6mm-Minis is Maksim-Smelchak's blog to discuss gaming, miniatures, books, movies, food, Israel, Judaism, life in general and other funny crud. My favorite scale of miniatures is 6mm, which is also called 1/285 or 1/300 scale. I enjoy many different kinds of games including ancients, Napoleonics, WWI, WWII, the Arab-Israeli conflict, Car Wars AKA Autoduel (a sort of crash'n'derby automobile combat game), 6mm Godzilla AKA Kaiju games, and science fiction games. I'm open to everything though!

Sunday, May 28, 2006

GAMING NEWS: End of TLC As We Know It (24 May 2006)!

Hi Everyone,


Well, last Wednesday was a big day in Sacramento... the momentous end of the TLC Gang... they've left for the friendly environs of Texas to watch over their steers and... other items of vast interest. Todd and Crystal are fine people and we'll all dearly miss them.

Other than the loss of the TLC unit, the game that stood out in my mind was Breaking Away, a bicycle race game with some interesting game mechanics. So, bicycle racing is this week's theme!

Bicyclists, Sponsors & Other Speedo Groupies:
- Mrs. Crystal Love, "Racy & Naughty" Biker from Brownsville.
- Msr. Dave, Speedo Cultist located in Laredo.
- Mr. Dick, Lady's Bicycle Seat Testing Expert From Houston.
- Mr. Kimbo, Bicycle and Duck Hunting Shotgun Specialist from San Antonio.
- Pfsr. Maksim, Weirdo Racer with a Rear View Mirror on his Helmet from Witchita Falls.
- Sir Todd, Personal Reflector Specialist from Dallas.

And we played a number of games:

1. Carolus Magnus


- Crystal: Winner!
- Dave: L.

Dave ad Crystal played a relatively quick game of Dave's latest baby: Carolus Magnus. Dave is over the initial rules novitiate status and crystal soundly beat him. Carolus Magnus may be one of the next big popularity climbers... interesting game mechanics and the game runs very soundly.

Mazel Tov, Crystal!

2. Who's The Ass?


Potential A-holes:
- Crystal: 22 + 2 + 0 +36 = 60 WINNER!
- Dave: 32 + 6 + 42 + 20 = 100 Resident A-hole!
- Dick: 37 + 10 + 20 + 0 = 67 loser. D-hole.
- Kimbo: 46 + 0 + 6 + 18 = 70 loser. C-hole.
- Maks: 0 + 32 + 22 + 23 = 77 loser. B-hole.

We've all gotten pretty good at this game by this point so every hand is a solid fight, but Crystal often distracts us with her uncommonly good loooks and she managed to pull off the win. The game was very close pointwise with my chance at victory taken away by a last-turn dump of the ass on me durring the second round. Bummer.

Mazel Tov, Crystal!

3. Killer bunnies and the Quest for the Magic Carrot


- Crystal: l.
- Dave: Winner!
- Dick: l.
- Kimbo: l.
- Maks: Loser.
- Todd: l.

Bunnies is the TLC Unit's favorite game so we, of course, couldn't send them off without a game of it... Thankfully, Dave only had the basic game, which really changed play. All of the expansions really make for some horrible one-sided games as one player inevitably collects combos that make them near invincible.

And throughout the evening I was asking for folks to send me some positive vibes since I had a big job interview the next day (last Thursday) to which Kimbo replied "You'll just have lose the whole evening and not throw any games..." ...and I did. Kimbo did his part by hosing down me every chance he got... It was well into the game before I managed to acquire a bunny that lasted longer than a single turn. And it didn't help when someone launched an asteroid that wiped us all out early in the game either!

Mazel Tov, Dave!

4. Coloretto


Color Crayon Utilization Experts:
- Crystal: 18 l.
- Dave: 25 Tie Winner!
- Kimbo: 22 l.
- Maks: 14 LOSER!
- Todd: 25 Tie Winner!

This is one of the first times I've seen a tie occur while playing Coloretto... I don't know how ties are normally resolved in Coloretto, but we decided to declare both folks winners and moved on.

Mazel Tov, Dave and Todd!

5. King Arthur


Knights Errant:
- Crystal: 25 l.
- Dave: 39 WINNER!
- Kimbo: 20 Loser.
- Maks: 30 l.
- Todd: 30 l.

I'm starting to like this game... very simple, but there is some strategy to it and you can certainly get edged out of the game if you're not careful. Dave utterly stomped us and Kimbo didn't pull his infamous "game's over" declaration... which might have even helped him.

Mazel Tov, Dave!

6. Breaking Away!


Speedo Freaks:
- Dave: Did not finish... knickers were in a bunch.
- Dick: #2 l.
- Kimbo: #1 Winner!
- Maks: #3 L.

This is a strange little game and if you mismanage your energy, you'll end up behind the pack and out of the game as happened to two of my four little bikers... which pretty well insured me the big loss... of course, I needed the positive karma as Kimbo mentioned so maybe it was a reverse blessing. At any rate, there is a definite learning curve to the game, which I fell well behind. Dave opted out early to share a game with Crystal as she beat her busband to the game... she left him home cleaning the carpets... it's not too hard to figure out their relationship's hierarchy.

Kimbo mentioned that the game has garnered very good ratings on BGG and I can see why... it's an excellent little game... the mechanic of garnering energy by being further back in a pack mechanic makes for excellent play. Getting a break away racer is difficult to maintain although it can be done. Kimbo did it. And Dick had a natural advantage over me in this game... he has a thing for spandex...

Mazel Tov, Kimbo!


