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- The Tapeir
March of the Penguins :|
and exciting adventure
--if you're a penguin.
of the Letter M
"My son played Fluxx and Nanofictionary while working
on a mission trip in West Virginia -- kids from a California
church introduced the game to the group, which included churches
from Florida and Chicago. Our son loved both games. We're anti-drug
conservative carnivorous Christian Republicans -- but we do like
flowers, happiness, bright colors, long hair, the environment,
creativity and games! Don't you just love America? May you have
a peaceful, joyful day -- and thanks for helping us to keep thinking
and smiling with your games!" -- Sandra
of St. Petersburg, FL
||Alison's Report on Second
Not much is very different really since my report of last week...
we're just a little further along on all the same stuff. Last
week, we sent card artwork for EcoFluxx
to the printers; this week, we've sent in some corrections, and
we're finishing up the artwork for the tuckbox. The packing project
is moving along rapidly now that I have help... James
has inventoried over 1300 of our books so far, and I've sealed
up 26 more boxes in the last week (bringing our current total
to 170). With Origins
behind us and our newest games off to the printers, the main
thing on my mind for the rest of the summer is packing up our
stuff so we can sell our house and move. So focused am I on this
now that I've decided to skip both GenCon and DragonCon this
year, much as I'd love to go to both, so that I can focus on
my primary task.
While I'm staying home to concentrate on packing, the two
women I live with will be doing a lot of traveling. Kristin is
going to Hamilton
for a week in August, then she'll be attending GenCon and DragonCon
along with Russell and various other rabbits, helping promote
our games. Just like at Origins, there
won't be a Looney Labs booth, but our games will be sold
by almost half a dozen vendors in the exhibit halls.
As for Alison,
she's only two-thirds finished with her adventures at camp. (She's
home right now, between Second and Third Sessions, to quickly
finish up the artwork she's doing for Family
Fluxx.) She took the photo above while on a hike during second
session... and since her week was much more interesting than
mine, I'm going to step aside and let her describe it for herself.
Over to you, Alison...
this past week and a half, I've been at a little camp called
Center for Wildlife Studies, located in West Virginia. (Really
little -- 32 campers, 16 staff.) The focus is mainly on nature
study, although we have a fair amount of straight-up hiking,
crafts, games, splashing around in the pond, etc. The campers
are 11-15 years old. We try to emphasize respect for the environment
and each other, and in general try not to take ourselves too
I got to camp late (after the session had started) and so
almost immediately, we began preparations for overnights. This
was the "advanced session," so the whole camp was doing
two-night overnights, most in Monongahela State Forest (Dolly
Sods Wilderness Area). My group was doing fairly straightforward
backpacking. Our main challenge was to figure out a route that
wouldn't overlap the other hiking group. Dolly Sods has some
really nice spots that practically every group wanted to hit,
so it was pretty tricky figuring out a route that would take
us to all of them at different times than the other groups, and
still be hikeable in the three-day/two-night span of time.
The most unusual member of our hiking group was the newest
addition to the Wunderland bear clan, one Monongahela. He was
just dying to see the forest they'd named after him (well, you
know bears, they get confused about these things). After all,
Manhattan had gotten to visit "his" island...
We camped the first night up on what we used to call Bear
Rocks, but which we now call Lion's Head, and which, on the map,
is called Breathed Mountain (go figure). A nice pine-forested
camping spot, with a path out to this impressive rocky promontory.
Although it was rainy, we ate breakfast the next morning out
there, with Mongo in his "rain gear": a plastic bag
and my hat.
Then we set out to bushwhack over the hump of the ridge to
avoid an annoyingly rocky stretch, and cut off some distance.
We looked at the map and decided, rather than cutting down to
the path immediately, to try roughing it all the way along the
ridge to where the path came up again. After a while, however,
the going proved rougher and longer than we'd thought, and one
of the campers had a previous ankle injury that was taking it
hard on the lumpy terrain. So we ended up cutting down to the
path later along the ridge, having lost a lot of time.
Then we had a decision to make: at this point, the spot we
had planned to camp at was a long way away, starting with a steep
hike up to the Sods (high plateau wetlands with lots of blueberries).
On the other hand, if we went ahead with that plan, we wouldn't
have time for a swim in Red Creek, another centerpiece of any
trip to Dolly Sods.
went conservative, stayed at the river and hiked to a closer
camping spot. After all, we had an injured camper, and several
others had some misgivings. It was a tough call, though. Ideally,
we'd have gotten to swim at the beautiful waterfall AND pick
blueberries up on the beautiful Sods, but oh well. Mongo enjoyed
the waterfall as well, although he didn't actually go swimming.
After we got back to camp, evening activity was "Beat
Night." We create a sort of hip teahouse (no coffee for
campers) atmosphere in the main lodge, and have people present
impromptu poetry, songs, performance pieces (usually themed on
the recent overnights, but in this case also honoring several
kids who had birthdays). I got to MC, which was fun.
Piling on the fun, the very next day we had scheduled another
regular session outing: the River Trip. Campers have the option
of leaving early to take a trip to Caudy's Castle (an awesome
pinnacle of rock) then hiking from there along the Cacapon river
all the way to the cookout site, stopping to swim along the way,
and arriving just in time for dinner. Non-hiking campers leave
after rest period, and have free time and swim by the river at
the cookout site. I was still pretty fatigued from the Monongahela
trip, so I volunteered to help cook.
