Friday, January 31, 2014

Tale of the Three Tankards


It's funny, I don't drink, yet I own three tankards.

 The first tankard I bought was when I graduated from Monache High School year 2000.  I can't remember the company, but when I was looking through the supplied catalog at class rings, I saw this tankard, and I knew I wanted one.  It just looked cool.  And it is cool, looking pretty awesome on my shelf.


Next came the Millennium Mickey Class of 2000 Tankard.  Due to circumstance I wasn't able to attend Grad Night at Disneyland, which would have been a lot of fun.  I'm sure they sold these tankards at the event.  My Dad found this on Ebay and got me one.  I love it.

 Did you know that some dude somewhere here in the U.S. copyrighted the phrase "Class of 2000"?  How stupid is that?  And who in their right mind allowed it?  Finding any trinket when I graduated that said "Class of 2000" was rare and hard to find.  Disney obviously bought the rights to use the phrase.

And without any further ado . . . my favorite tankard in my collection.  A BYU (Brigham Young University) Alumni Tankard.  I didn't find this until a couple years after graduation.  I was passing through the bookstore after getting some BYU Creamery Ice Cream in the Wilkinson Center, and saw this, sitting on a shelf beaming brightly at me.  I quickly picked it up, held it close, and just started giggling.  BYU doesn't even sale caffeine-free coke on campus!  And yet they sold this tankard . . . and I bought it.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit, Movie Review

Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

I've never seen the other Jack Ryan movies, based on the Tom Clancy books, so I do not have them to compare, but Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit is an origin story of the character, so a familiarity to the other plots are not needed.  This is also the first Jack Ryan movie that isn't based on one of the books. 

stars as Jack Ryan, a character previously portrayed by Alec Baldwin, Ben Affleck, and twice by Harrison Ford, who is at this time a foreign exchange student in England studying economics.  It is there that he notices students running to buildings to view the television.  He follows, confused, until he sees smoke billowing from the Twin Towers in New York.  Next we see him as a Marine fighting in Afghanistan. A man of action. No hesitation.  He's injured and must learn to walk again, thus leading him to the two people who will influence the next chapter in his life: His future love interest Cathy Muller () and CIA mentor Thomas Harper ().

You may think I've given away most of the plot detailing these events, but I haven't.  Everything I've stated is all in the exposition.

This new Jack Ryan movie is intelligent and fast paced.  You can't sleep through the story and understand everything that is taking place and why it's happening.  The general theme of this movie is scary, feeling as if such a scenario is possible.  And , who both directed and played the villain, is interesting and quite the foe.

Where I feel the movie lacks is in some of the scene transitions and pacing.  The first part of the movie jumps around a little, and the motivations of the characters briefly explained.

Overall a fun thriller that kept me on the edge of my seat.

MPAA: Rated PG-13 for sequences of violence and intense action, and brief strong language.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Grandma's Yummy Pink Jello Recipe

 No party is complete without Grandma's yummy pink jello.  It's a special occasion treat, and only she makes it.  I've been wanting to get the recipe from her for ages, which doesn't exist because she goes with the flow each time it's made, so on Michael's birthday she brought over the ingredients, and I took careful notes and pictures.

 1 Box Raspberry JELL-O
1 Box Strawberry JELL-O
3 Cups Boiling Water
23.2 oz Frozen Sliced Strawberry's, juice completely strained out, no longer completely frozen
Large Cool-Whip Tub (to be divided)
4 Cups of Ice (divided 2 cups and 2 cups)
(Optional) Crushed Nuts of choice

 Put both the Raspberry jello and the Strawberry jello in a large bowl.  Mix the two together.

 Pour 3 cups of boiling water (boiled either on the stove or in the microwave) into the jello powder.  Try to get as dissolved as possible.  (My Grandma says this is one of the most important steps.)

 Put 2 cups of ice into jello mixture.  Stir ice and jello so that the jello starts to set, a jell like texture will begin to form.  When it starts to jell up, start taking out ice. You don't want too much extra water in jello mixture.