Have a great week!


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Thursday, May 25, 2006

PERSONAL NEWS: Big Job Interview Today... Please Wish Me Good Fortune (25 May 2006)!

Hi Everyone,

Well, most of my friends already know me (and the primary readers of this blog) and know that I made a big choice last year to leave the Elementary teaching field... I wasn't teaching in my good conscience and I needed to move on. I still beleive very much in teaching, teachers and helping children, but a combination of the school administration and various regulations didn't allow me to do that. And I couldn't do that and feel good about what I was doing. And at the same time, the Teacher's Union is very much symptomatic of what can go wrong with the labor movement as much as old friends like Ada Brotman, a retired humanities professor friend, can see the merit that the labor movement once had in this country (the USA) and it could have in the future.

At any rate, I've been working a variety of jobs since, many part-time, and have been looking for a new "job" home. Well, I think I might have found it and today's the big interview so please wish me good fortune. I've already been through other interviews for the job (the process is a multi-part one) and this is the end-of-the-line, make-it-or-break-it part. And it's for a very good job, an executive management position with a good salary and full benefits. I have properly prepared for the job and my suit is prepped including my lucky silk tie, but it's always a little scary to go up for a big position. I'm both excited and nervous at the same time.

At any rate, I'm a strong beleiver in the power of positive thinking so please send me your good thoughts, well-wishing, positive karma, prayers and any other fortune that you might have. I always feel better when I know my friends are backing me.

Thanks for being a reader of my blog and I'll get a new entry about my regular Wednesday night gaming up ASAP.


Todd and Crystal, the infamous TLC unit, had their last gaming soiree with us yesterday (moving to Texas) and I'll miss them alot. Good folks... they have my best wishes!

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Wednesday, May 24, 2006

MINI GAMING: Battlefield Crystals From the UK!

TOP: New crystal terrain: Necrons, here we come!

Hi Everyone,

I saw this the other day ago and thought it was too cool not to share:

TMP Headline:

Nexus Games UK: New Scenic Accessories

TMP link:

So, there's a new company in the UK that is making clear translucent resin crystal bunches... very cool!

TOP: The crystals come in several different colors.

And the crystal bunches come in at least three differents colors as shown above in the photo. I think they'd look great as Necron terrain or on the surface of some other equally alien planet.

Here's the company's web site in the UK:

I want some! Now, all I need is some spare discretionary money! Fat chance of that! LOL :)


UPDATE (August 2007):
- It appears that this company didn't make it. Their link is no longer active.

Notes regarding photos / pictures / videos: These are not all my images and videos. I am using various images and videos from around the web, mostly from public sources and/or private sources used with permission. I have tried to include only images and videos under public domain, creative commons, or fair use. If I have inadvertently violated any copyrights, please inform me and I will remove your image/s (if it is indeed an infringement).

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Tuesday, May 23, 2006

HUMOUR: World's Fastest Growing Religion: Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster?

Hi Everyone,

Some days I get up on the right side of the bed and something really funky still strikes me upside the noggin...

I came across this today:

Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster


And while I have a few beliefs of my own, I couldn't help but applaud the Pastafarians!

I also found it slightly amusing that the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster is hosted on a server called venganza.org. For those of you less knowledgable of the Spanish language, venganza means revenge in English...

*** Maybe the church is really a plot by the Mexican government to subvert our youth as revenge for the "restrictive" immigration policies of the US government? ***

I mean how much chutzpah does the US have for asking Mexican immigrants to legally come to the US!

We all know that the US goverment is really a bunch of imperialist pasta-mongers!

After all, Mexico is much more a land of noodle-istic pastafarian opportunity than the US!

Or maybe Mexico is just afraid of anti-pasta Hollywood actors taking over the government of the country like California citizen and Neo-pasta-ite Arnold Schwartzenegger has here:


And you should catch the trailer for the next big Schwartzenegger film hit here, Little Tortilla Boy:


How cool... and wacky!

Have a great day!


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Monday, May 22, 2006

HUMOUR: Walking on water with the media?

Hi Everyone,

I saw this joke the other day ago and couldn't resist:

The Pope is visiting Washington, D.C., and President Bush takes him out for an afternoon on the Potomac, sailing on the Presidential yacht, the Sequoia. They're admiring the sights when, all of a sudden, the Pope's hat (zucchetto) blows off his head and out onto the water.

Secret Service guys start to launch a boat, but president Bush waves them off, saying, "Wait, wait. I'll take care of this. Don't worry." Bush then steps off the yacht onto the surface of the water and walks out to the Holy Father's little hat, bends over picks it up, then walks back to the yacht and climbs aboard. He hands the hat to the Pope amidst stunned silence.

The next morning, the headlines in the New York Times, Boston Globe, Atlanta Constitution, Washington Post, Boston Herald, Buffalo News, Houston Chronicle, Milwaukee Sentinel-Journal, Minneapolis Tribune, Denver Post, Albuquerque Journal, Los Angeles Times and San Francisco Chronicle all proclaim:

"Bush Can't Swim!"

Have a great Monday!


Here's another longer peice on how W.W.II would have been reported with today's media:


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Saturday, May 20, 2006

PERSONAL NEWS: Bourgeois Sacramento, the Interconnected Globe & 24 Hour Fitness (20 May 2006)!

NOTE: Post still in progress!

Hi Everyone and welcome to a beautiful weekend!

