Crunchy Nut Man Crunchy Nut Man– Kellogg’s has just created a new purported superhero. I’m a little skeptical. What exactly are his superpowers? Does it have something to do with that spoon on his forehead? What is his kryptonite? Who is his nemesis, maybe Ham and Eggs Man? Toast Girl?

I could scan it with my cellphone, but I suspect that I will be as disappointed as Ralphie with his secret decoder ring.

The cereal is delicious, and doesn’t hurt the roof of my mouth like the product endorsed by the other crunch-based cereal mascot, who shall remain nameless… because he does not exist in the Kellogg’s superhero universe.

LuckyCap36SQ200When I was a kid, I had “too many sisters” and thus was relegated to the eastern end of the large room in the basement, the rest of the room was occupied by a gargantuan billiard table. That was OK until friends & family came over to shoot pool until the wee hours. I made the best of it, I moved my dresser and bookshelf to what I judged to be the “property line”, but my mother or somebody would move it back against the wall while I was gone with the Schwinn.

One fun thing, there was Lucky beer, although I had no taste for it, I loved the puzzles inside the caps. Got to thinking about that, and consulted Mr. Google- Lo and behold, there are collectors. I found this awesome cap-trading site. This notation was especially touching;

On Feb. 26,2012, Skip from Kent, WA bought a Lucky cap, #36. “Easy come, easy go.” His friend who shared puzzle caps with him has died. His buddy was such a fan of the puzzles and always known to have a six-pack nearby for more puzzles to be solved. Skip wants this cap for this time of remembering.

My friend Mario passed away a while back, I can see how Skip would find some comfort in a little thing like that. But I’m getting maudlin*. Check out the complete set of Beer-cap Rebus puzzles at JokeLibrary.net. We are not affiliated with that site, we just like them.

* If I ever have a goth daughter, I am going to name her Maude Lynn.

Parkside Elementary Seattle Class of 1967 rules

Parkside Elementary Seattle Class of 1967 rules

I guess this is the class of 1967, for picture day I got your basic buzz cut (Dad had a flat top! And I don’t mean that in a good way) – Girls on the other hand… That girl behind me, either her mother is a hair stylist or she got set back four grades. I’m surprised that she’s not smoking in this picture.

Bejeweled, a new addition to game night.

Bejeweled, a new addition to game night.

So we got the new “Bejeweled” board game, based on the computer and cellphone game we all know and love. We needed something new for board game night, after the harrowing “Monopoly” incident where a giant cat wiped out an entire row of new hotels and houses.

The game instructions are simple, unfortunately I relied on someone else to read them aloud, misunderstood the rules, and was “playing it wrong” for a few turns. I had to give back several of my “coins” to compensate for my ill-gotten gains, which ultimately cost me the game.

The game is well built, the sliding jewels are large and colorful. They look like leftover props from “Land of the Lost”. The only drawback would be the tiny “coins”, which remind me of bingo markers from a struggling inner-city church. They could have made large, thick tokens, and really wowed the customer, without driving the cost up too much; imprinting them with ads for gaming products from “Hasbro”, “Electronic Arts”, “Popcap” and whatever other outfit they are in cahoots with.

The game did come with a product key to get a full PC version of “Bejeweled 3”, I downloaded it and soon had unlocked the “Bejeweled Poker” game, which I am completely addicted to already. That alone is worth a good chunk of the purchase price, I paid $19.99 at Amazon.

One thing about Amazon, sometimes if you look at something but don’t buy it, they will send you an ad with a cheaper price in a few days. I don’t know if that would work on this new and presumably popular board game, just thought I should mention it.

I WISH tape recorders were only seven bucks.

I WISH tape recorders were only seven bucks.

I always had to have a reel-to-reel tape recorder to monkey with, when I was a kid. These became a little scarce with the advent of cassette tapes, but you could still get the little reels of tape for them at Radio Shack. They were much preferable to cassettes, because you could slow them down with your finger, or otherwise tweak them.

I was fascinated by all the little rollers and plastic gears. Electronics just don’t have that smell of industrial lubricant and extruded plastic these days, and I kind of miss it. When my son was little I took apart the VCR we had because an Army Man was keeping the tape carriage from moving, but it just wasn’t the same. Maybe they use different lubricant these days.

Sleeping Mask for Manly Men

I just realized that sometimes my sleep mask looks like a bra.

Since I work a graveyard shift, I wear a sleep mask to block out the light, and to absorb some of the sweat from the night terrors. It’s not optional; I can’t sleep without it. Teresa won’t let me tinfoil the window; even though it faces the back yard. I don’t care if the squirrels think I’m running a meth lab up here*.

Unfortunately, the strap has begun to chafe my ear. I was stewing about this, and started to think of ways to keep the strap off my ear, yet retaining comfort. It came to me in a flash of insight; TAMPONS. Attach one to the inside of the strap on either side of my ear. I assume they come in various sizes.

Is there a less emasculating alternative? Maybe I can make little camo covers for them, Or just say, “They’re not tampons! They’re Cranium Support Cylinders!”

* Just as long as they don’t think I’m a nut. Ha!

