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2005-02-02 RussCon Report

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explosion of sticks by jeffles and russ15 of us played 8 games!

My birthday is this week, so thanks Whendy for the creative birthday cake! The hole which held a cup with pens was a surreal touch which baffled many viewers and confounded the critics, but daring avant-garde art always causes confusion when it first appears. I think it was a ground-breaking work whose full significance will only be realized with the passage of time. I was expecting a groundhog in the hole, though, since it was Groundhog Day!

Speaking of high art, Jeffles and I created our first collaborative artwork in my backyard earlier that day. It is inspired by Andy Goldsworthy, who creates natural sculptures and whose work can currently be seen at the Austin Museum of Art (823 Congress) along with the documentary film Rivers and Tides. I call this piece "Explosion of Sticks." Further photos of it may be browsed here. Truly it is a glorious work of great energy. We are pondering group art projects for the Flipside in May. If somebody has a good quality color printer and can print the first photo in the gallery for us to put on the art museum's "Austin Responds" wall with the other Austinite's Goldsworthyesque photos, let me know - that'd be groovy.

Tim has graciously taken the notebook with last week's meta game story and may type it in for everyone's enjoyment. Stay tuned.

Thanks SarahM for the hot glue gun action which repaired the broken coaster.

Spanish: 2pm Sunday at Texspresso Anderson is the weekly basic informal Spanish RussCon study group...

Peace: Eyes Wide Open is a touring exhibit about the human costs of the war in Iraq which will be coming to Austin in mid-February, and looks like an interesting opportunity to volunteer helping set up and take down the exhibit. Here is the info I have received (note that I don't know who the contact person "me" is):

February 15-17 a wonderful exhibit will come to Austin - to the Peace Grove at Zilker Park: Eyes Wide Open - Beyond Fear - Towards Hope, An Exhibition of the Iraq War. This exhibition has been traveling the country. It is comprised of over 1,300 pairs of empty combat boots, tagged with the names of U.S. soldiers who died in the Iraq war, together with a 24 foot wall of names and incidents identifying Iraqi civilian deaths.

Many of us have longed for a way to publicly witness the on-going destruction without further polarizing those who support the war and those of us who don't. In short, a way to bring us all together to grieve the losses of these precious lives who wanted nothing more than to serve their country and, like all of us, to simply live the life we've been given.

The Buddhist Peace Fellowship is a co-sponsor of the exhibit. We will be leading walking meditations through the field of boots - formally on Wednesday evening at the opening and informally, during the day on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. More information will follow on the exact times.

There are three ways you can help this exhibit a success.

1. We need several hundred volunteers during these three days. Most volunteers will be needed on Tuesday, Feb 15th in the morning, to set up the boots and then again on Thursday in the late afternoon to take the boots down. There is also a need for volunteers during the day all three days. If you can volunteer to help, please send me your name and the times you have available and I'll pass them on to the volunteer coordinator.

2. We need donations to help pay for the expense of bringing the exhibit. Tax-exempt donations may be made to Austin Center for Peace and Justice and mail to ACPJ, 5801 Westminster Drive, Austin, Texas 78723.

3. Help us spread the word about the exhibit. Send notices out to elists, post notices in public places where you go, make announcements at meetings you attend, etc.

Game Results

PassThePigs4RussW 3 Marty 1 Whendy -1 Clayton -3
Tichu2( Tim Ben ) 1 ( KevinU MarkH ) -1
PuertoRico5Fina 4 Marty 2 RussW -1 Whendy -1 Clayton -4
Tichu2( SarahM William ) 1 ( Shari JP ) -1
6Nimmt5Fina 4 Whendy 2 Clayton 0 Marty -2 Tim -4
CarcassonneCity4KevinU 3 PJ 1 MarkH -1 ToddG -3
Cartagena5Tim 4 Fina 2 Clayton 0 Whendy -2 RussW -4
FearsomeFloors5KevinU 4 William 2 SarahM -2 ToddG -2 PJ -2

I had not played Pass The Pigs before, so I had no idea of the rich range of strategy and exquisite tactics which this subtle game of pig-tossing provides to the skilled player. No, wait, that's some other game. But hey, the little rubber pigs are kind of cute, and I won, so I won't complain!

Puerto Rico and Cartagena were the only Spanish-themed games which were recorded. I was hoping for a game of San Juan or Ferrocarriles Pampas (which hasn't been played since 1999-06-30, for pete's sake!) too, but oh well.

Fearsome Floors is the American version of Finstere Flure (which was played once a year ago). Each player is trying to get his group of dudes to escape a horrific castle with a homicidal monster wandering about. It seems to remind many people of Ghost party mixed with RoboRally since you're fleeing the supernatural horror while moving tactically on a square grid, interacting with others, and it has oilslicks, I mean bloodslicks. I enjoyed it a year ago and always wondered why we didn't play it more. Glad to see it returned in a new guise. There was some interest in the computer version rumored by the rules to be available at


Rank Ratings:       
 3.9120 Fina
 2.3026 KevinU
 1.3863 William
 0.6931 Tim
 0.6931 Ben
 0.4055 Marty
 0.1823 SarahM
-0.1054 PJ
-0.5108 RussW
-0.6931 JP
-0.6931 Shari
-0.6931 Whendy
-1.0987 MarkH
-1.8971 ToddG
-2.9957 Clayton
Win Ratings:
 2.9957 Fina won 2 of 3
 2.3026 KevinU won 2 of 3
 2.0794 Tim won 2 of 3
 0.9400 RussW won 1 of 3
 0.6931 Ben won 1 of 1
 0.4700 William won 1 of 2
 0.4700 SarahM won 1 of 2
-0.5108 PJ won 0 of 2
-0.5108 ToddG won 0 of 2
-0.6931 JP won 0 of 1
-0.6931 Shari won 0 of 1
-0.7340 Marty won 0 of 3
-0.9571 Whendy won 0 of 4
-0.9571 Clayton won 0 of 4
-0.9808 MarkH won 0 of 2

Fina is the Devil! KevinU is Vice-Devil! Then Tim and William.

If you are confused how the ratings work, you could peruse the FAQ.

I used GraphViz to generate the graph image.

devil graph

Meta Game

I won last week's Meta Game and designed the following Meta Game.

Since I started learning Spanish, the Meta Game will feature Spanish. Earn a meta point each time you play a game with any of these properties:

1. It takes place in a Spanish-speaking place (the fact that someone probably speaks Spanish in Iceland does not make Iceland a Spanish-speaking place)

2. It has a Spanish title (which is intended to be Spanish, not which is in another language but coincidentally happens to be a Spanish phrase too)

3. Its official published rules in the set you play with include a Spanish translation

The Meta Devil will be chosen randomly, lottery style (your chance of winning is proportional to the number of meta points earned).

Scoring was easy since only two qualifying games (Puerto Rico and Cartagena) were played. 2 meta points were earned by Clayton, Fina, RussW, Whendy. 1 was earned by Marty and Tim. A total of 10 lottery tickets thus exist. Random selection reveals that Fina is the Meta Devil and will design next week's Meta Game!

Evening's Soundtrack

Carlos Saura's Carmen, original motion picture soundtrack
Evita, premiere American recording
Huayucaltia, Horizontes
Inti-Illimani, Imagination
Inti-Illimani, Leyenda

Another of those pesky meta themes.

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