I've been ruminating over writing a post about the the level of globalization, that is to say the interconnected state of the world in the age of the Internet, satellites and air travel, in humble little Sacramento. Even though I was born at the Presidio in San Francisco (a hundred miles or so to the East of here), I've lived off and on in Sacramento for the greater part of my life... leave with a job, come back... join the military, come back... live abroad, come back... and so the pattern goes. And I've seen so many changes in the greater Sacramento area... California is growing, but so is the rest of the world.

One of the recent trends I've seen on the Internet is for "interconnectedness tests," that is to say tests that show the relationships between an object or person in just a few steps. And I have to say that Sacramento is most definitely a locus,a middle ground between so many relationships between places and peoples. Sacramento is also a major dumping ground for the Immigration Service; you can find an immigrant from nearly any nation on the Earth here in Sacramento. While Sacramento may be known as "the Big Tomato," it's no cow town (that would be Vacaville) and you can find just about anything in Sacramento that you could find in a better known Metropolis such as San Francisco, New York or another major US city / urban area.

So, as an experiment, I took a 3"x5" notecard a few weeks ago and decided to track some of the many global relationships that I've observed over only a two-week period while going back and forth to my job, working out at the local gym and at other times I've spent farting about in the area. And as a footnote, I do have a better than average level of education regarding the world (an International Relations degree from the University of California at Davis) as well as a great curiosity about world affairs that fuels my inquisitive nature. I'd also like to note that I met most of these folks at my local gym while in the steam room... people always seem to be ready to talk while under extreme heat. It's amazing what you'll learn when you open your eyes and keep your ears open.

Here's a link to learn more about various countries around the globe:


Here is just a sample of the many folks I've met or chatted with in the last week alphabetized by country of origin / recent destination:



- I've been working a small job for an educational testing company in the area and noticed Mohammed. I listened to him talk to a friend in a language that obviously wasn't Arabic (I know a little Arabic and can differentiate between various dialects of Arabic with some small degree of accuracy). Eventually I became bold enought to walk up to him and ask him if he was speaking Urdu and he was surprised and replied yes.
- That was the conversational gambit I needed and we started speaking. It turns out that M. and his family immigrated to the US after the US crushed the Taliban. He has mixed feelings about the invasion, but overall, he thinks that the US presence in Afghanistan is a great chance for Afghanis to escape the cycle of dictators and strongmen that have plagued his former home. I didn't press him too much, but I did enjoy hearing a much more real perspective on what's happening over there than I could get from local television news or The Sacramento Bee (a local newspaper).

Armenia / Azerbaijan:


Gregor & Ruben:
- I really enjoyed speaking with these two gentlemen in the sauna one evening. Both were solid fellows with wide waists and they spoke a sort of macho non-native Russian that was a pleasure to hear. After we went through a set of introductions and the annoucements of faith that many "holy roller" Christians tend to start conversations with, we discussed the Armenian / Azerbaijani conflict.
- When the former Soviet Union fell, many of the republics that were once kept in line by the almighty Soviets fell to war. Armenia and Azerbaijan were two of these countries, one Christian (Armenia) and the other Muslim (Azerbaijan). Gregor and Ruben had lived in the Northern part of Armenia and were war refugees to this country. Both talked about how peaceful their lives were as farmers before the war came. They spoke about trading with their Azerbaijani Muslim neighbors and firmly blamed the war on outside influences from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran. They spoke of how Jihadi Muslims came into the area and idealized the local Azerbaijani with violent ideas, supplying them with weapons (mostly of Chinese and Russian manufacture) at the same time.
- Eventually we played out the war line of conversation and spoke about the Armenian church, one of the oldest branches of Christianity if not THE oldest. I have a bit of an interest in religion and theology so hearing native Armenians talk about their church was fascinating.
- Some very opinionated links regarding the Armenian / Azerbaijani conflict:
- http://www.panarmenian.net/news/eng/?nid=18058
- http://www.bakutoday.net/view.php?d=21117

Belarus (White Russia):


- Lev is an interesting man that I met at the gym. I knew right away that he was Russian (actually White Russian) and noticed how mazaingly observant he was. Usually I'm the only one in the room keeping a tab on my surroundings, but Lev was too... and we both noticed each other. Eventually I walked up to him, introduced myself and asked where in Russia he was from. It turned out that he was from Minsk, the Belarus and was a Jew like me. We traded little Hebrew and Yiddish before reverting to a mix of English and Russian for our conversation.
- Lev was a former Red army officer and we spoke about Latin America, and specifically Cuba. I mentioned that I had been stationed at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba at one time and he spoke about Cuban officers that came to train in the former Soviet Union. Lev resented that Russian officers were routinely put out of the barracks when Cuban officers came to train... I guess that there wasn't much of a visiting foreign officers barracks because he mentioned that Russian officers were routinely quartered with the enlisted when the Cubans came.
- We also discussed Fidel Castro and Hugo Chavez from Venezuela. We chuckled about Fidel never having allowed elections, even trumped-up ones like those that occured in the USSR. Lev and I can both see shades of Castro in Chavez. While Chavez was most likely voted in legitimately, he has now announced pretensions to become "El Presidente" aka the dictator of Venzuela for the next twenty-five years. I wonder how Chavez's plan will resolve itself. I wouldn't be surprised to see a "quiet coup" happen in Venezuela like the one that happened in former Czechoslovakia.



