Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Spirit of the Dance

Tal and I went to see Spirit of the Dance last night. I've always wanted to see Riverdance or Lord of the Dance, but when Lord of the Dance had come to Israel previously, tickets were too expensive. Usually tickets for SotD are too expensive as well, but I snagged us two tickets on Groupon, a site I've now used many times.

I was expecting SotD to be much like RD or LotD, and it was mostly. But SotD also adds Flamenco and some American street dancing, as well as dance tunes stolen from classic musicals, like "I've Got Rhythm" and "Can Can". It was highly inspiring - not in the sense that I now want to devote my life to dancing, but in the sense that it's great to see professional performers in their art at the top of their game. They danced beautifully, and the sets and lighting were also nice. I was carried away for two hours. The hand dancing at the end was particularly entertaining.

There were some oddities with the performance, however.

Regarding the costuming, on two occasions the women were wearing a lot less then the men for no apparent reason (it didn't fit the scene). At one point they borrowed costumes from what looked like 1920s MGM musicals, with the big fat white feather fans and everything. Weird. I was expecting something more modern and more Irish the whole way through.

The location and organization of the event, Hangar 11 in Port Tel Aviv, was somewhat a balagan (big mess). The lines to pick up your tickets were amorphous at best, and they rummaged through piles of pre-written envelopes for your tickets. The envelopes started alphabetically sorted, but that didn't last long. Seats were pre-assigned. They could have simply handed out tickets as they went to people in exchange for proof of purchase, without the alphabetizing and without the pre-assignment.

There was a series of waiting rooms to get into the place: first at the gate, then at the entrance to a tent like structure, then to the building, and then to walk around the stadium-like stands (you entered from the back of the stands and then turned around to climb up to your seats if you were seated in the stands). There were also many rows of seats in front of the stands, stretching out to the stage. The seats between the stands and the stage had no numbers or row numbers. The seats in the stands had seat numbers but the row numbers were printed on the stairs between two rows, so no one knew whether the "32" written on the stairs referred to the row of seats in front of it or just past it. Everyone muddled with their seats, right up until the lights went down.

I thought Stomp was better, but this was still a lovely event, one I wish I could repeat more often.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Raanana, Jerusalem, Shabbat sessions

Ellis in Raanana: Endeavor. I taught the game. We also played two games of Water Lily after Ellis left, which is a simple and quick kids game because of the theme and components (or a simple abstract game otherwise).

Nadine in Jerusalem: Nile, Puerto Rico, It's Alive!, Egizia, R-eco. They also looked at Fungibility.

On shabbat I had a family over for lunch. They are home-schoolers, and so play more games than the typical family, including several Family Pastimes cooperative games. We played one aimed at young children, Princess.

It barely qualifies as a game, though the experience is not all that bad. You roll the die and either increase the doom counter (6 total) or pick a random object and try to convince all the players that you can use this object to get past the current obstacle between you and the princess (moat, guard, dog, etc). For instance, the boat is the canonical item to get past the moat, but I suggested when I picked the candle that you can use it to set fire to the forest, and when the guards lower the drawbridge and run out to put out the fire you sneak across the drawbridge. You have to get to the princess before picking all the doom counters.

The game is exhausted after a few plays, but my guests had hand-crafted additional items to keep the game fresh.

I then taught them No Thanks! which they liked a lot, and we played Pit which I had taught them the last time they were over.

Friday, February 24, 2012

2011 Game Industry Survey

Up at Purple Pawn I've posted another survey of the game industry: 8700 companies, 6900 surveyed, 391 responses.

These take a lot of work; the biggest reward for doing them is that I now have an index to 8700 companies at my fingertips. I also know that the right way to do this type of thing is to make phone calls; email just doesn't do it. If someone wants to pay me to do it the right way, I'll do it the right way.

 Now back to my book.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Raanana and Jerusalem Session Reports

Raanana by Ellis: Power Grid.

Jerusalem by Nadine: El Grande.

I lost at both. I also lost a two-player game of Ticket To Ride + 1910 Expansion I played on shabbat with my host in Beit Shemesh. I did well on the board, but he had more filled delivery orders, which also gave him a 15 point bonus.

I attended the 6th annual Techshoret technical writing/markcom conference in Jerusalem on Thursday. I promised Paula that I wouldn't blog about it (or, at least about the bad parts), so I will just say that it was good to see and be seen by others in the technical writing field and I enjoyed two of the lectures I went to (Revuven Lerner on HTML5 and Katriel Reichman on using Markov chains as cost/benefit analysis for new technologies).

Thursday, February 09, 2012

Raanana and Jerusalem Session Reports

Raanana reports from me and Ellis: Age of Industry, Finca.

Jerusalem report from Nadine: R-Eco, Small World Underground

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Last Night's World Have Your Say

A partial transcript, starting about 43:20 :

BBC Moderator: Some of your comments coming in. Actually this is one for, if we can get back through to the the guys in Homs, but maybe Zakar you can respond to this. Yehuda in Israel is listening on line. He says he's moved by the suffering in Syria, wishes he could help, but wondered if Syrians would accept it.

Zakar [some analyst or somthing]: (surprised) From Israel? Uh from the Israeli government? No. Of course not. After you know what they've done to the Palestinians for sixty years and the occupation of the Syrian Golan Heights, so no. I don't think any help from Israel is wanted or required.

Moderator: Abu Amar you're back. Were you trying to come in now I think?

Abu Amar [hiding in a basement in Homs, currently under bombardment; trapped with many wounded people and no medicine]: Uh No I'm here right here.

Moderator: Maybe you just missed that uh those comments. A listener from Israel was just asking whether if Syrians would accept the Israeli government's help in this situation.

Abu Amar: N-Never at all. No no not even a single one in the whole Syrian people would agree to to the Israel to intervent in the Syrian uh problem. We we don't agree at all.

... [less than five minutes later, when asked if he would like intervention from the outside in Syria] ...

Abu Amar: [Desperately] The Syrian people is asking for intervention from outside, for example Turkey or Jordan. Anyone can help us now is useful.

Sunday, February 05, 2012

Raanana and Jerusalem Session Reports

Raanana (my report, Ellis): Age of Industry

Jerusalem (Nadine): Lecardo, Navegador

Shabbat lunch, I played Travel Blokus with a fellow guest at someone's house.