Filed under Pastimes

Free Speech?

Where does free speech cross the line? I figure if people are happy with portraying the prophet as a terrorist or with humorous depictions of the holocaust (well Iran anyway), then surely a little song celebrating a few little pieces of inert matter shouldn’t offend anyone. But then again, you never know.

If it sounds a little strange, that is because it’s a little hard to sing with tongue-in-cheek 🙂

Here is “An Ode to Boobies (Politically Incorrect)

Modern-day Skinner Box

I’ve wanted to do this picture for a while… Ever since I found myself standing in front of a vending machine and recalling the experiments whereby rats are trained to press little buttons in order to receive a ration of food. As I placed my coin in the slot, pressed the magic button, and received my sustenance, I couldn’t help but feel some small connection with our rodent friends…

Thirsty? - Press

If this image puts the allignment out…stop using Internet Explorer…Mozilla Firefox is a better browser and automatically resizes for you…

Intro

Yay…after two long nights in the making, I now have an intro. Given that I had ‘zero’ Shockwave knowledge prior to commencing the little project, I’m happy with it for now…

However, if someone has shockwave experience, maybe I could pick their brains for a minute or two about a couple of modifications (ie having a play button so that it fully loads, or having it so the skip button goes to the last frame rather than the blogpage)… any comments would be helpful, especially those with dialup…(do they exist?)

Anyways, enough dribbling. See it here Preferably with speakers 🙂

Murderball

I’ve just finished watching Murderball at the Schonell Cinemas. I thoroughly enjoyed it and recommend it to anyone who is in need of a movie hit.

24

I learnt this card game when I was 9 years old; during a rather bumpy boat trip to the outer Great Barrier Reef. My uncle Alan tought my brother, sister and I this game to take our minds off the swell and sickness. I don’t mean to post so much about cards but this one is worthy of a mention. Afterall, I still enjoy playing it 15 years later!

The game is basically a little arithmetic practice (which does not mean it can’t be fun) and suits are not important . Each card has a given value (A ->1, 2 = 2, … J=11, Q=12, K=13) and players win by using simple arithmetic (+,-,÷, x) to reach 24. Note that squaring and squareroot are not allowed in the version that I learnt.

Four cards are lined up as such…

Each card must be used once and only once in the calculation. In the example above one might multiply 6 and 4 and then multiply the answer by K -Q (13 -12 =1) to get 24…

4 x 6 x (K-Q) = 24

The first person to recognise a solution (there may be more than one), advises that they know the answer. The other player(s) may then request the person to show their solution (but often they keep trying to figure it out themselves). If the solution is correct the winner takes the trick; tricks are added up at the end to determine a winner. The way we played, if a person found a solution they continued looking for alternative answers to rub salt in the wounds of the loser…the more the better 🙂

Lastly, the more you play, the better you get (naturally). 24 becomes a game of patterns (6×4, 8×3, 12 x2 and variations of these) and about being the first to spot them (often in a manner of seconds). The most satisfying tricks are the ones that involve multiplying above 100 and then dividing back down again…

Not all tricks come to 24, so if no-one can see a result after a minute or two, odds are there isn’t one…anyways, hope you like it…

数独

How cool is sudoku?!

I have only just been introduced to the wonders of Sudoku, but I’m sure people have been loving them for ages. I merely make this post in the hope that you haven’t heard of them and will come to love them, or that you have heard of them and agree with me…

For an excellent description of Sudoku and a succinct history of its origins and rise to popularity, check out its Wikipedia entry

Cards

This is a little trick (well sort of) that a friend of ours used to do for us. He would never tell us how it was done and we were quite impressed with his apparently gifted memory.

The trick – A deck with the 52 normal cards, has one card removed by the people observing the trick. The card is kept aside until the end. You then go through the pack twice (once normally and then once faster) and then tell them which card they took out.

See if you can do it…

If you want to have a look at the method I devised (which in hindsight is not so spectacular) read on…still it might look impressive to people who have never seen it before.

Ok, so assign each card an integer value – A=1, 2=2, 3=3… J=11, Q=12, K=13.
Each suit will now have a total value of 91 (which by 4 suits gives a total of 364)

Now given that adding to 364 might get a bit tedious (especially when people are talking to you), I decided to simply count through lots of 20. Everytime you reach 20 you revert it to 0 and carry on. For example 14+9 = 23–>3+ J = 14 + 7 = 21 –> 1 +… and so on…

You will revert to zero 17 times but that is unimportant as you are only interested in the remainder (364 –>24).
When you finish going through the pack the first time you should be left with a number between 11 and 23. This number subtracted from 24 will tell you which number card you have…(eg 16 = 8, 17 =7 …)

Once you know this number you can go through the second time rapidly to ascertain the suit and voila…

Btw – try not to look like your counting, and if you feel like you’re getting lost, just take a second to straighten the pile and relax…

If anyone else has a better method, feel free to post it…

(I imagine you could just count through lots of ten as well, however, this could lead to a double up of possibilities… eg 1, 2, 3 could be either 3/K, 2/Q, A/J. It just makes it slightly tougher in the second go through.

