Sunday, March 18, 2012

#70 - Photos worth displaying

When I look at my list of challenges, I see several recurring themes.  One is photography.  I've always been fascinated by pictures  - the ones my parents had in albums and slide reels growing up, the weird snapshots I took with my first 110 camera that I got for Christmas when I was in 5th grade, the moody ones that my sister Janet took while pursuing her art major in college...  

However, other than a 2 minute introduction (put the film here, press this button to take the shot, here's how to adjust the focus) to a totally manual 35mm SLR when I was editor of my high school yearbook, I've never had any sort of formal instruction.  I could tell that some of the photos I took were rotten and others better, but I didn't know why.  A few on each roll of film were what I considered good.  And, about every 5 rolls of film, I took something better than good - more or less by accident.  So, this goal was about finding 10 photos that I'd be proud to tell friends that I took. (I'm also working on a distance learning course in professional photography with the New York Institute of Photography to try to make my photos more consistently turn out the way that I want for goal #41).

When I started working on this goal, I purchased ten frames (8x10" size) in a neutral dull silver color to fill as I went.  When I was working on redoing my bathroom, I decided that was the perfect location to display my "frame-worthy" shots.  All ten frames are now full, and I will probably end up buying a few more frames (there's still some wall space) to put up.  I plan to switch photos in and out of the frames as my mood takes me (I've got eight extras right now that didn't quite make the cut).  And here's what's currently in the frames ...
Hyde Park rose - taken 10/16/10, London

Medieval staircase at V&A Museum - taken 10/16/10, London

St Paul's Cathedral - taken 10/15/10, London

The back side of the parliament buildings - taken 10/17/10, London

Steps to cabin - taken 4/29/11, near Burntside Lake

Sunset - taken 7/6/11, Burntside Lake

Senor Iguana - taken 2/18/12, Tulum

Jaguar siesta - taken 2/20/12, Xcaret

Lifeguard station just after sunrise - taken 2/17/12, Playa Del Carmen

Scarlet Macaw pair - taken 2/20/12, Xcaret

Plus one that isn't on the wall simply because I didn't like how it looked with the color of the frame.
Underground waterfall - taken 2/20/12, Xcaret

Sunday, March 11, 2012

#61 - Game Nights

The beautiful inlaid game table that my Dad made for me a few years ago.  Each of my siblings has one as well; they all have different woods (mine uses lilac, cherry, walnut & others) and an unique design.

I've always liked playing board games; however, when I was young, I was at a decided disadvantage in playing with my family since my siblings were all significantly older than me.  Since we lived out of town, I didn't have the impromptu marathon Monopoly tournaments that I've heard city kids talk about.  But, I do remember going through a phase where I would play all of the tokens myself since everyone else was busy ... my favorite color generally won.
Word game night as everyone gets introduced to the rules of Quiddler
Gaming with my family has changed as my siblings had kids, and I was no longer always the youngest one at the table - definitely a disadvantage in playing something like Trivial Pursuit. My favorite family game is Canasta, but it's also the game where I have the hardest time being a gracious loser! My least favorite game that my family regularly plays is Nine Hole Golf; I find it incredibly tedious.
Some choices for the dice games theme

In high school, my group of friends played games fairly regularly.  One of the guys always had the latest ones ... thanks, Barry, for introducing me to Outburst, Encore, and many others I still love ... as well as Pictionary which I still find incredibly frustrating!
Clue players with their favorite murder weapon - from the night of traditional board games

As an adult, I kept collecting games as gifts at the holidays.  However, when I was working on my DayZero list, I hadn't had a regular opponent for several years, and I missed the friendly competition.  So, the idea of game night began...
Card game choices

I invited a mixed group of friends, but, from the first night, it's turned into a "girls night out" event.  The mix of people has been a little different each time.  I had to reschedule some from last summer due to my major house projects.  It's pretty clear to me that I have a couple of friends that are really there to play the games and the others are there more to have a night out; however, I think that everyone is having a good time.
The ending board of Wit's End - notice how Nina (the winner) is in the center and the rest of us were still on the outer edges!

Since I own so many games, I gave each night a theme.  Thus far, we've had: card games, dice games, gambling games, games for two players, games of wits, party games, tile games, traditional board games, trivia games, and word games.  The theme approach seems to work pretty well; I have a stack of 5-6 games on the table when people get there, we choose one to play first, and sometimes we move on to a second choice as the evening progresses.  If there's a theme that someone really doesn't like, they know in advance and can make other plans for that night - I have the feeling that next month's "music games" theme may be sparsely attended as people fear they may need to sing.
The ending spread of Qwirkle on tile game night

Although I have my favorites, it's been fun to take out some things from my cabinet that I haven't played for a long time.  And, if you're looking for something new to try, here's a few of my favorites:
  • Bananagrams - it's like Scrabble with ADD
  • Fluxx - pay attention, the rules change ... comes in many different quirky varieties
  • Dicecapades - who can not love a game that includes 100 dice and has mental, trivia, and physical challenges
  • Trivial Pursuit - but only the first two editions where Arts & Literature is still a full category
  • Sequence - both strategy and luck needed to win
  • Wit's End - it's hard, you need to know trivia, but it's also got some interesting lateral thinking and riddles involved

Some of my game collection.  Notice that they no longer all fit into the space I designed for them 10 years ago.