- Roselin is from Fiji and worked in the cubicle next to mine at the job. I originally has a neighbor named Tazmin from Bangladesh, but she couldn't pass some of the tests that Roselin and I passed and left the job pretty early in the program.
- Roselin was very friendly, and like many Fijans, spoke very good British English. Like many Fijans of Indian ancestry, Roselin is a Muslim although the Muslims from Fiji tend to be very Westernized. She was very surprised to learn that I was very knowledgable about Islam (five pillars, and all that) and wanted to learn more about Judaism and Israel. I answered her questions the best I could. She later told me that I was the first Jew she had ever met. After a few days, she spoke about Islam and denounced terrorism and Jihadi theology. It was nice to speak candidly with someone like her.
- One of the topics we discussed was relgious food law. She spoke about "Hallal" food proscription, which is the equivalent of Jewish "Kosher" food law.
- Roselin is also a newlywed; she was married earlier this year to a fellow Fijan Muslim in a successful arranged marriage.



- Firuzei is an Iranian expatriate and works at the educational testing company where I'm currently employed. She sat down next to me one day and we chatted a bit. I didn't speak too much, because she is an boservant Muslim witha covered head and I didn't want to make her uncomfortable in any way since she seemed to be observant of many Islamic modesty customs so I followed her conversational lead. I learned a bit about where she was from in Iran and not too much more. I think as much as anything else, she was curious about me since I wear a kipah / yarmulke and many Muslims have no idea what Jews are really like.



- I spotted Ramon in the gym one evening in an Army National Guard shirt and we ended up lifting a bit together. Ramon is currentli in the US Army National Guard and is getting ready to enter the Special Forces active duty. He's been deployed to Iraq and thinks that he will shortly be returning. We talked about the service, military friends and the geopolitical situation in Iraq. Ramon is of the opinion that the troops in Iraq and not demoralized and that Iraq is not a quagmire.
- We discussed the physical tests for getting into Special Forces, which I took some time ago, and as I had correctly suspected, it was the swimming part of the test that had tripped him up before. You see, they typically give the very exhausting swimming portion of the test AFTER you've done the rest of the demanding physical test and are already beat. I remember that after I had run, and done umpty-zillion sit-ups and push-ups, it was the swimming portion that I couldn't hack.



- Anna is a security guard at the educational testing company I've been working at. We chatted a bit and traded a few remarks in Rumanian. That's about my extent of Rumanian language knowledge... a few remarks.
- Sacramento has a pretty sizeable Romanian community... mostly Pentacostal Christians.






- Ibrahim is a security guard at the educational testing company that I've been working for and the very sight of him inspires confidence. There's a wisdom about him that makes me want to hear his stories despite a misleadingly impression that he has a fruff exterior... it's only surface deep.
- Ive chatted with Ibrahim a number of times on breaks and learned a lot about the man... first of all, he has six children and ten grandchildren. Not bad for a guy that was born under third-world conditions in the northern part of Sudan. Ibrahim is a Muslim and grew up in a small tribe in the Northern part of Sudan learning Arabic and a local tribal language. His family and tribe were later displaced by the building of the Aswan Dam and not so longer after, Ibrahim was able to secure a visa to immigrate to the USA.
- While we have talked about a number of topics (the nature of language, Islam, Israel, Egypt, etc.), Ibrahim has chosen not to speak about the current genocide in Sudan by the Janjaweed Militias. He mentioned that he thought that the killings were shameful and switched topics. I didn't press him.
- Ibrahim's displacement by the Aswan Dam reminds me much of a similar project taking place in China today, the completion of China's Three Gorges hydroelectric dam:
- http://news.yahoo.com/fc/world/china
- Two links to the ongoing problems with genocide and slavery in Sudan:
- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Janjaweed
- http://www.iabolish.com/slavery_today/sudan/index.html




Vietnam / China:


Miye / Mike:
- I met Miye the other day ago in the gym sauna. We spoke about Vietnam and it's improving relationship with the USA. Despite improving conditions in Vietnam and a rather pragmatic Vietnamese Communist government, Miye would prefer to live in the USA. He is currently studying medicine and commented widely on the state of medicine in today's Vietnam. Miye is formerly from Saigon and when I queried him about Saigon being called Ho Chi Minh City, he laughed and said that only the government ever refers to it with that name.
- Two links showing progress in the Vietnam / USA relationship:
- http://usinfo.state.gov/ei/Archive/2006/May/16-476479.html?chanlid=econissues
- http://www.tiaonline.org/business/media/press_releases/2006/PR06-42.cfm


Have a great weekend!

Shabbat Shalom,

Thursday, May 18, 2006

GAMING NEWS: A Bactrian Day of Bad Games (17 May 2006)!

Hi Everyone,

Yesterday was the Wednesday get-together again although we missed out on the the big Kahuna... Mr. Michelsohn. Dick was out buying a new car and now he's got it... something to rival Kurt's little supercharged sports number... a Toyota Prius... in red! Mazel Tov, Dick!

The above photo is of the Dick in camel form. He's a were-camel, don't ya know? Watch out for his full moon...

Dick dropped me a note:

Hiya Maks,

Thanks for the note. I picked up my new car last night and had to re-install all the 'stuff' that makes a car driveable. Like hairbrush, towel, emergency blankie, tie-down straps, crankable flashlight, Midnight Oil CD, etc. Its a new Toyota Prius - reduced gasoline costs, reduced insurance premiums, tax credit, refundable warranty program - all the right options for someone who believes gas is not going to get cheaper.

I'll look forward to seeing your blog report on last night's action. I thought about you all last night... but not for too long... you know how new toys can capture your attention. And it's red.

