

Like most solitaires, it's more of a puzzle rather than a game. But a
nice feature is that the same order list can be played several times,
since the starting group of flowers is randomized. This ranks up with
solitaire Volcano (and practicing Thin Ice or CrackeD Ice) as the best
one-player Icehouse diversions.

This plays well using three to five orders with four stashes, or five to
seven orders with six stashes. And yes, using black or white (or both)
greatly increases the challenge.



Tuesday, August 07, 2007

A small sampling of our 30 jars of pickles
pickles! we've got 30 jars of 'em!

Raquel Welch gets some more use out of that costume she wore on Mork and Mindy. Sing it, Rocky!
(don't watch it for too long... it starts to hurt the brain)

via ze - The Tilted Room :: a really well done update to ernie kovacs "tilted table" routine.

Our sunflowers are at about 7 feet tall... but the heat and lack of water is giving them the wilties. Hopefully last night's rain woke 'em up a bit.


Playing with the myriad of games with pyramids in the Icehouse (handy wiki link) set make me feel a little bit like Enik from land of the lost. I wouldn't mind making a light table board to look like the matrix table he used on the show. Played BHK 4 games of Treehouse last night, and I won 3 of the four.

Sorry, Marshall, Will, Holly, Enik... that's my set.

Hm. Now I want a big bowl of honeycomb cereal, and to watch bad saturday morning 70's tv.

Regarding Zendo - found a random Koan generator - might do the trick.

Some sample output -

A koan has the Buddha nature if it contains no more than 3 flat, small pieces.

A koan has the Buddha nature if it contains exactly 2 green pieces.

A koan has the Buddha nature if it consists entirely of upright pieces.

A koan has the Buddha nature if the number of its ungrounded, flat pieces is even.

A koan has the Buddha nature if the pip-count of its upright pieces is not equal to the number of its large pieces.

A koan has the Buddha nature if it contains at least 2 weird, small pieces.

A koan has the Buddha nature if the number of its flat, purple pieces is odd.

A koan has the Buddha nature if the number of its large pieces is even.

A koan has the Buddha nature if it contains at least 3 upright pieces pointing at a weird, red piece pointing at a medium piece.

Hello Kitty
Police must wear this shameful, shameful mark

BANGKOK, Thailand - Thai police officers who break rules will be forced to wear hot pink armbands featuring "Hello Kitty," the Japanese icon of cute, as a mark of shame, a senior officer said Monday.

Police officers caught littering, parking in a prohibited area, or arriving late — among other misdemeanors — will be forced to stay in the division office and wear the armband all day, said Police Col. Pongpat Chayaphan. The officers won't wear the armband in public.

The striking armband features Hello Kitty sitting atop two hearts.

"Simple warnings no longer work. This new twist is expected to make them feel guilt and shame and prevent them from repeating the offense, no matter how minor," said Pongpat, acting chief of the Crime Suppression Division in Bangkok.

"(Hello) Kitty is a cute icon for young girls. It's not something macho police officers want covering their biceps," Pongpat said.

He said police caught breaking the law will be subject the same fines and penalties as any other members of the public.

"We want to make sure that we do not condone small offenses," Pongpat said, adding that the CSD believed that getting tough on petty misdemeanors would lead to fewer cases of more serious offenses including abuse of power and mistreatment of the public by police officers.

1 year ago - Monks in a circle, ken nordine, contact lens thought, 9-volt batteries, dragonball live action in spanish, shades vary electric bill,

2 years ago - Mona moves on from work, Lisa is a good name on lj, NASA pics, walkies phone post

3 years ago - Thinking Wolfsonian, CEJ, Skeletor, bro, bandwidth crooks, awesome search phrase, cat poop coffee, silly ad, Where do they make balloons... (hey, synchronicity)

4 years ago - miniature oranges, orisinal games, tv in my head, first/last meme, newt on a windowsill, daler mehndi

5 years ago - Newt Wakies, Croc bite brings beer, scotto-man, overtired, funions

6 years ago - vcr tape, gaming, militate, warren, scientific independence for researchers, Frontier Psychiatrist, evil SUV

7 years ago - many folks join my Friendy-list (probably due to addition of interests) , grover, graves museum Geotarget

