Saturday, January 22, 2011

is that elvis or a fetus? you decide

board games are fun.  when i say board games i am referring to any game really that involves skill, knowledge, or a combination of both.  games that depend too much on the non-skill/non-knowledge based trait of luck aren't that fun.  strategy games are fun, but they generally take too long.  card games are okay, but they involve too much chance.  and last, but not least, as i'm not a mouth-breather, role playing games have never interested me that much (which is surprising considering my affinity for star wars).  accordingly, board games are my recreational non-athletic game of choice.

mostly i like board games because i'm somewhat of a seasoned professional in this arena.  i'm pretty good with trivia and all of its iterations, as well as, guessing words and giving clues for other to guess words.  i also excel at spelling frontwards, but especially backwards.  i'm so-so at charades, but my high-level of skill in the other areas makes up for it.  i would have to say, however, that my specialty is drawing.

a co-worker recently told me about a game i'd never heard of: impossible pictionary.  naturally, i was intrigued and felt somewhat challenged as nothing pictionary had ever thrown at me proved to be impossible (just ask milton bradley as they tried for years to stump me until i unofficially retired).  impossible pictionary, though...

alright, i'll bite.  what is this impossible pictionary of which you speak?

basically, it's pictionary, but you split up into boys vs. girls (always makes for a good date night to have a battle of the sexes when it comes to board games and run the risk of driving your marriage/relationship to within inches of formal dissolution) and then each team tries to come up with impossible words for the other team to draw.  the only rules are no legal or medical terms... at least in her family since everyone is a doctor or lawyer.

i requested some examples of words they have used to see if i felt it would even be worth my time to throw my hat in the ring.

so, "falafel" she says.

difficult?  maybe.

impossible?  hardly.

i started a rough sketch of how i would approach the task of drawing a falafel and was well on my way to certain masterpiece that even a blind person could have guessed before i asked for another example.  my co-worker then explained that part of the strategy is to provide a word to the other team that might be somewhat embarrassing for them to draw.

take, for instance, the word "menopause".  now even i will concede that this word could be somewhat difficult, especially if one is attempting to draw it in the presence of mixed company.  another co-worker of mine, however, didn't seem to think it would be that tough and suggested that you just draw a uterus with a ghostbuster-esque circle and line through it.

brilliant.  the genius of the masculine mind.

then again, as nice as concept as it was; one little problem: how easy is it to draw a uterus?

well, in my experience, a lot easier than one might think.

i shall explain...

to date, my record in pictionary is like a bazillion and one.  but my near spotless record hasn't always been that way.  there was a time that it was actually completely spotless and as unblemished and pure as the snow falling on the streets of salt lake city on that cursed winter night when my unbeaten record fell.

this night took place during the early days of the courtship between the blogmaster and mrs. blogmaster-to-be.  it was a seminal event in our relationship that almost led to the ruination of the budding romance between us.

as it were, mrs. blogmaster and i were engaged (not to be married... at least not yet) in a heated battle of pictionary with a couple other couples.  it was a close match with each turn counting that much more than the last one.  we may have been teetering, we have been trying to secure a lead... i don't remember;  but, what i do remember was that it was finally my turn and just as sure as casey at the plate i was ready to spark our comeback or seal the deal depending on whether we were behind or about to run away with it (memory doesn't serve).

the following is the play-by-play:

the blogmaster has selected his card and it looks like the word is "elvis".  yes, we can confirm that the word is in fact "elvis".

shouldn't be a problem for the blogmaster seeing as how he is from las vegas and has seen his fair share of elvis impersonators.  what's more, if we consider his considerable skill in sketching caricatures, this one should be in the bag for his team.

here he goes.  the timer has been turned, the sands are flowing...

looks like he is starting out slow.  taking his time focusing on the details to ensure that the drawing is clear and unmistakable.  no need to rush.

good call.  it looks like he is going with elvis in his later years: a little more portly, big hair and big sideburns... these feature being more exaggerated and identifiable with elvis should make the drawing more identifiable and easy to guess.  he is a wizard.

