To begin with, I have decided, in a fit of creative energy to split my livejournaling into parts. First is this, which remains a general repository for musings, news, links, thoughts about life, writing, chronicling of assorted events and so on. However, ballroom and art (defined loosely as any sort of project involving creative production of a product) constitute big enough parts of my life that it seems to me that they deserve their own space. So, in a fit of shameless self-promotion, here are links to the two other mostly public projects.
1. The ballroom blog: spinningsteps. For all things ballroom-related, and therefore probably more of interest to ballroom types.
2. The art blog: lesnympheas. Image intensive. You have been warned.
Where it seems appropriate and relevant, entries may be cross-posted. I have a third project going that was born around the same time as these other two, but it is friends-locked, being of a rather private and personal nature. If you're interested, ask. ;-)
Enough with the business.
Tonight was games night at shallwedance_'s place. We began by playing "Ticket to Ride: Europe," a strategy board game. The basic idea is that you are given "missions" to get trains from one point to another and there are a whole bunch of rules about how trains can be placed and so on. You earn points for laying down track and for accomplishing these missions, and at the end of the game, he who has the most points wins. I came in second, which I thought was quite good, given that I'd never played before and I don't consider myself particularly brilliant at strategy games.
But. I really enjoyed this one... in part because it had a good balance of strategy and luck (unlike games like Risk, which err too much on the side of luck and not enough on the side of strategy, in my opinion), and in part because I have realized that I don't like games where other people can directly attack me. In this one, people could get in my way... and I suppose really skilled players could strategize more toward blocking other players than furthering their own agendas. But really, playing by such a strategy is more easily counterproductive than helpful in this game. And while someone may take a piece of track or card that you wanted/needed, generally there are ways to work around it.
I am comparing this experience, mentally, to my last experience playing a strategy game, which was Lord of the Rings RISK back in December. I remember that experience sending me to the bathroom in tears... which was related to a lot of things -- stress, hormones, etc. I really wanted to avoid board games after that, but I think some of that was because of how poorly I was doing and the general atmosphere of game playing. That game, because Mom and I were playing with my brother, who basically makes a living playing strategy games of various kinds and really didn't remember, despite our pleas, how to go to a gentle teaching/learning the game rules mode. So the atmosphere felt tense and competitive... and created a situation in which I wasn't able to be a very good loser and was losing badly... which meant I felt hurt and frustrated with every attack. Today's atmosphere felt nothing like that... it had the kind of fun competitiveness that comes with playing games where there is certainly a winner, but the atmosphere was focused on being together and having everybody enjoy the game and learn the game. It was fun. I'd kind of forgotten that these games can be fun, probably because I have a really strong competitive streak in my personality, and going into a game and knowing early on that I will lose and then just playing it out to see how badly I will lose isn't fun. And this wasn't like that.
So, after "Ticket to Ride," we decided to simplify things by playing a rather elaborate card game called "Bang." The rules are apparently somewhat like "Mafia" which I had also never played, so that analogy wasn't too helpful to me. But perhaps it will help someone.
In any case, Krish and I, as the "outlaws" won the game.
And the evening concluded with a lovely game of "Apples to Apples," which is always fun, and all the moreso when played with a group of interesting people because some of the matches people make are so very very funny.
It was a good night.
Oh. And Cheeseboard pizza is a most tasty variety of pizza. Today's pizza (they only make one kind per day) was corn, red bell peppers, onions, mozzerella, goat cheese, garlic olive oil and cilantro. Generally, I don't care for peppers or onions, but the way they were made and incorporated into this pizza made everything work very nicely. So, I guess that there are circumstances that could entice me to like foods I normally find distasteful, and this pizza was one of them. I see why so many people recommend this restaraunt -- it is certainly a place to which I shall return.