See you soon,

When I showed up a little after 5:00pm, Kurt and Dave were neck-deep into a game of Dave's latest acquisition: Carolus Magnus, which looked pretty interesting. Dave also felt that he'd set the theme for the evening, which would be "A Night of Bad Games" and so it was. I modified the theme a bit to include a reference to that paragon of camelian virtue, Kurt... hence the Bactrian reference.

The above photo is of Kurt in natural form... that toothy smile must be why he is so camera-shy. Some people can be soooo self-conscious!

The above photo is of lovely, Sheila, who faithfully guarded Kurt's car all night... or at least until he left to go home and watch cheap soap operas. Kurt says "a real woman knows how to spit." And boy, can Sheila spit with the best of 'em!

The last member of Kurt's family (that anyone has heard of that is) is Kurt's stepson, Stephen. He's a cute little bugger, isn't he?

Camels on the half shell:
- Mrs. Crystal (in a guest appearance): Camel Display Model, widely known for her two-humped figure.
- Msr. Dave: Camel Cultist Mesmerist & former Camel Jockey.
- Mr. Dick (absent): former Camel Jockey & Camel Kiss'in Outlaw.
- Ms. Donna, The Curse of: Sorceress & Short Order Cook.
- Dr. Kimbo: Camel Whisperer & former Camel Jockey.
- Kurt, Sheik Ibn Ali: Camel Racing Sponsor & One Camel Humper (Or was that one-hump camel?).
- Maks (me!): former Camel Jockey & Coiffeur Expert.
- Mr. Mike O'Brien: Camel Masseuse & Washing Boy.
- Todd: Robotic Camel Jockey Technician.

In a sad move, many camel jockeys are being driven out of the sport by... robots. To learn more about the future of camel racing, read more about robotic camel jockeys here:


And for those of you who are both Beach Boys fans and capable of handling a little R-rated humour, check out this humorous video about "the camel's toe." It's sort of like that old Kipling story about the "monkey's paw"... only more visceral:


Scroll down a bit and look for the movie called "camel toe."

Oh! And we played a few games:

1. Carolus Magnus


- Dave: Winner!
- Kurt: L.

Dave proved once again in this interesting game that he can consistently win when he's the one explain'in the rules to the others. However, Kimbo points out that if we're too lazy to read the rules for ourselves then we deserve what we have coming. The game had beautiful tiles and pieces and both Kurt and Dave seemed to think that there was good game play inherent to Carolus Magnus.

Kimbo enjoyed playing with the chit sprues. He can spin them from his finger at very high speed. Amazing, Kimbo!

And, oh yeah, Dave won. Mazel Tov, Dave!

2. Rocketville


- Dave: 17 WINNER!
- Kimbo: 16 l.
- Kurt: 4 L.
- Maks: 14 l.

Rocketville gained notoriety over at BGG for some of the most obnoxious ads ever created so it was with great trepidation that the gang decided to try out this game... that and Dave was given a free copy.

We pretty much discovered what the hype had been about the game... it sucked. Gameplay was very random with little skill or choice in the game. It was pretty much a random card pull with an occasional decision to try and trump others.

Mazel Tov, Dave on your win!

3. King Arthur


- Dave: 28 l.
- Kimbo: 48 WINNER!
- Kurt: 39 l.
- Maks: 24 L.

King Arthur was pretty interesting for one of Dave's "bad games." It was very card-based, but with two separate actions per player turn, there were a lot of choices to be made. Near the end of the game, Kimbo pulled a dirty trick, he publicly exclaimed that the game was lost to him, which, of course, in the weird world of strange game karma, guaranteed that he would win and he did!

Mazel Tov, Kimbo!

4. Who's The Ass?


- Dave: 15 +3 + 11 = 29 WINNER!
- Kimbo: 53 + 4 + 0 = 47 L.
- Maks: 68 + 0 + 0 = 68 L.
- Mike: 50 + 16 + 39 = 105 The ASS!
- Todd: 0 + 39 + 16 = 55 L.

Near the end of the evening, the natives became restless and only Kimbo held the answer to our problems in his hand... no, not alchohol, but... Who's The Ass?. It was quickly agreed upon so we set out to play a few rounds and determine who the biggest ass was... (since we already knew the camels among our numbers). When I took the photo above, I was pretty pleased that I was going to get a dignified and tough shot of Mike... instead I got a mug shot. Sorry, Mike! We can't all be beautiful all of the time... What's that old saying... you can fool some of the people some of the time...

Todd used his best "snake juice smile and guile" to secure an early lead. After that, it was knife fight with Todd and Mike being clearly out of the game. Kimbo pulled out all his tricks, but he forgot to publicly exclaim that the game was lost to him so... he lost. Maybe that trick only works once a night or so?

And... in the end of ends, Dave pulled it off AGAIN. Mazel Tov AGAIN, Dave!


I left around 7:30pm and so did one or two of the others so I imagine that it was an early night at A-1 Comics.

And guess who took the best picture of the evening? Todd!

Nice picture, bro! That's the smile you use when you sell used cars, right?

Seriously, yesterday was a pleasant evening out with friends, the kind we all like to have.

Have a great week!


This is what I look like in camel form. Sorceress Donna was a bit upset with me for the nickname I gave her a few weeks ago during the Clue / Save Dr. Lucky episode. Here I prove both that I need to get haircuts more often and that a good looking camel, um fellow, like me can impersonate Elvis with the right amount of gumption... and pomade.

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Tuesday, May 16, 2006

GAMING NEWS: Revving Engines at Formula A-1 (10 May 2006)!

Hi Everyone,

First of all, I want to apologize for the delay in getting this update posted... my life has simply been hectic beyond imagining!

