I was doing this “Power Pose” exercise, but my wife told me to knock it off and take the trash down to the curb.

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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?

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.

I am surprised to have survived the whole Valentine’s Day thing this year.

What happened was, I procrastinated as usual. Went to Safeway after work, and there was another pathetic schlub already frowning at the few remaining cards. Having already gotten Teresa jewelry, I just grabbed some generic heart-shaped box of candy, and selected what I thought was a cute card, which featured Pepe Le Pew, the incurably romantic, possibly French skunk, who falls in love with a cat who somehow manages to get white paint down her back. I was never sure whether he thought she was a skunk, or just had a thing for this cat.

But I digress. Got to the checkstand, and happened to mention there was “Slim Pickings” in the card department. She looks at my card, looks at me, and deadpans; “There weren’t very many cards to choose from, so you got her this one. With a skunk on it.”

My initial reaction was to expound upon the romantic virtues of Pepe Le Pew, but this clerk is of a younger generation, and she was unconvinced.

At least I didn’t get her this box of chocolates with a whale on it; It seems somehow inappropriate. poorly conceived Valentine's chocolate packaging

super8camera Since seeing Ferris Bueller’s Day Off in it’s initial theatrical release, so many years ago, I refuse to leave the theater until the screen goes blank for at least two minutes, or the lights go up. This is very annoying to my wife, if she had her way, we would probably have to leave five minutes BEFORE the credits, to “beat the traffic”, a strange concept indeed.

Many movies reward me for my patience; in the 2001 film Ghost World There’s a bit after the credits where Steve Buscemi’s character gets to defeat the clerk in the convenience store altercation. Obviously filmed for a gag, not an alternate scene; but you can tell Buscemi enjoyed it.

Last summer’s Super 8 showed the Super 8 movie the kids in the film were working on, but not until after the lengthy credits. Yet many people left during the credits and missed it entirely. They also wasted most of their popcorn.

What are your favorite post-credit scenes?

We had a mild disagreement here, about the trick or treaters. We had multiple kids dressed as Spiderman, and also multiple kids in Batman costumes. Teresa said we had “Spidermen” and “Batmen”. I contend that it should be “Spidermans” and “Batmans” because they are each dressing as a certain character. Maybe if they were dressed as snow people, they could be “snowmen”- Unless they were dressed as a specific snowman, such as “Frosty™”

I mean, if you had multiple kids dressed as Hugh Jackman, they wouldn’t be Hugh Jackmen, right?

Turned to Google for a consensus on this issue, but there is none. The comics tend to use “Spidermen” and “Batmen” on story lines where they get cloned or whatever, but I don’t think DC Comics would be the ultimate authority on grammer.

Some guy in a forum post summed it up nicely: “Superman is not a man that’s super. He’s Superman.”


Novelty mystery grab bagWife-mandated reference to our business: Teresa has pointed out that this blog is supposed to be a part of our business strategy, not just a place for me to bloviate* about superhero grammar. So from here on out most of these posts will at minimum include a WMBR (Wife Mandated Business Reference).

Today’s WMBR; I don’t get why we don’t sell more of our “grab bags”. I just added all manner of fun stuff to the grab bag bin. You get a heaping helping of craptacular fun for just $3!

* She didn’t actually say “bloviate” – I am paraphrasing. I don’t really recall exactly what she was saying, something along the lines of blah blah blah blah