Saturday, July 16, 2011

Top 5 Board Games

This one will be pretty quick. Kristen's parents have been staying with us this week. They came out for a surprise visit. Saturday morning we decided that Saturday night we would hang out at the apartment and play games as we had to get up at the crack to go to Kristen's race. We were telling them about Settlers of Catan, a board game we both love but could never bring ourselves to spend 40 bucks on. Kristen's mom sounded interested and she handed us $20 bucks and said "Here, we'll contribute if you guys want to buy the game." I bounded off to the Dice Dojo, my local gaming store, and picked up a copy.

We had a great time playing. Kristen won. I came in last place. I was kind of embarrassed.

There's not much in this world that I can do competitively. Board games are one thing that I am very good at. I love them. So it would be fitting to do this list. For your consideration my.....

Top 5 Board Games

1. Scattegories

I love Scattegories. It's one of the few word games I'm actually good at. It requires outside the box thinking, a quick mind, and allows one to be clever in giving and fighting for their answers as we see in the commercial where the harpie would say to her husband as he desperately tries to sleep "Are you wearing a frown? Then I can wear a smirk."

2. Tripoli

Tripoli holds sentimental value for me. Back when I was nine or ten, my Uncle Russ and Aunt Jen arrived for Thanksgiving toting this game. I have fond memories of sitting around the table for hours playing this card game that combines poker, hearts, and gin rummy. We never played for real money, but I bet it would've been interesting if we had. Perhaps now that we're all grown ups, I'll suggest it this Thanksgiving.

3. Settlers of Catan

The game that begat the post. The object is to use strategic building and trade combined with the roll of the die to gain brick, wood, wheat, sheep, and stone and build settlements, roads, and cities on the island of Catan. The object is to get ten points anyway you can. It's a great deal of fun and I love the aspect of someone being your ally one minute and then your enemy the next.

4. Risk

This is another one that brings back fond memories. I can recall Dale teaching me how to play RISK when we were in high school and told by our Catholic school teachers that Dungeons and Dragons was not appropriate to play at lunchtime. Instead, after we'd finished eating, Dale and I would retreat to the library where there was a RISK game. We had a game that lasted over a month, playing every day, because of our constant (and arbitrary) fighting over the territories of the fabled Canada's. RISK is a constant staple of my cellphone applications and has been for years. I love you, you glorious game of World Domination.

5. Munchkin

I don't get to play this game nearly as much as I would like to. It takes a special type of person to enjoy this game because you need a passing knowledge of nerd culture and role playing games despite this actually being a roleplaying game. Basically, this is a card game where you attempt to reach ten points by killing monsters and getting treasure. Your fellow players can help you to kill monsters in exchange for sharing your treasure and they can also make it more difficult to kill monsters in order to win. It's great to see how 3 people will team up to stop one person from winning (especially when that person is Dale).

I'd love to hear what you think should be on this list. As a board game fan, I'm always looking for new suggestions. I was telling Kristen, now that we have our own Settlers game, we can go to Board game night at the Dice Dojo, grab something we've never played, and give it a try. I'm hoping that happens again soon.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Top 5 Movie Villains

There's no avoiding a tie-in with Harry Potter on a night like tonight. I went through a list of topics that I wanted to touch on that would've tied in perfectly (top 5 Phenomenons I Tried To Avoid But Was Wrong About, Top 5 Movies Based on Books), but as I sat watching the flick, I couldn't stop thinking about something that Andy Kaufman (as played by Jim Carrey) said about his idea to be a bad guy wrestler. "Everybody loves a villain." It's definitely true for me.

When I was younger, my favorite wrestlers were The Undertaker and The Model Rick Martel. Both heels. My soft spot for Batman lies (almost) entirely in my love for the Rogues Gallery of villains that come with him. Count me in with everyone else, because I love me some villains. And so, without further ado my.....

Top 5 Movie Villains

1.The Joker

It was hard for me to choose which picture to use here. Do I go Jack Nicholson (the Joker from my youth)? Caeser Romero (The other Joker from my youth)? Nah, I had to go Heath Ledger. It's definitely the definitive Joker performance. Well, until the next guy comes along because, let's face it, every time someone plays the Joker in a movie, it basically blows the last performance out of the water.

I love the Joker because he's got no moral compass. That's what makes a great villain. He doesn't want power, money, or any of the other things that motivate people to evil. He just wants chaos. I love it.

2. Voldemort

Kristen and I were lucky enough to be able to visit "The Wizarding World of Harry Potter" this past winter. We were able to cram our way into a gift shop. We were able to choose wands. She chose Dumbledore's. To me, there was no other choice. I got Voldemort's.

