January 2 2002 RussCon Report

inside joke reference to jthm... get it?

Game Results
Meta Party Game Results
Evening's Soundtrack
20 of us played 9 games. That seems like a high ratio -- there were some long games played! Some new folks (MattL & Lale came with JeffF; Bonnie with Robby).
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Comicollage: daily ongoing comic jam with 7 artists and no planning ahead! There's a russ strip every Tuesday.


Happy New Year!

Like most folks, I liked Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings. About the worst thing I've heard anyone say about it was that it's not as good as the book and why would you make a movie out of such a complex sprawling novel? One could argue that it's quite appropriate to retell the story in other media since Tolkien was trying to create a mythology, not just a single novel (which is really just a single view of the underlying myth). Of course the book and the movie are not equivalent. Myths get retold by different people in different media, resulting in different views of the same core myth. Sure, parts of it felt underdeveloped, but nonetheless I thought they did a great job, and it sure beat the pants off previous attempts to film Tolkien's work.

Speaking of Peter Jackson, several of us saw Forgotten Silver at the Alamo Drafthouse, which was a wonderful documentary of Colin McKenzie, a pioneering New Zealand filmmaker who made the first talking film in 1908, the first color film in 1911, and filmed a 4 hour silent epic version of Salome which took many years to complete. He eventually died tragically, accidentally capturing his own wartime death on film. There was lots of cool old restored b&w footage from his silent films. The fun part is that McKenzie didn't exist, but this fictitious documentary is so cleverly done and authentic looking that many people have taken it to be real. They also showed a documentary about Peter Jackson's early filmmaking career which was quite interesting.

Dinner Rush is an interesting movie in the subgenre of restaurant movies. (Cf. Big Night, Restaurant, Cook/Thief/Wife/Lover, Tampopo, etc.) It got bonus points for having actors (John Corbett and Polly Draper) from 2 of my favorite tv series a decade ago...

Game Results

Carcassonne3Clayton 2 BobR 0 Brad -2
Streetcar3Jeffles 2 Bonnie 0 Robby -2
Samurai3JeffF 2 Lale 0 MattL -2
ModernArt5Jerrie 4 BradSmith 2 Marty 0 William -2 Steve -4
Settlers4William 3 BradSmith 1 Clayton -1 BobR -3
Tichu2( Jeffles Ben ) 1 ( Steve Whendy ) -1
Acquire5Whendy 4 RussD 2 RussW 0 Matt -2 Ben -4
Hare&Tortoise6JeffF 5 Jeffles 3 Lale 1 Marty -1 Brad -3 MattL -5
Volldampf5Matt 4 RussD 2 RussW 0 JP -2 Marty -4

Volldampf is a good (albeit long) train game, but we discovered that both times we'd been making an important rules error, flipping one less merchandise card than we should each turn. Marty left the rules with me to peruse, and luckily that was the only mistake we've been making as far as I can tell.

Meta Party Game

Here is the Meta Game I decreed for this week:

White Elephant Gift Exchange

I had never done a white elephant gift exchange until this year, when I got involved in two, and moderated both.

Since many of us probably got at least one less then optimal gift this holiday season, here's your chance to share the love and pass it on!

Players bring a wrapped unmarked gift. Around 9pm or so, we'll do the gift exchange. Each player will receive a random number from 1 to n. Then iterate:

Player i has the choice of stealing an unwrapped owned gift from some earlier player j<i, or taking a random wrapped unowned gift from the booty pile. Anyone who's been robbed can then take a random wrapped gift from the pile, or (more entertainingly) they can steal an unwrapped owned gift from anyone. Chain reactions of successive thefts are possible and good fun. A spiffy gift may well get stolen several times. No gift may be stolen more than 5 times. There is a simple ko rule: you cannot immediately steal back from the player who just stole from you.