Thursday, August 02, 2007

So, it's August... only a couple of weeks until BHK's birthday, Father in-laws birthday, and we're looking to have Emily over in a weekend - and then the all of the Newsoms over perhaps two weeks after that. Emily is about 5 years old now, and she reminds me of little bit of Wendy, way back when 9even though Wendy was maybe twice that age. I still remember acting like a monkey with  for her, over a decade ago. Ook ook, extend the upper lip, scratch the noggin and the armpits, do a bowlegged walk... still brings a giggle to the young ladies. I doubt the Wendy would as be amused these days... she's got to be 21 by now? maybe 22? She's probably into more "grown-up" pursuits. I wonder how she and Marty are doing?

Thoughts for Emily's visit.. Baltimore Aquarium, Blink (maybe try Uno?), Walking on the Boardwalk / Beach, Playstation, Fireworks, and the Candy Store. None of those are set in stone and there are other possibilities, too.

Hey, it's August first! Happy Lughnasadh, the holy day of Lludd!
(If you celebrate it... I don't generally do so myself, but do like to say the word Lughnasadh. )

To celebrate, here's an agricultural pic from our garden, taken just this week.

Pepper pic from the garden - looks better large-wallpaper size.

No relation to the holiday, but also recently seen -

Also seen - Dump trucks while I was riding the subway at about 60mph


Been busy, have some game and book links, dear journal!

New joystiq review of Icehouse (also Enemy Chocolatier ), and as a result, found a place to play games online in real time.

You've got to download a small Java app (gamut ) (though they are working on an HTML implementation), but it's clean, quick and fun if you can find folks to play with.

Back to reading on my ride in the subway...until I find some tv show that BHK doesn't want to watch to put on the PSP. just finished Red Nails - getting my pulp fix on. Plenty free and legal to read here. Just scroll down to Howard,( Robert E. )
via uncert

  • "Turning Heat Into Electricity Through Sound": pretty much what it sounds like. A group in Utah has made a gadget where thermal gradients drive air currents that produce sound waves, which are turned into electrical signals by piezoelectric transducers.
  • "All-Optical Magnetic Recording: a Dutch group has written information onto a magnetic material using polarized light rather than the usual magnetic heads (like in a hard disk). This could potentially allow faster disk writing on smaller scales than can be done with magnets. Just think how small your next iPod could be...

1 year ago - sharks don't have knees, boiled eggs, yoga, map issues, Dave nose-operation, 4-sec frenzy, Theoi project, FOLEDs, grammar rock, man tosses a car, hungry ghost month, TS Chris

2 years ago - peaceful Sunday, Rufus Xavier Sarsaparilla, PB-J time, Grizzly Golf Attack is true, "Pepsi brings your ancestors back from the grave."

3 years ago - Rob Shea Quote, appropriate for E-journals everywhere, I played with mercury, JL meme, music, Dave, Rain, Social entity, first hints at Mike-drama, search shortcuts, albinos of the 19th century, echolocation alarms

4 years ago - crazy dreams, Kate Bush, starmark poops but new gig, writing systems, non-castaways on gilligan's isle

5 years ago - istockphoto, dead links, Shitou Xiqian, smiled at, fortune cookie, walkerbot, Liver Eatin' Johnson

6 years ago - hungrybaby, New Apes movie lame, wiseacre, Champions stats for the Shadow, Dwayne Dibley?, Poul Anderson passes away, LJ moves in space

7 years ago - Everway character- wanders the storm pathGeotarget Geotarget

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Saturday, August 20, 2005


Monday, January 17, 2005

I am Robot X! Posted by Hello

Saturday, January 01, 2005

please see my more regularly updated blog at

Monday, May 24, 2004

Test of Hello. Whadda ya think, sirs? Posted by Hello

Sunday, March 28, 2004

Saturday, January 24, 2004

Ah, I'll miss you, Cap'n Kangaroo. I got an extra-long dose of your show growing up, with a younger brother who was into "picture pages" starring Bill Cosby and his trusty pencil "Mortimer Ichabod Marker", complete with follow-along workbook. I liked the old regime of Grandfather Clock, Dancing Bear, Mr. Moose and Mr. Bunny Rabbit (who I thought was a girl, despite the Mister... those Granny glasses convinced me at a young, young age.)