3. Jigsaw

Is it really even fair to call Jigsaw a villain? Sure, he's (at least partially) responsible for a lot of deaths, but if we're being honest, I'm behind his motives. He just wants to teach people to be thankful for the gift of life and stop taking everything for granted. Almost every survivor portrayed in those movies is so thankful that, at some point, he or she winds up working for Jigsaw.

I'm the guy who's watched and enjoyed all 7 Saw movies. Granted, the first one is the only won that is truly great. But they are all entertaining as hell and one day I'm going to sit down for a marathon.

4. Hannibal Lecter

Sleek, sophisticated, quick with a joke, and he eats human flesh. Hannibal Lecter is the total package of villaindom.

Fun fact: While being the most notable character in the entire film, Hannibal Lecter is only on screen a little more than 20 minutes in the whole film.

5. Garland "The Marietta Mangler" Greene

If you've been looking for that guy who truly, honestly loves the movie Con-Air, look no further. I love a quiet, unsettling creepy killer. Again, Garland is not the central villain in the movie (Honorable mention to Cyrus the Virus), but I love when Greene talks about driving through 5 states wearing his victims head as a hat. Beyond that, there's no more chilling line in this film than, while having a tea party with a 6 year old, Greene says "I am sick. There is no cure for what I have." That girl's so lucky she's still alive.

Alright internet, now's the time. Who's missing from this list?

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Top 5 Candies

I promised an adoring reader that I would try to write every day for 30 days. I think it's only fair after neglecting this blog for nigh on 3 weeks now. My apologies to my legions of fans. I hope I haven't disappointed the 6 of you too much. Anyway, here we go.

Sometimes I have really fond memories of things that turn out to not be quite as accurate in reality. Yesterday I stopped at Walgreen's before work to get some stuff for my snack drawer and as I was wandering around, I saw in the candy aisle a treat that I seemed to remember loving. Gum drops. Right below the gum drops....spice drops. Something in my head, probably that dick part of my brain that just likes to screw with me, was like "Aw man, you used to love gum drops and spice drops. Go ahead baby, have a little taste." Not being one to beg of peer pressure, I bought a bag of each and got real excited about popping some gum/spice drops in my mouth. Well let me tell you, gum drops were, at best, OK and spice drops....there just aren't words for my disappointment.

But we musn't dwell. Let's just move past this and focus on the good. With that I present to you my.....


1. Reese's Pieces

Reese's Pieces are my go to candy at the movies. I love to take a few kernels of popcorn and a few of these little guys and pop the whole thing in my mouth to have a little flavor party. They also take me back to a fond memory from about 7-8 years ago. It was Thanksgiving and all of my Milam cousins and I were sitting around the table after dinner and we got into one of the most glorious debates in history. One cousin (which one I can't recall) would says REE-SEEZ when talking about the peanut butter cup but say REE-SIZ when talking about the pieces. We had a great time debating whether or not it was acceptable to pronounce the company name two different ways when talking about two different products. I can't remember what kind of treaty we came to in the end.

2. 5th Avenue

So you're about to buy a Butterfinger huh? Did the store just not have Fifth Avenue? I refer to them as the "rich man's" Butterfinger, but in reality, they cost the same. The next time you're looking for a peanut butterey, chocolatey, crunchy treat, you should treat yourself to a Fifth Avenue instead of wasting your time with a Butterfinger or....I can barely say it.....Clark Bar.

3. Pretzel M+M's

This is kind of a new choice for me. Not really a "classic" if you will. I used to be a big fan of the Peanut Butter M+M. If you haven't noticed a trend in the previous two, I love me some peanut butter based candy. Coming in a close second for flavor profiles, salty/sweet. When the Pretzel M+M showed up on my mom's counter while I was visiting one weekend, I whooped for joy. These guys are not only great, but they are lower in fat than any other M+M. Thanks for looking out for me M+M's.

4. Chocolate Covered Potato Chips

I went back and for in my head about whether or not this counts as candy. This being the internet, I'm sure some guy will leave a comment like "Argg. Thatz not candi bro. ePiC fAiL!!!!" I don't care though. Chocolate covered potato chips are a big winner for me. Welcome to the list fella's.

5. Mo's Bacon Bar

This is kind of a special treat for me because that little bar of chocolate, no bigger than your average Hershey bar, is 7 GODDAMNED DOLLARS!!!!! Of course, it's Chicago. It's from a boutique choclatier. It's all fancy and it is really tasty. You're looking at dark chocolate with sea salt and bits of applewood smoked bacon in it. The idea to some people of bacon in chocolate is g-ross, but I'm telling you, give it a try and you won't be sorry. Even if you don't like it, you can say you've had an adventure.

So as always, let's here your picks for favorite candy. God willing, I'll be back tomorrow with another list.