My baby sister (photo at right) graduated from community college last Friday and my entire family is very proud of her. She got a slower start with schooling than I did so seeing her earn two associate's degrees brought me a lot of pride and pleasure. For those of you who don't know, my petite baby sister is a fire fighter and watching her graduate from the fire fighter's academy a few year's ago was a kick... you see, my sister barely tops about 5'4" and for her to keep up with the sort of macho paramilitary guys that generally become firefighters was nothing short of miraculous. And to top that off, I caught some sort of flu at the end of last week and struggled through the end of last week.

And when it rains, it pours. My current job has had numerous calls for overtime so I've been working a large number of hours. And I'm also hearing back from a number of companies that I've applied to for jobs. I'll be interviewing for a management position with a local company later this week as of today (16 May 2006). So... I've had my hands full!

Last week, the gang gathered at A-1 Comics and we played games. The evening was relatively quiet but very satisfying. It's hard to ask for more than good company and a few good games!

If I had to pick a theme for the evening, I would go with the "race car" theme as Dave brought his copy of Formula De, which several of us enjoyed. And there was much more too... read on, maestro!

Racers, Head Mechanics and Sponsors Present:
- Crystal "Love," NASCAR Promotional Model & Shortcake Queen.
- Dick Michelsohn, Sponsor of the Beaten-Dick Racing Team, Ltd.
- Msr. Dave Story, Racer Extrordinaire & Rogue Cult Leader.
- Donna O'Flaherty, NASCAR Promotional Model & Head Mechanic of Team Bang!.
- Keith Mantooth, Outlaw Gunfighter & Head Mechanic of the Beaten-Dick Racing Team, Ltd.
- "Black Kimbo," Racer and Malevolent Taxman.
- Kurt, Ibn Ali, Sheik and Sponsor of Team Tupperware!
- Maksim (me!) Smelchak, Unknown Racer and Amateur Photographer of little skill.
- Mike O'Brien, Sponsor of Team Bang!
- Todd Blanco, Hot Latin Lover and Driver of the "BLUE" (not WHITE!) car of the TLC Team.
- Tony De Cinema De Noir, Racer and Film Professor from Italy.

1. Familienbande


- Dave: Winner!
- Dick: L.
- Kurt: L.

In this strange game, Dave, Dick and Kurt manipulated family trees to see who could come up with the ugliest children. When it comes to funky breeding, Dave had a natural advantage over the others and won this game... handily. Mazel Tov, Dave!

To the right, we have a photo of Dick... in a pink shirt, showing the rest of us how to not only look tough, but be tough! I have many a lesson to learn from men like Dick and Kurt... especially on how to be cool and tough. In a slip of the tongue that I'll probably never live down, I exclaimed that I couldn't "beat Dick." Sometimes, I just think that I'm hopeless... I mean Dick can even look "Miami Vice" cool in a pink shirt and all I can do is stick my foot in my mouth.

2. Diabolo


- Dave: L.
- Dick: Winner!
- Kurt: L.
- Maks: L.

Dick once again proved his superiority over us mere mortals! Go, Dick! Mazel Tov, Dick!

Kurt deserves an honorable mention for exceptional play. He also deserves a medal for repeatedly turning me down from taking his photo. Either Kurt is very vain regarding his personal appearance or he knows me for the lousy amateur photographer that I am.

3. King's Blood


- Dick: 25 pts. Winner!
- Keith (took over from Maks): 101 pts. L.
- Kimbo: 64 pts. L.
- Kurt: 71 pts. L.
- Mike (took over from Crystal): 57 pts. L.
- Todd: 74 pts. L.

In this strange anime themed game of quasi-European royalty, we saw the gang mix up aristocratic family trees in a way that made the English royal family look exceedingly normal. Dick, once again, demonstrated his prowess as a breeder and cleaned house... so to speak. Mazel Tov to you, Dick!

4. Shopping, The Galleria!


- Crystal: Winner!
- Donna: Winner!
- Mike: L.
- Todd: L.

Crystal has been feeling some intense guilt over excessively teasing me about having a favorable win rate playing games with her so she is presenting me a piece of strawberry shortcake in this photograph (Thanks, Crystal!) to show her compassion for me. After her brief emotional display, she and Donna teamed up to play Shopping, the Galleria! and left us.

Todd and Mike lost out on that game.

5. Yinsh!


- Dave: Winner!
- Maks: L.

Dave and I played a quick game of Yinsh! while the rest of the gang finished playing King's Blood. Dave kicked my butt! Mazel Tov, Dave!

6. Flaschenteufel (The Bottle Imp)


- Dave: Winner!
- Kimbo: L.
- Todd: L.

And Dave chewed a little more gum and kicked a little more ***. Mazel Tov AGAIN, Dave!

7. Bang!


- Dick: Deputy: Shot Down Like A Dog!
- Keith: Outlaw: Winner!
- Maks: Outlaw - Winner! (But a dead winner!)
- Mike: Sheriff: SDLAD!
- Tony: Renegade: SDLAD!

Displaying my lame skills as a wannabe Western anti-hero, I was slain very quickly in a game of Bang!. Keith turned the game around and slew the sheriff, which technically also made me a winner, but I was dead! Bummer. Mazel Tov, Keith!

We played with Mike's new expansion, which really changed game play.

Thanks for bringing the game and being such a good sport, Mike!

8. Formula De


- Dave: 3rd! in the green car!
- Kimbo: 5th! in the lemon car!
- Maks: 1rst! Winner! in the red car!
- Todd: 2nd! in the blue car!
- Tony: 4th! in the white car!