Well, Mona got off easy last night... *no* calls at all. that's got to be some kind of record for a Friday. I hope the same luck continues the rest of this weekend.

Robert E. Howard, the grandfather of sword and sorcery fiction, would have been ninety-eight years old yesterday. The creator of Conan, Kull, Solomon Kane, and several Cthulhu Mythos stories died far too young after losing the battle with his personal demons. If you've never read his work, you're missing out on a lot. The Robert E. Howard United Press Association has a lot of resources about him and his work. (A lot more than just Arnold lopping off James Earl Jones' noggin, and rolling it down stairs.)

I'm evil ...I edited out Sally (like Stalin did to Der Commissar) to economize on my dancing Linus icon. The Hey-Ya Charlie Brown link moved *fast* over LJ.

Top 100 Usenet groups, by bytes posted
Robot Belly-dancer

A computer program that mimics fish nerves creates the perfect wriggle.

She can shimmy, she can roll, she can backbend. She even sports a teasing, low-slung skirt around her waist.

But the performer of these undulations is no fleshy temptress. Instead, she is a belly-dancing robot whose moves are driven by the wriggles of a fish.

Her creator, Jimmy Or of Waseda University in Tokyo, Japan, said he gained inspiration watching Lucy Liu sashay her stomach in the film Charlie's Angels. The sight prompted him to sign up for dance lessons of his own.

Watching his instructor bend and sway, Or was struck by her similarity to his other object of affection, the lamprey - a primitive eel-like creature that scythes through water like a snake. "I decided to combine the fields and work on my idea secretly," he says.

Several years on, Or has created a squat, shimmying robot with a flexible spine called Waseda Belly Dancer No. 1. It has so far mastered a particularly difficult belly-dancing move, the Camel, which involves sending waves rippling along the torso.

Headless chicken

To generate the robot's undulations, Or built a computer program that simulates a network of nerves in the lamprey called a central pattern generator (CPG). The CPG directs the lamprey's movements without the help of the brain or sensory feedback.

Similar nerve networks are thought to exist in most vertebrates. In chickens, it is a CPG that allows a headless bird to briefly sprint around the yard before keeling over, for example. In humans, a CPG is thought to produce an automatic walking motion in toddlers or people who have had spinal-cord injuries when they are placed on a treadmill.

Because the CPG computer program is relatively simple, Or hopes that it might be cheaply incorporated into future humanoid machines. "I consider it as a prototype for the next generation of robot," he says.

State-of-the-art humanoid machines such as Honda's ASIMO and Sony's running machine, QRIO, can flex their arms and legs, but "still look a bit awkward" says Peter Stone, who designs robots at the University of Texas at Austin. To create more advanced movements, "it may very well be that the spine is the way to go", says Stone.

Conscious effort

The strange invention has also provided some lessons for biologists, revealing that the CPG of a fish can drive human-like movements. But this doesn't mean that humans carry an innate program for belly-dancing, says Fred Delcomyn, who studies CPGs at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. In humans, the dance undoubtedly requires far more conscious effort, and the human CPG is probably focused on our leg and arm muscles to help trigger walking. "The whole idea of making it belly-dance is kind of quirky," says Delcomyn.

Or admits that he made Waseda Belly Dancer No. 1 partly as an entertainment; he is currently refining its workings and choosing some fetching jewelery for it. But he maintains that robots with a flexible spine have a future. "A robot that can bow is very important in Japanese society," Or says.

Here's a good description of "professional victim". I hadn't thought about it before, but narcissism is just the right slot to file folks like that.
Some people adopt the role of a professional victim. In doing so, they become self-centered, devoid of empathy, abusive, and exploitative. In other words, they become narcissists. The role of "professional victims" - ones whose existence and very identity is defined solely and entirely by their victimhood - is well researched. It doesn't make for a nice reading.

Create your own super hero, akin to Hero Machine, but the art is better.

New York Times on the Sex-slave trade in the US. Site Meter

Mildly chilly today (was feeling like 40 this morning. I had a cat under the covers.) I wonder if temperature has an effect on kids going missing, considering Mona's good fortune last night.

I can only imagine that's it's snowy-snowy in points North today. Hopefully, folks are staying safe.

Reduced-fat Triscuits are yucky. Don't bother.