 Repeat above step by putting the remaining 2 cups of ice into jello mixture, stirring, helping the jello set up even more into a jelly texture.  Spoon out ice before it fully melts and jello fully sets.  Don't let jello set.

 Stir the jello mixture.

 Put a few large spoonfuls of Cool-Whip into jello.  Stir.

 Keep adding Cool-Whip until desired texture and taste.  (There isn't a science to this, just personal preference.) Keep some extra Cool-Whip for later use.

 How we like it.

 Get frozen sliced strawberries and strain out all the juice.

As a note, the strawberries are not frozen by this point, having set out for a while.  Soft, but still chilled.

 Put the strawberries into the jello mixture and stir.

 When strawberries are properly mixed in, take the remaining Cool-Whip and smooth it over the jello.

 (Optional) After Cool-Whip is spread over jello, add a layer of crushed nuts.

Place jello in fridge for a minimum of 30 minutes to set.  Can be left in as long as you wish.  This jello makes great leftovers (which we love).

Take out and Enjoy!

Monday, January 27, 2014

I, Frankenstein: Movie Review

Rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars.

"What movie are you going to see?" My brother asked me as I was arranged things.

"I, Frankenstein."


"You know," I continued, "That new Frankenstein movie that just came out."

"Oh, you mean 'Immortal'."

"No, 'I, Frankenstein'.  That's what the movie listings said."

"But," my brother insisted, "That wasn't on the movie poster."

It was.  In small print.  I, Frankenstain.  Not very good marketing.  It's the first of many problems.  Immortal would have been a better name.

This new Frankenstein movie, which begins in 1795 and quickly fast-forwards to modern day, is the classic tale of good and evil.  Demons and Angels.  One group fighting for dominance; the other fighting for humanities protection.  Guess which is which.  The demons appear human until provoked (the villains on Mighty Morphin Power Rangers are less corny); the "angels" (gargoyles) were created by the Archangel Michael, left on Earth to watch humanity from a distance.  They're a dieing breed.

Frankenstein () finds himself in the middle of their conflict.  A body without a soul.  This gives the demon prince Naberius () some ideas, and queen Leonore () forbearance.

In our present time the Frankenstein story comes full circle.  Dr. Victor Frankenstein may have died revenging his wife's murder, who died after Frankenstein's creation "Adam" killed her, leaving notes that were hidden away.  The lost notes don't prevent Terra () from trying to recreate life, creating her own animated soulless corpses, becoming a modern day Frankenstein.  

Plot points aside, I, Frankenstein takes itself way to seriously.  A sense of the Epic was attempted, but smothered by too many heavy elements.  The fight scenes are fun to watch, but the dramatic music, upward shots, and awkward scene transitions make these moments hard to swallow.  The dialogue comes across forced and stilted, like a bad Shakespeare imitation.  The narration provided by Adam feels like an afterthought, a way to speed up time and provide closure, without actually adding anything.  Whenever Aaron Eckhart "Adam" spoke within the film I kept waiting for him to say, "I'm Batman," though he was Two-Face in that movie.  The moments between Adam and Terra work and could have added more to the film if more time was spent on them.

Honestly I'm a bit disappointed.  

MPAA: Rated PG-13 for sequences of intense fantasy action and violence throughout.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

What "Stufflebeam" Really Means

For the longest time I thought the origin of Stufflebeam meant "tree stump."  I'm trying to remember where I read it, but its stuck with me, and since last names sometimes come from location markers, it sort of made sense.  That must have been a pretty epic tree stump.

But last names can also come from a physical trait of an ancestor.  (The surname "Short" for instance.)

A couple weeks ago I was with my Grandparents and Mom, visiting the home of their dear, old friends.  This couple immigrated from Germany in the 1950's, still fluent, light accent when speaking English.

