10

Oh, the Card of Humanity

Wow, a daytime post!

I could only sleep from 3-7 last night, which sucked. Actually, life has been sucking a lot lately, but last night at the end-of-semester ballroom dance party, I played Cards Against Humanity for the first time ever, and it was awesome. There were about 10 people playing to 4 black cards, and I won. For those who don’t know, it’s basically a crazier, dirtier, more politically incorrect version of Apples to Apples, another favorite game of mine. I just about died laughing while playing, and apparently people got my sense of humor, because I won after about only 15 rounds.

Here were my winning answers (in bold):

1. I never truly understood dry heaving until I encountered Britney Spears at 55.

2. A romantic, candlelit dinner would be incomplete without a bigger, blacker dick.

3. In a pinch, masturbation can be a good substitute for guys who don’t call.

And finally,

4. Life for American Indians was forever changed when the White Man introduced them to take-backsies.

Voila, we have a winner!

And now, lunch and writing, or something like that.

But first two milestones:

Meet my 900th follower, all the way from Madison, Wisconsin, Holly from Holly Recommends. Thanks, Holly!

And also, every continent visited before noon! Yay! High fives to North America (USA and Canada), South America (Colombia and Brazil), Europe (UK, Germany, Montenegro, Ireland, and Poland), Asia (UAE, Turkey, and Philippines), Africa (Kenya) and Oceania (Australia)!

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13

Five Years of Words

A few weeks ago, I was checking my stats on Words With Friends and saw that I started playing on April 11, 2010. So, five years later, here’s where my life has been, along with 26 words I like to use, one for each member of the alphabet.

Games played: around 5,953, give or take a few.

My all time score: 737, 925.

Longest win streak 32 games in a row.

Highest score: 656.

And now, for the words:

AOUDAD

What it is: A type of sheep found North Africa. It comes from French and Berber, specifically the Berber word udad, meaning “ram.”

Used in a sentence: What a lovely sweater you have there; is it aoudad fur?

BAHT

What it is: The currency of Thailand. It comes from Thai, obviously and refers to a weight.

Used in a sentence: Good lord, Enid, what did you buy in that river market in Phuket that cost twelve million baht?

COHO

What it is: A type of salmon. Its origin is unknown.

Used in a sentence: If you take a hooker out to dinner, order coho for the ho and a bottle of rum.

DJIN or DJINN

What it is: A figure in Islamic mythology, and the inspiration for Robin Williams’ character in Aladdin. Language of origin is Arabic.

Used in a sentence: Were I a djin, I’d want my home to be a bottle of gin.

EDH

What it is: A rune, to stand in for the “th” sound in Old English.

Used in a sentence: There is no funny way to use edh in a sentence.

FEIJOA

What it is: A South American shrub, also known as pineapple guava. Named for Joao da Silva Feijo.

Used in a sentence: I wouldn’t go near that feijoa smoothie if I were you.

GRIOT

What it is: A member of an African tribe whose job it is to tell stories. Originated from French and Portuguese.

Used in a sentence: “Tell us another one, griot,” said Tommy, “before our lands are gone.”

HAEN

What it is: Past tense of “have,” in Scottish.

Used in a sentence: “Oh mother Mary,” said Oona, “I haen no more wool to make the tartans.”

INIA

What it is: A type of river dolphin found in South America.

Used in a sentence: You won’t find no inia in West Virginia.

JUGA or JUGAL

What it is: Of or relating to the jugum (another good word), also known as the cheekbone. From Latin.

Used in a sentence: After Peter’s wife came to prison for a conjugal visit and he went to sleep, she and his cellmate Pedro had a con jugal visit of their own. (Oh oh, see what I did there?)

KARST

What it is: An underground limestone chamber. It comes from German.

Used in a sentence: After Brunhilda slipped and fell in the Alps, she was afraid she was cursed to remain in the karst forever.

LWEI

What it is: Another fun money word, this time from Angola.

Used in a sentence: Holy cannoli, Camilla, what did you buy from that arms dealer in Luanda that cost twelve million lwei?

MAQUI

What it is: A shrub grown in Chile and southern California. Comes from Spanish and Araucanian.

Used in a sentence: In Southern California, sometimes they cut the maqui into the shape of a famous mouse.

NAOS or NAOI

What it is: The inner sanctum of a temple in Greece. Greek origin, obviously.

Used in a sentence: “Oh no,” said Aphrodite, “I think I left my blouse in the naos!”

OBIA or OBEAH

What it is: A form of sorcery practiced mostly in the West Indies. The word claims roots from “Gullah, Jamaican English, Guyanan English, Sranan, Twi and Igbo.” Quite a pedigree for such a small word.