the hair and sideburns are in place.  looks like he's moving to the face with some thick rimmed glasses.  unreal... glasses?  who would have thunk?

no guesses yet, i think his team is waiting for the whole picture to come together just for the drama of it all.

step-by-step recreation of the drawing from an upside down view as mrs. blogmaster-to-be would have viewed it.
wait... it looks like mrs. blogmaster-to-be is mustering up a guess...

here it comes:

mrs. blogmaster-to-be: "fetus!"


crickets chirping.

did she say fetus?  did she really say that out loud?  awkward.  the blogmaster is stunned.  it's as if time has stopped.  actually, it has... the last grain of sand just slipped through the birth canal portion of the hour glass.

in all fairness to mrs. blogmaster-to-be, the hair does somewhat resemble a gelatinous fetus, but i'm afraid i've never seen a fetus wear a pair of thick-rimmed glass, hold a microphone, or wear a one piece chest hair a-blazing jump suit.  but, we'll give her the benefit of the doubt since she's looking at the picture upside down.

we can't believe our eyes.  this can't be good.  in fact, it looks like the blogmaster is expressing his frustration towards mrs. blogmaster-to-be and i think mrs. blogmaster-to-be just told him where he can stick it.  ouch.  he better keep his pie hole shut and take the loss like a man.  double awkward.  their friends are staring at them.  we're all feeling a little uncomfortable now.

end scene.

okay, so fetus and uterus are two different things, but they both end in "us" and i had to have some kind of transition from one story to the other.

bottom line is that the blogmaster still needs to learn to be a gracious loser.  luckily, he doesn't have to be gracious too often.  however, the other night we played a game (girls against boys, of course) and the girls won.  i graciously accepted defeat and admitted out loud without any hint of rancor or resentment that the ladies had won.

mrs. blogmaster was so shocked that i had conceded defeat so willingly that she grabbed a video camera in order to film me with my tail between my legs.  i gladly admitted on camera that i was actually happy and somewhat relieved to see the ladies win as it was quite possibly the first time ever in the history of cooper family get togethers that the women had defeated the men.

in fact, i was so pleased at the outcome i encouraged mrs. blogmaster's filming of the momentous occasion for posterity's sake as i had once feared our kids would never see this day... at least now it was documented and even our youngest will be able to look back on a glorious moment he is unlikely to remember or ever experience again.  mrs. blogmaster was so geeked out over the win she even put the scoresheet on the fridge for a few weeks to make sure i could remember my defeat at the hand of the ladies.

it was a great day for female board-game players everywhere.

so, in closing, how's that for gracious defeat?  maybe next time i'll talk about the ultimate frisbee football game that pretty much ruined Christmas a few years ago.  stay tuned.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

jan. 15, 2011: the blogmaster versus the mountain

editor's note: 

on january 15, 2011, jeremy cooper woke up with an uncharacteristic urge to go for a jog and scale the local neighborhood mountain.  after a period of several minutes the blogmaster did not return.  mrs. blogmaster assumed the worst and  while she was en route to the cooper's life insurance agent to inquire as to the availability of funds on the blogmaster's policy, a search and rescue team was dispatched to locate the poor soul's remains.  the blogmaster's whereabouts are still unknown, but the following words were found etched in the sand not far from something resembling the carcass of a well-dressed man.  we presume that the message can be attributable to the blogmaster as it was etched in lower case lettering.

i would ask that you begin to prepare yourselves emotionally or at least until such time as the whereabouts of mr. cooper are determined as it is quite possible that this will be the almighty blogmaster's final post.

part 1: the idea

today is saturday, january 15, 2011.  i woke up this morning with a desire to do something physical so as to make myself feel better for having eaten several pieces of pizza and a bowl of ice cream and hot fudge the night before at approximately 21:00 hours.