Human clock: Click the pics for up-to-the-minute accuracy.

DVDRhelp has Region-free hacks.

Van Helsing... So cheesy. You know, Bruce Campbell could've pulled that role off, though Jackman looks the part, too.

Random Scotto's dad factoid: He referred to my (or his, or my brother's) teeth as "snags". As in, "Don't forget to brush your snags after your shower!" Where he picked up that from, I may never know...none of use are really snaggle-toothed...Heavens to Murgatroyd, no! He'd been using it since I could recognize speech. I'm guilty of using the term myself, now.

I'm glad to see something positive there...
Sarmad talks about how the US Army is rebuilding schools and what that means to Iraqi children and their nation. His English is a little rough, but it's from the heart, and it lets us know that despite the carping of the liberal press, we continue to do good work in Iraq. It isn't all about bombings and body count.

Don't hesitate on this one: This bootleg mash-up is a virtuoso 39-minute musical journey in which dozens of pop tracks from the past several decades are sampled, layered, spliced, time-stretched, edited and compiled into one utterly amazing sonic blast. Warning: It's a 53MB file; so dial-up users you've been duly warned! (Bottom line is get it while it lasts.) Oh yes, be sure to print out the full track list.Site Meter

Torrent Reactor - another lovely bittorrent site.

Found while searching for the proper spelling / origin of Murgatroyd.

"I do not know whether in those days there was only one Constable for each Township, appointed by the King or whether there was a small body of men holding office. Judging by the fact that the Constable for Midgley had the same name as the Berewick I imagine that there was indeed only one and therefore that our oldest known ancestor was the 'King's man' for the Township and consequently a powerful figure. Moor-gate-royd lies near Warley, Halifax. The secluded mansion, formerly known as "Murgateroyde" now called "Hollins", is built upon the demesne granted to the Earl of Warren by William the Norman, and is, from its families and the historic incidents connected with it, one of the most interesting of houses."


In 1887 Gilbert & Sullivan brought the operetta - Ruddigore or "The Witch's Curse" to the Savoy Theatre on January 22nd for the first time.

One of the characters, Sir Roderic Murgatroyd, a "Bad Baronet of Ruddigore" had a generational curse on him: His ancestor Sir Rupert was cursed by a witch to "do one crime, or more, once every day, for ever" or face an agonising death.

So, basically the word "murgatroyd" has everything to do with a cursed existence, and unfortunate circumstances and situations.

Note, via (who assisted in my search) - be careful doing any research... if you search for "murgatroid" on Google, you get porn! (and not gay panther porn, either!)

Friday, January 23, 2004

I was Ba-ad. To celebrate Mona going on call (even though I'm home, and on "Mona-call" in case she has trouble) I picked up a big honking banana bread at the Jamacian food place up the street. I don't expect it to make it past Saturday Night. Very Dense, very rich. Doesn't need the cream cheese, but it's available, just the same. I got some curried veggie patties and rice, too. Quite tasty, but a bit over my WW budget.

I've avoided most of the Dean music remixes, but this one is pretty dang funny.

Hey Ya, Charlie Brown. - Outkast meets Peanuts

I've always liked Shermy's Frankenstein dance, though Linus wins the day again with his arm-shake and stomp (The closest to my own dance stylings as a 6-year old). Frieda's seems to be getting into things the most ... shaking her naturally curly hair all over the place. Site Meter

There's some sort of recognition that an older woman at the bus terminal gives me every day. I don't know if I remind her of someone she knows from elsewhere, or if I just strike her as a suspicious character, but she gives me the hairy eyeball first thing she sees me. The first time it happened, I looked to see if perhaps I'd spilled some toothpaste o my shirt or something, but no, she's just putting on a pickle-puss for some reason of her own. She's got a lot of smile-lines around her eyes...I'd like to see them put to use.

I see at least two different types of evangelism most mornings...the JW's at the bus stop daily, and sometimes a pair or trio of Mormon guys on bikes in ties. It's to the Mormons' credit that they always appear genuinely friendly, as opposed to the blank-looking Jehovah's Witnesses. Very rarely, there is a Hare Krishnan (Is that the proper term?) riding the bus, too they, like the LDS missionaries are quite friendly and willing to cheerfully talk with you, though they look for a handout at the end of the conversation. Talking with a nice person can make travel fun, even if you dont share the same theology.