Used in a sentence: If you were scared of sorcery, would that mean you had obiaphobia?

PHAGE

What it is: A shortened form of a biology term, like “bacteriophage.”

Used in a sentence: Mitosis is just two cells going through a phage.

QADI

What it is: A judge in a Muslim community. From Arabic.

Used in a sentence: Abdul was hoping to be reassigned to a courthouse in a town near an oasis, so he could be the first qadi in the wadi.

RINGHALS

What it is: A highly venomous snake from Africa, and Afrikaans.

Used in a sentence: The ringhals is so deadly that it is its own plural.

SAUTOIR

What it is: Well, it’s obviously from French, and it’s a ribbon tied around your neck, sometimes with a pendant.

Used in a sentence: Isabelle refused to let her daughter out of the house unless her sautoir was straight.

THERIACA

What it is: A fancy name for treacle.  Latin/Greek origins.

Used in a sentence: Who uses theriaca in cooking anymore?

UREA

What it is: A compound in urine. Either comes from French or Greek.

Used in a sentence: Urea is a great way to end a game, and I resisted the urge to make a pee joke.

VOXEL

What it is: Something to do with medical coding. I don’t know, it’s late.

Used in a sentence: I have never seen a voxel.

WOOMERA

What it is: A notched stick used by Australian Aborigines as a hunting spear. From Dharuk.

Used in a sentence: “Crikey,” said Kyle, “I think I hit a wallaby with my woomera!”

XYST

What it is: A tree-covered promenade or path. From Latin/Greek.

Used in a sentence: Without a good xyst, I think we would cease to exist.

YESHIVA

What it is: An Orthodox Jewish educational institution. Okay, I admit, I put this in for personal reasons but I have used it successfully and even as a plural. It’s Hebrew, if you couldn’t tell.

Used in a sentence: “They’ll never find me here,” giggled Sister Mary-Celine Dion, as she ducked into the yeshiva, thinking to herself that this was the best game of hide-and-seek the convent ever had.

ZAS

What it is: Shortening of “pizzas.”

Used in a sentence: Passover is done so GIVE ME ALL THE ZAS.

That was not as fun as I thought it would be to type but I hope y’all enjoyed it. Good night, sleep tight, don’t let the aoudads bite.

0

Halfway Point For Some

Today is my dad’s half-birthday.

Half-birthdays are weird; it’s kind of funny to think that tomorrow you will officially be closer to your next age than your current one.

Speaking of halfway points, this past weekend I headed to Milwaukee to pick up WeKache, then to Beaver Dam for the 2014 Cache and Release Challenge. For this event, 30 brand new caches were planted in Beaver Dam. 63 teams from all over Wisconsin showed up for a chance to find them and win prizes. We arrived only minutes before the event started; by the time we had our map ready, everyone had scattered. With WeKache driving, we found 15 of the 30 caches before 5 PM, not too bad.

Most were relatively easy, but we attempted two of the three puzzles and came through victorious, with help. We met up with a father/daughter team and combined clues which took us to an empty parking lot. We were about to give up when we see them drive up, letting us know that they had gotten some numbers wrong and gave us the correct info. We followed them to the real site (or what we thought was the real site) and searched fruitlessly for 15 minutes when a team all in purple showed up, heading in a different direction. We followed them, and the daughter spotted the cache. The second puzzle involved a cryptogram, which we cracked pretty easily. We spent about 15 minutes searching on our own, before seeing another group arrive and joining with them. The coordinates that the cryptogram led to were in the middle of some slippery rocks in a small grove of trees. I was leery of climbing them, but as soon as we walked up to the grove of trees about four other cars full of teams showed up and all of a sudden there were no less than twenty pairs of eyes looking. I was tired, so I hung back and watched while someone else found it and passed it around. My 1800th find was our 12th find of the day, a bottle attached to a plank of wood in the ground with a decoy cache nearby. Heh.

By 4:30, we were tired and thirsty, so we called it quits and headed to the cafe for the prize raffle. We had each received a raffle ticket for attending, then 1 ticket for every 5 caches (we got 3 each; the max was 6 for all 30, which 7 teams got!). Even though I lost my original ticket, one of the first tickets called was one of mine, then moments later, one belonging to WeKache…and then it happened again! 40 prizes were given out, as well as several cash prizes. All told, 4 of our 7 tickets were prize winners, so much so that the prize table staffers started calling me by name. WeKache let me pick all 4 prizes to share between us, so we ended up with a starter geocaching kit (which went to me), an orange ID badge holder (me again), a beer stein painted with a panoramic view of the pavilion at Swan Park, where we had been earlier (that went to him), and a cookbook set, 2 books (which I took) and a recipe card box (which he took). We spent the rest of the afternoon getting to know a married couple team from Devil’s Lake and a family team from West Bend.

