Archive for the ‘Games’ Category

Service of Rip Van Winkle: Where Have I Been?

Monday, October 30th, 2023

A child in bubble wrap.

Every once in a while I wonder, “where have you been, jb?” I’ve not budged from the most populous city in the country that many consider a trendsetter yet I’ve fallen behind and it’s time to catch up.

I’ll start with talking styles that irk

When I first heard Valley girl talk years ago I cringed and still do, though thank goodness its popularity has greatly faded. You know what I mean: at the end of sentences the pitch of the speaker’s voice jumps higher, forming a question mark. It’s also referred to as “uptalk.”

Only recently did I learn the name of a speaking style that I find even worse– “vocal fry.” I notice it most among women in their 20s and 30s. They lower their voices to achieve a gravely, creaky sound. It’s unattractive to me and achieves the reaction of nails on a blackboard but I suspect they think it sounds sexy. To quote a friend “it gives me the willies.”

This is whack

Do you know what that means? I won’t make you guess though it means what it sounds like it might—something or someone is crazy, unappealing or abnormal.

What about looking fly? If I said that to you would you smile?

Definition: Looking stylish or good.

Helicopter, Snowplow and Bubble-Wrap Parents

Even if you don’t know a helicopter parent, you may well have heard the term as it’s been around for quite a while. Under the same umbrella are snowplow and bubble-wrap parents I’ve not heard those descriptions in conversation.

According to Graham C.L. Davey, Ph.D. in an article in psychologytoday.com, snowplow parents are “the overprotective ones who ‘plow’ onwards before their child, removing everything in life that might be a potential obstacle before their child encounters them.”

His article was about parenting styles that fuel anxiety. “Well, maybe parents who swathe their children in protective bubble-wrap do have a lot to answer for when it comes to their offspring’s anxieties. We’ve known for decades that anxiety seems to run in families, with over 80 percent of parents of children with anxiety problems exhibiting significant levels of anxiety themselves.”

Coffee Badging

Here’s another term new to me. Google it and you’ll read from tech.co/news that it “refers to the practice of showing up at your physical workplace to interact with coworkers just long enough to establish that you showed up, before leaving to get your real work done from home.”

Any terms or concepts you’ve discovered lately? Were you familiar with these?

Service of Jeopardy: Predictable Behavior of Men and Women

Thursday, December 15th, 2022

I’m a relative newcomer to Jeopardy. Nevertheless, in the time I’ve watched, I’ve noticed a few things about the winners, mostly men. The behavior of men and women parallels the dynamics of some in business.

All competitors are smart and probably know many of the answers but on the show, women often lack confidence and are less aggressive. [There are exceptions of course.] They are often slow to respond and some wait for countless questions asked and answered before entering the game.

Women are also timid to declare they know the answer before it has popped into their minds. The men who often win take a risk that the answer will come to them before time’s up, so they are consistently first to press the buzzer giving them the chance to answer. I noticed this when contestant Cris Pannullo played. During 21 wins, he’d often buzz first and then he’d think/hesitate a moment before responding.

Men also are more courageous and confident to go all the way money-wise when they hit Double Jeopardy, often propelling them to a significant game-winning lead. Women appear gobsmacked by missing a question where men seem unphased and jump right back in the game with gusto.

Men also often head immediately for the highest stake questions–$1,000 or $2,000—while women generally shoot for the $200/$400 ones.

Do you find it ironic or not surprising that the game reflects the give and take within many a team of men and women in the workplace?

Service of Bribing Ourselves to Face the Music

Thursday, November 10th, 2022


Image by PublicDomainPictures from Pixabay 

Parents use what one friend calls the “reward system” to persuade offspring to attack a chore. Some dog owners constantly give treats to inspire pups to perform as trained.

Because into every life some rain is forecast many bribe themselves to help face a scary doctor visit or medical procedure; a meeting with a contentious client; a call to customer service at a big business to adjust a mistake or to pay a dreaded visit to an annoying person.

I sometimes do.

I love paper products. When Kate’s Paperie was in business, I noticed a branch of this beloved paper store [long out of business] on the way to a scary medical test and I said to myself, “If you survive this MRI, think of the fun you’ll have visiting the store afterwards.” [If I took tranquilizers, this would have been the moment and I suspect they would have been far more effective to calm me than my promised retail incentive.]