I told Trudy, who has a wonderful sense of humor, about my last name.  She wanted to know what it was, before becoming Americanized during the Revolutionary War by my ancestor who fought, but I couldn't remember the correct spelling.  I got my cellphone out, accessed the app, and showed her the name.


Trudy started giggling something fierce.

I was confused and asked what it was, but she just kept giggling.

Then, when she could breath, she said, "Your last name means stumped leg!"


"Stoppel," she explained, "Means stubble or stump."  Giggling some more, "And bein means leg."

So maybe it wasn't a tree stump after all that brought about my surname.  Maybe it was my ancestor with that stumped leg . . .

. . . or hairy legs . . .

. . .

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Inspired Guns, Movie Review

Rating: 2 out of 5 stars.

A decade ago LDS comedies were all the rage with The Singles Ward, The RM, and Church Ball to name a few.  The local cinema seemed flooded with these movies, which proved we latter-Day Saints have a sense of humor and enjoy laughing at our antics.  In the mix were the more serious Gods Army, The Best Two Years (still hands down my favorite all-time LDS film), and the amazing Saints and Soldiers.  In recent years it seems sophisticated movies have won out with the incredibly successful 17 Miracles and Saratov Approach.

With Inspired Guns the LDS comedy is back.

Elder Fisher (played by newcomer ) has only a week left in his mission before heading home to his family, as a capstone to his time in the field Fisher's companion is transferred (highly improbable with mission terms being 6 weeks at a time, but we'll go with it), and receives a new companion: The troublesome, faith lacking, rap singing Elder Johnson () from Park City UT, who thinks he's a "homeboy" and believes Justin Bieber is a valid Hip-Hop artist.  Soon they go on their merry way, taking "the word" to the streets, and get caught up with the mafia and a couple of idiot FBI agents (hmmmmm . . . -_-;;, yeah).  Oh, and there's that gang, too.

From the beginning of Inspired Guns you know the film doesn't take itself seriously, and never intended to, and because of this comparing Inspired Guns to Saratov Approach would be ridiculous.  They're both missionary movies, yes, but that's where the comparisons end.  This movie is full of one-liners (some quite funny, others falling really flat) and slapstick humor.

If you look past the realism errors this movie is funny in parts, with the second half of the film being stronger then the first.  I found myself chuckling during the church meeting scene, when two bird-brained mafia rejects visit a service, and the FBI eavesdrop.  Everything is taken out of context.

Still, I'm not a super fan of overly stupid characters, and this movie has a few, but then certain plot points wouldn't be possible otherwise.   The Mafia misfits belong in a 3 stooges movie.  And those two FBI agents . . . something as simple as Google would solve their misconception.  No one's that stupid, I hope.

And Inspired Guns isn't without its technical problems.  This is an independent film, after all.

Overall I did have a few good laughs and enjoyed myself.  If you want a silly movie to take your family to, this movie may be a good option, but trying to apply logic to everything presented ruins the experience.  Silly for silly's sake.

MPAA: Rated PG for some violence, language and thematic material.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Philosophy for a Happy Life: by Sam Berns

I stumbled across this video today.  It's by Sam Berns, a 17-year-old with Progeria, a rapid aging disease.  He gave this speech three months before his death.

It's his happy life formula.

Super inspiring from an amazing, beautiful human being.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Your Speech is in Your Roots

 Santa Rosa, Modesto, and Reno.  Those are the cities that represent my dialect.

The "hot spots" are places my speech is most similar, and vice-versa.  I got this map from a really fun, introspective quiz called "How Y'all, Youse and You Guys Talk."  It's on the Sunday Review page, and was making it's rounds on FaceBook last Christmas.

This quiz is based on the results of the Harvard Dialect Survey back in 2002, which only has 25 questions.  The original Harvard Dialect Survey had a total of 122 questions.  You can go to the page and click on each question to see full, illustrated results.  It's a lot of fun poking around, comparing answers to locations. 