At right, you can see a photo of Monsieur Dave L'Idiotique, a famed racer from France, known for his extravagant mode of dress and polished pate.

And at left you can see "Black Kimbo," a racer from the Dakotas who is also known as the "Malevolent Tax Man!" Despite the happy expression on his face (was it gas?), poor Kimbo is busy moving and reestablishing himself as an "empty nest" gamer as all of his "little birds" are now out of the house. I send my condolences to him.

Poor Kimbo also displayed his amazing penchant... for bad luck. His rolled the absolute lowest number possible (that's bad) on the Formula De dice a number of times in a row. Happens to the best of us, Kimbo! I feel your pain.

And at right, you can see a photo of "Flash'in Blue Todd, the Holy Avenger." Noone knows exactly where he is from, but the rumor is that he changed his name to "blue" after years of being known as the "whitest" man on the block.

And here to the left, we see "Mad Friar Tony," famed racer from Italy. When Tony isn't hitting the bottle, he can push some mean accelerator pedal! Unfortunately, while Tony was actually in teetotaler mode, he missed a number of turns in his souped up Yugo racer. Can you see the pain on his face (maybe it was constipation... or consumption...)?

And to the right, is a fill-in photo for Maksim Smelchak as we seem to have lost our stock photo for him. For a relatively unknown race, he (really I) drove magnificently, securing a first place win. Mazel Tov to me, for the heck of it!

9. Hot Car!

- Unknown

Noone knows where this hot car came from, but the rumors around A-1 Comics indicate that it belongs to a local sheik and his camel companion "Sheila." The sheik made most of his ill-gotten riches in corrupt Tupperware pyramid schemes and can occasional be spotted around A-1 buying smutty comic books when he isn't home watching cheap soap opera... at least, that's what I heard...


Have a great week!


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Monday, May 08, 2006

HIKING: Sac State Walk (5-6-2006)!

Hi Everyone,

Saturday had some beautiful weather and I took advantage of that gorgeous weather to go hiking along the American River with the Rancho Cordova Hiking Meet-Up Group. We met at 9:30am at the Big Lots near Watt Avenue and La Riviera and entered the park trail near there. We hiked about four to six miles and ended up back at our cars around 11:30am. We could have made it faster, but we waited up for some of the newer hikers who needed a little more time to travel the trail.

Learn more about the Rancho Cordova Hiking Meet-Up Group here:


Here's a picture of much of the gang in pre-hike mode. The following are present from Left to Right: Glenn, James, Maksim (me!), Debbie and Kathie. Heather took this photo.

The above photo is of Heather and Debbie, a mother and daughter working at getting fit... both very nice people.

Heather recently won a nation-wide art competition. Mazel Tov, Heather!

Here I am on the Sac State pedestrian bridge wearing my ConQuest Sac 2006 T-shirt. I need to work on my photography skills... I always seem to leave my face in the shadows.

We did spot a little wildlife along the trail. We spotted this deer nibbling away on local greens and totally oblivious of me as I used my "incredible stalking skills" to gain the vantage point I used when taking this snapshot.

And here's Nancy, who was my de-facto trail partner for this hike. Nancy is the organic food queen... I learned a lot about goat milk, natural cow milk, soy milk, canola oil and just about anything edible that you can buy from the health section at Eliots or Bel Air / Raleys. Nancy was very nice and I very much enjoyed her company.

And I stopped by Great Escape Games after the hike and caught a few games. The highlight of the games was playing the "Game of Thrones" game adapted from the popular fantasy novels. The game plays fairly well and reminds me alot of "Diplomacy."


Have a great Monday evening!


You can see all of the photos here:


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Friday, May 05, 2006

GAMING NEWS: A Highly Anticipated Murder at A-1 Comics (3 May 2006)!

Hi Everyone,

Well, gaming day at A-1 Comics has come and gone and the game that themed the night was:

"Who Killed Dr. Lucky?" from "Cheapass Games"

You either loved it, hated it, or just wanted to see the game die!

And "Who Killed Dr. Lucky?," which is actually called "Save Dr. Lucky!" is a parody of the classic "Clue" game. We all took our roles and the murder mystery party ensued.

The following people showed up:
- Crystal
- Dick
- Dave Story
- Donna
- Kimbo
- Kurt
- Maksim (me!)
- Mike O'Brien
- Todd
- Tony

And we played the following games:

1. Through the Desert


- Dick: L.
- Dave: L.
- Kimbo: L.
- Kurt: WINNER!
- Maks: L.

Kurt ended up having a lot of talent with camels. He just seemed to have an instinctive feeling with them. It was like the rest of us weren't even competitors or even in the room with him... just Kurt and his beloved camels. I believe that the lovely spitting paramour of Ibn Ali Kurt was named "Sheila." Mazel Tov with your win, Kurt!

2. Treehouse


- Dave: L.
- Kimbo: WINNER!
- Kurt: L.

In this strange little game using the Zendo "crystal" pyramids, Kimbo massaged the dice just right and beat off Dave and Kurt... ...to victory. Mazel Tov, Kimbo!

To the right is a photo of Dave looking a little less enthused than the print design on his shirt. He talked about the highlight of his work day being when his dog broke wind loudly. Oh, the joys of being a computer geek working out of your own home!

3. Category 5


- Dave: L.
- Kimbo: L.
- Kurt: L.
- Todd: WINNER!

Todd claims that he has a method for winning this game and whatever it was, it worked this time. Mazel Tov, Todd!