Upside down at a grueling dental appointment yesterday I said to myself “New episodes of The Crown on Netflix launch today!”

When I mentioned to a friend that there will be travel for a nervous-making reason in my future to a hard-to-reach part of town–I avoid subways and am allergic to $30 cab/Uber rides–she made a winning suggestion. She said: “find a great bakery in the vicinity to treat yourself afterwards.” PERFECT idea. I was as happy as a four-year-old on the eve of her birthday.

Do you play such psychological games?


Image by Omerlavon from Pixabay 

Service of Irritating Add-On Charges

Monday, February 7th, 2022

I don’t mind some add-ons such as the five cent deposit on cans and bottles or the cost of a grocery bag if I leave behind one of my many totes–which rarely happens.

Well publicized airline surcharges must annoy many. Pick a price and cover things like booking–whether on the phone, in person or online; accept carry on luggage; serve peanuts, pretzels and a soft drink to everyone; lend a pillow or blanket and let people choose the seat they want. Stop adding charges for the small stuff. It’s petty. The approach makes me think the company would buy subpar fuel or skip aircraft maintenance steps to save a few more dollars.

I am bombarded with surcharges by my New York Times digital subscription. I think “gotcha” when I click on an article about a recipe and read about its background and click to see the ingredients list and instructions only to read I must first subscribe to the cooking section. It costs $5 every four weeks or $40/year. There are some free recipes but not for the one I’ve been bamboozled into reading. Then there’s the extra cost to see the “Wirecutter” recommendations.  I understand you must also pay for many of the games like the crossword puzzle. Just charge me a few dollars more on my digital subscription and stop hitting me left and right because I feel taken and will look elsewhere for the information kept from me. The paper featured mulligatawny soup over the weekend. I had an amazing bowl in Addis Ababa and never as good since. I’ll check out other recipes on the web.

The add-on is more subtle in this example. Two adults and two children went to the movies last Saturday afternoon in a Chicago suburb. The tickets cost $34. Two small popcorn, two small boxes of candy, one small drink and two cheese sticks cost $52. My goodness.

Are there add-on charges that irritate you and any you think are valid and are glad to pay?

Service of Fraternity Behavior During a Pandemic: The Winner Loses

Monday, July 13th, 2020

Some adults never grow up. That can be good if they keep the enthusiasm of discovery and optimism of youth and discard the foolhardy aspects.

When I first heard about covid parties I thought “fraternity behavior.”  The winner of a Covid-19 party is the first person to become infected by the virus after one sick person joins a room full of healthy ones. The “honor” often comes with cash if each guest puts money in a pot for the prize.

The tragedy is that a 30 year old died of coronavirus contracted at such a party. “‘He didn’t really believe, he thought the disease was a hoax. He thought he was young and he was invincible and wouldn’t get affected by the disease,’ [Dr. Jane] Appleby told KSAT.” Dr. Appleby is chief medical officer at Methodist Hospital in San Antonio.

The concept of such a party is nothing new–just the winner who loses part is. In my 20s I was invited to parties that took place on winter Fridays after work where each couple put money in a pot to cover the cost of a weekend for two on a tropical island–flight and hotel paid for by the money collected. Couples with kids made arrangements for their care should they win. There was a drawing early enough in the evening for the winners to get to the airport with a small satchel filled with summer clothes that they’d brought with them. The losers stayed to enjoy the rest of the party.

How can the message about the dangers of a pandemic get so lost and misunderstood? Did covid party goers not notice sheltering at home that must have happened for some reason? Or how it has impacted their lives and the economy? I’ve witnessed apathy about politics with acquaintances throughout my life but ignoring or dismissing this virus as no biggie would be like going on a tap water diet before Flint Michigan addressed the poison coming out of its faucets.

Service of the Legacy of Passionate Hobbies

Thursday, May 23rd, 2019

My family was besotted by The New York Times Sunday crossword puzzle and bridge. I was interested in neither and that’s never changed. I’d cringe when someone would ask: “What’s a five letter word for X?”

However, I have always had plants, like my dad. In fact, I have a third cousin of a dracaena that he nurtured since the 1960s and an asparagus fern that was his. [He died in 1985.] The fern thrived in the country. I had to split it in two for the move and I’m resuscitating it in its new home. I also play a lot of solitaire on my computer either during long conference calls or as a quick break. My dad played with cards almost every night.