The gift you bring doesn't have to be something you received over the holidays; it can be whatever. You could even buy something for the event if you're desperate. You are discouraged from bringing a complete garbage gift, because the Meta Devil is the player who brought the spiffiest gift -- which is of course the gift which was stolen the most times! In case of tie, there will be a vote among all present for which gift was spiffiest. To avoid any tainted appearance of conflict of interest and unseemly bribery and threats, try to keep donor identities anonymous until the Meta winning gift has been determined.

Our Most Assiduous Reader may notice that if the spiffiest gift happens to be unwrapped last from the pile, it will not get stolen at all, and so it will unjustly earn 0 meta points. If you want your gift unwrapped early, wrap it enticingly. Conversely, if you don't care about being Meta Devil and just want to get rid of some piece of crap, well, I think you're good to go.

This turned out to be quite a fun event! I did 3 white elephants recently, and this was by far the most fun. There were several boardgames (Last Chance, Rage, etc.) given, and lots of other nifty prizes, plus some wacky goofy ones such as the infamous ugly orange butt monster. I was pleased to acquire the One Ring and vow to use it for good. All the boardgames were stolen the maximum number of times (5), as were several other gifts, so a vote was held to determine the spiffiest gift. The winner was a Speed Racer action figure, donated by Matt, so Matt is the Meta Devil and will design next week's Meta Game.

Evening's Soundtrack

The Flaming Lips, Hear It Is
The Flaming Lips, Oh My Gawd!!!...
The Flaming Lips, Telepathic Surgery
The Flaming Lips, In a Priest Driven Ambulance
The Flaming Lips, Hit to Death in the Future Head

I tend to associate the Flaming Lips with New Years.


Rank ratings:
 1.0000 JeffF (2 games played)    
 1.0000 Jerrie (1)
 0.7500 Jeffles (3)
 0.6000 Whendy (2)
 0.5000 RussD (2)
 0.4286 BradSmith (2)
 0.2500 Matt (2)
 0.2000 Clayton (2)
 0.1429 William (2)
 0.1429 Lale (2)
 0.0000 RussW (2)
 0.0000 Bonnie (1)
-0.3846 Marty (3)
-0.5000 JP (1)
-0.6000 Ben (2)
-0.6000 BobR (2)
-0.7143 Brad (2)
-1.0000 MattL (2)
-1.0000 Steve (2)
-1.0000 Robby (1)
New Win ratings:
 1.0000 JeffF (2)
 1.0000 Jerrie (1)
 0.6000 Whendy (2)
 0.3750 Matt (2)
 0.2857 William (2)
 0.2500 Jeffles (3)
 0.2000 Clayton (2)
 0.0000 Ben (2)
-0.2308 Marty (3)
-0.2500 RussD (2)
-0.2500 RussW (2)
-0.2500 JP (1)
-0.2857 BradSmith (2)
-0.2857 Lale (2)
-0.2857 Brad (2)
-0.2857 MattL (2)
-0.4000 BobR (2)
-0.4000 Steve (2)
-0.5000 Bonnie (1)
-0.5000 Robby (1)
JeffF is the Devil! Jerrie pulled a Brady Maneuver -- gotta play more than one game to be the Devil. Jeffles is Vice-Devil. Whendy is Vice-Vice-Devil. Robby pulled a Reverse Brady Maneuver.


Suck's essay about crank cartoonists is a natural follow-on to last week's link to Dave Sim's crank essay about feminism.

And you can hear a MP3 recording of Bobby Fischer's radio show call-in vitriolic rant mentioned in last week's link to a Telegraph article. (Scroll down to the September 11 Phillipines link.)

Kaycee Nicole (Swenson) cancer Hoax.

The crime of distributed computing -- David McOwen is in absurdly serious legal trouble for running the distributed.net client on PCs he administered for the state of Georgia, with dubiously vague hacker laws being brought to bear.

The Lord Of The Rings as directed by Howard Hawks, starring Humphrey Bogart. (Large movie file.)

this is probably the last palindromic year we'll live to see