Day 17 – Massage

I have to start by clarifying; the picture above is not where I had my massage. Regrettably. It’s just a good picture Google found for me to illustrate the high-point of my day. (Side-note: Google had one particularly horrifying suggestion as well)

Having said that, once I close my eyes it really doesn’t matter where the massage table actually is. In future I will imagine myself on the beach above; maybe I can even request some soothing surf-and-gull sound effects to go with it.

If Patient Looks Like This: Call Hospital
If Patient Looks Like This: Call Hospital

I made an appointment for today before work, because my back has been somewhat unhappy with me. I blame the fact that I have missed too many Pilates classes in the recent past. I can feel that my mobility is suffering from it.

And the knots!

I can half-convince myself that maybe I don’t need a massage until it starts. Every knot rolling under the fingers of the masseuse makes me jump a little as it slips and twitches in my back. The involuntary twitching is embarrassing, but I’m sure it’s quite common.

But then, as the session progresses and it happens less and less, it’s good to know that I will be all better.

Right after the session I felt extremely good; I felt taller for my drive into work. Now, at the end of my day, I feel the after effects of the massage itself. Where before there were knots, now there are aches. I console myself with the thought that tomorrow that will be gone too and I should be all happy-and-healthy.

Day 16 – Birthday Present – II

My grandmother and my parents were a bit behind on their gift-giving. Giving gifts from the Netherlands to Australia isn’t as easy as I’d like it to be. Instead of giving gifts they transferred some money and are now relying on me taking care of the actual buying part of this transaction.

There are many things that’d be useful.

Or fun.

Or both.

But the one thing that has been stuck behind hesitation on the shopping list for the longest is a good DSLR. A very good DSLR.

Canon 6D - Back
Canon 6D – Back

Not that long ago Canon released their latest prosumer DSLR camera… the Canon 6D. The first entry-level prosumer with a full-size sensor inside.

It’s light, it’s powerful, it has frikkin’ WiFi and GPS built into the camera.

And there is an app.

There is a free Android app that can connect to the camera via WiFi. The app acts as a view-finder. Which means the Android app will show the settings and the image the camera sees, allowing me to tweak the settings from anywhere before taking the shot. I’m not sure what all the uses of that might be yet, but I’m kinda curious to find out.

Canon 6D - Top
Canon 6D – Top

And then there is the fact that we have a whole group of friends with DSLRs; I think we will be having road-trips with many cameras in tow. I think I’ll mostly be crap at first. But I think there are some books about photography on my shelf I haven’t had a chance to read yet.

If this turns into a reality, I think you may have to suffer through me occasionally posting about my experiences trying to learn to take decent pictures.

But failure is entertaining isn’t it?

I plan to be entertaining.

Dominion – Addendum

Okay; now that I have met my posting deadline, I can tell the full story a little more relaxed-ly(?!).

Most Wednesday nights with friends we actually have… you know… dinner. Sometimes, like tonight, there is just not enough room for snacks and dinner to co-exist in my stomach. We opened a rose that wasn’t entirely convincing, but not sufficiently un-convincing to move on to something else instead.

There was cheese. There is always cheese. Ken is our cheesy friend. Oh, also dip. And Ritter Sport chocolate, which is hard to resist and should never be left near me. I ate almost the entire block of marzipan-filled chocolate before anyone had the presence of mind to save me by removing it from my reach.

The dog looked on hopefully. But no crackers for him tonight.

He got honey-rice-puffs instead.
Don’t even ask.

And Fruit as Well
And Fruit as Well

As I was starting to fill up on chocolate and cheese and assorted fruit, Abbey suggested that we hadn’t actually had dinner yet. Abbey voiced some concern over carby pastizzi for dinner, but frankly, Wednesday is our night of sin and we eat whatever anyone puts on the table. I wasn’t going to argue.

I only managed two or three pastizzi, but I think I managed to hide that fact from the others.

And then the baking began.

And then the gaming began.

Dominion and Dominion Intrigue
Dominion and Dominion Intrigue

Dominion is a game with deceptively simple rules:

  1. You have five cards
  2. You can play one action card
  3. You can buy one new card
  4. Then you discard anything left
  5. And you draw five new cards
  6. When you run out, reshuffle the discards and start from the top

Once you deplete three stacks of cards from the supply, the game ends, and then the person with the most victory points on the cards in the deck they have collected wins.

Victory Points in Multiple Denominations
Victory Points in Multiple Denominations

However…

Each of Dominion and Dominion: Intrigue has 25 types of cards over-and-above the standard money and victory-point cards. At the start of the game you select 10 cards for the game. The manufacturers provided some standard recommended combinations, but we decided to randomly draw 10.

As a result, you play every game by a different set of rules. Every game is different. No strategy works twice in a row.

It’s a game of learning to adapt to circumstances.

We chose 5 cards randomly out of the two sets of 25. Using just this selection method, there are (25! / (5! x 20!))^2 = 2,822,796,900 different rules combinations possible. Oh, and there are about 5-6 more extensions to the game with anywhere from 15-25 new cards each.

It’s a great way to stretch the mind.

Action Cards A-Plenty
Action Cards A-Plenty

The first game I won handily with 106 to 90. It was really lucky that I caught on to Ken’s strategy early on when he was collecting a powerful combination of Duchy’s (3 points) and Dukes (+1 bonus point for each Duchy) which enhance each other for scoring purposes. I managed to keep pace with his buying while monopolizing the Provinces (6 points) which narrowly put me over the top.

The second game was all Ken’s. I wasn’t sure how many points either of us had, but I had the sneaking feeling that Ken had managed to get many more Provinces than I did (8 to 4), and we were racing for snapping up the remaining points towards the end. He won about 68 to 56.

This is another game that is great to play with a larger group, because the rounds are very quick, meaning that everybody stays more easily engaged with the game.

Ken's Wood-based Tea
Ken’s Wood-based Tea

And then it was time for tea with whatever remained of the snacks/chocolate. Ken tried the tea that was supposedly Rooibos-like with a hint of wood and honey. When I tried it all I got was wood and not much else.

Spearmint Tea for Me
Spearmint Tea for Me

And I got myself a cup of spearmint… but not before inhaling the box of loose-leaf tea first. I was expecting tea-bags, but I mentholated my eyes instead. It was a very refreshing experience that I don’t wish to ever repeat.

And by the time Ken was getting ready to go home, it was already around 10 to midnight. So, I had to excuse myself and rush to the study to do my 365-duty and quickly edit a picture and write a brief post.

This longer post is mainly because I felt guilty about the rush-job the other post was.

I think I have managed to ramble here instead.

Good night!