Maybe its because the JW's have been told to stop the hard sell at the terminal, that they're now are silent, standing at every so many stops, holding copies of Awake! and Watchtower face outward in offering for people to take them. Not a word is said... and even more eerily, not a smile or acknowledgement. You could get the same results by dressing some manikins in fairly nice clothes...well, maybe not. There's less chance of someone defacing stuff with an actual human nearby.

I wonder how the folks that work at the terminal feel about people that aren't there to use the facilities in the way that they were intended. I imagine most don't care, though I suspect at least a couple must get annoyed at the extra people taking up space and blocking the flow of commuters. There are always at least three or four police officers at the terminal, so real social problems rarely happen they arrest the occasional drunk or angry pair of guys scuffling, but aside from that, it seems to be an easy gig.

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Newt's really digging his new toy.. he's taken to walking it around the apartment. I wonder how much of that behavior is instinct, and how much is learned... I've had him since he was three weeks old... I know he never learned the "death shake" from his birth-mom... but toting things around by mouth is something he's done since he was 1/16 his current mass.

Why is pork shoulder called "butt"? I'd think the rump would be more appropriate.


Male nipple removal, odd body modification - warning: this is pretty gross. Oh, the things you can see on LJ.

Pets With Their Heads In Bags of Food

Penguins have extraordinary pooing powers, according to a team of scientists from a German university.

They went to the Antarctic to study the creatures, and found they shoot their poo 38 centimeters from their nests.

The scientists worked out the penguins' poo comes out at more than four times the force a human can manage.

It might seem pretty gross, but the penguins are doing it to be clean. They don't want their poo to mess up their feathers or nests, the scientists said.

However, further research has revealed that penguins are not the super poopers of the animal kingdom.

The caterpillar of the silver-spotted skipper butterfly can shoot its poo 1.2 meters (4ft).

That's the same as humans firing their poo a massive 76m (250ft).

In William Mayne's The Jersey Shore, there's this passage - the inhabitants of a coastal fenland town have been disturbed by voices calling from the sea:
At night it seemed there was a light far out to sea, and the bailiff of the estate came down to the village and said a fire was to be made on the sea wall. There was a difference of opinion about this, with men going from house to house and taking one side and another, and waking and crying from being frightened all day by voices, and hearing threats by night and quarreling. But the bailiff was firm, and wood had to be brought and a fire laid on the parish wall. By the time it was done the light at sea had begun to fade and with it there faded the voices.

The villagers stood around their fire until the mist lightened without thinning, and they went home through a frosted stillness. There were no more voices. By that night the mist lifted, that had hidden the distressed mortals or immortals, but there was nothing to be seen . . .

In the middle of that [next] night, in a close darkness, the man came from the sea. He walked in among the houses dragging a chain and calling out in his own words, that meant nothing to anyone there. He was naked, and his eyes glittered in the light that was brought towards him. He bowed himself down and the long chain rattled again. One end was at an ankle, another at a wrist, and from a middle link another length ran to a bolt that was driven into a wooden beam, but the beam had been burnt away, and that had been in the fire at sea.

He was locked into the church all night, under the tower, and in the morning came out trembling and jangling his chain, as naked as he went in, unashamed, strong, smiling and courteous. The priest came and tried a prayer on him in church Latin, but it was nothing to him. He had a different religion. When the sun came up over the sea wall he bowed himself to that and knelt, stretching out his arms, a shining dark man, expecting to be killed.

Yahoo closes Scandinavia operations

COPENHAGEN (AFP) - The US Internet portal giant Yahoo! will pull out of Scandinavia at the end of the month, closing its Nordic branch in Copenhagen which covers Norway and Sweden in addition to Denmark, a company employee said.

The employee, contacted by AFP, could not provide details, but the Danish daily Jyllands-Posten's website reported Thursday that the unit would be shut down at the end of January and all 20 employees would be laid off.

The paper reported that Yahoo! decided to leave Scandinavia because it was losing money there.

According to the company's earnings report for 2002 (its last full year report), the Danish branch posted a loss of 21 million kroner (3.6 million dollars, 2.8 million euros) -- double its loss the year before.
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