the thought occurred to me that i should go for a jog heading due east and attempt to scale the west face of the first mountain i ran into.  the fact that i seriously considered doing this should reveal a lot in terms of where i was at emotionally: desperate.  i am not a lover of recreational running whether it be on a treadmill, on the street or on a trail.  i hate it.  i know hate is a strong word, but to be honest, it's not strong enough to describe my sentiment of sincere despite for recreational running.

let me qualify my comment to clarify that while i do indeed hate recreational running, i am perfectly fine with running during an actual sporting event like, say, a basketball game.  running to escape a local street gang of ninjas who outnumber me in terms of bodies and superior weaponry is also acceptable; although, i generally prefer to incorporate my superior skills in the areas of stealth and subterfuge to hide right before their very eyes and, thus, preserve energy for the counter attack.

notwithstanding my disdain as noted above, i decided i needed to do something cardiovascular to get my heart rate pumping.  running seemed to be as good an option as any.  i even thought it might be fun if mrs. blogmaster joined me and we did one of those cute couples jogs, so i asked her to come along.  a swift "no" was her unflinching answer.

"why not?" i inquired.  as if anyone would ever need to give a reason for not wanting to go run just because we can.

"because i want to sleep."

part 2: the preparation

fair enough, but sleep wasn't about to stop me.  my intentions were manifest and the scaling of that mountain had now become my destiny.  as a result i slipped into some of my old basketball shoes, did some half-hearted stretching, grabbed the 3rd or 4th generation mini ipod that pretty much never gets used and headed on my way.  hence, if for nothing else, the run was good in that i was able to get some use out of our severely neglected ipod.  it's tough being an ipod these days when there's a couple iphones and an ipad in the house.

my jog had commenced.  i was ready to quit after about 50 yards,  but i showed true grit and stuck with it.  the music was a nice distraction from the boredom and pain, but someone must have created an "uninspiring songs to run to" playlist because every song that shuffled through my earphones would have been more appropriate to use as an inducing bedtime medley for the kids rather than a sir edmund hillary-esque escapade.  oh well, i wasn't about to stop to try to figure out how to change things up since stopping would almost certainly end my trek as it was unlikely i'd start up again.

thus, i persisted.

actually, the day was pretty nice and the paseo i took was empty, so, to be honest, it was a fairly pleasant experience.  i had plenty of time to think about important things... like the premise for this blog post, which is more than i've been able to do for the past couple months, so, i guess it wasn't all bad.  thing is, i hadn't hit the mountain yet.

part 3: the mountain

suddenly, i arrived at base camp some two thousand feet above sea level.  the air was thin and the climbing gods seemed to be staring me directly between the eyes.  for a minute, i could have sworn the mountain gestured a mocking smile my way as if to tease me... not unlike a pretentious austrian bodybuilder.

i gathered my equipment (read: ipod) and set a pace that seemed reasonable for accomplishing my first goal of 2011.  i commenced and made it without stopping until i reached the first switchback.  i paused momentarily there in order to gather myself mentally.  the ensuing stretch was certain to be the most difficult of the climb as it was the steepest incline i would face.  i focused and listened closely to one of jack johnson's less energetic tunes before shaking my hands a couple of times and then digging in for the final push.

"one foot after the other," i kept telling myself as i put my head down and hoped that each time i looked up i would be just steps away from my destination.  i spotted a sign at the top and made it my mark... "if i could just get there, i can make it," i thought.  the sweat was dripping, my breaths were getting shorter...

"is that aimee driving like a bat out of hell in the general direction of our life insurance agent's house?"

almost there...

wait!  what's that?

and that's where the trail goes cold, zombies.  some say the blogmaster never tasted death and merely transcended the space time continuum this morning through some strange wormhole transfer between parallel universes triggered by the uncanny, yet unsightly, body motions he was engaged in as he climbed the final pass.  others say he still roams about the valley scratching blog posts on whatever surface he can find.  

we may never know.  we can only hope.  very nice.  very nice.  but, maybe in the next world.

iinitiate the blog

iinitiate the blog