Slosh

As a child, my family would occasionally venture up the Great Dividing Range and head to Armidale, way up on the New England tableland. The town was home to my parents as children/adolescents and the beloved home of my Grandma and Grandpa.

There were a few things that hold a special place in my memories of Armidale: autumn foliage, acorns, the teachers’ college ground, the fireplace, the lolly jar (which I would come to inherit), and the beautiful antique billiard table my grandparents owned. The table is a Herron and Smith and is 3/4 size, slate-bottom, and over 100 years old. Beautiful… As children, we were only allowed to play if we took extra special care, did not jump the cue ball, and washed our hands…

The game of choice was Slosh; or at least the McIntosh variation (which I may start to name McInslosh or Stosh, to avoid confusion)…

Slosh is basically a combination of snooker and billiards and revolves around scoring through cannons, potting and in-offs. It is played between two people and is usually the first to 100 or 200. If you are interested in learning a little more about Slosh, click here.

Slosh (old but redone)

As mentioned previously, Slosh is generally a combination of snooker (potting coloured balls) and billiards (cannons and in-offs). Players take turns to sink, cannon and in-off (keeping a running tally of his/her score) until either they fail to score or commit a foul. After adding the score of previous turns to the total and/or giving points to the opposition (foul) the next player then starts their turn.

Cannon – When the white ball strikes a coloured ball and then strikes a second coloured ball (without causing a foul stroke) then this is a cannon and is worth 2 points. N.B. only one cannon is marked per shot. The player then continues their turn after adding 2 to their running score (and any points for pots or in-offs).

Pot – This is relatively simple. Each coloured ball has a designated value and pockets within which it may be sunk. If a ball is sunk, it is respotted in the relevant position prior to the player taking their next shot.

Yellow – 2 Points – only in the 2 top pockets
Green – 3 Points – only in the 2 top pockets
Blue – 5 Points – only in the 2 middle pockets
Pink – 6 Points – any pocket
Black – 7 Points – only the 2 bottom pockets.

If a ball is sunk in the correct pocket, the score is added to the player’s tally and the ball is respotted in the correct position (see figure) prior to the player taking his/her next shot.

If a ball is sunk in the incorrect pocket, the player commits a foul and all points gained in the shot are ignored. Additionally, the player loses their turn (adding the tally of their previous turns to their total) and gives points to the opposition.

Yellow and Green – 4 Points to the Opposition
Blue (5), Pink (6), Black (7) points to the opposition.

In-off – In Slosh, a player can gain points by going in-off a ball into the correct pocket. The allowed pockets for in-offs are the same as the designated pockets of the coloured ball the cue-ball strikes first. The in-off only counts for the first ball the white ball strikes. For example, if the ball strikes blue (and then, say, green), the white ball must go in-off into one of the middle pockets. If the white ball goes in off, the ball is respotted ‘in hand’, that is, the player may place it anywhere in the ‘D’ to shoot. The white ball may not be shot backwards from the D.

Slosh Layout

FOULS – all fouls involve losing turn, not scoring the shot, and giving points to the opposition.

The red ball is termed the ‘poison ball’ and is not your friend. If you touch the red ball with the white ball you lose your turn and give 4 points to the opposition. If the red ball is sunk in any pocket the same applies (4 away).

    Other fouls:

If the white ball fails to touch any coloured ball it is a foul (4 points, loss of turn). If the person breaking (taking the first shot of the match) does not strike the black ball first it is a foul on black (7 points away, loss of turn). If a coloured ball is sunk in the wrong pocket or the white ball goes in-off in the wrong pocket it is a foul on that colour –

Foul on Green, Yellow or Red – 4 Away
Foul on Blue – 5 Away
Foul on Pink – 6 Away
Foul on Black – 7 Away

Lastly – Free shots – A player may choose to nominate the first shot of their turn as a free shot. For example, a player might do this if a coloured ball is near the entrance of the wrong pocket (and may go in during the course of the shot). The player nominates the ball to be struck and then proceeds to pot the ball in the nominated pocket. No points are awarded for the shot (a foul may still be committed). If the player sinks the ball, he or she may continue their turn. If not…tough titties. N.B. It is important to note that a player may nominate the red ball on a free shot. Naturally, no foul is committed if the white ball hits or sinks the red ball in this Situation.

A final note – my father and I used to, and still do, love to play. We had quite the heated competition for a while with daily games to 200. One night I produced the luckiest shot of my life: sinking blue, sinking pink, sinking black and then going in-off – 5 +2+6+7+5 = 25 points. A score that I dare say will not be matched again…by us punters anyways.