Here's one of the questions: "What do you call it when rain falls while the sun is shining?"  I've Honestly never heard of this phenomenon having a word.  I've always looked outside and admired how beautiful it is, opening the door and running into the rain to go rainbow chasing.  Some places call this a "Sunshower," "Pineapple Rain," or "Liquid Sun."  I like liquid sun.  That's what I'll call it from now on.

Also, thanks to this quiz, I've finally figured out the difference between a Highway and a Freeway.  Yes, I'm 31 and I've seen the light.  I realized it's because I grew up in Porterville, which is far from major Freeways.  Highways connect everything there, the major Highway, the All American City Highway, connecting Linday, Porterville, and Bakersfield, received this name after 1995 when Lindsay earned the award. Porterville earned the All-American-City award a year earlier in 1994.  It was a HUGE deal.  Anyways, where I grew up all the cities connected via Highway, wrapping around agriculture and cow farms.

I thought it would be fun to have my family take this quiz.

The three cities my Mom got: Reno, Santa Rosa, and Oceanside.

My Dad: Stockton, Fresno, and Modesto.

Steven, like me: Santa Rosa, Reno, and Modesto.

Robbie: San Jose, Corona, and Denver.  (I'm still trying to figure this out.)

Michael: Santa Rosa, Salt Lake, and some place back East (probably because he served his mission in South Chicago.)

I can't remember everywhere my Sister-in-law Krista got, but Salt Lake was one, as was a city in Idaho where her Grandfather is from.  Krista's Sister, Erin, got Salt Lake, Fresno, and Bakersfield, which I find particularly amusing because she's never been to central California, and I grew up between those last two cities.

So if you're curious, and have some time on your hands, I recommend taking the How Y'all, Youse and You Guys Talk quiz.  It's pretty fun.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

USA Stamp Price Increase + The Mistaken Postcard

I got someone else's postcard!  I didn't realize it at first, surprised that I got two Russian postcards at the same time, but when I went to register the RU I.D. on, the postcard pictured above wouldn't register!  It took me a few failed tries until I finally looked at the address.  

The postcard was supposed to go to a gal in Bayside California, a fellow postcrossing junkie.  How did it end up in my mail slot?  I think our postcards got stuck together, coming out of Russia, with the top of her postcard showing my address.  I quickly put her postcard in an envelope, so hopefully she's got it now.  But boy, how trustworthy is the USPS?

On another note, USPS is increasing stamp prices starting January 26, 2014 . . . again.

Regular US letters will go from $0.46 to $0.49 a stamp . . . making a book of 20 $9.80.

Postcard stamps are going from $0.33 to $0.34, a whole penny

And International stamps are going from $1.10 to $1.15 a stamp.

You can view the complete price chart here.

When sending a postcrossing postcard I always put two regular Forever stamps with a George Washington $0.20 stamp, making my International postage $1.12.  Two cents more, but those I send the postcards to love the fun commemorative stamps.  Now the same combo will cost me $1.18, up 6 cents, and 3 cents above the new International forever price.  A few pennies seem small, but when you send a lot of postcards Internationally, it sure adds up fast.

Get those Forever stamps at the cheaper rate while you still can!! 

Friday, January 17, 2014

The Legend of Hercules, Movie Review

Review: 1.5 stars out of 5 stars

* Boogie Dance *

"He was a no one
A zero, zero
Now he's a honcho
He's a hero
Here was a kid with his act down pat
From zero to hero in no time flat." 
~ Disney's Hercules

Um, yeah, wrong Hercules.  Very wrong Hercules, not that I went into this film expecting a fun Disney musical, but then I didn't want a Thor ripoff, either.  And a bad Thor ripoff at that.

The Legend of Hercules is Herc's origin story, that Greek demigod, starting before the conception of his birth, *shudder* they show the moment of his conception, all the way through his various triumphs and so on.  And-So-On . . . so on . . . and a love triangle lacking considerable chemistry and believability, that was the chief motivation of some plot points . . . and so on . . . trying not to get bored . . . mind, don't wonder, please.