When I recently asked a friend, who lives in a house in the suburbs, what flowers she’d planted in her garden this spring she said “none.” Her mother was a zealous gardener. She thought her lack of interest in flowers may have been related. She works on the Times‘ Sunday puzzle, she said, something her father also finished weekly.

I mentioned all this to another friend who shared a different twist. Her mother was an expert knitter who made countless magnificent, complicated Irish knit baby sweaters. After her husband–my friend’s father–died she stopped cold. Eventually my friend asked her why she didn’t knit anymore and her mother replied, “I don’t know how.”

Are hobby choices as much psychological as they are related to a person’s druthers and abilities? Do you share hobbies with a parent? Have you turned away from or added a hobby?

Service of Adults Competing in Games That Children Play

Thursday, May 2nd, 2019

Many sports are played by kids which adults adopt and turn into big stakes competitions–think basketball, soccer, baseball, hockey, football, skiing or skating. We don’t think of table games as making such a transition but Scott Simon on “Weekend Edition Saturday” addressed one. He interviewed two men–Larry Kahn and David Lockwood for the segment “Not Just Child’s Play: World Tiddlywinks Champions Reclaim Their Glory.”

Lockwood told Simon “‘Tiddlywinks is not what you did when you were 5 years old. Tournament tiddlywinks is a fascinating combination of physical skill at a micro level and positional strategy.’

“Probability, physics and dexterity rule the game.”

Simon reported that the 19th century game, launched in England as an adult parlor game, got its own tournament at Cambridge University in 1955. In addition to Cambridge University, the professional tournament players hail mostly from MIT and Oxford. Lockwood and Kahn were at MIT in the 1970s where they joined their college team.

One of the challenges for the players today is that the winks are hard if not impossible to come by. Manufacturers aren’t making them. These players fashion their own by sanding down spice jar lids. They pin their hopes on 3-D printing that, once affordable, they anticipate will streamline the process.

So what happened: Did the Lockwood-Kahn team win in Cambridge? If you paid attention to the title of the article in the first paragraph you’d know that they are this year’s champions! While the two like to win they claim that the friendships they make at the tournaments are most important to them.

Lockwood said: “If you get a modicum of success, you’re more frequently willing to continue to play, but it’s also a very frustrating game because you miss these things that you’ve made so many times in the past.”

I’ve heard people say the same thing about all sorts of sports from golf to basketball—haven’t you? Aren’t most sports—with exceptions such as golf, which is expensive, and curling, which isn’t readily available–first played by children? Do you play traditional board or table games anymore? Are the friends you’ve made at your sport as important to you as winning? Do you play computer games? Are the benefits the same?

Service of Hidden Talent & Passion—Just Look Around You!

Monday, December 24th, 2018

I’m in awe of the talents and interests of people I know that stretch well beyond their day jobs. Here’s a preliminary list:

Elizabeth, a former newspaper reporter and office administrator whose dance card is currently filled with countless charitable projects is also a master bridge player.

Martha, who owns a Boston art gallery, speaks Italian, Greek, Portuguese, French and Japanese. She is also a news junkie.

Homer, a retired international banker, has been a skilled genealogist for 40+ years with several books under his belt. He has also become a talented and inspired cook.

Barbara, a retired physical therapist, is an accomplished baker and an expert at all things stitch-related from cross and tailoring to a range of crafts.

Nancie, one of her industry’s crack publicists, is the first to know about and attend blockbuster exhibitions, cultural, sports and fun events in NYC and around the globe.

Marketing and communications specialist Erica is a culture vulture. You’ll see her weekly in theaters and at concerts, ballets, movie houses and exhibitions.

Daniel is an administrator, pet caretaker and actor.

Edward, auto body shop owner, is active in local politics, an avid Facebook poster and remodeler of distressed properties.

David, the principal of his PR agency, is a jazz aficionado.

Josh, an IT-expert, has many passions in addition to his day job. He is also a photographer, [photo above], and amateur radio operator whose fascination covers  trains, especially subways.

Can you add to this list of remarkable people? How do they find time to work while nurturing their other talents and interests?

Service of Losing to Win Time: Do Kids Benefit?

Monday, April 23rd, 2018

Five years ago I wrote about toys and board games “light,” called “snack toys” by the industry because they are rigged to take less time for parents to play with their children than traditional Monopoly, Parcheesi and other games. Time continues to be a premium along with patience.

