Ewoks are monsters

Everyone remembers those cute little teddy bears from Return of the Jedi. They were clever and resourceful, helping Luke and his Rebel friends take down (as the Emperor bragged) an entire garrison of the best Imperial stormtroopers. Who didn’t see these plucky little guys and think “Aww, I’d love to take one home”?

Because of their undeniable charm, Ewoks became a marketing powerhouse too. Dress up your toddler as a furry resistance fighter!

Heck, even pets got in on the action:

But today, that happy little fantasy came crashing down in my world when I saw a comment on the internet about Leia’s dress when she was among the Ewoks in their village.

Remember, she’d been wearing camouflage battle gear earlier as she crept through the trees of Endor. So where did the Ewoks get that dress? It’s certainly too big for any of them! Wait a minute… didn’t they grab Han and his buddies in a giant trap? And once they’d captured the gang of our heroes, they promptly tied all of them to sticks. Han was the lucky first pick, stretched out over some firewood and about to become dinner.

Luke and Chewbacca are in the background, also tied to sticks, presumably awaiting their turn. Maybe they’re breakfast and lunch the next day or something. My point is, the Ewoks are clearly very fond of cooked human flesh. Leia’s dress must have come from… some other hapless woman they’d captured in their infernal traps. Whoa.

Luckily C-3PO convinced the Ewoks to set Luke, Han, and Chewie free. Whew! Maybe those furballs aren’t so horrible after all. But wait. After the climactic battle where the Imperial ground forces were wiped out, the Ewoks threw a huge party that featured a sweet bongo band hammering out a beat on… the empty helmets of Imperial soldiers!

I guess they needed enough meat to feed the entire Rebel fleet, who apparently came down to the surface for the rave. I hope Wedge and Nien Nunb and Admiral Ackbar enjoyed their dinners! “Hmm, tastes a bit like chicken…”

Yeah. Ewoks are monsters.

It’s cherry blossom time

With spring come the cherry blossoms! Our orchard looks stunning right now.

After last year’s disastrous non-harvest, we’re taking some precautions this year. On the top of the list: an electric fence to keep the bears out. And now that the blossoms are here, it’s reminding me I need to get cracking on that project…

Don’t tell the FAA

The problem: we have some cobwebs in our skylights. They keep growing, because the spiders are hard at work, and they catch the light on a sunny day. I’d love to remove them, and generally you’d think taking down some cobwebs would be easy. But when the skylight is forty feet above the floor, things get a little more tricky.

I thought about PVC tubing, metal pipes, even those cleaning tools with “extensions”. But even from the upstairs, it would take about thirty feet of some kind of rod to reach that high. No dice. I threw socks and towels at the cobwebs, but that didn’t work very well.

Then Pepper suggested a solution: buy a drone and fly it up to the skylight, then buzz around the cobwebs for a bit. Brilliant! So I bought a cheap drone, and this afternoon it took its maiden flight.

You get what you pay for, of course, so it wasn’t entirely surprising when the drone kind of drifted and wobbled. Eventually, though, I was able to maneuver it into the skylight and sweep through the cobwebs. Mission accomplished!

Art!

I commissioned a piece of art from my friend Addi, who does oil painting. I think it looks pretty awesome.

The Yellow Scourge

Spring is here, which means the trees are budding and the flowers are blooming. And the dang dandelions are sprouting everywhere.

For some reason I’m passionate about destroying every one of those yellow flowers. So I spent an hour wandering the yard, pulling all of them. (At least it’s a nice day!) And yet… and yet… I know in two days there will be another batch popping up. Grrrrrr…

First draft of the first draft

Starting with nothing more than a half-joke around the table, I’ve been thinking about this next game. I did some “homework”, which basically consisted of poking around Wikipedia looking at various dinosaurs. Then I had lunch with my friend Nate, and after we finished playing a few board games, I brought up my idea. He was really excited and enthusiastic, and the two of us started throwing ideas around. “What if the game has three phases, since there were three periods in the Mesozoic Era?” and “How would the cards interact with one another?” and even “How can the game be made simple, while still involving good strategy?”

A few days later, and I’m printing a first round of cards!

I feel like this is the first draft of a first draft. It could be an absolute disaster. But you never know until you start shuffling the cards and dealing them out, right?…

The latest game

At latest count, I own 83 board games. But I’m always in the market to add more, and I just bought one called Survive: Escape from Atlantis. It sounds cheesy, although that might be because it’s from the 1980’s. But it’s actually a pretty cool game. It’s one of those that takes about 3 minutes to learn and 20 minutes to play, but is still a good time.

So Pepper and Kyra and I gave it a go.

The first few games, we all played “nicely”, not throwing the others into the ocean where all the sharks and sea monsters live, or floating away on a boat while laughing and waving at the hapless swimmers. But after a few more times, things got a little more cutthroat and we were abandoning one another… leading to new strategies like jumping on shared boats and teleporting whales around.

I won’t go so far as saying Survive is my new favorite game, but it’s definitely a novelty and one that’s going to see a lot more play in our house.

Moose Meeples

When we lived in Colorado, I had a small group of friends with whom I played board games. We’d get together every few weeks on a Friday or Saturday night to eat Cheetos and M&M’s while talking smack over a handful of games. It was a blast, and I really enjoyed the opportunity not only to learn and get better at games, but just hang out with good friends.

When we moved to Montana, I immediately started looking for a similar outlet. Many big cities have game shops and even groups who meet regularly, but in rural Montana that’s not so much a thing. I managed to stumble across a store up in Kalispell (45 minutes north) that had sort-of-regular game nights. I joined them on many occasions, but honestly it was kind of a drag to drive an hour and a half to play games for maybe two hours at most.

Then the ‘rona hit, and everyone was suddenly having video chats. I called my Colorado friends, and we started having remote game nights. We’d have a video call going while we played our favorite games on various web sites. It was a ton of fun. I talked to the Magnificent Seven (my high-school friends) and we ended up doing the same thing. Suddenly I could play the board games I’d been missing, and talk to the people I’d also been missing!

Over the past year, I’ve met some other people in the area who enjoy games, and we get together now and then. A favorite haunt is Rosa’s Pizza, which is sort of central to all of us and has the added benefit of great pizza. The Mahjongg Gang does the same thing.

A few weeks ago I met another new friend, and he happens to like games even more than I do. Actually, a lot more than I do. He has hundreds of board games in his collection, and has a dedicated gaming room in his house. We started getting together for game nights, usually with a few others, and I was thrilled to expand my circle of (1) friends and (2) gamers. A few days ago, he asked if I’d be interested in co-founding a gaming club with him. We’d have regular game nights in town (at the church, actually, which we can use for free) and invite anyone in the area who wants to play. Sure, why not?

Of course the first order of business was coming up with a great name. He did some brainstorming, and then asked what I thought. I told him we shouldn’t use terms like “Flathead” or “Glacier” or even “Big Sky”… all of those are really overused by local businesses. They feel like “Mile High” or “Flatiron” or “Rocky Mountain” did back in Colorado. His face fell, and then he showed me his list. Most of the names he’d come up with had those forbidden terms. We laughed a bit, and then continued thinking of names. In the end, we decided on Moose Meeples. Original, catchy, easy to remember. I even sketched a little meeple to use on flyers.

Next week is our inaugural game night. I’m hopeful we’ll get a good crowd, and enough people will enjoy it that it becomes a stable weekly event. Coupled with the Colorado group, the Magnificent Seven, and a few other local friends, I think I’ll be set for board games for a while!