Back to this being a bad "Thor" rip off.  A brief explanation: Hercules is played by , Herc's brother Iphicles is played by , and Herc's stepfather is King Amphitryon played by .  Literally, while watching the movie I thought, "Hercules is no , that's guys no , and the King doesn't have distinction."  I leaned over to my Mom and told her what I was thinking, and she agreed.  We were silent again, watching with furrowed eyebrows.  The plots are by no means identical, but it sure seemed like the producers were going for that heightened dimension of excellence.  They missed.

The CGI was bad.  Horribly bad.  There's a scene where Hercules wrestles a lion.  I think I was supposed to be on the edge of my seat, or something, instead my mouth gaped.  Then there was the compositing.  Hercules stands atop a gladiator style fighting ring, and from a distant shot you can see he's superimposed, cutout like.

Have I declared my point?  Must I keep writing?

Nope, I'll post this review and keep boogieing to that classic Disney soundtrack.

* Zero to Hero! *

MPAA: Rated PG-13 for sequences of intense combat action and violence, and for some sensuality.

It just felt like a really bad B movie.    

Thursday, January 16, 2014

January 2014 POPSUGAR Must Have Box Review with Spoilers

 Popsugar Must Have subscription box got the boxes shipped a little late this month, but mine shipped out last Monday, and I got it this morning.  Super fast.  Honestly, I love this box!!!!  Makes up for December :0)

POPSUGAR is a monthly subscription lifestyle box for gals.  The cost is $39.95 a month, free shipping, but it's cheaper when you subscribe with a 3, 6, or 12 months subscription.

On any month you can receive goodies for home, a book, fitness, snack, makeup, pampering, fashion, etc.  You never know what you're going to get, only that it will be fun and worth around $100, give or take a little.

You can subscribe here.

 White Truffle Pipcorn, valued at $6.  I've heard so much about truffles, but haven't tried anything with truffles, dispute my love of mushrooms.  They're so expensive.  This popcorn (pipcorn) is really nice, tasty, and light.


The Juice Generation: 100 Recipes for Fresh Juices and Superfood Smoothies, by Eric Helms, Retails at $20.  I'm not into the Juicing trend as a whole, being a lover of meat and chewing food, but I am fond of juices and smoothies, and this book is nicely put together.  Bright colorful pictures, and an explanation of all the superfoods and why they're so good to eat.  Also, there's tips and advice for making your own concoctions.  

Super cool.

 Revlon by Marchesa Box O' Files, valued at $3.49.  I need to get into the habit of filing my nails when I cut them, and these are such a cute set


 2014 Flip Around the World Desk Calendar, by Rifle Paper Co., valued at $16.00.  This calender is so cute!!  Below is a picture of the calender opened to April, which is the Paris map.  Each page is a map of some famous cities around the world, done in a fun style.  After I'm done using this calender at the start of next year, I'm going to frame my favorite pictures for the wall.

 See how cute the calender is?

 (Malin+Goetz) Detox face mask, valued at $40, Full Size!  I'm so excited to try this!  This product has such good reviews, and everyone on the forum I visit says this detox face mask feels so good.  A perfect pamper item.  And the size is actually quite large.  From the website:

"Winner of Allure Magazine's Editor's Choice Best of Beauty Awards (2008) Best Deep Cleansing Mask. An easy 5-minute foaming gel mask: Innovative, oxygenating cleansing agents replace harsh detergents and drying clays to deep-pore-cleanse, lifting dirt, oil and make-up away from the skin without irritation, while creating a physical barrier to seal hydration. Complex amino acids and natural almond extract gently and effectively purify, clarify, balance and soothe. Stable Vitamin C, antioxidants Vitamin E and Soy Protein help firm and address concerns for aging while instantly brightening complexion. Natural fragrance and color."

Pure Luxury, which is one of the reasons I subscribed to Popsugar in the first place, so I can experience and discover amazing items I didn't know about.

