e.phemera: The Z List Dead List

Regular visitors to this site may be aware that I do a weekly(ish) podcast with Iszi Lawrence called Sundays Supplement.

Well, Iszi has just started doing a new podcast, and this one has production values, famous guests, narrative, music, and an actual point. In fact, it’s really rather marvelous, and you should definitely listen to it. And I know which guests she has coming up in the near future, and it will blow your mind.

Visit the website here.

Or subscribe via iTunes here.

Or just listen to the latest episode right here, right now.

Will you be remembered when you're dead?

Will you be remembered when you’re dead?

Thought Vomit #180: ft. Not So Bored Games

I’ve been playing a lot of board games recently.

I mean, I’ve been doing a lot of writing recently, and when I get the chance, I like to unwind with some dice, some meeples, and a score track of some kind. Here are some of the better ones that have made the table, and I recommend you seek them out and play them immediately.

Suburbia

Suburbia

Suburbia

This city building tile laying game by Ted Alspach is by far my most favourite thing at the moment, and I don’t know why, other than it’s really good fun to expand your suburb, watch others keep an eye on the shared goals, and try and guess what their secret private goals are. There’s even a really great app version of it too.

Drum Roll

Drum Roll

Drum Roll

One of the prettiest and best worker placement games I’ve played in a while, it looks awesome on the table, and the theme is excellent (you build a CIRCUS). I find myself smiling whenever I play it, and underneath it all there’s a tight, taut, strategy game to be found.

Love Letter

This micro game features only a handful of cards, but it’s endlessly playable, and an excellent filler for two or more players whenever you have a short gap to fill between more meaty affairs.

Qwirkle

Qwirkle

Qwirkle

I wanted something I could play with the family, and this is one of the better ones I’ve found. It’s like Scrabble, but with coloured tiles and symbols, and provides a lot of fun, and looks great as you play it. Very little downtime between turns too.

Wits & Wagers: Family Edition

Trivia games always run the risk of alienating people who feel they don;t have the requisite knowledge to play them, so the Wits & Wagers series side steps this, and makes the competition about guessing (edumacated or otherwise).

Simple to play, fun and often funny.

Puerto Rico

This one’s been on my wishlist for a long time now, and I finally got hold of a copy (thanks to a lovely present), and I wasn’t disappointed. I tried to explain the game play to everyone, and failed, putting them off, and so we came back to it later, and I did a better job, and I ended up really enjoying the role-taking, and how quickly it moved surprised me.

Pagoda

Pagoda

Pagoda

And beautiful and elegant game this one, as two players compete to build pagodas in the middle of the table. Easy to teach, it’s surprisingly tactical, and what’s more, watching the pagodas grow is delightful.

Mai Star

From the same designer as Love Letter comes this oddly themes card game, which I enjoyed more than I thought I would. Another quick playing, but surprisingly deep one this.

A Fool’s Fortune

I’m going to give this one a few more plays before I make up my mind, because it feels like it could be a really excellent game this, and I want it to be. It just has a steep learning curve, mitigated brilliantly by the stages of play built in to the rules, but it’s still a lot to get your head round in the meantime.

About Writing: Taxi is Hi-De-Hi

I’ve just finished watching Hi-De-Hi on DVD, and it occurred to me that it’s the same sitcom as Taxi.

That might sound daft to your ears, but bear with me. When I say it’s the same sitcom, I mean that’s it’s the same situation used to fuel the comedy.

The basic premise of both shows is this: aspiring people doing a job to pay the bills in the hope of making it big. Everyone wants to be a success in their own field (a boxer, an actor, a comedian, a yellow coat), and they are using the taxi company, or the holiday camp, as a stop gap or stepping stone.

Hi De Hi

Hi De Hi

It’s interesting how this basic premise can give rise to two very different shows, and a big handful of very different characters. Latka is a million miles from Ted Bovis, and Peggy Ollerenshaw is half a world away from Louie de Palma. But in the mix you have the same archetypes, there to add layers – you’ve got the cynics who are passed it, the wide-eyed youths with their eyes on the horizon, and the person at the centre who holds it all together – Ted Bovis and Alex Rieger.

It just goes to show how different shows can sprout from the same basic roots.

Taxi

Taxi

Thought Vomit #179: ft. A Better Bacon Sandwich

Be honest, it’s something you’ve known for a long time now, deep down, but you don’t want to admit it to yourself.

Bacon sandwiches just aren’t as nice as they used to be.

And each time you bite into another disappointing one, you wonder why they just don’t taste as good as they used to; and in an effort to recapture that lost moment of a perfect bacon butty, you’ve been striving to make it better – artisan bread, more expensive, cured, free-range, hand-massaged bacon that’s been rubbed on a Nun’s buttock. And nothing you do, no mater how hard you try, nothing brings back that old taste you crave every time you bite into the latest disappointment.

Fear not; for the answer to your trouble is here; it’s always been here.

Yes, you can recapture that wonderful moment when you chomp down and moan in pleasure as you realise, that this, this one, this bacon sandwich, is the thing you’ve been missing all these years.

And the whole thing is counter-intuitive.

Don’t go for better ingredients.

Go for worse.

Streaky bacon, fried (not grilled), until the rind is crisp. Soft, cheap bread, and lashings of butter.

You’ll never go back*.

(*not a bacon pun)

The Pig Ferret

The Pig Ferret