The rest of camp proceeded pretty much as usual. I suppose.
For the first half of camp, the mornings are filled with teaching
workshops on various advanced naturalist topics, and for the
second half, the campers choose a project to work on in the mornings.
I had two project people, doing variations on edibles. Bronwyn
wanted to do "everything cattails" -- they're eminently
edible, but she ended up focusing more on weaving a mat out of
the leaves, which was a nice twist. Cody wanted to make wild
edible soup, which turned out to mean mostly a lot gutting smelly
fish from the pond.
Near the end of the session, we hiked the whole camp up to
the Bald (pastureland at the top of a mountain) to play The Ant
Game. The campers had been looking forward to this, and prematurely
anticipating it for the entire session. Naturally we hiked up
in several groups by roundabout routes to prolong the suspense.
The Ant Game is loosely based on ant behavior and most closely
resembles Capture The Flag. I was one of the last people coming
down in the dark, and managed to sprain my ankle pretty badly.
Luckily a car had already been summoned for a camper who'd gotten
ill from overexhaustion. I thanked him for arranging transportation
The "Final Exam" was a very successful Moth-themed
quest-fest, which I didn't participate in, as I was exhausted
from painting awards late into the night, and anyways, I had
a sprained ankle. But I heard that it was a great success. Groups
of campers had to do stuff like: follow a short orienteering
course, bring back examples from five different orders of insects,
find a camouflaged staff member along one of the trails, spot
several types of birds, do a yoga "sun salutation,"
bring back four different invasive plants. They won bits of a
puzzle that they put together to make models of moth pheromones,
ostensibly to attract extra moths to our "moth army"
which was needed to defeat Godzilla. Did I mention that this
is a really wacky camp?
Final ceremony, typically after a cookout on the Bald, was
to be combined with the traditional Bald overnight. A bold move,
but what else could we do? The session had been so jam-packed
with activities, it was our last chance to do the sleepout. Unfortunately,
after the cookout, we decided that although it looked like the
50% chance of rain would skip us, the weather was so windy that
we could hardly hear each other. So, reluctantly, we headed everyone
back down the mountain to have final ceremony in the main field.
It was nice, the usual feel-good presentation of music, put-ups
(the opposite of put-downs: little thank-yous) and hand-painted
custom-named awards for all the campers.
|Here's a final plug. In between second and third
sessions each summer, we have what's called "Adult
Weekend." It's basically a little camp for adults. It
never seems to attract quite enough participants, however, so
I've decided to make it my personal mission to get more people
to go to it. I know lots of people who would love to go to Cooper's
Cove and hang out for a weekend, doing activities, taking hikes,
swimming in the pond, and learning about natural stuff. Heck,
I know some people who'd be able to help lead some naturalist
walks. Anyhow, I guess it's a little expensive, but it's worth
every penny. The food is great, and there's no other experience
like it. However, it's this weekend, which probably isn't enough
notice for this year, but there's always next year!
a great week, and thanks for reading!
||"Marijuana smoking -'even heavy longterm use'- does
not cause cancer of the lung, upper airwaves, or esophagus, Donald
Tashkin reported at this year's meeting of the International
Cannabinoid Research Society. Coming from Tashkin, this
conclusion had extra significance for the assembled drug-company
and university-based scientists ( most of whom get funding from
the U.S. National Institute on Drug Abuse )... It is Tashkin's
research that the Drug Czar's office cites in ads linking marijuana
to lung cancer. Tashkin himself has long believed in a
causal relationship, despite a study in which Stephen Sidney
examined the files of 64,000 Kaiser patients and found that marijuana
users didn't develop lung cancer at a higher rate or die earlier
than non-users. Of five smaller studies on the question,
only two -involving a total of about 300 patients- concluded
that marijuana smoking causes lung cancer. Tashkin decided
to settle the question by conducting a large, prospectively designed,
population-based, case-controlled study. 'Our major hypothesis,'
he told the ICRS, 'was that heavy, longterm use of marijuana
will increase the risk of lung and upper-airwaves cancers.'" -- Fred Gardner, "Study:
Smoking Marijuana Does NOT Cause Lung Cancer"
||"The Jedi order [are] the geekiest people in the universe:
they have beards and ponytails, they dress in army blankets,
they are expert fighter pilots, they build their own laser swords
from scratch. And (as is made clear in the "Clone Wars"
novels) the masses and the elites both claim to admire them,
but actually fear and loathe them because they hate being dependent
upon their powers.... I lap this stuff up along with millions,
maybe billions, of others. Why? Because every single one of us
is as dependent on science and technology - and, by extension,
on the geeks who make it work - as a patient in intensive care.
Yet we much prefer to think otherwise. Scientists and technologists
have the same uneasy status in our society as the Jedi in the
Galactic Republic." -- Neal Stephenson,
On, Tune In, Veg Out"
||"This game is the reason I had to buy a second 3DO.
My mom got so hooked on this that when I moved out of their house
after college, she made me leave my 3DO and Icebreaker! She still
plays it to this day. I never got into it as much as she did,
but it is a great game. I'd dare say in the same class as Return
Fire as far as fun!" -- comments appended
to the DigitalPress "Sleeper of the Week" review