Category Archives: Games

Use Your Marbles: Buy a Beer Company and Learn to Ride a Bike

Normally I would share web sites via Twitter, but I have three to share – totally unrelated to each other except for mangled headline that I just came up with and didn't feel like cobbling together three Tweets.

First of all, if you happen to be looking to own a beer company – or at least part of one – here you go:  Please take note all you Pabst Blue Ribbon fans out there!

I love really clever uses of technology, and this is one of the neatest uses I've seen in a while.  A very simple concept being put to good use to teach kids how to ride bikes: Gyrobike

Last but not least, is this cool new store that is based out of Chicago but that I can see going national very easily, called Marbles.  Keeping an aging population's brain well-tuned is going to be a continuing theme for business everywhere,  and this addresses is directly. 

First Cornhole… Maybe Featherbowling Is Next?

Back in 2007, I wrote about the game "Cornhole"which I had just heard about.  Since then, it has become an ingrained part of our social life – thanks to my discovery, friends of ours created boards that have been used at numerous parties and traveled to several states.   We even had them at our wedding reception!   In addition, I've seen it show up in a lot of other places, not the least of which was seeing some pre-fab boards in the seasonal aisle of Target and Walmart this past summer.  Clearly I was onto something.

Tonight, I was sitting here watching the "Rust Belt" episode of Anthony Bourdain's show No Reservations.  During the course of the show, he visited Baltimore, Detroit and Buffalo.  While in Detroit, he visited the Cadieux Cafe, where he participated in a game of Feather Bowling

Could this be the next Cornhole?  It requires a bit more work and isn't as portable as Cornhole, but it looks like a blast.  Let me describe it: there is a what looks like a bowling alley in the floor that isn't flat, but rather is rounded, like a half pipe.  At one end is a feather sticking out of the floor – yes, a feather.  At the other end are people holding "balls" that look like squat rounds of cheese – they are rounded, but flat on each end.   Kinda like an over sized Gouda or mini Parmesan cheese wheel.

The object of the game is a bit like bocce or horseshoes: roll the ball towards the feather, and try to be the closest to the feather after all the balls have been thrown.  Like any great, addictive game, it is incredibly simple, easy to understand, but difficult to master.  I now want to travel to Detroit just to give this game a try.  If anyone has ever played it, please let me know if it is as much fun as it looks!  

Just Call Me Mr. Lugnut

I should have written this a long time ago.  I’ve already posted a review on a while ago.  I’ve been telling everyone about the game for well over a year now. 

Quelf came into our lives through a little bit of marketing when a magnet and sample card was included in an order that was shipped to my house.  I actually had already thrown it away when I said "wait, did that say ‘Ninja Monkey’ on there?" and took it back out of the trash.  Checking out the game on, it seemed perfect for my girlfriend’s family who loves board games, and in particular, Cranium.  Right from the first time we played the game, it was the craziest, funniest thing I have ever seen.   At that point I was just starting to become a true regular with Meghan’s family, but I quickly found myself trying to build a snorkel out of household items, and had to wear it the whole game.  Other people were sitting on their hands and saying strange things.

The next time I wound up with the box stuck up my shirt for most of the game.  Other things that have happened have included someone having to keep their elbow on the game board the entire game, rolling over and wailing like they were dying every time someone rolled a five and someone else having to rub her knees and say "there’s a storm a-comin’" every time someone moved backwards. 

You get the idea – this isn’t for the shy, but even if you are, you shouldn’t be worried: everyone will be acting like a fool, so you’ll fit right in.

We’re not alone in our love for the game.  A quick search on YouTube quickly reveals several results including some of people completing the cards like this and this

No Eric and Daneille, But Still Pretty Good

"Amazing Race" is probably one of the better reality shows out there, as it requires some actual skill to win and takes both participants and viewers to fascinating locals all over the world.   It is one of those shows that you might consider participating in, but that means going through auditions and taking a lot of time off from work if you even do make it on the show, with no guarantee of a reward. 

This past weekend, we participated in an urban scavenger hunt that was like the Amazing Race on a much smaller scale.  Called High Trek Adventure, it takes you through the city – in my case, Boston – trying to solve clues and using only your feet and public transportation to get to each location. 

It turned into a very fun, exciting and tiring day, but one that we’d do again.  We didn’t do too bad – we hardly won, but we found more clues than a lot of teams, including doggedly finding what was the gift of the MIT class of 1892 (flagpoles in the main quad area, in case you’re wondering).   If you want a taste of adventure without taking a leave of absence from your work, this is a great option.  It also gives you a day of great exercise (my feet are still a bit sore) and makes you see more of a city than you normally would.  I had never spent so much time walking through the back streets of Beacon Hill or the North End and saw some parts of Boston that I hadn’t explored before.  I also now know the subway system better than I ever did and after studying up for the race, I now have about a dozen new places in Boston I want to go. 

My only complaint is that I wish it had more historical locals that you had to figure out.  The clues were riddles that you had to solve to find restaurants, stores, etc.  I was hoping for more Bostonian trivia leading you to the location in question. Another company called Urban Dare offers similar experiences and seems to concentrate more on those type of questions.   

Pick a color, pick a number, pick a color, pick a number….

Do you know what this game is called?  Apparently it is a "Cootie Catcher."  A few weeks ago I went to a Hannaford’s Supermarket and picked up some materials on their new "good, better, best" star rating system for food products.   One of these was this folded contraption from grade school – I thought it was a really clever idea, since every kid plays with these things at some point.  However, we couldn’t remember how to fold it and finally came across it online.  That link above is there for anyone else trying to figure it out for whatever reason…

I Scream When I Open My Front Door Only Because I’m Practicing For When I Win

I have a dirty secret to share with everyone.  It is a dark, nasty secret and I can’t believe I am putting it out there for everyone to see… I love entering Publishers Clearing House sweepstakes.

There, I said it.

I love the crazy ways they come up with you to go looking for the right stamps to put in the right place, and how good they are making documents look official, top secret and really really important.  If I ever got something that looked like that at work and it was for real, I would be scared shitless.  I would pack my office up and leave before I opened it.

Then there is the stuff they sell.  In case you haven’t looked at a PCH (yeah, we’re down like that) entry in a while, they really don’t do magazines very much any more. Instead it is a repository of old pre-recorded VHS tapes of various country singers and spiritually-uplifting TV movies (occasionally they will have some sort of "Better Sex" video series too, which is odd), "as seen on TV" mail order stuff, no-name knock offs and items that they couldn’t even sell at Ocean State Job Lot.  One in a while they will have something marginally useful…  I got a great LED flashlight and a handy little battery storage box from them.  But that’s about it.  It has the same "hope I find a real gem" type of appeal that scouring the bargin bin does at your local thrift store.

It makes me wonder how many people have housefuls of this stuff in hopes of winning. And who those people are.  And how many of them live in fear of their trailer being picked up by a tornado.  And how much of it ends up on Ebay.

Regardless, every time I get an entry I dutifully fill out, peel, lick, and stamp everything I need to so that I too may – MAY – be winner.  Its like gambling with  39 s cent stamp. And it is more fun than hitting the slots.  Until I win, I’ll just be answering my front door with a big "OH MY GAWWWD!" just in case.