Jack + Lucy Tech Gloves.  No one can find the link to these gloves, and I had no luck getting the information, but I love these!  I've never owned a pair of tech gloves, never really knew what they were, but these are nice and comfortable.  What's even more awesome is that these gloves fit perfectly!!!  I've got such short fingers, and it's hard finding gloves that aren't too long.  It's delightful that I finally own a pair that fits!

Overall a fantastic box.

Monday, January 13, 2014

My Brother Shows Off His Photography

My younger brother, Robbie, took a photography class last semester, and as one of the final acts they had a show highlighting each students best work.  It was fun seeing what Robbie had been working on, especially since he worked so hard towards this class.  On another note, this current semester is his last semester!  So close, and then all of us siblings will have bachelor degrees :0)  Robbie's the last.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Philomena, Movie Review

Review: 3.75 out of 5 Stars

What would you do if you lost the one thing that meant so much to you?

Philomena Lee, played beautifully by , the real person in which the movie "Philomena" is based, has felt a 50 year long sting.  50 years earlier she gave birth to a son in Ireland at a convent.  Since she wasn't married, she was forced to sign away her rights to her son, who was latter adopted.  She has never forgotten him, spending all this time looking for her son, keeping it a secret.  Then, on the day her son would have turned 50, Philomena can't hold it in any longer and finally tells her daughter.

Meanwhile Martin Sixsmith, played by , a Labour government adviser, has just lost his job and is trying to find direction.  At a party Philomena's daughter overhears Martin talk about life's frustrations, and lack of direction, and decides to tell him about her Mother and having just heard about her adopted brother.  Martin doesn't like human interest stories, preferring Russian history, but he makes an exception.

"Philomena" is about the journey Philomena Lee and Martin embarks on, and what they discover along the way, which is incredible and terrifying.  This movie is by no means favorable towards the Catholic Church, which has been a complaint by some.  But the truth is the truth, and the truth is sometimes hard to bear.  What the nuns did to those girls who gave birth out of wedlock is horrible, making them "pay for their sins."  Many teenagers, some as young as 14, were unable to survive the labor.  There's a graveyard to the side of the convent that has grown over, hidden, burying mothers and children alike.  Then there's the manual labor the survives endured, only being allowed one hour visiting rights with their kids until the babies were sold off to wealthy Americans, communication severed.

This true story is based on the book The Lost Child of Philomena Lee, written by Martin Sixsmith.  The book, though I have never read it, apparently follows more closely the life of Philomena's son, whereas the movie shows everything from Philomena's perspective, a Mother's angst.  The truths uncovered are interesting and heartbreaking, but then I feel I give away too much if I write anymore.  I felt at times catching my breath as one thing or another was discovered.

MPAA: Rated PG-13 on appeal for some strong language, thematic elements and sexual references. (Way too many "F" words, or hints at "F" words for my liking.  I don't understand why audiences laugh at it.  The "F" word's not funny.  It's disgusting and degrading.)

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, Movie Review

Rating: 4.25 out of 5 stars

“Imagination is the beginning of creation. You imagine what you desire, you will what you imagine and at last you create what you will.” 

~ George Bernard Shaw

Imagination can be both a blessing and a curse.  It's a blessing to the creatives of the World, those who take what they dream and allow us a peak, blessing our lives in return.  Where would we be if J.K. Rowling, Gene Roddenberry, Walt Disney, Da Vinci, etc, never let us into their imagined Worlds?  Einstein even said, "Imagination is everything. It is the preview of life's coming attractions."

Then there's the debilitating side to having an imagination. The ability to see, but paralyzed to act.  Life is lived through the fictitious imaginings of the soul, creating a sense of false love and hope.  Existing between two lives: One open; the other silent.  Both hallow.

Walter Mitty, in the movie The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, has an imagination characterized by the second.  When Walter realizes he hasn't lived a notable life, he imagines himself flying into a building and saving a dog before explosion strikes.  Many of his zoned-out fantasies are Epic, and the special-effects/transitions in the film are equally so.