I got a tournament-approved Monopoly “Speed Die” from a guy on ebay, we started a game using this third die today. Not sure if we will vote to use it in the future.

The speed die does one of four things, three of them good but the last one very bad!

  1. If the SD shows a one, two or three, you just add that to the other dice and move that much further. Good for getting back around to GO a little faster, I guess.
  2. If the SD shows a bus, you have more options where to stop; For example, if the regular dice show a one and a six, you can move one space, or six, or all seven. Unfortunately, this slows the game a bit as players evaluate their movement options.
  3. If the SD rolls a “Monopoly Man” aka Mr. Moneybags, and if there are unsold properties, after you take your regular move, you advance to the next unowned property. This would seem to speed up the game, but actually we have to go through a roll call every time; “Connecticut! Who owns it? Saint Charles- Does anybody own it?”
  4. If the SD rolls a “Monopoly Man” and all 28 properties are owned, then after you take your regular move, you advance to the next opponent’s property and pay rent; This could mean paying rent two, or even three times in one turn, if you rolled doubles twice and were especially unlucky. It speeds the process of eliminating players, but I don’t like the “piling on” aspect of it. Am I just not ruthless enough?

We recently saw a documentary on Netflix about tournament Monopoly players, and it inspired us to dust off the old Monopoly board, seeing as how is was miserable out and all four of us were home.

The idea was to come up with some house rules that make it easier and more fun to play, without compromising the ability to bankrupt opponents, and without tilting it too far away from “skill” and toward “luck”. We were only partially successful. Here are the rules that got a majority vote.

(NOTE: Rules were modified a bit after I got a tournament-approved “speed die” from a dude on ebay)

GENERAL GAME PLAY:

#1. Added a “real estate agent” and a “General Contractor”. The banker only handles money, other people deal out property deeds and buildings. This doesn’t seem to affect game play, or does it? Isn’t the banker who handles everything going to be a bit distracted?

#2. NO ONES. We eliminated the $1 bills and rounded up all rent totals. This eliminated one of my big objections to playing Monopoly, too much time spent “making change”.

#3. NO JAILHOUSE LANDLORDS. We decided that people in jail with Jake don’t have anyone on the outside to manage their financial affairs, so no rent collecting, no trading, they are incommunicado. It makes about as much sense as the regular Monopoly rule that doesn’t let you collect rent on mortgaged property. Just think what a rule like that would do to Donald Trump! Our “No Jailhouse Landlords” rule also discourages hiding in jail to avoid PAYING rent.

BONUS CASH: I am generally against bonus cash rules but I always get outvoted. Hence these house rules;

#4. Free Parking starts at zero, but Chance fines and jail fees, etc. get put in the free parking zone. What is this teaching the children?

#5. They also made a rule where you get an extra $100 for landing directly on GO. I was outnumbered.

PROPERTIES:

#6. The title cards get shuffled and each player gets 3 random properties “From a rich uncle who dies” at the start of the game. I am lobbying to get this thrown out. There are only 28 properties to be had, I think using the speed die gets the properties distributed quickly enough.

#7. The very last property gets thrown in the FREE PARKING pile. I successfully got this house rule thrown out, because it conflicts with the speed die instructions.

#8. Mortgages are interest-free, thanks to an imaginary stimulus program.

#9.Build anything. I grow weary of fussing with all the houses, so until I find some old Monopoly sets with wooden houses at a thrift store, glue the houses together to form duplexes, triplexes, and four-unit apartment buildings, “uneven building” is OK- You can have 2 empty lots and a hotel. That’s how it works in real life.

#10. Since we have multiple sets of buildings, there will be unlimited housing stock; but if you have to sell them back to the bank, it’s still at half price.

ROLLING DOUBLES:

If someone lands on a rental property on doubles, they have to pay rent. We tried the “But I wasn’t staying the night!” rule, it slows the game down. #11. There are unlimited doubles with no penalty. I think rolling doubles three times in a row constitutes “speeding” and there should be an option to just pay a $50 fine where you stand, or optionally go to jail. Too many people trotting off to jail gives a slight advantage to purple and orange property owners. (My son says: “All of a sudden you’re smarter than the Parker Brothers?”)

… So those are our new house rules, what are yours?

We had this video made for our old site, now it’s just RestlessMouse.com, no “that” in front. I dug it out as sort of a new year inspiration.

My tradition new year inspiration, is of course, Spike Jones:

Having two people with insomnia* makes it worse. Last night, about 2:30, my wife pulls out her favorite Austin Powers quote, saying, “I’ve got a whole bag of “Shhh” with your name on it!”

I can’t leave it alone; “Well, I have the carton from the “Shhh” company, with one bag missing.”

So she goes the easy route; “I have the truckload of “Shhh” with one carton missing.”

“Well, I run** the factory that makes “Shhh” and we are going to file a police report on the truck.”

“I own the company that owns the factory, and you’re fired.”

I am getting sort of ticked off now. “Yeah, well your “Shhh” must not be any good, because I’m still talking!”…. …. “And some of the workers are going to sue for reverse hearing damage!”

But she was already asleep. *Gilligan; “… And not only that; I can’t sleep!” ** I made a fatal error here.