4. Yinsh!


- Dick: 2 - L.
- Todd: 3 - WINNER!

In the classic strategy game of Yinsh, Dick's largest accomplishment was making a "brass knuckle" out of the Yinsh rings. Todd, in yet another win of the day, beat out Dick. Mazel Tov, AGAIN Todd!

The exciting photo to the right depicts a Yinsh game in progress. Can't you feel the intense emotion and action pursuant to this game?

5. Category 5


- Dick: L.
- Dave: L.
- Kimbo: L.
- Kurt: L.
- Maks: L.
- Todd: WINNER!

Todd's "method" appeared to work again! Mazel Tov AGAIN, Todd!

Kurt had to leave around this time... he babbled something about having to catch a soap opera on some obscure cable channel. He's weird that way.

6. Bang!


- Crystal: Sheriff: WINNER!
- Dick: Outlaw: Shot Down Like A Dog!
- Dave: Outlaw: SDLAD!
- Kimbo: Outlaw: SDLAD!
- Maks: Deputy: WINNER!
- Todd: Renegade: SDLAD!

It was a tough root'in toot'in gun match and hot lead flew like there was no tomorrow... and then there were three! (Cue Wild Western "high plains" theme.)

Maksim and Crystal lined up on one end of the town and "Wildman" Kimbo on the other, spitt'in an' tear'in an' holler'in like there'd be no tomorrow.

Hot lead flew again. Maks was hit... he staggered... bleeding. Kimbo laughed behind his barrel. Crystal was hit and hit bad... the holes in her smart "Law-woman TM" vest were leaking red...

And then the sun hit "High Noon" and it all turned around...

Kimbo was hit once and then twice (Cue in image of Kimbo silently screaming) and then he was slain like the scurrilous dog he was.

The good guys won this time and rode off into the sunset happily ever after.

Please ignore any time / logic problems with the sudden jump from high noon to the setting sun!

7. Who Killed Dr. Lucky?



Dick as: Colonel Mustard, Retired military man and Great White Hunter.

Ever notice how the "I-talian" guys always go straight for the babe?

Crystal as: Yvette, the French Maid, also known as "Crystal Love" in the slums.

And don't let that perky smile fool you, she's a manipulative and bloodthirsty lass.

Maks as: Professor Krasnoxolostoksky.

This is a truly terrible picture of me. I must remember to always have pictures of me taken with my head level or looking up so my neck doesn't make me look fat. I was properly cast as the hopeless academic, who's always forgetting things. And I forgot to win.

Todd as: Mr. White, Cleaning Staff. A pretty vanilla fellow.

Todd wasn't photographed this time around due to his vast importance in the greater picture of things. Bummer.

Tony as: Fryar Antonio De Cinema De Noir.

The Fryar tried to "whack" ol' Dr. Lucky several times, but he would have been better off using the bottle as a weapon than a source of libation.

Dave as: Monsieur David L'Idiotique, Cultist Leader and Circuit Lecturer.

Monsier Dave, as we called him, thought that the "ontology" of the evening was "in disarray" and became a "silent protester" to the inhumanity of the evening. Oddly enough, this made him one of the more interesting, and yet less exciting, guests.

Kimbo as: The Malevolent Taxman.

I think his name was either "Butch" or "Peewee," but I wasn't brave enough to ask and the fiendish look on his face frightened all others away. His loud braggardly ranting (something about card-based games) let everyone know that he didn't feel that he had to play by the rules. It almost seemed as if he wanted everyone to lose. I have a feeling that if the game would have gone on any longer, he might have done something drastic...

Mike O'Brien as: Dr. Lucky, the man we all love to hate although some of us just hate him... not I, I say!

Donna as: Ms. Ho, the Oriental cook that worked a little "too hard" for Dr. Lucky!


It was a rousing night at Wayne Manor as the motley crew of the "Official Dr. Lucky Fan Club" assembled. Everyone was sipping cocktails or nibbling on hors d'ovaries, but you could feel something sinister simmering under the polite small talk. Either someone forgot to wear deodorant or there was hate in the air! (Cue suspenseful piano music.)

The party assembled in the foyer and the Doctor's bequest was read. Dr. Lucky O'Brien had had enough... his candle of life was nearly burnt down... and his dramatic request was that one of us end the misery of his life that very night! He offered his full fortune (in unmarked ones...) to any who could accomplish the grisly task.

Some of us conjectured that after eating Ms. Ho's cooking for so many years (Ho-hos), any of us would have wanted the same.

And the deed was afoot!

Dick quickly scurried off to the side room and caught the not-so-good doctor alone, but he was foiled in his attempt when the sight of his thumb distracted him.

Fryar Tony was next. Like every good man of the clergy, he whipped out his Black & Decker chainsaw and prepared to go to town when... he mistook a stairwell pillar for the not-so-good doctor. Another flubbed murder attempt.

And there were many more failed murdered attempts. "Peewee" Kimbo and Monsieur Dave were fraught with frustration! What kind of party was this? When would the evening end? Was Sartre right? And no card-based games! Aaaaagggghhhhh!

Finally, bloodthirsty "Crystal Love" found herself "alone" in the garden with the foolish doctor and ended his unlikeable ways.

Le Fin!

Rest In Peace, Doctor Lucky O'Brien!


Have a great Friday!


Notes regarding photos / pictures: These are not all my images. I am using various images from around the web, mostly from public sources and/or private sources used with permission. I have tried to include only images under public domain, creative commons, or fair use. If I have inadvertently violated any copyrights, please inform me and I will remove your image/s (if it is indeed an infringement).

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