His actual life may seem mundane, but it's still rewarding, just without any taken risks.  Walter Mitty has faithfully worked for years behind-the-scenes of Life magazine, taking loving care with the photography.  It's a labor of love that he performs well, until the magazine goes out of print, and he loses frame 25 for the final cover.  Walter bravely embarks on a journey to find this missing photo, and thus learns to live.

When one door closes another opens.

I found this movie both beautiful and moving, swept away by the story and cinematography.  Rarely does a movie have great character development, and this movie has it in spades.  We travel with Walter Mitty, played perfectly by , wishing him the best, hoping he'll overcome the worst.  The supporting cast is equally strong: , , , , and .

And I have to comment on the soundtrack composed by Theodore Shapiro and José González.  I love it!!  This is one of the strongest soundtracks I've heard in a long time.  From the openning title sequence I was swept up by the music, delightfully aware, but not at all distracted.  The uplifting orchestration complimenting.

Oh, and I almost forgot!  The use of lettering and text used throughout the film was fun and creative.  Blending into the scenes in an amusing, but interesting way.

If you're in the mood for an escapist film, this movie is perfect.

. . . I love the soundtrack.  Listening to it now :0)

MPAA: Rated PG for some crude comments, language and action violence.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Sunday Balloons

 I'm glad my Mom opened her blinds when she did yesterday morning.

"Sarah!  Get up here!"


"Just come up here."

I rushed up the steps, and just in the distance there were two balloons, colors popping just above the tree line.

In less then a minute I rushed down the stairs, grabbed my phone and keys, and jetted out the door.

These pictures tell the rest of the story :0)

Keep your eyes Open.

You don't know what you'll miss.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

A Rousing Game of Hearts

If your family is cool enough to like games, which they hopefully are, then there's a favorite game you always gravitate towards.

We go through phases.  When I was a kid we played a lot of Monopoly.  There's So Many Versions!!!  You can never own too many.  Then, in my young twenties, we discovered Ticket to Ride and Pirate Dice from Pirates of the Caribbean.  Good times.  And then there was Shadows Over Camelot.  My Mom always got super competitive with that game.  Recently I discovered The Resistance, an awesome card game.  Everyone I've played the game with has LOVED it, and my parents even got really into it, making all these accusations and getting quite excited.

But out of all the games we play, there's always one we go back to: Hearts.

We played it as a family New Years Eve.  My brothers were off at a friends party, which I skipped because I was still sick (I'm finally better!!), so it was myself, Grandpa R, Aunt Tam, Mom, and Dad.  My Grandma A watched from the end of the table, amused.

We played several rounds until someone finally reached 100 points, which took us 9 turns, after which I only earned . . . 6 points!  And I miraculously "Shot the Moon" once, much to everyone's dismay. Heh.  The funny thing was I never intended to Shot the Moon, and my Grandfather even tried to spare me the Queen of Spades, which was nice, but the next round there was nothing he could do, the Queen ended up in my point pile.  I kept leading, getting hearts, until it was realized midway through that I could do it!  I could Shot the Moon!!  "She can't do it" "Does anyone have high cards?" "We have to stop her!!"

I looked at my hand: Kings, Queens, and a ten.  I could do it!  I was leading, and I did the best I could to hide my smirk.  Heh, it was pretty Epic.

Then my Dad had had enough.  He had decided earlier that day that watching Sucker Punch with the sound system boosting was the best way to spend New Years Eve.  That movie is a guys paradise --_--;;

He had 99 points, just 99 points by the 8th round, and when he saw his hand he started a great big chuckle of a laugh, convinced he could get that final point to end our game.  He bragged, but I later countered, "I can take the hit," boosting, everyone still reeling from the 26 point gift I gave in abundance.  I got 2 points that round, but my Aunt was the true hero, and mission "Prevent Dad from getting a point" was a success.

. . . 6 whole points :0)