Monday, August 18, 2008

This Level of Student Is Not Sustainable

I was in Richmond this last weekend, reading for a quizbowl tournament. Conveniently, it was also move-in weekend (really only convenient because parking in the parking garages was free). As part of their festivities, they had marked off a running course (perhaps 5K, perhaps just "all the interesting buildings", who knows). So two of the three lanes on Main Street on campus were roped off, as were two lanes on Franklin Street, and perhaps others. As I was driving down Main Street, I managed to control my impulse to run over a VCU student who was running down the only lane not set aside for runners.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Product Dis/Placement, Game Edition

So I got the game The Lost Cases of Sherlock Holmes through RealArcade. Yes, I know, finding hidden pictures, not exciting; the little minipuzzles weren't bad, and I was expecting to have to think to solve the crimes, as opposed to some card thing.

Anyway, there's a little bonus game that you can unlock, which I did: it's basically Mastermind, but with a twist. Instead of just getting black/white pegs, the pegs are associated with a position. (So for instance if I do purple purple purple purple, I might get a correct symbol under #2 and #4.) Makes the game a little easier -- ok, be honest, a lot easier. The best part: There are six colors. You have twelve chances at guessing. Did no one test this bit of the game, or are these designers so incredibly hopeless at Mastermind that they actually needed twelve chances at the puzzle when it tells you the right answers as you go along?

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Online Dutch Open, Round 6

Ugh. We got through nine hands, which is good. I only won one, which is bad. Five of the hands were self-drawn, and I didn't get any of them, so I was in last place by a lot. In fact, my -119 took away all my hand points and then some. Finished with 10 table points (out of a possible 24), in 26th out of 52.

Online Dutch Open, Round 5

Today's theme was technical difficulties. People always miss -- there are 52 people on the tournament roster, and I saw 49 people at tables when the round started. Unfortunately, two of the missing were at my table, and the software was unable to handle it. So it took fifteen minutes for things to get sorted out, and we played awhile with just two. One of the absentees showed up at the end of the fourth hand, which was annoying, since the computer had just built him a large hand that we hadn't worried about, since the computer doesn't go out. Oh well. We got through nine hands (computers play fast, too); I only won two, but it was enough to win the table. 10 tournament points, 19th place.

Online Dutch Open, Round 4

We got through six hands this time; I won two, but Adrie won 3 (including a rather rare, at least in my experience, four shifted chows), so another second place. I'm now above 0 for tiebreaker points for the first time (at +8). Interestingly, after three of the four rounds so far, the person who won my table was in first place for the tournament after that round (exception being round 2). Probably won't happen in round 5, as the high score at the table coming in is 9, and the leaders are at 12. (Which is also interesting, in that 12 was the high score before the round started, too; all the 12's took fourths, and none of the 10s won their table.)

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Online Dutch Open, Round 3

I feel a little better now. We finally got through eight hands. I won three, but so did another player, and I paid one too many times (three vs. two). So second place at the table, by eight points, climbing all the way up to 35th out of 52. It looks like a pretty even mix: only one player won all his games today (who coincidentally won this last table I was at); no one is at 0 points, and only two players at 1 point.

The goal for tomorrow is to continue the emphasis on fast that I was trying to do this last table (only switching to big-points towards the end). Granted, some of those hands in round 2, I'm not sure I have a complete hand if you let me keep all my discards.

Online Dutch Open, Round 2

Another six-hand game, except the last one was a draw. The final scores were 12, 7, -7, and -12, so extremely close. Yet again, I managed to be third place at the table -- the second place player won the first hand self-draw, then proceeded to pay everybody else once. Still no luck with hands; there were at least three hands with no particular things to recommend them: not enough pairs, not enough of a suit, no chows, and not enough of a knitted hand (or rather, often, I would have 147 147 147, which doesn't count). Getting kicked off (not losing my internet connection, but getting kicked off MT) didn't really hurt my round 4 hand too much. Still 38th out of 52, although my tiebreak situation is slightly better.

Online Dutch Open, Round 1

Good start, and then . We got through six hands in our 90 minutes; I won the first, paid the second, fourth, and sixth (the fourth was a self-draw, so everybody paid; the sixth I knew it was dangerous, and I got bit). Our table winner leads the pack (since he scored the most out of all the winners, with 175 points) -- he won three hands and I think they were all full flushes too (I tried to save the game but apparently I was not successful). My score of -73 was third place at the table (for one point); I am currently second-to-last on tiebreaks in that group.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Product Dis/Placement

Today's product: A&W Root Beer Floats.

The bottle says "Rich, Creamy, and so Delicious you won't believe that it comes in a bottle." Now, I have no idea what that last is supposed to mean---don't most delicious drinks (A&W Root Beer, perhaps?) come in a bottle? We must admit, it does come in a glass bottle. The novelty helps keep you from noticing that this normal-sized bottle only contains 11.5 fluid ounces, less than a normal pop can. And it is certainly rich: I was expecting some sort of root beer + cream soda mixture. But I was surprised: think 10.5 ounces of vanilla ice cream with 1 ounce of root beer, and then swap out the vanilla ice cream for just plain vanilla. (I'm tempted to look back at the bottle and see if it's marked with a proof content.) Definitely lots of vanilla flavor, and not a great deal of root beer flavor that I could detect. Also, it shares another feature of ice-cream drinks: definitely refreshing on the way down (if you don't gag on the vanilla), but it doesn't quench your thirst in any way.

Verdict: not a fan.