Brain feeling blah? Exercise it.

On New Year’s Eve I spent an hour or so engaged in the board game Battle of the Sexes with friends. I think that was the name of it. We were on vacation at their house in Ottawa, Ohio. A few hours before the game, the female half of this couple took me on a drive through town to show me where the water line was when the town flooded this summer. Their basement family room was royally trashed by water.

Thanksgiving weekend, I spent an hour or so playing some other brain engaging activity with my husband’s family in Hinckley, Ohio (It’s where the buzzards come to roost each spring.) It was a short vacation; we didn’t stay overnight, but the trip involved 5 hours of driving, so I call that getting away. I can’t remember the name of Thanksgiving’s game, but I do remember it involved drawing, acting and trivia.

According to a post at Intelligent Traveler, this game playing is part of a travel trend. Wow! I would have done a better job and won if I knew I was cutting edge. Since playing games gives your brain a workout AND helps you relax, people in the hotel business are wooing guests by providing game playing and brain exercise options.

Some, like Hyatt Resorts are providing board games for guests to use. Seminars, workshops and classes on how to get your brain on fire with vim and vigor while you’re on break from the rest of your life are also in the mix. Westin Hotels have brain exercises they hand out to their guests.

When I stayed at the Westin in Taipei, I was so thrilled with the bedding and the bathtub since it was such a contrast to the funky, odd, kind of uncomfortable apartment we lived in Hsinchu with its hard as a rock mattress, tub that you really couldn’t sit in, and hot water that barely lasted through one shower , much less two, that brain food would have been a distraction from the luxury.

After reading about this game trend, it occurred to me that southeastern Kentucky is way ahead. One of the regular activities at the Buckhorn Lake State Park resort is playing Bingo. That’s a game I can win. The last time I stayed there, I left with a ceramic mug.

Monopoly: The Updated Version–Play on the Computer

As if there aren’t enough ways to pass the time. I am up early (can’t sleep) so I thought I might write–not Gadling, other stuff like a prize winning novel. Instead, I have become sidetracked in the Here and Now version of Monopoly. I saw a link in today’s Marketplace section on YAHOO and clicked on it. There I was downloading the game and, in minutes, losing royally to the computer. I never download games–seriously, I never download games–you can see what a dodge this is.

By the end of the playing time, I did own three airports– including the Los Angeles International Airport– Pioneer Square in Seattle, Disney World and a few other properties. I can’t quite remember what all. I do remember that I foolishly let the computer buy Times Square in an auction, but I swear the thing was cheating. That prompted a whole mess of buying houses and hotels. LIke I said, cheating.

The Here and Now Monopoly game version has updated properties to reflect the current times. As the computer and I took turns zipping around the board, I noticed that Jacobs Field, the home of the Cleveland Indians is the cheapest property. That figures. It is a beautiful stadium, though, and if the Indians keep playing as well as they have done this season, perhaps that property ought to look sweeter.

I had grand plans to write down what properties I owned at the end of the game to see which places I have been in person, but the game stopped before I got the chance. My screen literally went black in a split second. I was playing the free version so perhaps the computer was bored with my efforts. Or, perhaps, the computer was worried I was making a comeback and just quit on me.

If you do have some time to play, this version is fun for the computer graphics alone. For example, the police siren goes off when you are carted off the jail after the police car nabs you. When my property was mortgaged and the computer’s hybrid car landed on my space, I heard snickering. That’s cold.

Here’s another person’s review as well. And, here’s the link to the downloadable version.

Foreign Language Scrabble

Russian Scrabble This blurb is
going to officially mark me as a foreign language geek, but what do I care. Those who know me well know I love games
and the competitive spirit runs through every vein in my body. My two favorite indoor weekend games happen to be a good
round of Spades and a wordy, hours-long, game of Scrabble. And anyone out there who has played Scrabble in the past
knows how grueling the last few minutes can be when you’ve got only the letters X, B, V, I, and H in your possession.
The board is locked up with the exception of the most unwelcoming tiles jutting out and you’re about ready to scream
"why me?! Why did I get stuck with the X, Y, and Z?" You refrain from doing such as Scrabble is a
sophisticated game so you switch gears promising to place the most incredible, unbelievable, prodigious, and astounding
four letter word known to man down on the board. Everything goes quiet; your tiles hit the board and spell the word
"XINH."

"Xinh?"

Your opponent who isn’t as skilled in Vietnamese as you happen to be raises a
high-brow before telling you to remove that junk from the board, but you plead stating the word’s meaning and use in
Vietnam where you once heard it the streets somewhere. It’s times like these when a little foreign lingo Scrabble board could sure come in handy. For those
multilingual folks out there wanting to slam a huge word in Hebrew down in Scrabble, there is a list you may wish to check out. The list not only tells you some
of the various languages you can purchase Scrabble in, but also
points you to sites online where you can play with other people across the world and other interesting facts.