All in all, it was exhausting but fun. I told WeKache that it felt like we were tokens/avatars in a giant board game with the town of Beaver Dam as our map, and he agreed.

Finally, speaking of halfway, I half (whoops, I mean have) several half-finished posts to complete, which I will link here when I’m finished. Off I go!

0

My WordStrips Addiction Is No Longer Fiction

I was up way too late the other night but I beat this month’s WordStrips high score, not that it matters.

I need a life.

I need a life.

Yes, just over two thousand points for the word “MADE.” I’m glad I made this screenshot at that moment, because I knocked myself out the next round after being a one letter move away from making “MESA.”

Oh, and big welcomes to Namibia and Zimbabwe, who made their way here for the first time. Come back and bring friends.

0

Wicked Game

To start, bienvenidos to my first-ever visitors from Paraguay and Bolivia…ole!

For one of my classes this week, we were given the assignment to go on a website about languages and find three links of value to the rest of the class. Easy enough, right? But then, out of the mist of the wild Internet, it appeared…

The Games Section.

I am a complete sucker when it comes to online games. Actually, games in general. I will play for hours and hours and hours, not only trying to get a better high-score, but to figure out how to beat the game. And if the game involves words, even better. A girl in my grade in high school once told me that I wasn’t fun to play games with anymore because I would always figure out how to win, and then do that every time. Didn’t work out so well for her, but hey, that’s the game.

Anyway, one of my sections was about improving one’s English grammar (http://www.roadtogrammar.com), and it included a games section with not one, but SIX addicting games.

Four of them were kind of duds, though. The game called MERGE is your basic doublet game, in which the player is given two four letter words and must change one letter at a time to connect them, like lamb-limb-lime-mime-mine or whatever. The one called FLUENT is sort of a general English challenge and is pretty easy, although for a couple of answers I disagreed, which tripped me up. WORD SLAMM [sic] involves flying letters, and making a Scrabble play out of them; a good concept, but poorly designed and executed. WORD SEARCH is mostly just your basic word search with a Minesweeper-esque twist, where if you click a letter that is not a part of any word, it costs you a life.

The two that were complete time-slaying demons:

CHOPPED and WORD STRIPS

Let’s start with CHOPPED, the lesser of the two offenders.

In this game, you’re given a sequence of ten letters, and must “chop” off letters (without rearranging them) in order to make a word, the longer the better. The concept is easy enough, but if you think “oh, I’ll just pick out the five letter word right off the bat, then you’ll lose. You get bonus points for five-letter words or more, but usually I ended up with only three- and four-letter words.

Then, onto the time-waster of the day, WORD STRIPS.

Again, a simple concept, but made increasingly harder by time, stress, and the infrequency of vowels. There are four strips of five letters each, and you can slide them up or down to make a four letter word in the center row. There is also a little red indicator on the side to see what letters you have in the center row. It also automatically stops when a four-letter word is formed; so sometimes it will stop you from trying to make, say, “stop” when you have “atop” or “shop” in the boxes, which is a time saver. Sometimes the four letters in the center row will already be a word, so just click on it and your work is done. Others are much harder, with lots of j’s and q’s and x’s in the mix, as well as a paucity of vowels.

So, strategies. There are a few, but none are completely fail safe.

First, you can look at all the letters before moving the sliders, then when you see the word, just move the strips and you’re done. However, when time is a factor, sometimes your eyes dart to the clock rather than making words.

Second, there’s the vowel pattern strategy. If you see a pattern of consonant-vowel-consonant-vowel, especially when there is an e at the end, just line up the second vowel and the final vowel and play with the consonants until you get a match. When the second letter is a and the last is e, there are endless combinations to make it a four letter word. In this paragraph, there are two: “LINE” and “MAKE.”

Third, there’s the “make it plural” strategy. Due to the sheer number of three letter words, when you have an s in the fourth position, it’s inevitable that the three preceding letters will make some word.

Most of all, don’t waste time looking for fancy words. This is not Scrabble, you don’t have that kind of time. Sure, a few times I ended up with “QAID,” “AMYL,” and “SOYA,” but that was because I saw absolutely nothing else.

My personal high score is 984.

There went several hours of my life, and probably several more in the future.

I’m toast.