Today some parents cheat so their kids will win quickly or turn to technology to accelerate the process. Greg Bensinger wrote in The Wall Street Journal that parents “are palming cards, strategically adding pieces when the children aren’t looking and sometimes outright lying. Not without irony, some parents have used technology to make games go faster.”

In “Parents Rig Board Games To Lose Faster,” Bensinger reported that “Sales of games and puzzles in the U.S. grew 27% between 2015 and last year, hitting $2.09 billion, according to NPD Group Inc., far outpacing sales growth for all toys.”

Data analyst Ethan Markowitz’s son can’t get enough of Chutes and Ladders. He “says there are nine ladders and 10 chutes, ‘which means a bias toward losing.’ So he programmed a simulation of 10,000 two-player games, which showed the dreariness could last as many as 146 turns. His solution was to tape a new ladder to the board between space 47 and 72. That lowered the longest game to 110 moves.”

Another father, Barry Wise, president of a data analytics company, “suggests eliminating the longest chute, spanning square 87 to 24.” He “ran his own simulations of the popular games 200,000 times.” Wise recommends “avoiding Candy Land, with its 3.4% chance of running longer than 75 moves (compared with 0.76% for Chutes and Ladders), or eliminating the rule of sending pieces backward.”

One mother in the article hesitates to let her daughter win all the time as it doesn’t prepare her for life, though she admits to “miscounting spaces” to her daughter’s advantage to get the game to end sooner. Another told her teenage kids that she’d cheated when they were small, hiding the best cards and giving them to each during the game. She resorted to this because otherwise the “one quick game before bed” lasted endlessly so she felt forced to find a shortcut. Her kids don’t let her forget it.

“Hasbro Inc. plans this June to release a Cheaters Edition of Monopoly….The new edition will reward players who can, say, move a rival’s piece without notice or collect rent for an opponent’s property.” The impetus for this version wrote the reporter: More than half of respondents to a survey admitted to cheating at the game.

According to Bensinger, Candy Land “stands apart as the patron saint of board-game monotony.” Hasbro encourages people to change the rules as they see fit.

When you were a kid, what were your favorite games? Did you play mostly with your parents, siblings or friends? Do you think adults have always cheated to end games faster or to let a child win? Did you cheat when playing with kids? Do you think you should always let a kid win or only sometimes? Are you surprised at the resurgence of popularity of traditional games?

Service of How Much Will You Do to Win a Prize?

Thursday, May 5th, 2016

It’s fun to win a prize which is why raffles are so popular, lucrative for charities and an easy way to gather business cards at events, at retail, restaurants and other businesses. It’s one thing to pull out a card from wallet or handbag and another to work for the prize. The question is, how hard will you try?

Coupon

A friend hoped to receive a $75 coupon from a major retailer. First she posted something about the brand and the offer on Facebook; next she sent it to 15 friends and after doing that, learned she had to share it with groups. She wrote, “That’s when I gave up.”

Survey

After a major or minor purchase I’m willing to fill out a survey and several times have stopped after only a few questions, even if there’s promise of a major prize for one of the respondents. I’m happy to share my impressions of a product or service, and to provide additional comments to flesh out why I clicked 10 or one to indicate “great” or “lousy.” Here’s my limit: I don’t want my personal information flying around the Internet any more than it already does, nor do I want to land in that brand’s metadata pool to receive every advert popup it deems perfect for me. Ask me my income, age, weight and lock me on that question so I can’t move to the next one if I don’t respond, and you’ve lost me.

Game

A grocery store I go to on occasional Saturdays was conducting a Monopoly game. You’d be given tiny pieces to stick on the game board depending on how much you bought. It was easy to match the pieces to the board while watching TV. I never came close to winning any of the many prizes as most of the new pieces duplicated ones I already had. I never bought anything I didn’t need in order to get more pieces so the store and I came out even: neither won. The game–the first I remember playing–was over this week.

Have you received generous coupons for completing tasks or won any of the prizes online surveys tempt you with, or stopped when you didn’t like the personal information survey takers asked for or won a grocery store game? How much will you do to win a prize or do you never bother? Do you think survey takers care less about how you rate their products and really want to know more about their customers?

Get This Blog Emailed to You:
Enter your Email


Preview | Powered by FeedBlitz