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Five Christmas Songs you probably don’t have in your collection, but should

The wonderful Poprocket podcast did a holiday episode recently that got me wanting to recommend some of my favorite Christmas tunes.  So here’s a list of five songs that need to be in your collection (if you listen to Christmas music, that is.)

1.”Nuttin’ for Christmas” by Sugarland. This countrified version of the classic novelty song is wonderful, and captures the impish spirit of the original without being so annoying.

2. “Carolina Christmas” by Squirrel Nut Zippers. A jazzy swing song about Christmas in the South. I love the swoopy voice of the lead singer, and the stand-up bass makes this song amazing.  Plus this line: “It’s Christmas in Carolina / It’s Christmas all over the place.”

3. “Christmas Christmas” by Mojo Nixon. This is one of Finn’s favorites, and the Louie Louie riff makes for a real party song with a groovy, trashy vibe.  Slightly adult themes.

4. “Carol of the Bells” by Straight No Chaser. Perhaps my only serious and touching song on this list — the a capella group’s arrangement of this song is great.

5. Last, my favorite part of the Muppets, the chaotic and wide-grinned Dr. Teeth sings “‘Zat You, Santa Claus?” Like the Sugarland track I mentioned at the beginning, it’s a wondrous capture of the sense and spirit the holiday gives me.

Two honorable mentions: I absolutely love the Voicedude mash-up “Here Comes Santa Claus in Black” and the They Might Be Giants song “Santa’s Beard,” but this wouldn’t be a list of five songs if I included seven.  The last is “Here Comes Santa Claus In Black” by voicedude. I don’t know where you can get this last one, alas.

 

Tweets from 2015-11-29 to 2015-12-05

Tweets from 2015-11-22 to 2015-11-28

What got played – November edition

Wow! I can’t believe we’re already at November 23rd. What a busy month it’s been!  I just wanted to take a couple minutes today to fill you in on what I’ve been playing since the last post (on Oct 28th).

What I Played

It seems to be harvest season for Kickstarter projects — Loop, Inc. , Best Treehouse Ever, and Epic PVP are all Kickstarter projects that I backed last year and just showed up.  We also had some fun games of Escape: The Curse of the Temple and Between Two Cities.

I’ve been working on a system to pick which games to play when the kids and I have some time to game. The problem is that often, for whatever reason, the kids will get at loggerheads about what game they want to play.  One will pick one game, and the other will absolutely refuse to play that game, and set their sights on another. You can see where this is going.  So we’ve gone to a classic system that’s worked like gangbusters — papers in a jar.

I’ve now got two jars, though, because sometimes we have two hours and can play something long like Agricola or Galaxy Trucker, and other times we have an hour or less, and we have to play something like Machi Koro or Between Two Cities.  So now there are two jars.

Here’s how it works:

  1. The two kids and I each secretly write a game fitting the category on a slip of paper. Into the jar it goes.
  2. We draw one of the games out and play it.
  3.  The next time we have that particular block of time, we draw another slip of paper from the jar, until all slips of paper are gone.

Why this works better than other systems: I don’t know! What I do know is that when we tried putting someone’s name on the paper, there would be wheedling and suggestions such that the person making the choice didn’t get to make a choice outside of the strange dynamics of sibling rivalry. But when we write games on the paper slip, we avoid that.  So far, so good!  We may need to make a third jar for filler games, but otherwise, we’re golden.

Feedback: How do you pick which games to play with your family?

Tweets from 2015-11-15 to 2015-11-21

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Tweets from 2015-11-01 to 2015-11-07

Sidekicks

It’s weird being a parent as your child grows and begins exploring the world without you.  More and more, my children watch shows and read books I haven’t read.  Our worlds are diverging.  So one does what one can — we watch cheesy television with them, and we read what they’re reading.

In the case of the latter, I guess I’m raising a kid with good taste…

Sidekicks by Dan SantatSidekicks by Dan Santat

Sidekicks is a graphic novel about an aging superhero, Captain Amazing, who’s feeling the endless creep of years sneaking up on him.  He decides it’s time to get a sidekick, and that’s when we learn that his pets, the real protagonists of the story, have been yearning to team up with him forever.  There’s an indestructible dog, a static-energy cat, and a hamster with no appreciable superpowers.  And an iguana. A few thoughts:

  • This comic has a really positive message — it encourages us to think about all our gifts, and the way that understanding them as part of our whole selves gives us an advantage far exceeding that of the person who excels at one thing alone.
  • The hamster/iguana team-up is fantastic. They’re both brave and eminently vulnerable, fighting in a world fraught with danger.
  • Captain Amazing’s tale of aging and teamwork cuts strikingly close to the bone for me, a father watching his children grow up and acquire their own interests that diverge from mine, and at the same time, want to do all the things I do.

It’s a cute and fulfilling comic.  Well worth the twenty five minutes it will take you to read.  According to the school librarian’s notes in the inside cover, you will also earn “4 points” for reading it.  So there’s that.

My kickstarter continues on – 13 days left!

If you haven’t seen my Kickstarter project for the card and dice game I developed with some friends, what are you doing?  Get on over there! 😀  I kid.  But I don’t kid.

Update 7 art

Anyhow, we posted another update today highlighting the voting developments and pointing to a mention of the game on a Welsh newsletter for Geeks and Geekery.

If you haven’t seen it yet, please do check out CROMLECH. It’s fun and cool and I’d like to make it.